The site launched in late 2003 but had little immediate impact.It's taken just under two years to rise to prominence.

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swingers sites allow soccer moms to commit adultery and married men to cheat with impunity, a new British website is helping people to become part-time prostitutes.

Across Britain and Ireland plenty of people are willing to pay for sex – and plenty more are willing to provide it, but until now it has largely been the domain of professional sex workers.

"He doesn't know what I do, but I'm very careful STD-wise and really only do it once or twice a month.

It's not much different from having an affair."Katie said treating part-time sex work as though it were an affair is "pretty common." She said she does it for the money – "I need to earn money so that I can afford to buy things," she said – but also enjoys the sex."OK, if a repellant guy is my client, it's not ideal, but it's not always like that," she said. I would never have joined an escort agency or worked in a brothel.

Paid-for sex is a popular pastime in the United Kingdom.

Recently published research in the One of Adult Work's part-time escorts is Melissa from Belfast.

As a full-time student, Melissa has to fit in escorting around her schedule, working mainly on weekends, which allows her to disguise what she does for a living: "I have lots of friends, both male and female, none of whom know what I'm doing, but I find it easy to make and keep good friendships....

I'm not a loner or anything."For Melissa – and thousands like her – Adult Work breaks the underworld connections associated with sex work.

Melissa is an attractive, intelligent and well-read 20-year-old.

A full-time student of communications, she is internet- and media-savvy – a far cry from the clichéd call girl."I think what I do is very different to prostitution, well in my head, anyway," she said.

At present it has almost 3,000 members offering services, and several times that number buying or browsing.