Let’s get the important elephants out of the room: I wasn’t abused as a child. My parents weren’t alcoholics. I had a loving mom and a doting father. I grew up in the quintessential white-picket-fence, 2.5 kids, suburban utopia.
Oh, and I earned well over $10k a month working as an escort … But that was a few years later.
Like many teens, my life as an 18-year-old college freshman consisted of Top Ramen, casual sex, and cramming for tomorrow’s finals. Unlike my cohorts, however, my lapses in judgment and lack of birth control led to an unplanned pregnancy, which led to a beautiful baby boy, which led to me no longer having the protective umbrella of my parents’ finances to take care of me.
In other words, I was broke.
So I became an exotic dancer.
After spending a summer entrenched in the oft-competitive world of pole dancing, I was approached by an older man who had a proposition: Come to my house, he suggested, and entertain a few of my gentleman friends.
I looked down at my bruised knees (one too many backward bends on the hard ground does that), took a glance at my friend who was sweating it out on stage, and made a quick decision: Sure, but only if I can bring another girl with me.
Thinking this was his lucky night, he winked and immediately agreed.
That night, more than any other, paved the way for the next five years of my life.
Ritzy hotel rooms, champagne kisses, a parade of different men; this is how I made a living.
Yet it wasn’t all butterflies and unicorns. Which is why I’m here: to share with you the good, the bad, and the ugly. Whether you are considering a career in the sex industry, a person wondering how to negotiate the tangled web of sex workers, or someone else entirely, there are a few things that it’s best for you to know — stat.
1. Always Show Respect
Many men go through a bit of cognitive dissonance when they pay for sex. It’s the whole issue of doing something they fantasize about that also disgusts them — and this is true for those that solicit women, as well as those that solicit men. Regardless of how you feel about us personally, we are still human. And that means we’re owed respect. Here are some ground rules we’d like you to follow:
- Sex workers still retain the right to say no.
- You should always pay for the activities upfront and have exact change.
- Don’t make a sex worker ask for payment. Your night will go much better if you pay at the very beginning.
- Unless a sex worker agrees ahead of time, always plan to wear a condom.
- Never use violence.
- Unless other arrangements have been made, you must pay in cash; arriving with gifts, alcohol, drugs, or a credit card won’t suffice.
- And finally, remember that sex workers will have boundaries.
2. What You See In Porn Isn’t Necessarily What We Want IRL
For a variety of reasons, I’m pro-porn. Nevertheless, a lot of what you see on the screen is performed by actors and actresses. That means it’s an act; it isn’t always a real expression of what real people want and do in real life.
Keep that in mind as you’re begging for us to perform calisthenics in the bedroom. While many sex workers are more than happy to indulge your fantasies, they still may decline (see the last bullet above).
That’s why it’s important to agree ahead of time as to what will go down. Before diving into the fun stuff, make sure you agree on things, such as:
- What type of sex will happen, and for how long.
- The exact price.
- The precise venue (keeping in mind that the sex worker will want to communicate locale to a friend in advance).
- Expectations, including whether penetration will take place, nudity, role play, toys, or dressing up.
3. Master Some Basic Lingo
Words matter. Whenever there’s an exchange of money, it’s doubly important to speak the same language. As in every industry, sex workers share common lingo; get the terms right and you’ll have a much smoother, safer interaction.
Most sex workers prefer the term “sex worker” over “prostitute” or “whore.” For one, the latter has derogatory connotations, and for another, it dismisses the fact that the sex worker is, in fact, working.
GFE stands for girlfriend experience, and it comprises your traditional, vanilla sex that you’d expect in any normal relationship. Cuddling, kissing, oral, penetration — all the usual acts of affection you’d expect with an emotional bond. Except there isn’t any nagging nor any laundry to worry about.
A-Levels means anal penetration.
Sex workers are often compensated according to the amount of time together. Ask for a “quickie” and expect 10 to 20 minutes of a person’s time. A “short time” generally means about a half hour and an “all-nighter” means you’ll get to play until morning.
4. Keep It Clean
This one has multiple meanings.
On a very basic level, it means that you should shower, brush your teeth, and take care of basic hygiene needs before meeting up. This is just a common courtesy that makes it more enjoyable for everyone involved.
It also means that you should do your best to arrive sober. Not drunk, not high, or the party may be over before it even gets started.
Finally, it means plan on wearing a condom. Always. Sex workers are concerned about their sexual health, and whether it be for oral or penetrative, chances are high that they’ll expect you to dress for the occasion. Remember, birth control, including condoms, aren’t just for preventing pregnancy.
Whether you’re paying for sex, engaging in traditional sex, or a combination, it’s worth considering getting a prescription for PrEP, an HIV-prevention pill that will help alleviate at least some of the risks sexual activity presents.