Helen Rand

Dr Helen Rand BA, MA, PhD

Senior Lecturer in Criminology

Helen Rand is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology. Her research and teaching specialise in genders and sexualities. She completed her doctorate in April 2020, from the Sociology Department at the University of Essex. Her PhD was titled ‘Digital Sex Markets: Entrepreneurship and consumption within an uncertain legal framework’. Based on an ethnographic approach, she used multi-methods to explore digital sex markets and the processes of platformisation of sex work, from both workers’ and customers’ perspectives. More broadly her research explores the inter-relationship between socio-legal structures and constructions of genders and sexualities. She is currently working on a project exploring students’ perceptions of legal frameworks and how they relate to their lived realities of sexual consent.

Responsibilities within the university

Lecturer in Criminology

  • Foundations of Criminology
  • Women Power Crime and Justice
  • Forensic Criminology


Law and Society Association

European Sociological Association

Sex Work Research Hub

Media activity

2018  Podcast: Anthill 22: Sex (February 2018), available at The Conversation

2017  ESRC Festival on Digital Intimacies BBC Essex (November 2017)

Recent publications


Rand, HM (2022) ‘As straight as they come’: Expressions of masculinities within digital sex markets, Sexualities, (Open access)

Rand, HM (2019) ‘Challenging the invisibility of sex work in digital labour politics’, Feminist Review, (123), 1: 40 -45.

Rand, HM (2021) Accessing Hard to Reach Groups: Recruiting Customers of Sex Workers for In-Depth Qualitative Interviews as Part of an Online Ethnography, In SAGE Research Methods Case Studies.

Book Chapters

Rand, HM (2019) 'Selling sexual services in the digital age: Flexible work opportunities for the self-employed entrepreneur or precarious unregulated labour?’ In The Routledge International Handbook of Sex Industry Research Edited by Dewey, S., Crowhurst, I. and Izugbara, C. London: Routledge: 556 -568.


2022 “Evidencing ‘sexual gentrification’ in sex work platform governance in the United Kingdom” 13 July. Law and Society Conference, Lisbon.

2021 “Valuing sexual market exchange.” 10 November. Centre for Work Organisation and Society, Essex Business School.  

2021 “Reflexions on Hearing Men’s Commercial Sex Stories.” 1 September. European Sociological Association Conference, Barcelona.  

2021 “Devaluing sexual labour on digital platforms: A market analysis.” 18 June. International Workshop on Webcam Platforms, University of Amsterdam.

2018 Research reflections roundtable: Work, class and gender ‘Work and Exploitation’. Invited Talk. 25 April. Gender and Sexualities Research Forum. City, University of London.  

2017 “Digital revolution: Is it revolutionising the sex industry? Perspectives from those who buy and sell technology-mediated sexual services.” 29 March. PROSPOL Conference, Aalborg University, Copenhagen.  

2017 “Digital Intimacies.” 1 March. Centre for Intimate and Sexual Citizenship, University of Essex.  

2016 “You run the show”: Production and consumption of sexual services in the digital era.’ 12th January. Postgraduate Sex Work Conference, University of Leeds.