Monday, 4 April 2016

Welcome to my new website

I now have a new website of my own

If you are wanting to see my website, it is now hosted here.  I will continue blogging but from my own site, - I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Lurking and Peering and the Culture of Complaint

The day I visited my friend and fellow sex worker, Clio, at her house*, I was wearing my (non-sex worker-like) day clothes of jeans and a plain, dark woollen top and carrying a large, black art portfolio, as I was visiting to show Clio some sketches from a creative project I started at university. As I walked down her driveway towards her premises, (in a straight line as the driveway has a direct route towards Clio's front door,) which is clearly marked by a large number visible from the street footpath, a lady who was entering a next door property in the same block of townhouses, hesitated before opening her front door to take a lingering look at me, while two other residents of the same townhouse, watched me from different windows on different floors. As I walked past their house, I glimpsed another woman watching me through some foliage from an attached balcony.

Below is a guest post by Clio the Whore.

For a brief but happy time I ran a brothel. I ran a good clean place with co workers I liked, and because I lived there I was able to be hospitable and flexible.

Then I received an email from the property manager, saying that he believed I was engaging in illegal activity ie: running a brothel and thereby using the house for purposes other than residential. He gave me two weeks to shut it down or I would be evicted. I was shocked. I rang him and he said there had been ‘multiple’ complaints (whatever that means) and that the neighbours found the demeanour of my clients threatening as they knocked on wrong doors and lurked and peered in windows.

I believed the complaints were largely spurious, and told him so. Clients do not lurk and peer. They may knock on wrong doors but they do not lurk and peer. It is not in the interests of men who visit sex workers to lurk and peer. In fact, as I found out from my clients recently, the neighbours were at times intimidating, making snide comments and watching my clients in a pointed fashion. Now, I can well understand why people would not want a brothel in their neighbourhood. They would associate sex work with gangs and drugs, and they would not want their children overhearing sexual activities. None of these issues were present at my place. As for the issue of using the house for non-residential purposes, how would it be if I fixed cars or did Tarot readings? Would he kick me out then? He huffed a bit and said it would depend on whether or not anyone complained. This led me to contemplate, in a rather personalised way I must admit, about the culture of complaint we have. Of which more below.

In fact they got me on two counts – the non-residential purposes thing and also that it is against the bylaw to have a brothel in a multi dwelling building. I could have argued, but I did not. I had several reasons for this. One was that I thought they had the right of it. Another was that even if I won the fight the neighbours would probably keep complaining until I was evicted. Another reason was that we sex workers live a bit off the grid anyway and a bad tenancy record would go against me. And – well, I felt that the privacy of my clients had been compromised rather horribly and I needed to take responsibility for that. I like my clients, and it was upsetting to hear from them later on that they had been subjected to something amounting to abuse from my neighbours.

We do have, I think, a culture of complaint, and on the face of it this appears to be a nicely liberal part of the modernity project. You can do anything you like, provided no one complains. Fair enough. Except what happens when someone complains? Those in authority have to Do Something About It. My property manager said he had investigated the case; in fact he had done no such thing. He merely took the complaints, did not explore their credibility and did not talk to me. He Did Something About It. He said he had to, you see, because someone had complained and he was then bound to act. The fact that he did so reflexively was by no means a bad thing from his point of view. He had shown himself to be Doing Something, and pleased his bosses and the complainants. Everybody wins. Except me.

Since then I have watched interviews with politicians in a new light. What happens is this. The reporter says, this is terrible and it must not continue and Someone Must Do Something About It. The politician then says yes, it is terrible and We Are Doing Something About It. In fact we are so Doing Something that we are all over its sorry ass. No stone unturned, no child left behind, no family must ever suffer the tragedy that has befallen these poor victims, and This Must Never Happen Again. Watch them. My hunch is that in fact they do very little about the issue, whatever it is, but it does make us all feel a little safer and happier for the thirty seconds or so where we actually believe them because they sound so earnest and active.

I doubt that my neighbours care that they have made my life more expensive and difficult, and that in fact they had nothing to fear from me, my co workers, or my clients. I am sorry that they were afraid of me and what I stand for. I hope they are happy on the moral high ground. I wish them no ill, even though I am slightly sick of them leaning on their balcony and staring at me. And you know, I quite like my life. I get to trade in valuable things – pleasure and laughter and sweetness and care. It would be nice to think that somewhere in their lives they have those things too.

* Please note - the feature illustration bears no resemblance to Clio's brothel or any other brothel I have been to.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Love Within Sex Work

A tweet from Australian escort, Gabrielle

I found this tweet the other day and it really resonated with me.  It's because I feel exactly the same about my clients.  I really love those dudes!  A lot of the time I give my heart and soul to my clients, and get it back in spades. 

Which got me thinking.  Is this professional, or normal?  Around my friends it certainly is. I've noticed a lot more ladies are open about their enjoyment of their work and their clients, who see them as friends and genuinely feel affection, care and even love for them, or at least some of them.

How can this be professional though when sex workers are expected to provide a service which does not run the risk of destroying clients' relationships and marriages?  And how can sex workers see so many clients and genuinely love or care for them all or most of them, surely you'd have to fake?  I believe it's possible to love so many people in the same way that you can feel love towards many family members at once.  After all, it's common to love all your siblings or children, yet some you may feel a little closer to, or have a little more in common with.  Some of course you don't really like and will never get on with and that's that.  It's also possible to love people and not want to actually keep them all to yourself; In your affection or care for them you naturally want them to maintain the loving relationships they have established elsewhere, ie with their partners and families.  I quite like the colloquial term "side hoe," a function I am happy to professionally fulfill.

Yes, I've seen ladies fall in love with clients, and "end up" with them, three of my close friends in fact.  In all of these cases, their clients happened to be single.  So far all is going well and they are still happily together.  One of the ladies actually left sex work for her partner, with quite a financial demotion.  But that's another blog post.

And yes, there are clients who want nothing more from escorts they visit than sex, no affection required. They don't care about GFE, they just want a warm, willing woman.

But what about this, written by a client (used with permission) thinking back on his first ever booking with an escort:
"I went for sex, what I got was intimacy on a level I have missed for many years. It was as simple as that. Not that its simple of course... How did a woman I had only just met provide me with such an experience when she doesn't know me? I felt connected, safe, important and most of all I was present. So how did she do it? I suspect we both did it and I still don't quite get this part of it.

The most important parts of the whole session for me have come much more into focus. What I wanted and actually received was an intensely intimate sensual connection to someone, I didn't actually just want sex, I knew I wanted both, but actually I didn't I only really wanted the connection, sex was the conduit. It was important to me that this was mutually enjoyable, and that I gave pleasure. It was important to me that I was attracted to this woman, and I was, she was beautiful. It was mostly important that this woman enjoy what she does.

My choice of who to see was good for me, she was everything I knew I wanted from a sex worker and turned out to much more. Don't worry I haven't confused the transactional part of this, she was at work, I was a client. That doesn't mean its not personal. I am learning just by being and experiencing and I have missed that. Being able to do it in such a way is a huge privilege." 

I really feel that ladies like Gabrielle who tweeted above and some of my friends are able to offer services like this because sex work is now legal.  We don't have to mistrust every client who comes to us because he may be an undercover cop or we're about to get sprung for doing what we want to do.  I'm saying that we legal sex workers offer an easier service, one that is truly designed by us because we can.  (This is yet another reason why it is so important for the mental well-being of sex workers - which is a step beyond physical safety - that sex work must be legal globally.)  We can relax into what we do with our clients and offer what we are capable of offering or what we want to offer (including kinkier services in areas which interest and appeal to us).

Some ladies have back stories or cover stories in caring professions such as counselling, and there is definitely an element of this kind of comforting, loving care in sex work.  I also quite like the following approach as described in this wonderful piece by Eyal Matsliah, My Vision for a Conscious Sex Industry:

"I have a vision. A vision for a conscious sex industry.

In this vision, sexuality is acknowledged as natural and a crucial part of our lives, and the sex industry can be a part of it.

The fact that sex workers do not only provide sex, but can and do provide much more than that, is recognized. They offer affection, acceptance, support, guidance, friendship and even love.

Sex workers can act as counselors, healers, therapists, coaches, sex surrogates, confidants, guides, and friends.

In my vision, sex workers are independent, strong, and empowered. They are sexually and emotionally healthy. And so, they offer their services from a place of love of themselves, of men, and of sex. (This article talks about female sex workers, as they are the majority of the sex industry, however it is also relevant to male and trans gender sex workers and providers)

Instead of making the man disempowered and dependent, sex workers can empower a man’s sexuality, masculinity and confidence. Instead of perpetuating a need, they can teach their client how to not be needy, how to be independent in his sexuality, how to be a man rather than a boy."

(Read the rest here, it's incredibly inspiring).

I realise this blog post will be a bit woo woo for some, but they will just have to get used to it.  Sex work is being developed by sex workers and clients themselves in all sorts of directions in countries where it is legal, and love within sex work is one of the directions. 

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Not About The Heart Of Darkness; Whoring As A Profession At The End Of Capitalism*

This is a guest post by Christchurch escort Clio the Whore.

'You live in a fantasy', says my client wistfully. He is lying on my bed in a state of post coital triste, having expounded to me his marital problems. He looks around him, at the beautiful room bathed in golden light with its fin de siècle Parisian theme, he strokes the flank of the warm woman in his arms. 'You are so lucky', he tells me, 'You get to have sex all day'.

He is right course, it is a fantasy. Whose fantasy is it? Then and there, it is his fantasy. And mine? Clio is named for the Muse of History, a nod to my academic past. She works from an upmarket residence, has as clients mostly working class older men, and does a little 'domming' where required. She likes her clients and finds her time with them often enjoyable. She employs the same professionalism she always has. She sees whoring as part social work and part theatre sports. She is the ultimate capitalist, an independent business woman in charge of her own destiny, apolitical, amoral, individualistic, for her the money meter runs all the time. She is the ultimate anti capitalist, living off the grid and on her wits, undertaking transactions of a sort older than feudalism.

Left wing critique of sex work is predicated on two ideas – that it is inherently degrading to sex workers, who are mostly women, and that it must exist within patriarchal systems. Late stage capitalism with its cultural impoverishment and austerity measures has driven women into sex work and also made sex work more dangerous and more alienating. Sex work cannot be decoupled from the capitalist system in which it thrives. There would be no need for it otherwise. Most sex workers would choose not to be doing it. Sex workers are victims either of social and economic forces around them or their own pasts. They may be considered to be 'prostituted women'. Sex work by its nature is traumatising. Clients or 'johns' are engaged in oppression whether they know it or not. The buying of sex exists as part of the commodification and objectification of women and is a result in part of the patriarchal view of family life. Sexual transactions are qualitatively different from all other transactions. Sex should never be bought or sold.

Sex work activists and their liberal feminist allies emphasise choice. If a woman has choices over her own body, sex work may be one of them. If sex work is dangerous and degrading, it is because it is criminalised and unsupported, not because of inherent issues in sex work itself. Sex work is just that - work. Sexual transactions are like any other transactions. Sex workers are better paid and perform often under better conditions than their counterparts who may work under a zero hour contract on minimum wage. And yet, nobody tries to 'rescue' workers from the cleaning industry. Sex work advocates accuse other feminists of identity politics and are concerned that the voices of sex workers themselves are not heard.

The subtext behind these arguments is the question of whether or not sex is like anything else. Proponents of sex work say yes of course it is, it can be freely bought and sold like any other service. A sex worker might say that her actions are no more intimate than that of a physiotherapist or counsellor. Left wing critics argue that sex is different. It is an intimate act involving the whole self.
Sell the act and the self itself is being sold, and the selling of sex is at the absolute sharpest end of the worst of capitalism and patriarchy, where a less powerful individual, usually a woman, is selling herself to a more powerful man. Inequality is inherent.

I became interested in this particular aspect of the argument, whether or not sexual transactions are like any other transactions and whether or not sex is like any other activity. It seemed to me to be treated by both sides as a given, and yet it underpinned the other arguments. It also seemed to be the aspect most amenable to being addressed by looking at the experience of individuals, and that is what I can offer to the debate.

My experience is limited because I am new to the industry and my situation defies commonly accepted stereotypes of sex workers - I am an educated Pakeha woman and my background has no particular trauma or impoverishment. In the past I would have seen sex workers as victims, of poverty, addiction, or the men in their lives. When I began this work I was astounded to find myself selling sex, astounded to find that I did not 'feel oppressed', and astounded to find that I liked my work and (most of the time) my clients. Am I subjected to false consciousness? Should I feel victimised?

I am in charge in my Whoring Room. Hurt or degrade me, and you leave. Quickly I learned to keep safe, and do only what I felt comfortable with. The New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective gave me good advice – stand on your dignity, charge what you are worth, stay safe. I don't bargain, for example. When men text things like '$60 for anal that's my best offer' I reply 'Would you bargain with your hairdresser or your GP? I too am a professional, providing a service'. I use the conscious use of self to assess needs and engage clients, and to keep safe. I also act. I act domme, I act cute, I act like a pet. These are roles which I enjoy, but they are roles nevertheless. My Whore's Drawers, as I call them, my wardrobe of skimpy yet elegant outfits and killer heels, are my uniform. If I was an airline pilot I would wear a pilot's uniform. Both uniforms denote professionalism. Moreover, my clients mostly treat me with respect and gratitude, far more so than if I worked in fast food, or the health sector, for that matter. 

All this implies that sex is the same as anything else. I offer counselling with actions, or massage in costume, or a little bit of theatre. A fantasy. You want a drill bit inserted into your rectum? I can help with that. Have diabetes and need care and patience to maintain an erection? I can help with that. It's all the same to me. While I pride myself on my focus and use of my whole self, it is the same ethical base as for any other personalised social services, and nobody sees those as the selling of the self. I sell my labour too as I always have. Moreover, I mostly like my clients and I hope I see them as whole people.

And yet. I want to return now to the man who envied me my fantasy life, the man seeking a brief escape from a sexless marriage, from the stress of a job he thought he would be able to retire from by now, and also from the soulless anomie of an increasingly atomised society in late stage capitalism where affection or its simulacra are bought and sold like everything else. If an hour with me is a commodity, if in fact I am a commodity for that particular hour, so is he, so is everyone else who is alienated from the forces of production.

I wish I had a clear stance on whether or not sex is different from anything else, and a tidier argument. My hunch is that critics of sex work and its proponents are making an Aristotelian category error, a bit like arguing whether or not a blade of grass is odd or even. It is a question best dealt with outside the arena of politics and activism, and yet, a bit like deciding somehow whether or not a foetus is a person, it underpins whole arguments and affects the real lives of sex workers, their clients and policy makers.

The strangest question I have been asked by a client so far is 'How can I go home and be on my own knowing what I now know about myself?' Sex is deep stuff, saturated with meaning. Humans touch each other here. Lives change in my Whoring Room. I wonder about sex work under a non capitalist non patriarchal system, as if that ever existed. I would be perhaps sacred, and valued. I would be a healer and an educator. Perhaps I am already.

Here is a quote from David Rosen, in the magazine Guernica:
'The prostitute's sexual exchange is the purest expression of capitalist alienation, the relation between buyer and seller'.

If sex work is a Bad Thing, as left wing thinkers like Rosen propound, then it is not because of the sex. It the alienation, and that alienation pervades all aspects of our lives in society. Buying and selling sex has taken place long before capitalism, and in other societies where patriarchy may take different forms or even be mitigated by other social forces. It is the alienation that degrades women, commodifies us, and leads men into situations where oppression is easier than communicating. One socialist commentator states it is important to see sex workers as victims, because calling them victims points to the fact that there is oppression**. But here and now, oppression is ubiquitous. As Clio the Whore, I would call us not to suppress sex work, but to reclaim our humanity and the depth of our relationships.

* From the weblog Diary of a London Call Girl, by Belle du Jour (Brooke Magnanti). 'It's not all about the sex - never has been. It's about the heart of darkness.'


**Laura Fitzgerald, A Socialist Perspective on the Sex Industry and Prostitution, Socialist Party, 7 Aug 2013
Melissa Gira Grant Will Nobody Listen to the Sex Workers, The Guardian, 15 March 2014
Melissa Gira Grant, Waging War on Sex Workers, Guernica, Feb 15 2013
Lasn, Kalle and Adbusters, Meme Wars, the Creative Destruction of Neoclassical Economics, London, 2012
Christine Overall, What's Wrong with Prostitution? Evaluating Sex Work, Signs, Vol 17 No. 4 Summer 1992, pp. 705-724
David Rosen, Prostitutes as Victims of Throwaway Capitalism Guernica Apr 22 2011

Monday, 11 January 2016

Are you old enough?

 Still from the music video of Dragon's Are You Old Enough?

The legal age to be a sex worker in New Zealand is 18 and most sex workers will not accept clients under 18.  According to my (light) investigations, there is actually no age restriction for sex workers' clients other than the age restriction for sexual consent which is 16.   (I stand to be corrected).

Interestingly the blog post about sex workers within the same family raised a number of issues, the most interesting to me (as a sex worker who entered the industry in my late teens) being that a sex worker or two said they would not want their daughters to do it until they are older as if the age restriction of 18 was considered too young. Ladies of that age may not be ready, may be open to coercion or exploitation, or may not be strong enough to deal with some of the men they come across. 

Yet there is definitely a demand for young ladies in their late teens by clients. These clients are often shamed for their preferences, sometimes by older sex workers.  I have worked with a few sex workers in their late teens and early twenties and there is no doubt about it, these ladies are extremely popular, occasionally to their detriment, as they can be susceptible to personal issues like burnout. 

The law rules that 18 year olds are old enough to be sex workers, but I think the unspoken concern is that they may not be mature or wise enough.  But what is maturity and wisdom but a learned thing, that is acquired with experience.  

While sex work is not as physically demanding as other jobs, such as fruit picking or cleaning or almost anything else I can think of, if a sex worker is going to take over 4 clients a day, which is fairly easy when she is young and gorgeous and everyone wants her, she needs to pace herself and allow for time to eat, and prepare for each client not to mention get a good night's sleep beforehand and afterwards.

She also needs to be able to cope mentally.  Each client, particularly clients who are new, are an unknown factor - she doesn't know how the booking will proceed and it can be frightening or stressful if bookings do not go as she expects.  No one likes an unhappy client, but she must also guard against her own unhappiness as well by having an idea of what is reasonable according to the services she advertises.  In other words, she must know where the boundaries should be and what to do or how to respond if these boundaries are pushed up against.

Besides this, there are guidelines about safe sex which she must abide by.  She must know how to recognise unwellness in her own and her clients' sexual organs.  She must know about safe ways to do certain sex acts and be clear that she must and can by law insist on protection every single time.  She also must know where to go to get her lady parts checked out and also to do this regularly.

There is so much to learn, no one was born knowing this stuff.  However, anyone new to the industry, of any age, must acquire this knowledge.  The NZPC provide an excellent starter pack with written advice which should be read cover to cover before meeting her first client.  Actually there is a whole lot more to know, to do with dealing with people: clients, co-workers, others at the house if she is an independent sex worker, and then there is the tax man, the doctor, the people from the ad agency she is using, people on social media, reviewers etc etc etc.  And then are the people in her non-sex working world who don't know about what she is doing.

There are occasionally complaints about the service of younger ladies, which I consider an ageist stereotype.  Some younger ladies are often hard to get bookings with, due to the sheer volume of clients who are interested in seeing them, and this results in occasionally a few disgruntled clients.  As well as that, they can find themselves overworked, for no one likes to turn away money, resulting in what is hopefully a rare occasion in a service which is not as dedicated as a client may like. Typically, young sex workers, because of their inexperience with the unique time-management skills which are required for this job, may seem quite disorganised and if they are aware that they have a seemingly endless supply of clients, may not care to handle annoyed clients as diplomatically as they could.

So how does a young lady who wants to enter the industry acquire all the information that she might need to be successful in this industry, even if she only has short-term goals, such as to save for her uni fees, get enough money to travel or set herself up with a nest egg?  And is it possible to reach financial goals without moving the goalposts a little further away or taking a little longer because it seems like this stream of gold will be flowing forever?

This is where we need to call on the expertise of others.  A young lady new-to-the-industry a few years back wrote to Mary Holm from the NZ Herald when she wanted to know about money and taxes.  Many of us regularly call on our local branches of the NZPC, who are just a phone call away.  I have heard of managers of agencies and parlours who are very proactive and happy to give business advice and call on other advisors and government resources to come and talk to their ladies.  The Sexual Health Centres up and down the country are fantastic.

As an aside, I'm not sure if boarding schools nowadays are like they used to be, but in one I'm familiar with, new girls could choose senior girls and ask them if they could take them under their wings.  Seniority was very much "a thing," this meant that the seniors ruled the roost, and at the dining table if the seniors asked for the butter, the butter was immediately passed to them. In the house study, if the senior wanted a newspaper which a junior was reading, the junior immediately closed it and took it to her.  If a group of seniors were walking down a hall, the juniors stood aside so they could pass.  When it was exam time, the juniors ran errands for their seniors.  It seems rather unfair, but the juniors got something valuable in return.  Throughout the juniors' first year, seniors pointed out to the juniors what the etiquette of the school was.  The seniors looked out for them and kept them on track.  They had their senior going into bat for them if the occasion arose that the junior stuffed up, which was inevitable.  Also, the juniors had someone to go and cry to when they were homesick and the school world with the unfamiliar rules was all a little too much.  In a few years, those juniors would be seniors and a timid, wide-eyed junior would nervously approach her one day and ask for her ongoing help.  These voluntary one-on-one relationships contributed towards the common goal of preserving the reputation of the school and keeping the order in order.

Obviously sex work is no Mallory Towers (an Enid Blyton style of sex work erotica would be fun, though.)  However, we can not go beyond the help, advice, listening ears and informal mentoring that could go on and does go on between more experienced sex workers and ladies who are new to the industry.  I have seen this happen within SOOBs occasionally, although god forbid, not as formally as the boarding schools of last century.

Wouldn't it be great if we had some kind of mentoring scheme for ladies new to the industry, where more senior ladies could take them under their wing and show them the ropes?  (Not quite like the boarding school example as it's likely to be that the juniors needn't afford their slightly older mentors as much deference.) Then it would be reassuring to those who fear for the 18 year olds who are entering this wonderful industry.  To see ladies co-operating rather than competing would be fantastic for all embarking on this puzzling job. While it could be an epicaricacy issue or a competitor jealousy thing which allows an occasional situation where a more experienced lady leaves a gorgeous newcomer to flounder about on her own, on the other hand many other ladies know how offering a listening ear, sage advice or even advocacy is a great win all round for the sex industry, which of course is made up of ladies in it.

However, this must be seen for what it is by outsiders (ie, in a positive light): as a desire for one sex worker to help another to use the industry for her goals and not be swallowed up in it; as a way to improve the standards of service and behaviour by sex workers for their safety and their clients' satisfaction.  It would be sad if mentoring in this way was seen as one more experienced lady exploiting another less experienced lady, and coercing her to enter or remain in an industry against her will.  The sex industry need not be as sordid as some would like to suppose.

Another useful free service where new to the industry ladies (of any age) could be directed is part of the NZPC.  The Christchurch NZPC has a counsellor available on Wednesdays for sex workers where anyone can talk through issues related to any aspect of life (as a sex worker, or other areas of their life - sometimes the sex work part is the only constant).  In a previous occupation of mine, I had a Professional Supervisor where I could debrief of my work.  This fortnightly or monthly appointment made it a lot easier for me to keep my professional life in the box where it belonged and my domestic life free of my job as it should be. I found this on a supervisor's website, which describes perfectly the intention or purpose of seeing a Professional Supervisor: to examine, clarify, redefine and strategise work role challenges and issues, including addressing any impacts on one’s personal life.

If guidelines were in place among ladies to protect the integrity of what is now a legal industry and we all worked together in a more organised way to help newbies establish good working habits and attitudes towards clients, sexual health, money (including tax), the law and the industry as a whole, it would benefit us all.  And with caring guidance, there should be no reason, as the law allows, that a level-headed 18 year old could not successfully enter and eventually leave the industry to take full advantage of the excellent money-making opportunity for a young sex worker that this industry allows.

Considering that many young ladies enter the sex industry and are muddling along as they go without knowledge of many of the resources that other occupations take for granted, they deserve high praise for still emerging relatively unscathed.  Someone said to me the other day "Dealing with our taxes is so hard, plus it's compulsory, yet how to do it was not covered in school."  Being a new sex worker can also feel a bit like being thrown into the deep end sometimes.  Watch out for sharks!!

The ladies who are starting have the most to gain (and lose - if things go pear-shaped) and if they are shown how others who are more established have developed habits which they could consider for working and coping, they are less likely to end up being trapped in a lifestyle that they do not feel they can ever exit from, just as their selling power begins to decrease.  Maybe this is what is really feared for the idealistic 18 year olds raking it in when they start in the sex industry, that they will never be able to leave, at least not without a soul-destroying crisis.  While it's always ideal for anyone of any age in any job to also have other resources to call on to widen their options, there is no reason why sex work can not be a fantastic life-long career if it is something one happily chooses to do.

Thursday, 31 December 2015

What gets women off (part two)

Once upon a time, in a faraway land, there was a epidemic of sexual dissatisfaction called Hysteria.  Women all over the place were getting it, the symptoms were vast and doctors were treating it by massaging the clitorises of their patients.  This method of treatment would result in what was then known as a paroxysm, or an orgasm, which would heal the multitude of ills in the hysteria potpourri. 

One day, a man invented a device to ease the RSI which doctors were starting to get from all this rubbing of ladies' private parts, and these devices, personal hand-held massagers, were sold in publications and delivered up and down the country.  This was around the 1860s, apparently, in Victorian England.  A 2011 film, Hysteria, represents the situation nicely.  Here's the trailer:

It's not like ladies had never masturbated before.  And of course not everyone believes masturbation is a good thing.  Some are of the opinion that it can cause all manner of unacceptable results.  I found an onion-style Christian look at women and masturbation so  graphic to the point of almost being alarmingly erotic, that it must be a piss-take.

So how do women get off?  According to the post Real Women Don't Masturbate, where there were some sound descriptions of the act, more and more in our society are masturbating and they’re doing it with a gluttonous, hedonistic pride.  What a fabulous way to approach masturbation!

"Instead of stroking, she must invade the vaginal orifice with a foreign object. Inside the reproductive chasm, there is a special erogenous zone that must be targeted with delicate precision. Amateur female masturbation can result in dryness, chafing and even hemorrhoids and urinary tract infections. Inside the uterine pathways are many blind curves and dead ends, and the female self-gratifier needs to master this labyrinth with the agility of a rat seeking its cheese. It should be noted here that the female vagina contains several folds of skin at the aperture that are themselves highly sensitive. These are called the labia and can be massaged to the give the sensation of intercourse, but only a deep, investigative insertion will result in the explosion of histrionic emotion that the woman so desperately seeks."

And the writer continues.

"At times, a female orgasm can be achieved during vaginal stimulation. This is done through either sexual congress or prolonged masturbation. However, the female orgasm is an entirely unpredictable incident. In such cases, a woman will moan loudly and scrape her fingernails on a nearby surface, tearing velvet pillows and plush toys to shreds. She will flop her head from side to side and reveal deep, dark secrets from her past. She may even eject a squirt of yeastial fluids that rises into the air like a decorative garden fountain. It will bubble for several seconds before subsiding."

Mental note to self.  No masturbating near the velvet cushions. 

It's cool to masturbate.  Jane Langton did a Ted Talk on it.  We women can be more open about it if we choose.  But if not, we can just do it for all of the personal benefits on offer.  

I really love Betty Dodson's approach to teaching women how to orgasm with a vibrator - they even have videos which you can buy or pay to watch online.  Until we know how to pleasure ourselves, we can not show anyone else how to pleasure us.

In a study by Dr Debra Herbenick of Indiana University and her colleagues, she found that the prevalence of women's vibrator use was 52.5%. Vibrator users were significantly more likely to have had a gynecologic exam during the past year and to have performed genital self-examination during the previous month. Vibrator use was significantly related to several aspects of sexual function (i.e., desire, arousal, lubrication, orgasm, pain, overall function) with recent vibrator users scoring higher on most sexual function domains, indicating more positive sexual function.

The conclusion was that "Vibrator use among women is common, associated with health-promoting behaviors and positive sexual function, and rarely associated with side effects. Clinicians may find these data useful in responding to patients' sexual issues and recommending vibrator use to improve sexual function."

So in a nutshell, it's good to use a vibrator* because vibrators can get women off, when women are aroused.  And getting off can cure a multitude of ills and cause one to have a very happy disposition.  Generally women masturbating with or without a vibrator and getting to know their lady parts is favourable for the lady concerned (and her partner, so that he can be informed about what feels good for her anatomy).

* There is some concern that overuse of ones vibrator can cause some problems such as dissatisfaction with their partners (because no one can compete with a piece of machinery).  As well as that, in the same way that erectile dysfunction that can be caused from excessive porn use in men, addiction to ones vibrator can create a loss of ability to get off easily without it.  The solution in both situations is to stop these activities and tools and get back to taking time self-exploring without orgasm as the goal.

Thursday, 24 December 2015

A taboo subject: sex workers from the same family

1978 movie Pretty Baby publicity still* 

As Christmas is for family get-togethers, I occasionally ponder at this time of year, the place of sex workers within, or their relationships with, their families.  Lately I have been talking with a few sex workers who have other family members also in the industry. Even though there are many people from the same family working as sex workers all over the world, some people have the impression that this kind of situation is distasteful, comical, exploitative as well as arousing. 

In New Zealand and Australia, I knew and presently know many sex workers who are from the same family and although many sex workers receive support from friends and family members, we agreed that there is still a bit of a taboo however when two family members work as sex workers together or at the same time, for example, it may be two sisters who are working girls, a mother and a daughter, I've even heard of a mother and son who are both sex workers and a sex working mother with two daughters in the sex industry.  

This is so hard for some people to get their heads around that many are assumed to be (in the same way that the Nordic model says two sex workers working together could each be prosecuted for effectively pimping each other) exploiting the other or being a "bad influence", usually the sex worker who started first, or the older of the two sex workers is thought to be the one responsible for exploitation.

It is because of shaming and even ridicule that is sometimes heaped upon family members who work together, that many choose to keep their family relationships a secret.  Of course once the secret is out, it will spread like wildfire, for who can resist such juicy gossip.  It is no different to innuendo that is sometimes suggested about partners of sex workers when people wonder if the sex worker is being pimped or "lived off" or used.  

Most ladies I spoke to however were fine with other ladies knowing about their other sex working family members but most I spoke to were adamant that they did not want clients to know.  They assumed that with the sex worker code of discretion this information would be safe in the working girl community but then someone may inadvertently let a secret slip (because they don't realise how important privacy is to one or both family members).  Sometimes one family member would be ordinarily happy to be open but as the other family member wants it kept strictly private, she has to protect this secret from being leaked.

So why are some sex workers so determined to keep this information from clients in particular?  One lady said that she thought clients would get "too pervy with it".  Another issue that came up among some of the ladies I spoke to is that if they looked similar, or were close in age, they occasionally get asked if they will offer a doubles service or twins fantasy.  Mother and daughter sex workers often get asked the same thing, with the inappropriateness of the situation being disregarded or maybe not even considered.   

The concern behind many a sex worker's wish for this kind of information to be kept private is about how others will react or what they will think or say, even though it is none of their business.  It's all about judgement.  Some people don't like telling complete strangers that they are a sex worker or involved in the sex industry: they may react in an unwelcome sexually interested way, or they may be very judgmental.  

When it comes to more than one sex working family member, even some of the most open-minded of fellow sex workers have ingrained negative attitudes usually that one family member is being coerced into sex work against her will by the other. Therefore how can we expect those outside of the industry to be any different, such as government agencies who may view sex working single mothers in a dim light, as if, as an extension of this idea, even their young, innocent children are in danger of corruption, or just in danger, (when the child has no contact with any sex industry-related activities and the mother is probably working in the sex industry to provide her children with all the social and educational advantages that money can buy)?

The fact is that when starting sex work, many ladies call on the help and much-needed advice of others more experienced than themselves, and if a sex worker has more experience, she will not want to see a newbie make the same mistakes that she may have made, particularly when certain mistakes could be very dangerous. Naturally a caring family member will want to offer the same care for her new-to-the-industry sibling or relative.  This may be practical help - taking photos, helping with outfits, sharing supplies, taking calls for her, driving her to outcalls or simple things such as helping get the room together, hanging out laundry, folding towels, just like any family member pulling their weight with chores.  But not quite.  More than a couple of sex workers that I have spoken to had a fear that their assistance of their legal sex working relatives could be used against them somehow by government agencies, other family members or even other sex workers, even though she and others may wish that they had that support when starting out.

I hope that one day two or more family members involved in the business of sex work is considered no different from a family business such as Smith & Sons, Builders. Because there are many more families, often literally the sisterhood of sexwork, with more than one sex worker in them than is realised and I wish them all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.

* The publicity still of notorious 1978 film, Pretty Baby was scanned from the back cover of the soundtrack LP.  This is shot in the Columns Hotel, Saint Charles Avenue, in Uptown New Orleans. Brooke Shields and Keith Carradine are seen at center left. Susan Sarandon at center right. The costumes and poses are inspired by the Storyville photos of E. J. BellocqPretty Baby was about a sex worker who had a 12 year old daughter living with her at a brothel.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

What gets women off (part one)

It's been widely concluded that it's harder for women to get aroused than men, and that it takes longer. That some women lose interest in sex. That some women have a lower libido overall than most men.

The thing is with (straight) men, a glimpse of bosom or derrière seems to be able to do it. It can fill them with instant desiring and lust.  Or horniness to be precise. I found the clock diagram below in an interesting blog post called Sexual Desire - Differences Between Men and Women by John Walter Hamilton.  Here the author claims that "there is one major disparity between the sexual motivations for men and women. Men are primarily influenced by visual stimuli whereas women tend to enjoy the emotional and romantic side of sex more."

Later he added, "this does not mean men are necessarily more “shallow” than women, or even have stronger or more “depraved” sexual needs. It is only a matter of emphasis. Women, of course, care about a man’s appearance and can be “turned on” by the sight of a handsome man, but it is a much less important factor to her than the emotional. These emotional factors include the man’s ability to provide for her and protect her; to give her security, comfort and peace of mind. Romance and seduction are much more powerful in the woman’s sexual experience than for the man."

Modern men are definitely keen on their partners being aroused, and many an advertisement has claimed a product can provide men with the know-how to drive their women wild with desire.  I recall a few years back seeing one of those online courses for sale for only three easy payments of $999.99 which was guaranteed to cause ones wife to lead one straight to the bedroom on returning home from work, with a simple series of text messages that no woman could resist.  These text messages were to be sent during the day strategically.  Glad-faced men gave testimonial after testimonial on video saying how their wives were suggesting sexual activities beyond their wildest dreams, as if a beautiful monster had finally been unleashed, or even leashed depending on her fantasy. 

So for a woman does there almost need to be some kind of story attached to an encounter to cause her to be aroused? Nothing complicated of course, just something that has piqued her emotions?

Funnily enough, women are getting back to erotica in record numbers and it's doing wonders for our sex lives. Back? Yes, back. First there was Mills and Boon, admittedly not quite the genre of erotica as romance was more socially acceptable for women to read at that time.  I remember visiting relatives who were big fans. Stacks of dogeared books with similar covers and scenarios were shared around. Even I was allowed to pick up a copy as a virgin teenager because there was absolutely no sex. That was left to our imaginations. Just a story and a hint. We filled in the rest. Of course we were helped along with cover images of women in states of about to be fucked by handsome dudes and with suggestive titles such as Fire and Sword, Glass Slippers and Unicorn and the rather naughty A Marriage Betrayed.

Even young teenage girls with their crushes on pop idols are entertaining romantic/erotic ideas as part of their developing sexuality which depends to a degree on their imaginations.  Old photos show emotion overload as beauties in front row seats at the Beatles and Elvis concerts screamed and cried almost uncontrollably in the presence of their adored ones.  It's not that Elvis or the Beatles or the pop star of the day had personally had anything to do with us, but those loving lyrics of their music was surely meant just for us, and these were sophisticated men who clearly understood us and knew what we wanted to hear, unlike the awkward and innocent we were subjected to at co-ed schools or church events, if we ever attended these. 

My first crush in my youth was the completely wholesome Donny Osmond (who was usurped by the Bay City Rollers but I'd given up on pop crushes by the time Duran Duran came along, much to the disgust of my best friend who was still besotted with Simon Le Bon).  My best friend and I spent many hours playing their songs, and when we were older we imagined together how wonderful it would be if these perfect lovers were serenading us in person.  We concocted ways that we would sneak them into our bedrooms while our protective fathers slept, so that these beautiful men could smother us in kisses of course, for our life experience at that point did not allow for raunchier fantasies.  For this reason, we always made sure we each had a different band member to fantasise about, since our fantasies often involved double dates and the pleasures of threesomes had not yet been considered.

Many of the young girls with vivid imaginations from back in the day are now ladies who have grown up and moved on to Fifty Shades of Gray - it was a best-seller so despite the mocking, someone must have been buying it.  I found that exciting to think that ladies of my generation are considering that our arousal is worth investing in.

This is one of the reasons I started with my erotica for Amazon.  It's not that I claim my writing is high end literature and erotica is not even a genre I think that I am especially good at.  Neither do I expect that the adventures of Amber O'Hara are especially arousing for the average woman, since Amber is a working girl.  (I'm just writing about what I know.)  I mention 50 year old office lady non-Amber a lot though. So maybe other ladies with secret fantasy lives can find the idea of another lady leading a double life intriguing.

So clearly for women, arousal is a mental thing.  A woman's largest erogenous zone has long been thought to be her mind.  I particularly find intelligent men who can make my brain dance very sexy.  Interestingly, I read that more emotionally intelligent women have better orgasms, actually they claim that more sex is good for women's brains: "Enhancing oestrogen levels through regular sexual activity increases overall brain activity." This is a fascinating theory, I recommend reading more.

I haven't exactly gone into the specifics of women getting off, but in most of us, it is a two step process, being aroused most definitely being the first step.  The mechanics of getting off once aroused is a separate blog post.  They go together like a horse and carriage, with arousal definitely the horse.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Lady on lady sex work adventures

Golden Head by Golden Head, illustration by Dante Rossetti for Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market and Other Poems (1862)

Golden head by golden head,
Like two pigeons in one nest
Folded in each other's wings,
They lay down in their curtained bed

It's not just men who enjoy sexy times with sex workers.

Admittedly, the majority of sex workers' clients are men.  But we also see the occasional couple, in fact my latest Amazon kindle book is about a couple's booking.  Not a real life couple's booking: the characters I write about in my Amazon erotica are entirely fictional.

But back to ladies who visit sex workers - what do they actually expect?  The answers are many and varied, but from the woman's point of view, these can include a sexual awakening or development of a fantasy, a no-strings release, and/or a beautiful sensuous bodily experience that may or may not result in an orgasm, or all of the above.

If it is a couple's booking, the intention of the client couple is sometimes to enhance their relationship or experiment with other aspects of sexuality by involving a discreet, willing third partner, who will keep the experience strictly confidential and not expect or demand future inclusion.  Sometimes couples request the services of a sex worker to celebrate a special occasion or a milestone in their relationship.

Occasionally single women also see sex workers.  One lesbian lady described her experience beautifully in a letter to sex work blogger Maggie McNeill.

Also, here is my description from a review I wrote about my own recent experience visiting a sex worker friend of mine:

Lately I've been feeling like I wanted to do something really special for myself and I wanted it to be sensual. Obviously in this line of work I get plenty of sex and many pleasurable orgasms but I was in the mood for a lady's touch so I rang my friend Maria and asked if she could give me one of her specialty sessions ending in a yoni massage, (or erotic pussy massage).  I didn't want her to feel put on the spot, as I am her friend so it could have been awkward, but she said she is always honoured and privileged to have ladies on her table.

I really love her attitude and passion for her work and I know she does a lot of professional development, attending workshops etc and is very open-minded about sexuality.

So I'd been super aroused all week since the booking was made and as I drove to Maria's I felt a little flutter of nervousness but I was so excited, there was no way I was turning back.

It began in a very relaxed way with deciding how far things would go and basically we decided we would go with the flow. Next we both disrobed, I lay on the table and beautiful Maria was tipping warm oil all over me and massaging and caressing my body.

I was so relaxed and my senses were heightened. It was so erotic watching Maria touching me and I just let myself respond accordingly. The yoni massage was magical - Maria is so good at what she does. Instinctively she knew where to go next and the sexual energy was almost bouncing off the walls, (but in a very easy and sensual way).

More ladies could do this for themselves and I think if there are any dudes wanting to give their significant others something for special occasions this is a very reasonably priced treat with benefits on multiple levels, if you know what I mean. Thanks so much, Maria. Now I really feel spoilt. I hope I have done justice here to the amazing time we had.

Ladies who visit sex workers are not that different from male clients, in that they each have completely different desires and expectations.  For example, in the space of a few hours yesterday, I saw one man who requested a light, ticklish massage with cuddling and intimacy, and another young man who wished to be dominated, he became my "little slave boy."  Both were exciting, erotic experiences for completely different reasons.

If you are a lady who has ever considered seeing a sex worker, the two ladies' experiences (including mine) may not be what you have in mind.  But if it is something you have wanted to do to fulfil a fantasy, tick something off your bucket list, reawaken your interest in sex or just to outright get your rocks off in a different way from previously, I'd recommend phoning some escorts and trying to voice your requirements.  Sometimes it's safer to dip your toe into exploring other sexual desires of yours with a professional who will not expect further engagement like a non-sex worker may.  It may not necessarily be something you wish to continue with, but just something you have always thought of having a taste of.

Traditionally we escorts are an open-minded, non-judgmental bunch.  Essentially it's our job to help people enjoy themselves sexually.  I've mentioned before how important I believe it is for women to remain sexual and orgasmic.  Far be it for me to be telling people what to do with their sex lives, but there is no denying how good sex is for our health.  If interest has waned, sometimes a very gentle kickstart can help boost things along or some friendly discussion with a professional who can point one in the right direction, it needn't be a lesbian encounter necessarily but escorts are also great for running ideas by - not a lot shocks us and we know a bit about pleasing men and pleasing ourselves, whether there is an "issue" there or not.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Some men (who love their wives) visit escorts

Sometimes couples stay together because they really love each other and want to continue the personal investment they've made in their past and the family unit and home.

The monogamous ideas that have been passed down through the ages means that couple are obliged to only make love with each other until the end of their relationship. Yet the modern consensus agrees; why should a lady keep being intimate with her husband if she doesn't want to? (Playing devil's advocate here as I have my own opinions on the benefits of sex for women, specifically the benefits of orgasms).

Be honest - would you really enjoy having sex with your partner if she was not into it? Even though sometimes in marriage we do what we don't want to, a lot of men don't want to have sex with an unwilling partner so they don't force the issue.

But men still have needs, even an (incomprehensible to women) need for variety. That's why the sex industry exists. If a man has not left his wife, even though he sees escorts or his wife is no longer making love with him as often, it's because he still loves his wife or doesn't wish to disrupt the life they have built together. Good for him is what I say. 

Below is something that was sent to me by a man with the interesting distinction that he does not have sexual intercourse with sex workers.  This explains why and how he sees escorts.

I first visited a sex worker in 2003, soon after the decriminalisation of prostitution in New Zealand. This first encounter followed a protracted period of time during which my wife and I had very little sexual contact, even to the point where we had gone for up to a year at a time without sex. I had begun to wonder what it would be like to touch, and be touched by another woman. By this time I was a fairly regular user of internet pornography to first arouse and then quench my desires by masturbating. My thought process reasoned that if I visited a prostitute but didn’t actually have sex with her, and instead just enjoyed the physical sensation of touching her and being touched by her, wouldn’t that be like an advanced form of masturbation? If, instead of allowing myself to be aroused by a woman on screen with whom I had no connection, I allowed a real woman to arouse me but didn’t have sex with her, what harm would there be in gaining satisfaction from this woman with whom there was physical but no emotional connection? Whereas I craved physical and emotional closeness with my wife, could I not just satisfy my physical desires with someone else, in much the same way as I could on my own? Rightly or wrongly, this was the justification I used to satisfy the conflict within, that allowed me to do something I had previously considered to be out-of-bounds.

My Christian upbringing and long-held views on the sanctity of marriage and family values provided no answers to my craving for intimacy, which were dismissed by my wife as selfish impulses that took no account of her constant tiredness and worry. Though I understood in my mind the effect our household full of teenagers had on my wife’s state of mind and energy levels, I resented my wife for her lack of interest and I grew increasingly frustrated with our inability to connect intimately in spite of us sharing the same bed night after night.

In 2003 I was in a weekly commute, away from home Monday to Friday. I had no idea of how to get in contact with sex workers until one day I noticed the “Adult Entertainment” column in the local newspaper. A veritable smorgasbord of women offering sexual services was openly available to those seeking them. My first mobile phone, bought to keep in contact with the family whilst away from home, allowed me the freedom to make calls in private without the numbers appearing on the phone bill, so with trembling fingers and a racing heart I answered an advertisement placed by P*, listed as 28, attractive, with a nice personality and a 38DD bust. During our phone conversation she explained how the transaction would work, and when I said that I was not looking for sex, but more a bit of up-close-and-personal touching she was very understanding, and also told me that our age difference (at the time I was in my mid-forties) was absolutely nothing to worry about. She agreed to meet me at the roadside as her place was a sleep-out behind a residential address which wasn’t visible from the road and might prove tricky to locate. When I arrived she opened the car door, asked if she could get in, and upon my invitation sat in the passenger’s seat and we talked some more in the dark. After a few minutes during which I decided to take the next step, she led me to her little boudoir.

What she and I got up to that wintry night would hardly make the pages of an erotic novel, but as I drove away after my first experience with an escort I was smiling and feeling rather pleased with myself, confident and proud, similar to that feeling you get after a nice first date. Although I had never been with any other woman except my wife (we were both virgins when we were married, practically just out of our teens), I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get naked with P. Being aware of my nervousness, she had slowly removed our layers of winter clothing while she continued to explain what she could do followed by demonstrations of what she meant, all the while staying within my self-imposed behavioural guidelines for no sex. We caressed and cuddled. It was exciting and sensuous. When she first revealed her delightful breasts I felt honoured to be trusted with a beautiful woman who was willing to share her body with me. I could almost feel her just by admiring the view, and when I cupped her breasts and ran my hands over her skin I felt manly and wanted. I hadn't felt that way for a long time. She never expressed any surprise or disappointment at the limits I set upon her services. She mentioned that various customers had various needs and she wasn’t about to question motives or judge anyone.

I visited P four times during the next three months, before my weekly commute came to an end. On my final visit I said I would not be able to see her again. There was no guilt or disappointment from either of us. I realised my secret little fling was over and I would now give up on tasting forbidden fruits, and she knew there were other customers she could serve who would be just as willing and able to pay for services rendered.

Having realised how easy it was to secretly visit a sex worker, and how easily available the services of escorts were via mainstream media it wasn’t long before I called another, and another. In most cases it was just for a single visit, but every once in a while I would find a welcoming lady who treated me so nicely that I would visit again. It was to be five years though, before I relaxed my rules a little and allowed myself to be relieved at the hands of a sexy, willing woman who knew well how to please a man. One of the ladies I saw on an earlier occasion insisted that the time would eventually come when I would eagerly ask for a blow job. “They all do eventually”, she’d said, though I didn’t agree at the time. I guess she knew best. It’s not that I never wanted to; it’s that I was trying to maintain a distinction between the sex life I wanted with my wife and my other private sex life with prostitutes. I figured that if I succumbed to oral sex it would be hard to keep from fucking so I had denied myself that pleasure. I kept hoping that my wife would regain an interest in sex but it still hadn’t happened, and I came to the realisation that my wife and I were well established in what some call a sex-starved marriage.

Fast-forward to 2015, 12 years since my first encounter with P. I have visited dozens and dozens of escorts, but I have still never had sex with anyone other than my wife. Some might say, as some of the ladies have, that I am being naive, even stupid, as I have already betrayed my wife’s trust and that I am already cheating by getting intimate with another woman, and that I might as well enjoy myself fully. Perhaps they’re right, and I am cheating. It’s not so black and white in my mind though. No other woman has loved me as my wife has and does, and while my behaviour may not bear witness to what I'm about to say, I love my wife too. If one of the delightful ladies that I still see occasionally told me that she was retiring and I couldn’t see her again I would wish her well and tell her that I enjoyed my time with her.

On the other hand, if my wife were to tell me that she never wanted to see me again it would be like losing a big part of myself, because we have been as one for so long. We have shared a lifetime together. I refrain from having sex with another woman because I promised my wife that I would never forsake her; that I would never give her up. It’s still important to me that I only have sex with someone I know and trust and who wants to have sex with me as an expression of love. So far that’s only been my wife. I continually run the risk that one day she will discover my clandestine activity and in the back of my mind I hold to the thought, rightly or wrongly, that I can tell her I have neither had sex with any other woman, nor have I given my heart to another woman. I have held back by keeping something special just for her, and if she ever finds out what I have been up to, I will submit to her judgement and hers only. If I’m just fooling myself, and needlessly denying myself pleasure because I’ve already gone too far, that’s my problem and nobody else needs to worry about it.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t judge anybody for the choices they make and the sexual activities they enjoy, as long as it’s all legal and safe, and nobody is harmed. As P told me on my first visit, and others have since reinforced, we all have our differing wants and desires, freedoms and limits. The only ones with judging rights are those in relationships who feel wronged by the individuals who are engaging in sexual activities with others outside the relationship.

A couple of years ago I met a more mature and experienced lady, who told me that over the years, she had filled most of the various roles that would classify as sex work. As an older man I have always preferred seeing ladies closer to my age. It took me a while to get over the fact that some of the escorts I visited early on were younger than my daughter. While they insisted it didn’t matter to them, there is something more exciting about spending time with someone who can remember things that happened more than 20 years ago, who has life experience, especially that which comes from raising children, and who perhaps understands me better than a younger woman. There’s simply more of a connection.

This particular lady offers the most sensuous experience I have ever encountered, and each time we meet there is something different and special that we share. On our first meeting, I had arrived at her place just as she was arriving as she had been out shopping and got delayed. She invited me inside and straight after we shared a welcome hug, she unzipped her coat to reveal her complete nakedness underneath. What a turn-on, knowing she had been out shopping dressed like that! But what first attracted me to her, other than her enticing advert on the NZGirls website, was her voice over the phone. Well spoken, polite and at the same time mischievous it was clear that she was intelligent as well as sensuous. She connected with my body and my mind and she openly and honestly shared herself and her story. This was getting close to the intimacy that I craved, yet missed in my marriage and I had to keep reminding myself that our arrangement, no matter how pleasurable, was primarily of the business kind. I’ve always believed in mixing business with pleasure though, and we have also met a few times where we didn’t engage in sexual activity but instead shared time together as friends would. We see each other rarely, though I do think of her often. Is this an affair? Is she my mistress? In my mind she is a woman who shares herself with me, and with others, and may be regarded as a mistress to many. She provides men like me with an experience that makes us feel like we’re special and important. Each time we meet it’s like we’re still in the early days of a blossoming relationship, just like the first-date feeling after seeing a new lady for the first time, except we both know that we’re not pursuing a deeper level of commitment from each other. And this is perhaps the key to what keeps me engaged in the sex industry.

Visiting escorts provides the ultimate in no-strings-attached sexual enjoyment, even fulfilment. The arrangement is clear in that sexual favours, whatever they may be, are exchanged for money. Of course there are now other well known opportunities for getting no-strings-attached sex, but these come with risks that one or both participants may actually be looking for attachment, and more importantly, there is no guarantee of confidentiality. I have never visited any of the larger city style brothels as they are too public for my liking. Discretion and privacy are of the utmost importance in my secret life, and private escorts provide exactly that. Again, I have no criticism of those men who are free to be more public about what they do and where they do it. My experience has been in the suburbs, where I was initially surprised at the number of private addresses and motels from which working girls ply their trade.

It’s an absolute shame that our community, in general, takes such a dim view of prostitution. This highlights an even bigger double standard than the one I bear by claiming that I wish to remain true to my wife yet at the same time getting naked and personal with other women. It’s the escorts who are the honest ones in my mind. They do what comes naturally, and offer it to paying customers and if they choose they can be as open as they like about it, while I keep it hidden from my wife, family and friends. That’s my burden, and one I carry willingly so as to protect myself, and those I care about, from the embarrassment that would follow if I was found out, because of the general societal view of prostitution. Instead of stigmatising these ladies our society should honour them because they fill a deep seated need that otherwise would remain unsatisfied. I’m told that we would be quite surprised if we all knew who used the services of these lovely ladies, and that we would be just as surprised to learn of who is offering sexual services, for some of those ladies prefer to retain their anonymity. On both sides of the transaction it could be someone you’d least expect, so don’t judge anyone offering or accepting payment for sexual services. Try to understand why they do what they do, and think about the market forces that create and sustain the sex trade. It’s those who want sex that they otherwise can’t get; their need to feel close to someone even if it’s just at a physical level that determines the shape and size of the sex industry. Sex workers meet that need and in so doing enable their customers to feel good about themselves for a time. They create a fantasy world where adults can play and indulge themselves, then return to their real and ordinary lives knowing they can relive the fantasy again and again. It’s the stuff of dreams, yet it’s a significant part of my sensuous, secret real life.

* Ladies' names are deliberately omitted