The Professional

‘I don’t regret selling sex. It’s allowed me to meet many good men.’

I was in my early 20s, teaching undergrads in the morning, taking graduate classes in the afternoon, and selling nighttime webcam sex shows on a site that regularly featured professional porn stars like Jenna Jameson. The man watching me that night bought 90 minutes, which would have cost him nearly $600. I’d landed a big fish, and I didn’t want to lose it. But when he told me his request, I froze.

“Why don’t you take a nap?” he wrote.

It was the most unusual request I’d ever received. And, as you probably know, people feel free to get very unusual when they’re anonymous online.

“You look like you could use some sleep,” he continued.

“Don’t you want to tell me your real name?” I asked, smiling, shaking the ends of my wig around my face. I doubted my sleeping would actually keep him interested.

“We can get to that later,” he replied. “Just nap a little for now. And put some clothes on, or you’ll get cold.”

I arranged my body in a flattering position and laid my head on a pillow. What is with this guy? I thought.

I wouldn’t figure it out until much later.

♦◊♦

Disclaimer: coercion is wrong, kidnapping is wrong, and hiring someone underage is wrong. There are men (and women) in the world who want to inflict suffering on others, and hiring a sex worker gives them an easy way to do it.

But I’m tired of seeing men and women buy into the lie that male sexuality is inherently violent and sadistic. My experience as sex worker has taught me the opposite.

When I first began working in the sex industry, I believed the cultural script about the men who made it profitable. Male sexual desire consisted of seeing thin young women naked and suffering, handled roughly, used callously. I read and trusted every word by Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon. There was so much evidence to support their theories of how male hatred of women was expressed through abusive sex.

Frankly, men terrified me. I suspected they were incapable of compassion. To get them off, I thought, they all needed cruelty.

♦◊♦

I started working online during the peak years of anal-sex mania, and requests of ass-to-mouth (ATM) and double penetration (DP) with toys were common—not that I (always) honored them. One of the pleasant things about webcam was that it was possible to fake almost anything, especially penetration.

On the webcam site, non-paying visitors could type anything they wanted into the un-moderated chat windows: “Your family must hate you.” “I bet you have AIDS.” “You’re a fat whore.”

But not every man treated me this way, even with the luxury of complete anonymity. My first regular client was a man who talked with me for up to an hour before asking me to bring myself to orgasm. He wanted to see an orgasm, and he didn’t make demands about how I achieved it. Then came another regular who had only days earlier attempted suicide after a breakup with his fiancée. A year after we first met, he told me that our friendship—which many people would dismiss as illusory and degrading—was sometimes all that kept him from making a second attempt.

One young man in particular left a deep impression. He was younger than I was, working a blue-collar job in New Jersey, and he couldn’t afford much private time. But he would stay at his computer for as much of my shift as he could, cracking inside jokes and distracting me from other users’ insults while I was in free chat waiting for someone to pay for a show. We talked about music, his puppy, and the girls he was dating.

In this strange cyber world, he became a dear friend. And years after I retired from webcam, we still occasionally reached out to each other through email. Once he wrote, “It’s funny, you used to be this sexual icon that I would never have. Now it’s just like you’re an old friend I haven’t talked to in a long time and all I wanna do is catch up.”

I began to attract more and more men who wanted conversation, who bought me gifts and sent postcards and told me about their lives. They wanted to see me play with myself; they didn’t want to see me hurt. I became more vocal about what I did and didn’t like—in part because, for the first time, I was figuring out what I did and didn’t like. When someone told me to do something I didn’t want to do, I would refuse. I started countering requests for anal with “I will if you will.” It was possible to engage with them. It was astounding to me how many men would listen and suggest something else if I told them what I was doing hurt. They were free to leave and spend their money elsewhere, but few did.

It occurred to me that many men had trouble expressing empathy because no one had ever taught them how. Most were clueless, not brutal—although some were both. Lots of these guys had grown up so confused and undereducated about the female anatomy that they hardly even had a sense of what sensations might feel best or what activities were most satisfying.

The more men I talked to, the more sympathetic I felt. I was approaching the biggest epiphany of my life: men had as much anxiety and shame around sex as women did. We were all in this together, and any ideology that couldn’t admit as much was doomed to fail.

♦◊♦

It was this newfound comfort that facilitated my switch to in-person sex work. The vile cesspool that is the Internet made transitioning easy. Refreshingly, I never had a man call me fat, ugly, or diseased while we were standing face to face. And the men I met in person were shockingly tame when it came to sexual quirks.

On webcam, I was asked to play the part of a murderous dominatrix who poisoned her submissive and stood laughing over his grave. One customer wanted to see me tie myself with boat rope in impossibly bizarre configurations. I even had a regular who got off on me fake-sneezing and blowing my nose.

But with escorting, the ATM and DP requests were long gone. In the flesh, men were downright vanilla. Some in-person clients did want to incorporate violence, but only when they were the recipients. (Even the most casual research will bear out the fact while dominatrices can make a good living kicking the shit out of men, female submissives are so rarely in demand that most have to work as a switch in order to stay afloat.)

People who deeply distrust the sex industry—who’ve been personally harmed by it or find it threatening or who associate it only with exploitation—often get very angry when escorts (or academics who study sex workers, like Sudhir Venkatesh) claim some clients don’t want sexual interaction.

But it’s true: some don’t. I’ve been hired by men who never asked me to get naked, never requested that I touch their genitals. There’s always conversation, regardless of the other activities during a date: clients talk to me about their parents (especially their fathers) and about failing marriages or life after divorce. They often show me pictures of their children and, sometimes, spouses.

The longer I’ve worked, the more it seems that the sex is often a front. It’s an entry point that allows men to make their real request (for affection, understanding, and connection) while still satisfying stereotypical ideas of masculinity. What most men want is a great romance or, at the very least, a great friendship. They want to feel like they’re falling in love. They want to feel loved in return.

The clients who do want to have sex—and of course, there are many—don’t want that sex to be uncomfortable or unpleasant for me. They want to me to take pleasure in the act as well. They want to feel attractive and competent and gentle and attentive. Many of them are all of those things. If they express guilt about paying for sex, I don’t try to talk them into feeling otherwise. When one man said he should stop seeing me because the money he spent on our appointments should be going toward his kids’ college funds, I replied, “Well, if it makes you feel any better, it’s going toward mine.” (I never saw him again.)

Yes, I’ve met men who didn’t respect my boundaries and who harmed me, inadvertently or purposefully. But such men were few and far between, and I refused to see them again.

Not every man who visits a strip club, watches a clip of porn, or pays for sexual companionship wants to commit an act of violence against a woman. Rapists and murderers are the ones who want to rape and strangle people; some of them hire escorts, some don’t.

When Melissa Farley tells The Economist that men who hire prostitutes “are not nice guys looking for a normal date. They regularly attempt to rape and strangle women,” she’s not talking about my experience. Farley’s cloudy thinking rests on the belief that a man’s sexual interest in a woman is fundamentally disrespectful, fundamentally abusive, and fundamentally wrong.

But what’s wrong is the stigma surrounding sex work. In the professional world, there is no other service arrangement in which clients are accused of hating those whom they hire. Not janitorial work, furniture moving, notoriously dangerous meat-factory work, or any other job that requires use of the service provider’s body in grueling, unhealthy ways.

♦◊♦

In the seven years I’ve known “Napman,” the gentle soul whose strange request opened this piece, he’s yet to let on that he secretly desires to strangle me. He periodically sends me gifts. We email and punctuate our updates with pictures. He knows the names of all of my pets—he even knows where I live. I told him about this article. I came to know him as a man who only wanted what most men want: to do something nice for someone else.

There are many important conversations to be had about the sex industry, but I don’t believe those conversations will be beneficial unless they move beyond cartoonish depictions of villainous, lustful men victimizing innocent and vulnerable women.

I’m not claiming that my experience is representative of all sex workers, or even all sex-working women, but I know my experience is not entirely anomalous. I don’t regret selling sex for a variety of reasons—one of which is that it’s allowed me to meet many good men. And in doing so, it’s forever changed me for the better.

—Photo Alejandra Mavroski/via Flickr

About Charlotte Shane

Charlotte is a prostitute living on the East Coast. She writes at NightmareBrunette.

Comments

  1. … and I just asked an overwrought question on a post that’s over 2-1/2 years old…

    • @Mike: 😉 I’ve been there. “Shane”‘s blog at Nightmare Brunette appears to be gone but she has a lot of work scattered about the internet. Try Twitter @CharlotteXShane

  2. Thanks for the article and your observations. I’ve never been a female sex worker, so I wouldn’t suppose to question your perceptions. I am interested, though — do you trust men? Trust them enough to have a committed, long-lasting relationship? Are you or have you ever been married?

    The reason for the personal questions — I produced a limited series some years ago about high-end escorts. It was pitched as the opposite of the seedy underbelly of the business. We were to cast high-flying, successful, bright, independent, happy escorts with none of the stereotypical baggage — no Uncle Nasty in their childhood; no drugs; no kids; no violence… A fantasy version of ‘Real Pretty Women’. The premise of the show was that, really, these women were all looking for love and that in the end, one would be married. Simplistic and exploitative, I know, but you pitch what you’ve got.

    Through a variety of methods, I reached out, met and interviewed hundreds of women and learned everything I ever wanted to know about the business. During this exhaustive search (Las Vegas, LA, NYC, Chicago, Miami, Dallas), I didn’t come across a single women who — outside sex as a service aside — had ever been in a healthy, long-term relationship. More striking was that most didn’t think it was possible — because they’d met so many men on the other side of the deal. They didn’t believe a man could be committed and faithful.

    So, I’ll buy that not all men are sadistic predators. But given your experience, can you ever trust one with your everything?

  3. There will always be an inherent inequality in prostitution. That this poor woman has convinced herself that these men really care about her is truly sad. “Dear friends” don’t use you as an object to be bought for sexual purposes. That she is trying to paint those clients as good men who talk to her about their wives/girlfriends is absurd – I wonder how they would feel if they knew. These are not the actions of good men and I’m disappointed in The Good Men Project for promoting them as such.

  4. Lorelai says:

    Great article. I knew there was more to sex work than the horror stories. Thank you.

  5. Brilliant! Yes, I’ve never paid for sex (penetration) but going to strip bars kept my spirits high throughout a difficult divorce and dishonorable custody fights. I’ll always believe in nice girls that aren’t jaded even if I have to fight the feminist-haters everyday for the rest of my life- or at least until my second son is 18.
    Now I am happily remarried with a one year old son. I still wonder how some of those girls are doing. I have a lot of respect for their faith/courage on top of their beauty.

    I never liked going to Vegas or unfamiliar strip clubs because at my local clubs, it really was mostly, about having fun and being social! Plus, these girls meet so many guys-many of them lying through their teeth…they are a challenge to truly impress…with honesty.

  6. Yes!!!!! What a brilliant article. Thank you SO MUCH for writing this. I get so fed up by all of the people who confuse human trafficking with sex work….ITS NOT THE SAME THING! You are fabulous and inspiring. I am a sex worker advocate in CT, check out my blog http://legalizetoprotect.blogspot.com/ and facebook group, Sex Workers Outreach Project CT

    xoxo

    Page

  7. hi sex

  8. Great article, I couldn’t agree more. I was petrified to transition from stripping (with 300 Ib bouncers, cameras and metal detectors on hand) to escorting, cause all I could think of was the pop culture cliche, I assumed every client was some kind of Patrick Bateman, on a violent cocaine high, eager to murder and torture call girls. Like you said, almost all have been very vanilla, and when there’s rough stuff, it’s cause I ask for it!

  9. ‘But what’s wrong is the stigma surrounding sex work. In the professional world, there is no other service arrangement in which clients are accused of hating those whom they hire. Not janitorial work, furniture moving, notoriously dangerous meat-factory work, or any other job that requires use of the service provider’s body in grueling, unhealthy ways.’

    This is true. I don’t think anyone’s ever yelled ‘I bet you have AIDS’ or ‘Your family must hate you’ to a sanitation worker.

  10. Hi,
    As a former sex worker I share this experience with you. I had many men who would visit my club (I was a stripper) and would talk to me for hours about their life, job, family, etc in exchange for pay. At first I was surprised at the amount of men that just longed for companionship. I still exchange emails with a few of them, which is surprising because I haven’t stripped for at least five years. Thank you for sharing this, I think that many people don’t understand the dynamic of the client relationship that is built in a strip club or chat room. It isn’t just about showing bare skin, it can be a much deeper relationship that is built out of trust and compassion. Granted there are people who just go for the skin show but the percentage is rather low.

    <3
    Tina

  11. Just wanted to say this was an excellent read, and I applaud you for writing it so well and putting it out there. This is precisely the sort of anecdotal truth that needs to be more mainstream – I hope that more and more of us are simply tired of the same ol’ “trust us, this is true” rhetoric based around fear tactics.

    A well written and interesting read. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Thanks for writing this!

  13. A simple denial that all men are not dangerous would’ve been sufficient. When you start giving examples of the nice people, I believe you’re creating an over optimistic point of view. One way or another I’ve been around this scene, if not totally in it. My opinion is that these men, as most people do, know what they can get away with and they’ll go that far. When you say that these men are kind, I suggest that these are the men who have figured out that you won’t take any thing less, or that maybe you are annoyed by abuse, so they acquiesce to this or it gives them pleasure to make them happy by “not” upsetting.

    So, your stories to me are more atestament to your character, not to the men’s (who regardless of their gender, are strangers) character.

    That being said, I believe it is dangerous to put forth this point of view when there are other girls out there who have a type of weakness that they haven’t recognized in themselves yet and that is going to get them in the kind of trouble that they are not looking for.

    • My original comment was based on attempting to be logical and present a different, well-said point of view. But, reading the original article itself just gives me an impression of fried baloney.

  14. I love everything about this website. Men have to band together and do our own “movement” if we are ever going to get equal rights in society, too. Funny how the scales tipped, isn’t it? Men are seen as atrocious, to the point they can’t be left alone in a room with a child of any age. That kind of stuff makes me sick.

  15. Interesting article. Could I ask how being a prostitute has affected your personal sex life? Has selling the intimacy had any effects on how you view your own, genuine intimacy?

    Thanks

    • Since I also work as a prostitute, I’ll give you my answer. I can separate “love sex” and the one without it very well, so I don’t feel it affects the intimacy with my partner negatively. On the contrary, I have realized how satisfied I am with the sex in my relationship, so it’s even better. Sexual variety also makes it even more interesting to have sex with a long-term partner.
      However that’s just me. I can imagine that one could also get jaded if one has a high frequency of clients.

  16. Trojan Owl says:

    I have two thoughts:

    ONE)

    What nobody is bringing up: *An escort’s clientele is NOT a random sample of men.* While this may not have anything to do with the excellent article’s thrust (pun intended), who uses escorts? It would not surprise me if we discovered that the men who use escorts are statistically MUCH more likely to be the shy, nice guys who don’t generally compete well in the more typical manner in which men meet (“hunt”) women which rewards/requires agressiveness and self-confidence. It would also not surprise me if they were also more intelligent — able to afford the services AND more into the mental (fantasy?) rather than physical aspect of the experience.

    TWO)

    For some unfathomable reason, in these days of political correctness, it is OK to say “Men are such pigs” without fear of social reprisal. “Women are pigs” would correctly make you a sexist. “Blacks are pigs” would correctly make you a racist. “Gays are pigs” would correctly make you a homophobe. But men are fair game. I find this sad.

    What did I get out of this article? Just more confirmation that men get a bad rap. 🙂

    • I’m not sure about you, but if someone un-ironically said “men are pigs” in my vicinity I’d take them the to task about it.

      • Trojan Owl says:

        Good for you. Kudos. 🙂 I hope it happens, and that you are not then immediately told to “lighten up, It’s just a saying.”

        (A saying you can hear in sitcoms on a regular basis, I might add.)

  17. Great post, in a world where men are portrayed as violent monsters, or stupid buffoons. I’m happy to hear we’re not all deviants.

  18. Thank you for this. as a woman who is distrustful of men this has opened my eyes a bit more.

  19. Men want to make women scream, but they also want to make them smile. Mostly it isn’t that rare for a man to not enjoy a fake connection, just rare for him to not get male approval through dominating someone. Every man who pays for company or stimulation hopes to be ‘the one’ who the woman might have even considered servicing for free.

    Unfortunately women aren’t going to start pursuing cowardly men any sooner than men are going to start pursuing ugly women.

    And so:

    Men, women, you and me, we need to start spitting on the men who lie for it rather than the men who pay for it.

  20. This article, as well as all the many and varied comments, is quite fascinating. We are all sexual animals on some level, and there isn’t a society anywhere on earth that has not dealt with sex/barter/pay scenarios within their culture. It’s ancient and pervasive. Where we get tangled up is in our cultural programming that dictates our attitudes about natural urges and acts. We impose a model of morality that, upon closer inspection, usually reveals itself to be nothing more than information planted in us from others during our vulnerable and formative years, rather than ideas we gain from our own, adult knowledge and experience.

    By no means does the author seek to discredit the amount of violence against women. That’s not what she’s addressing herein. I appreciate her sharing a very real and human side in what she personally discovered about the majority of the men who sought out her sexual services. “No shame, no blame, and no games” is a good policy for any and all consensual adult sexual encounters. To impose outside morality on the sexual practices of another adult is the reaction of an automaton who has never bothered to peel away their own glib facade in order to see what lies beneath.

    Healthy, guilt-free sex is hardly what tears at the fabric of society, as some posters here would have us believe. It’s the suppression of sexual urges that create havoc, and the shame imposed upon it from alleged moral authorities. Just look at the famous serial killers; they come mostly from rigid, dogmatic religious families with lots of strange guilt trips and denial around any sexual feelings. The repression of our sexuality does much more damage than acceptance and the sane and safe approach of legalizing sexual services – already.

    Christ I wish this country would grow up…

    • simonsays says:

      Thank you Brooke. I agree with you 100% and I must respectfully confess that I’m very surprised that this comment may have been written by a woman (if you’re a woman).
      I’m a male in my mid 20s and people are always shocked that I go to strip clubs, and watch porn and pay for sex. The response is always ‘why don’t you get a girlfriend? You’re so normal. Blah blah blah. What they don’t understand is that getting a girlfriend (or worse yet a wife) just for sex is the single worse thing a man can do. The dating scene is incredibly hypocritical, dishonest, manipulative, and just full of games. I’ve almost given up on it but not yet.
      One must view sexual gratification as no different than eating, sleeping, etc… It feels good and it feels better when it’s done with someone you care about.
      But to say you won’t sleep or eat because you have no one to do it with?!? Just plain craziness.
      And why is everyone surprised that it’s a minority of men who are rapists?

  21. why did that comment have to be the first one, can’t we just delete it from the internets 🙁

  22. Hey girlfriend, thank you for putting yourself out there and breaking the silence. The more of us speak up, the better ALL of our lives are. THANK YOU.

  23. You’re the only thing that gives me hope anymore. My misogyny is critical, but whenever I read something of yours my crumbling faith becomes restored. Thank you for being as real as you are, you’ve inspired things in me that no drug, no man and no scene has ever before.

  24. You criticize the website for not being “better” but then, in the same breath, you resort to petty name-calling and narrow-minded thinking. If you want things to be better, you might try starting with that guy in the mirror there Jason.

  25. I don’t think every man that visits a strip club or watches a porn club hates women. But I also don’t think that just because a man showed pictures of his kids and wife ( I actually find that disrespectful and disturbing and not to mention the cheating aspect), or wants to talk to the girl in question, or even wants to bring her real pleasure; means that the experience is one of honest connection or even fullfillment. It’s about *him* feeling like the *man* whether that’s bringing the girl in question pleasure of pain or it’s talking to her so he can pretend that a pretty girl likes him. It’s not about his deep respect for her or his own family and I feel the author is attempting to present a picture where the men had nothing but respect for her, when they clearly didn’t even have respect for the wives and gfs they might have been cheating on with her behind their backs. Tt’s the same issue whether the man is treating the girl nice or not. Sexual fullfillment vs. sexual exploitation. Men’s sexual nature is NOT violent or sadistic. But alot of our seedier sexual media displays that cater to male urges are often protrayed over the top dominating and slightly sadistic. And I don’t feel all warm and fuzzy because men (married or not) hired a woman and actually wanted her to orgasm. That orgasm is still all about him..not to mention the number of married or committed men that do these kinds of things behind their woman’s back all teh time while girls like the one in the article try to give warm fuzzy speaches about how good these men are because they wanted to know what her fav. color was and wanted to make her orgasm.

    • What I got out of this article wasn’t so much that this should be viewed as a positive situation (maybe the author feels that way, but I can’t say I can look at prostitution and not see something seriously problematic, regardless of how nice everyone involved is being toward one another), but that people involved in the “darker” side of our society, and the people of whom we would expect the worst, can and will surprise us at times.

      And that’s heartening, in a way, but at the same time I have to say that I agree with your reaction to the bit about the men showing her photos of their wives and children. What’s happening here isn’t healthy–something is missing from these men’s lives that they feel the need to attempt to replicate by paying a woman to spend time with them and to have sex with them. Even if that later evolves into a friendship, it’s bad news that these guys are apparently incapable of starting and maintaining their own genuine relationships.

      tl;dr: Good that these guys are reaching out for human contact of the non-genital kind, but bad that they’re unable to form these relationships naturally and have to resort to “professionals.” I’m not going to touch the woman sex worker’s side of it; way too short on sleep to open that can of worms.

      • I’d posit that there’s a place in the world for people who CAN give socially sanctioned professional human contact for people who are too –whatever– to form their “own” relationships. Sex workers are obviously filling the gap here…

        Because really, in such an unhealthy society, there are going to be quite a few people who are so freakin’ damaged that they can’t hold a conversation, much less score a date, with someone of their preferred sex. What are we going to do– Punish them for their obvious lack of social skills? What the heck does that help? It certainly doesn’t teach them social skills, LOL. People need sex and cuddling almost as much as they need food and air, and we certainly have restaurants and (LOL) oxygen bars! I don’t like the way most of the sex industry works, but I fundamentally fail to see why paying someone to provide some sort of intimacy is a bad thing.

        • Totally agreeing. Of course it’s sad that some people can’t get human warmth without paying for it. Probably most could—but they simply can’t find anyone who they match with. It’s damn hard to find someone you REALLY click with. But I have had conversations with clients about that aspect, they have all told me it’s so much better to have at least something, even if they have to pay for it.

          • Fundamentally, paying someone to provide a service isn’t a bad thing. But when it comes to sex, we aren’t simply talking about paying someone to clean up your leaves or lay down your mulch. There is a level of intimacy in sex that can’t be denied. There is a vulnerability both physically and emotionally for both parties. And by “emotionally”, I don’t mean feelings of love but the many other complicated feelings we have, the reasons why both parties are doing what they are doing, what lead them to that point and how they feel during the experience.

            If someone has a hard time socially connecting to other people, the money is better spent on therapy instead to really resolve the problem. In the case of the article above, it doesn’t sound like the girl came in contact with only men, or even mostly men, who weren’t able to form relationships. She references married or committed men. One man is referenced as feeling bad that the money he pays for his sexual satisfaction with her should go to his children’s college funds while the author qlibs that the money is going to hers. So this is clearly a much older man that was taking money that could have gone to the family but went to the author instead. These men are choosing to tune out of their own relationships in favor of getting their needs met first. Perhaps it makes them feel better to talk about their wives and children with the prostitute because it re-enforces that he still loves them to himself even while he knows he is cheating his own family out of his respect, commitment or financial obligations. Whatever the reason, I think the woman in the article is trying to make it seem like there should be warm fuzzy feelings for men that wanted to make her orgasm or asked her her favorite color when the truth is that it’s irrevelant if a man wanted to make her orgasm because the experience is still all about him, his ego, and what it takes to make him feel like a man by using another person as a tool for it. And my guess is that most of these men are 30+, not young college aged men like herself. What exactly is heartening about any of this?

  26. This was a brilliantly observed piece.

    Well done

    “sex is often a front. It’s an entry point that allows men to make their real request (for affection, understanding, and connection) while still satisfying stereotypical ideas of masculinity. What most men want is a great romance or, at the very least, a great friendship. They want to feel like they’re falling in love. They want to feel loved in return.”

  27. Charlotte,
    I would like to extend an invitation to you to appear as a guest on my SIRIUS/XM radio Show.
    Judith Regan
    Host, Judith Regan Show
    please contact my producer: Julian.suchman@siriusxm.com

  28. Sure there are “good guys” who just want to talk but the fact is that there are also the sickos that want to hurt/maim/do other bad stuff!

    I mean there is no way to tell the difference between the good ones who just want to watch/talk and those who want to cut you up into little pieces and feed you to the pigs (case in point is the psycho in British Columbia).

    I don’t like this article because even though it presents a point of view of prostitution that says that most men were “nice”…every time a prostitute goes out on the streets she is taking a chance that she will encounters the guy who will kill/hurt her!!

    I think prostitution is wrong in any form because it objectifies women. Men who use prostitutes are inadequate and insecure in some way or another…or they have really bad relationships with the women in their lives.

    I think it has to do more with religion than anything. Religion and the way men are brought up today separates the “GOOD” women from the “BAD” women. And the way it is done is using sex and specifically female sexuality. I mean most men can’t even talk about their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters being sexual. They have to separate the “GOOD” women in their minds from the “BAD” women…which is pretty much every one else in the world with the few exceptions.

    The matter of fact is that the man’s mother, sister, wife, daughter are all sexual beings. They all have the same parts and they all enjoy sex and are sexual…same as any other woman in the world.

    I always find that men tend to use different standards to rate the women in their lives and those they work with or those they see on the streets. I guess this is another reason I don’t like prostitution…because it further separates the “GOOD” women from the “BAD” women…because prostitutes do it for money…when what they experience during sex should be experienced with someone the men truly love!!

    Wouldn’t that be far more gratifying!!

    But men are generally too weak in their ability to communicate what they want from their wives/girlfriends…because in their distorted minds…the women in their internal lives can never equate to the “BAD” women. Meanwhile…wives/girlfriends would love to have an honest sexual relationship with the men…but don’t dare. Because men (most men) couldn’t handle it!! These women may become like the prostitutes if the wives/girlfriends were actually sexually aware and free. This is why most men don’t want to sleep with the women they want for wives or girlfriends on the first few dates.

    Anyway…that’s my theory!! A sexually aware woman is a whore…a prude is an angel!…prostitutes just further distort men’s perspectives!

  29. while dominatrices can make a good living kicking the shit out of men, female submissives are so rarely in demand that most have to work as a switch in order to stay afloat.

    That’s probably more a supply issue than a demand one. From what I’ve seen, it’s simply easier for for male doms to meet female subs they don’t have to pay, than the other way around.

    there is no other service arrangement in which clients are accused of hating those whom they hire.

    True, but employers are regularly assumed to hold their more ‘menial’ employees in contempt.

  30. Huh. I should have gone the upper-class prostitute route. It obviously is much easier to meet nice guys that way than running into them at a bar or an online dating site. And clearly, they’re so shameful about sex that they have to hire prostitutes to help the kindness just ooze out of them.

    Do we denote sarcasm? Well, yes, yes we do.

    Being a prostitute might give one a singular perspective on the kindness of men.

    Being a woman who is not objectified through sex acts gives me the perspective of realizing that if this article were the least bit accurate, then women wouldn’t be the victims of so many crimes, and date rapes, and domestic abuses.

    It’s sweet, but only sweet in the way a romanticized escort could make it.

    • The woman can’t possibly, in ONE article, write to ALL perspectives of ALL sex-workers everywhere, much less all WOMEN, nor cater to your obvious need to see sex work as a bad thing. Sorry! 😛

      Also, I would posit that you ARE an objectified woman, just like the rest of us. You HAVE been looked at for how sexy you are, without regards to your doubtless shining personality. Your boyfriends have done it, if you’ve had boyfriends. Your husband, if you have one, has done it. (Or girlfriends/wife if y’re lesbian) Strangers on the street have done it! A *certain* amount of objectification is a normal part of the human sexual character, in BOTH sexes. YOU’VE done it. I guarantee it. I know I have. 😉 You may not have been getting paid at the time, but you’ve been there, end of story. My point is, sorry– that’s not a high horse you get to ride.

      My wife is a sex worker, and I have been through MANY aspects of the industry with her as an assistant, and I have heard many of her stories. (As I do not meet the clients myself, bad etiquette and all…) What this young lady is laying out has played out as true for my wife as well– 99.9% of the clients she has seen, even when she was *not* doing high-class work, were looking for connection and respected her as a human being. Sex work does NOT equate to sexual violence!!! The rape and violence culture can’t be pinned on the whores, sorry– It CAN be pinned on very poor social programming for men, however, and thank goodness the Good Men Project is here to help rectify that!

      The truth is, as far as *I* have seen, and of course there are many many many different parallaxes that are different… but as *I* have seen it, the “bad” guys are not usually willing to pay for a woman’s time and services– they prefer to get it all for free. After all, paying her might closely resemble respecting the time and energy she has put into creating a lovely encounter, and “bad” men don’t do that.

  31. I wish the writer had made more of an effort not to shame different fetishes (for example, she writes disapprovingly of a client who asked her to pretend to be a murderous dominatrix — and what exactly is wrong with that?). But it’s a good article nonetheless.

    • Hi Clarisse,

      I’m almost certain I didn’t shame anyone—I think you’re reading some type of disapproval or distaste into the sentence that isn’t there. It’s simply a statement of one of the many requests I had. I enjoyed that client and his role plays quite a bit.

    • I thought that it painted it in quite a fun light.

  32. What happened to the comment that was left on here about how insulting this essay is to sex workers from a different socioeconomic background (i.e. girls with pimps who work the streets and routinely end up in hospitals as the result of male violence)? I believe it was written by an EMT, and had some really valid points.

    • For some reason, my comments also got deleted..why??

      Why would this article be insulting to sex workers who don’t feel that way? Would you also say a farmer who writes about how much he enjoys his job is insulting slave farmworkers in south america?

      • Henry P. Belanger says:

        Clerra / Sina,

        Apologies; we had a minor server snafu, and comments posted during a 12-hour period on Wednesday were lost.

  33. Mad world – the agenda is truly working to destroy the family unit. Funny how huxley said people would be able to rut like rabbits in the streets, so long as they didnt fall in love the agenda could continue. Divide and conquer was the method, destroying the family unit was the goal – And here we are in 2010, his vision fully realized. This woman is a prostitute, a deplorable and abhorrent profession that capitalizes on the human desire for connection – this provides a false connection. Theirs nothing brave or courageous about this. You need to find an honest job. Having multiple partners and never settling with any of them is part of an agenda much bigger than you, though as always youve been propagandized to think you wont he right to do so – sexual rights and expression and all that nonsense. You were given this ideology to help maintain control over you – an individual is much easier to control than a family or a tribe, or a community. I cant believe all the misinformed sheeple thinking this is liberating when its reaffirmation of your own inept ignorance. Find a man, have a family, nurture your young – humping like animals well into adulthood is pathetic. And bt your johns should be ashamed, all guys get urges but a gentelman shows restraint and contrl of his urges.

    • That’s a new one. Sexual freedom = mind control! Remember that “sex != love” works both ways.

    • Hahaha, such a fool you are. There is no “agenda” no dark cloistered persons in a room with ill candle light. Where do people like you come from with such beliefs. Poorly educated and uninformed religious zealots I imagine. You are the one who has the ill agenda. you are the one who would prefer control the women. Get with it man. What is wrong with you.

    • Your comment is the most deplorable and abhorrent thing I’ve read here today. Congratulations.

    • Uh, what? Prostitution has for centuries been something that stabilizes marriages since dissatisfied men get release. In conservative places where “the family” is seen as the greatest value, there are even more men who visit prostitutes because they can’t get any sex from non-professionals.

  34. Marie Brown says:

    Very good article; thank you for posting. I have worked as a prostitute on and off for many years at the street level, and I find that being a hooker can be very fulfilling (although it’s not without its dangers). Here in the U.S., prostitution is illegal (except for a few counties in Nevada), and this is a bad deal. I feel adult prostitution should be legal everywhere; no one – including the government – should dictate how a lady should earn a living.

  35. As a cam girl myself, I never knew the outcome of what would be, now 4 months later. I joined desperate for a way to pay off medical bills and knew I had come to a point where I had to do something to stay out of chronic pain. What I didn’t even consider was that “camming” was the thing that would help me love my body again.

    As a cam girl you have control over the room as owner, manager, bouncer, and performer. If they don’t like it, they can leave. I’ve never met so many men reaching out for a connection to someone they felt was real. At that point I felt hideous about my self and body but had 90% of my viewers tell me not that I was “so hot” or a surfaced word to allude to me being an empty cage of a woman. I was told that I was beautiful and finally started to believe it myself.

    Also, people who criticize this profession act like women have no sexual desires whatsoever and that what we are agreeing to are acts of sexuality we would never enjoy ourselves. I LIKE seeing someone achieve pleasure and feel good and likewise I enjoy pleasure myself. This entire topic is always approached like women are these feeble minded, non-sexual creatures who have no desire themselves when a lot of the time, like Lou says, I am asked to do what I think feels good. If it doesn’t, I would never agree to it no matter what the price.

  36. Well Written Article!

  37. Excellent article, and really nice to see such ideas committed to virtual paper. I regularly visit a few cam sites myself, and spend about 90% of my time simply chatting to a few regular girls, so much so that they tend to end up adding me to their own private instant-messengers. For me, the pleasure is in making a woman feel good, giving her the opportunity to enjoy herself and be paid for it. On the few occasions I do buy some private time with them, I never make any requests except for them to do what they most want to do. I even try to give testimonials as a customer in their chatroom if there’s someone unsure about whether to spend the money on them, and fend off the more abusive weirdos who pay them a visit too.

    Simply put, men would be foolish to say they don’t desire sex, but their own sexual gratification doesn’t need to be the reason for doing so.

  38. This article is hysterical. Pretty young woman gives men attention and boosts their egos and is treated nicely by them. Someone, quick, call a reporter.

  39. It’s great to read truth. I wouldn’t at all minimize the harm that sex trade has inflicted on the unwilling or naive, but for consenting, thinking adults, I think you’ve really captured the essence of these relationships. You’re a smart girl!

  40. Thanks for this. I rarely get to hear this point of view.

    Well-written.

    • This is exactly what I wanted to say. A great article. It would be overly simplistic to form one’s opinions on one source’s anecdotal stories (no matter how well-written and interesting), but this is in any case a very unique and interesting perspective.

  41. “Not every man who visits a strip club, watches a clip of porn, or pays for sexual companionship wants to commit an act of violence against a woman. Rapists and murders are the ones who want to rape and strangle people; some of them hire escorts, some don’t.”

    Perhaps my favorite part of the piece. And timely, no less, regarding the ongoing conversation on Tom Matlack’s column in which guys who sporadically watch porn are being labeled as “limited” and not evolved.

    I was interested that your experiences seem to show, by and large, that men want to make a connection more than they want sex. And although I hadn’t thought about that much, I think it’s true. It reminds me of the time my friends took me to a strip club. I love looking at beautiful women but did not enjoy the strip club experience. When my friends bought me a dance with a gorgeous girl we ended up talking instead of her gyrating on top of me, and she was ridiculously cool and sweet.

    Thanks for writing this. I didn’t agree with or like all of it, but it made me think and for that I’m appreciative.

  42. Charlotte this is a great piece of writing. Certainly not perfect, but as writer’s perfection should always remain an elusive goal that we try to head towards. But there can be little doubt that you were being completely honest, and sadly probably a little more frank than some in the usual masculine and for that matter feminine peanut gallery could handle. And perhaps your own perceptions on certain things are skewed, but really is there a single one of us that can say that their own perceptions of things isn’t?

    Bravo to you for not only writing it, but for bravely challenging a status quo that doesn’t like being challenged.

  43. female submissives are so rarely in demand that most have to work as a switch in order to stay afloat.

    This is… misleading.

    As a dominant guy, I’ve been involved in the public BDSM scene in 4 continents and a number of countries over the last 12 years and I’ve been very, very active in my local scene for 8 of the last 12 years. I’ve worked as bar staff, floor staff, security, dungeon monitor, house master and host for a number of fetish events and even been paid enough for my trouble that it was sort of worth it a few times. A very, very large number of friends and a larger number of friendly acquaintainces make or supplement their living as pro dommes or providing various fetish related services and at various times I’ve dated and/or lived with sex workers who catered to the fetish market*. A few times I’ve actually been paid respectable sex worker rates to do kink scenes with women. I sometimes wish I enjoyed giving men head enough to make a living as a pro dominant guy, but despite this shortcoming – I am reasonably knowledgeable regarding BDSM oriented sex work..

    Female professional submissives are actually pretty highly in demand. Unfortunately the constraints around making this work safely are usually significant and off putting to a lot of the customer base. Most pro submissives have a firm no-sex rule. While the submissive male fantasy quite often works without sex, the dominant male fantasy rarely does. The restrictions on bondage (most professionals want some kind of escape route, which isn’t usually beneficial to the client’s kink) severity of impact play (for obvious reasons, but it makes it boring for a regular kinkster), and security steps (the dominant male thing is a control oriented fantasy – having a security guard in the hall taking your control away isn’t fun, even if it does make perfect sense) also diminish the number of people willing to pay for the scene on offer. Also, most pro-submissives or pro-dommes who switch charge for a submissive session, at least double and often triple or quadruple the going rate for a scene with a pro-domme. It’s understandable why – but lots of people just can’t afford that kind of money, especially for such a limited scene. Also, while many pro-dommes are flexible on the no-sex restriction – it tends to be a much firmer rule for pro pro-submissives.

    In the UK for example, there are some quite lucrative opportunities for attractive women willing to be spanked. A friend of mine has been living and studying in Scotland while traveling to London most weekends to be a spanked – she pays her living expenses and education costs for a comfortable student standard of living entirely from these sessions and has done through half her under grad, all of her masters and the first year of her doctorate now. The scenes are limited to over the knee, bare handed, bare bottom spanking and nothing else and she has a scene monitor travel with her to provide security.

    London is probably the only place in the world where that kind of limited specialization is so lucrative – but I personally know professional submissive girls who make a comfortable living in Sydney, Melbourne, New York and LA, and I’m sure I don’t know even a fraction of the successful sex workers in that industry segment. But if you’re going to work in that space, especially somewhere where police protection is questionable due to sex worker legality questions – you need to be aware that you aren’t courting the usual sex worker clientele. You’re catering to a specialist niche market, that has a very real, and sometimes very scary lunatic fringe. While the lunatic fringe is a minority of real clients – they’re still vastly more common than in the broader sex worker clientele.

    * The very small amount of paid kink work I’ve done is remarkable for a guy who doesn’t enjoy giving head. Bisexual male tops usually have to give a lot of guys head to make money from their kinks. As a guy, usually the only ways to make money are to own a venue that caters to fetishists, promote fetish parties (questionable profitability at best), make or retail accessories/furniture/tools for kinksters or be a very talented writer, photographer or public speaker. – and there’s a lot of luck involved in actually getting anywhere with getting paid for BDSM focused jobs.

    • So does Scootah get to write an article for the goodmenproject or not. I think he should.

    • I find this amusing. You say that it is highly lucrative from personal experience, ja? But your mistake is of a false ratio assumption. There is a LOT of sex to be sold, many consumers. What is not seen is that the number of consumers not searching for such is much much higher in demand than those looking for submissive women. Of course many are, but many in this sense does not stack against those who are not. This leads to the old supply and demand issue. In the grander scheme of things she is on point with her statement, in your mind where this IS what you search for, more are needed, but this is false.

  44. Sandra Parrotto says:

    I found the article incredibly human – have so much difficulty with the rights and wrongs of our society. People have to find ways to connect with others that don’t always look “right” but at the end of the day, human beings need empathy, the need intimacy and they need to be feel the warmth of another human being in relationships with them. I can see the draw of paying for that kind of connection in lots of circumstances. I hired my first coach by saying, “I just want to pay you to talk to me” – Thanks for writing, I appreciated your viewpoint very much!

  45. I can’t believe that Mr. Gordon could read that entire article and only be worried about what the author’s family thinks about her profession. Or maybe I can. Maybe that illustrates her point as well.

    Miss Shane’s article is an honest look at something that obviously makes a lot of us feel uncomfortable. Writing about it couldn’t have been an easy project, but I hope she knows it is valued.

  46. I bet Herman’s family is really pleased with his complete and total imperviousness to irony.

    Thanks, Charlotte, for a thoughtful and open article.

    • *high five*

    • High 5 Michelle

      • Yeah, no... says:

        People like Herman really undercut this whole article actually…

        The author might’ve had a good experience escourting but we shouldn’t leap to the conclusion this means the prostitution industry is a warm and fuzzy place.

        It isn’t. And many, many, many women and girls are in it non-voluntarily and do not have good experiences.

        • This is true, but I think the point of the article is to help crack the stereotype that, as she said, a man has to be cruel to get off. Or that men are baser creatures or less emotionally evolved. Men have the same range and depth of emotion as women. The difference is that women today are encouraged to be assertive, independent, and strong but are still allowed to show empathy, sensitivity, warmth and vulnerability. Its all ok. Men are expected be the first three, but expressions of the latter four are seen as weak or effeminate or gay by male peers. They are not generally accepted in our society, though those feelings and the need to care or nurture are still there.
          As my career I have chosen to be a Massage Therapist. And no. No “happy endings.” But likewise, I have found that most of the men come in because the spa where I work is a safe, calm place and they can receive a physical touch that is safe, caring, and nurturing. They are never inappropriate and have a great deal of respect and gratitude. So I can see how Charlotte might attract similar men
          Our culture is currently so sex-saturated (tv, magazines, fashion), but my husband has often said that curling up together after sex – feeling warm, feeling loved – is his favorite part. I’m sure he’s not the only who thinks so.

          • @Attitash — the curl-up was my husband’s — and my — favourite part too. Still entangled and smushed in amongst pillows, duvet, and each other. Heaven.

            Through him I came to understand just how much stress a man can be under to ‘perform’ … and how much physical work can be involved for a man when he’s making love. No wonder my man enjoyed receiving as much as he did. He was both peaceful and wildly aroused in those moments. It gave me joy to see him so … soft in presence, even while he was excited.

            Men need sexual safety just as deeply as women do.

        • understanding is the first step says:

          how is a sex worker suppose to go to the police if she is being abused by her brothel or a customer if there just going to arrest her and then claim there was no abuse because its part of the job.
          how are they suppose to get support from there family if they are thrown out of it because what they are doing is “wrong”.
          how are they suppose to find a suitable brothel when the only people willing to own one are clearly involved in a lot of other activity’s.
          how are they suppose to get a proper job with a large blank spot in there cv or if the people hiring have an ill conceived notion of what the job actually was.

          by removing the ill conceived notion that the sex industry is inherently bad you can then begin to tackle the more important notion of what is actually going on that shouldn’t.
          so really in the end making that argument is hurting the people it claims to try and represent

  47. Herman Gordon says:

    Nice. I bet your family is really pleased with your career choice.

    • Of course they should be – she was nearly-certainly RAISED to become a whore, since early childhood – just like EVERY OTHER WOMEN in North America.

      It is CRITICAL to consider that virtually all women are RAISED to charge for their sexual services: When their mothers tell them “If you give away the milk, no one will buy the cow!” she’s essentially being told “Don’t you forget, I raised you to be a whore, NOT a slut!”

      Likewise, when their fathers tell them “I don’t want you spending time with that Kevin boy… He just wants to get into your pants! Why don’t you go connect with Thomas, over there… He has his own business, and he’ll be a good provider and father for your children, and he’ll take care of you! (Because don’t ever forget, we raised you to be a whore!)”

      Women are RAISED never to undercut ‘The Sexual Cartel’ – an unspoken understanding amongst all women to ensure that men will support them (and their offspring) by convincing men that SEX CAN ONLY BE AVAILABLE AT A COST – and that the dearer the cost, the more valuable the sex.

      This is to convince men that THEIR CHILDREN ARE THEIR OWN, genetically.

      “Son, I KNOW you’re my child, (despite the fact that we don’t look anything alike) because YOUR MOTHER WAS A “GOOD GIRL” – She didn’t sleep with me until our fourth date! … Hell, she doesn’t even LIKE sex, we practically never had it once we got married!”

      Women who have sex BECAUSE THEY WANT TO, with whomever they choose, without the promise of a ‘commitment’, (or any other direct or promised compensation) are condemn socially and branded as “sluts” – THE most derogatory word any woman can be called, PARTICULARLY by another woman…

      When a man calls a woman a slut, he is saying “She’s having more sex than _I_ want her to!”, but when a WOMAN calls another woman a slut, it means “She’s a traitor to her gender! She’s GIVING AWAY what I MUST SELL, and lowering my value! – She’s a scab! She’s undercutting The Cartel!”

      SO before you condemn a woman for making her sexuality available to a man in exchange for economic rewards, look at your own mother, and grandmother.

      • Johnny, you rock my world.

      • Wow, THE Johnny Soporno – didn’t expect to see you here 😀

      • FromReddit says:

        I like how you called not only his mom, but his grandmother a whore with such class. Bravo.

      • I understand that you’re horny and you wish women were sluttier, but what happens when women have sex for fun is they get pregnant, with no one to support their children. An exchange of sex for commitment helps to create a partnership to invest in children, and is the best way to create and raise children.

        • Your viewpoint is obsolete since the advent of reliable birth control.

          • Birth control is not that reliable, and many women, and even men, have second thoughts about an abortion when a woman does end up getting pregnant, when before they thought it would be an easy decision.

            Sex is not a light matter IMO.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, not to mention all the fun forms of sex that do not lead to pregnancy. Since when does sex automatically mean vaginal intercourse?

        • There are many ways not to get pregnant.

        • viskarenvisla says:

          That’s what abortions are for. Yay abortion!

        • JustAGirl says:

          “what happens when women have sex for fun is they get pregnant”

          You mean, there exists the possibility that this MAY happen.

          As someone who has not yet been married and has had safe, protected sex hundreds of times with multiple partners and has never been pregnant, I beg to differ.

          Oh, and having friendly sex with men/women whose company I enjoy has not made me “sluttier.”

        • Amin, thank you for your succinct demonstration of the types of misinformation, prejudice, and judgment that Charlotte referred to in her article… the comments were becoming so civil that many of us were having a hard time imagining the thought processes of a person with unhealthy sexual beliefs (and the attendant justifications thereof). But now, thanks to you, it’s all there, plain to see on the page – the jealousy and hatred of anyone who is getting more (or better) sex than you are, the immediate assertion of worst-case scenarios without regard for healthier or more probable outcomes, the complete ignorance of a woman’s sexual experience outside of the realm of brood mare and housekeeper for a man, and the usual “who’ll think of the children?” justification that ignores the fact that the “best way to create and raise children” is just as responsible for child abuse, neglect, spouse abuse, and codependency as any other way.

          You’ve done us all a great service – specifically, giving us insight into the mind of someone who will grasp any justification that supports their prejudices without even a cursory thought. Women in particular will thank you for making this attitude clear, since they now know better than to get involved with you.

        • Sex is not a light matter for you… thats fine. Fortunately, your views do not run the world.

Trackbacks

  1. […] stumbled across Charlotte Shane’s blog while nosing around the Good Men Project. It’s a brilliant, fascinating look at life through the eyes of a professional escort. […]

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