Rent boys is a term used to describe male prostitutes. Prostitution was traditionally thought of as a woman's occupation but male prostitutes have probably existed as long as prostitution itself but with less publicity and less study.
In the 1980s Streetwise Youth was set up to support young male prostitutes . A study of 50 young men who were or had been clients of Streetwise were subject to research led by Donald West. The resulting publication Male Prostitution (1992) found quite a diverse range of types of rent boy and rent boy lifestyle.
Barbara Gibson worked for five years for Streetwise as HIV and health consultant. in 1995 six life stories of young rent boys she knew was published.
In the 19th century the term "renters" was also used.