Tuesday, October 11, 2011


There is, in second wave feminism, all of this language about objectification, self-objectification, gender performance, cultural conditioning...

And then there's the lipstick feminist backlash against this language...

There is discussion of gender as a biological mechanism and as a social construct.

And academic language, whether by Levitt or Venkateesh or Vohs or Regnerus, which reduces female sexuality to a commodity - actually, a double commodity - both sexual access and sexual purity are commodified.

Sex Work, was for me, a decision that the former commodification was better than the later - certainly more liberating and lucrative. It was, night after night, demolishing that commodification of sexual naivity and passivity and purity.

It was stabbing romance - the type of exaggerated, disney romance, that waiting-to-be-saved-by-my-prince-charming romance women learn in film and literature - in the very heart. The Girl Friend Experience performs fairy-tale romance as fungible, reproducible, camp.

It was also, night after night, performing femininity. A slightly exaggerated, more complementary femininity, a more accommodating femininity, a more cheerful and motherly and slutty and submissive and compliant and eager femininity, to be sure, than in real life, but a derivative of it none-the-less.

Sex work was quarantining every aspect of my gender and sexual identity into a magnified, amplified performance. Prostitution is fantasy, it is a performance, an intimate performance.

It was a kind of quarantine, a pergatory, a holding cell for stereotypes and media representations of what I should be and what I had learned through interactions with men, of clothing and style taste I had learned through magazines. It was a quarantine, a pergatory, a holding cell of a certain paradigm of gendered interactions, and as a performance, one in which I was detached from and not complicit in.

Performing sexuality and gender alienates ones sexuality and gender. My sexuality and gender were performances, instances of gender performance which my mind recorded and played over and over and over again as I laid in my own bed and walked in my own shoes and watched my classmates interact and talk.

It was only through this alienation of gender and sexuality, detached observation of it, and reclaiming of the aspects I liked and did not like, that the way in which I interact with men, my affects, my body language and the tone of my voice, my clothing, my grooming, that all of these things, in my real life became choice.

Identity Politics

What is so luscious about the identity of a sex worker is that it is perhaps the most diverse sexual and professional identity out there.

What it actually means, what the erotic (if it even is erotic) within sex work is, what being paid to do things is, what type of power dynamic it is is so unambiguous, perhaps simply because mainstream academia and media representations of sex work are so ludicrous. They are ludicrous particularly for a white, educated, middle class woman with a mind of her own, who is not too flustered by stigma doing escort work. They are, however, equally ludicrous for a black woman who voluntarily does street work during festivals. Equally, for an Asian migrant worker.

Categorizing it as antifeminist, objectification, oppression, violence, rape, immoral, dehumanizing actually gives that freedom...simply because it's so off. Similarly, categorizing it as another form of service labor, asexual, is equally off [or can be]...

And the money part--the fact that the incentive for sexual activity is something so universal--draws an incredibly diverse range of circumstances, sexual orientations, lifestyles, backgrouns for women (and men) into the industry.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Real men don't buy sex...

 They just cheat on Demi Moore with women who are explicitly shipped to add scenery to expensive clubs and who accept drinks and food, rather than greenbacks, as payment.

If you haven't heard, Ashton Kutscher, Demi Moore's husband and spokesman of the "Real Men Don't Buy Sex" campaign was seen conuddling with two attractive women at a San Diego club and is reported to have a love child through a fling...

Perez Hilton got the scoop on the Conuddling from party promoter Gavin Naumoff (think escort agent):

    "Sara’s a great girl. My job is to round up hot girls and bus them into clubs in San Diego or Vegas. The girls get free booze, food, whatever, and they attract rich and famous guys to the clubs. It’s a two-way street. The girls get to meet rich men and the guys get what they want, [which is] Sex, obviously."

    "Ashton was picking out girls who were 'hot tub worthy or not.' He would send his friends to hand-pick the prettiest girls from the dancefloor."

    "I saw Ashton dancing with several girls, including Sara. Fluxx has the reputation for only allowing the prettiest ones in. Ashton was clearly up for a good night."

Is it just me...or does rounding up hot girls, trafficking [cough, excuse me] and busing them to clubs in San Diego and Vegas...sound a lot like...

And "picking out girls who are 'hot-tub worthy...' is it just me, or does this not sound like a Bunny Ranch line up?

Anyways, saw the tabloid cover 'Ashton Kutscher's Love Child' while trudging to CVS for cigarettes post-drinking, and almost choked laughing.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Problems With Slut's Lib Movement

This bugged the hell out of me 6 months ago when a large number of my friends asked me to take part in the SlutWalk.

The SlutWalk, if you haven't heard of it, were in reaction to a Toronto police officer's suggestion, following a series of rapes, that "women should avoid dressing like sluts" to remain safe.

My initial reaction to this was: how is that statement any different from the following statement. Considering the increase in armed robbery in this neighborhood, men should avoid dress that conspicuously advertises their wealth to remain safe?

Right. I don't think a businessman in a Brooks Brothers suit and 400 dollar tie deserves to get robbed at gunpoint.

I don't think a girl who dresses like a whore deserves to get raped.

But seriously, I do think the dandy-ed up businessman (or woman) walking through an urban area deserves to get harassed by beggars. And I do think the tarted-up chick deserves to get harassed by drunken men.

What is the end-goal, anyways, of being able to wear hot pants and string-kinis and hooker heels in public and not get unwanted attention? What is the end point if this occurs?

Either, it means that men cannot express physical attraction under any circumstances. OR it robs women of the ability they possess to consciously use appearance and attire to influence the way in which they are perceived.

What is so seductive about being a woman is the ability to code-switch...simply by throwing on a hijab, or a conservative suit, or glasses and sweatpants, or a mini-skirt.

And what slutwalkers and second wave feminists alike do not get is that the sexualization of certain women does not lead to the sexualization of all women.

This all became overwhelmingly blatant one evening working in a strip club. The manager, an attractive brunette in jeans and an oversized tee-shirt, was sitting with a group of clients, regulars. She chatted with them...and she was simply, one of the boys. They all talked. They all looked at the dancers. They all resumed speaking. It was the most gender-neutral exchange I've seen in my entire life.

The funny thing about being in a strip club is that it is perhaps the only place a woman can go alone, drink, and not receive male attention. 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Husbands and Wives

A few answers to the why-men-cheat question irk-me-the-fuck-out.

On the one hand, lack of effort on the woman's part:
"If you want to keep your husband sexually happy the best advice I can give you is, get the word “no” out of your vocabulary!" http://maggiemcneill.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/a-whore-in-the-bedroom/

On the other, that any extramarrital desire is sick and perverted - bad man bad.

Seriously, I don't think a wife should be a Stepford Wife and do all of the emotional and sexual work within a marriage. I also don't think a husband should be forced to remain monogamous or demonized if he strays.

Marriages fall apart due to poor communication and lack of compromise.

Primarily it is the former. What happens is that one party is not happy, something he does not try to change and does not bother to express to the other party; subsequently the other party becomes less happy, and it evolves into a decrepit spiral of misery.

I view this as a product of contemporary feminist dogma about gender equality. Particularly, second wave feminism
1) Declared male desire for sex as objectification and use of women, and made men ashamed of their own sexual desires.
2) Criticized little emotional or material motivators men have always used to get consensual sex.
3) Called women "repressed" and thus set the expected "bar" for sexual activity much higher.
4) Blanket-stigmatizing infidelity.
5) The Pure Relationship. Essentially, an idealized relationship freed from traditional economic and social constraints. A relationship that is only engaged in for what it can bring to both parties and that is reflexively evaluated - in other words: idealization of marriage and a structure in which failure of the marriage to live up to an ideal is a good excuse to break it...

As a result, men want and have gotten sex (prior to marriage) quite easily. Moreover, a variety of sex - oral, anal, porno-style, etc etc etc.

At the same time, once in marriage, men are ashamed of cajoling sex out of their wives, lest they be forcing their wives to engage in - oh no - unwanted consensual sex. They've also completely lost the art of cajoling unwanted into wanted.

They have also (because as we all know, masculine and feminine sexuality is essentially the same/gender is constructed) never been taught to engage in emotional work or honest, straightforward conversation about desire.

Thus - what happens?

Refer to the aforementioned spiral. Which typically ends with the sullen resolution that the marriage is bad, a series of affairs with secretaries/waitresses/strippers/housekeepers which either a) go no where "because of the kids" or (refer to the 'pure relationship' mentioned above, infidelity, lack of passion and excitement, and boredom indicates that something is broken. And interestingly, divorce is more socially acceptable than infidelity)  b) lead to divorce.

Your wife works too. She is also primarily responsible for childcare and household work. She really does not have the time and energy to ensure that your pure relationship stays zesty, sexy and passionate.

You have to do some of the work. Here are a few simple steps to take if you are unhappy:

1) Take your wife out to dinner. Hire a baby sitter or leave the kids at your parent's house and fly your wife out to New York or London or where ever you're traveling to. Do exactly what you would do with a call girl, except only with your wife (seriously, it will be cheaper.) I'm overworked, stressed constantly, etc. etc. etc. But still, it only takes the right kind of affection: listening to me ramble, little pats and cuddles and kisses, a thoughtful gift, a little love note, a dinner cooked for me, etc. etc. etc. and I'm more than in the mood.Even something a wee bit exciting. A note left on her dresser or a piece of lingerie. Essentially, all you have to do is demonstrate clearly that you passionately desire her.

2) If your wife is still sullen/cranky/whatever, talk. Talk about problems you are having/things you want that aren't there. Ask what problems she is having/things that aren't there.

3) If there are certain types of sex/fantasies she isn't into...or vice versa, talk about whether or not she would be comfortable with you getting them outside of the relationship. Establish rules. Make it explicitly clear that you are still in love with her - that it's just an excitement thing (seriously, I don't think I'd be able to keep up excitement/passion in a long-term monogamous relationship. And I do think infidelity - FOR BOTH PARTIES - stirs up an appreciation for the stability, friendship, and love in a long-term relationship. And I also do think that there are some things you can get from an escort that I would not want to give my husband. I would not want to perform porno-sex. I don't think I'd want to dominate my husband or be dominated by him...simply because I'd worry that that dynamic might seep into the overall relationship. I would be happy to pleasure my husband; but while I can fake it for cash, I simply cannot fake it for love).

Possibly purchase the 1970s "Open Marriage."

Establish rules. Maybe offer up a my-fault-you-take-95%-of-our-net-worth contract on the off-chance you fall in love in your dabblings and they detract from the marriage. (If my husband mentioned this, I would be way over okay with him doing whatever he wanted. I would be okay with not because of the insurance; right - the insurance would make me less used or cheated if he left me for someone half my age; but more importantly, that declaration would be an expression that he doesn't want anything beyond physicality; and more importantly, a built in incentive to just not let emotions develop.)

Honestly encourage her to express any sexual fantasies she has which are extra-relational. Maybe she just wants to be taken out to dinner by another married man on a "casual encounters" website. Maybe she wants to work as dominatrix or an escort. Maybe she wants to be gang-banged. Whatever. You have to be okay with that too.

4) If this fails, then you have my blessing to do whoever the fuck you want.

p.s. This whole post is based in my personal belief on gender. I think that men and women do experience sex differently and that masculine and feminine desire is different. I think this is inextricably tied to the dynamic of heterosexual intercourse: a man is doing something to a woman (Being on top is sort of like moving the wood-barrel of milk rather than the churn...get what I'm saying?)

However, I  do not believe not for one second, that men are fundamentally incapable of engaging in emotional work or communicating. 

Good Sex and Bad Sex

Contemporary society has a fairly standard understanding of "Bad Sex"

There is Rape - "Lack of consent may result from either forcible compulsion by the perpetrator or an incapacity to consent on the part of the victim (such as persons who are asleep, intoxicated, otherwise mentally helpless or under-aged).

There is Consentual Unwanted Sex - This is described as sex engaged in for reasons other than desire for sex: "to get him to love her, for a hug of physical closeness, to be popular, to prove her worth, to gain sexual experience." On this line of thought, "...virtually all prostitution, phone sex, nude dancing, etc. is unwanted sexual activity by definition, since these workers require payment."
Finally, there is Consensual and Wanted but Unequal Sex  typically, the measuring stick for whether or not a sex act is equal is sexual pleasure: do both parties have orgasms?

Okay - There are a million types of wrong to this, IMHO.

Or, at least in my own opinion, from my own experience, in terms of the type of sex acts which were most traumatic to most enjoyable.

The most traumatic experiences were completely consensual - I was sober, I was naive, I had low self-esteem. What was involved was overt declarations that I was physically attractive, mentally titillating, that he was in love. I slept with him. Naturally, everything changed the next morning...he fucked off. What was so awful about this was that he, my friends, everyone else said that I was silly for being upset. Moreover, being upset at having been deceived and hence treated inconsiderately was interpreted as "love" and thus pathetic.

The second most traumatic experiences I had were also consensual - by this time, I was not so naive, I just wanted physical and personal gratification. At the same time, what upset me was that I did not specifically tell the person: "Right, you don't have to lead me on. You do realize I just want to fuck." Thus, although I had not been "tricked," I felt as though my sexual partner felt gratification in having tricked me. Additionally irritating was that (these were friends) my partner was quite aloof and different subsequently. Thus, I did not necessarily want anything from sex. I certainly, though, did not want to have given something I did not actually consent to giving (an ego-boost at having pulled) and I did not want sex to deteriorate a relationship.

The third most traumatic experiences were sex acts which I experienced as expressions of love but were not experienced as expressions of love by the other person. This was normally sex with a boyfriend during the end-stages of the relationship. I'm not blaming the boyfriend - I think the relationship began genuinely - he sincerely believed that I was special and that he was in love with me. I sincerely believed that he was special, and I was in love with him. The relationship corroded because of fear of commitment/contact from a former partner/life generally being a mess/the fact that I continued to work as an escort. This might have been the most traumatic; but it wasn't his fault (IE, he didn't consciously try to hurt me) - it really was my own fault for remaining within the relationship when I knew and he knew implicitly it was over.

The fourth most traumatic experiences were rape. I was raped once while traveling abroad. I believe they would have been most traumatic had they been unprotected or violent - ie, had the acts physically jeapordised my own health or safety.

But honestly, use of physical force for consent was less traumatic than emotional or mental coercion to consent--I remained mentally detached from the act; I was not complicit in the act. The perpetrator did not use anything other than my body. I had not given him anything. Had I not feared for my own safety, they would not have been traumatic at all. Once I was safe, I felt a sense of exhileration. I bought watermelon and laughed and laughed and laughed.

There was sex I engaged in out of love - which was enjoyable but dangerous - particularly outside of long term and committed relationship.

There was sex I engaged in because I was being paid. This was overwhelmingly enjoyable, and it ranged from general detachment with a sociological fascination at the client to a sense of bounded connectedness to something quite similar to the final experience I'll write about -- a client paid, took me for drinks and dinner, then told me I could do whatever I wanted. At minimum, payment made all of these sex acts completely consensual. 

The most positive sexual experiences I have had have been those which were engaged in for reasons other than gratification or attention or love, or that were explicitly purchased. What I mean by this is - they were serendipitous experiences in which I was traveling and met a stranger who had no interest in sleeping with me. We talked. There was a sense of connectedness, perhaps fantasy-based, perhaps context-specific. They let me sleep on their couch, they took me out to dinner. They did all of this without any expectation that I would engage in physical intimacy with them. In these cases, I consented freely...in part as a sign of value for their kindness and sincerity and personality and uniqueness, in part because I wanted to imprint that transient relationship on both of our minds and bodies with sex, through a kind of momentary intimacy and connectedness.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Feminist Logic

I think I've expressed this a number of times previously. I'll say it again: pushing for gender equality and the criminalization and stigmatization of exchange of monetary goods for sexual services produces the following pattern of logic:

-Masculine and Feminine sexuality is not different.
-Thus, women and men should equally enjoy recreational, romantic and reproductive sex.
-Que in Sexual Liberation - women start having sex without romance or commitment for free.
-Because masculine and feminine sexuality is different, women experience extra-relational sex negatively, quite simply because it leaves them feeling cheap, under-appreciated and used.
-Additionally, free promiscuity leaves men less likely to commit.
-Which leads to female sexualization broadly: what I mean is that women dress slutty, flirt, deal with crappy, disrespectful men, have sex more frequently than they would like and engage in sex acts they do not enjoy, simply to attract and retain men.
-Which in turn, validates neo-con assertions that women are harmed by recreational sex, at which point we return to female suppression of sexuality and preservation of purity in order to secure romantic and committed relationships.


I recently discovered that are more gyms offering strip-inspired dance and work-out classes than actual strip clubs in my city. 

For me, this is the symbolic summation of feminist movements' efforts to eradicate gender: women paying to dance erotically for themselves.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Prostitution is...

The only place where emphatically saying yes to sex sober doesn't say I love you.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sugar Dating in a Nutshell

Summing up the bad (and ignoring the good bits...) in seven months of sugar dating.

Excuse me, did you really just ask about "the money?" I didn't think you were...are you an...Woah. I don't want that kind of relationship, babe.

Ok, good, I knew you were a nice girl. Sweetheart, you're new at this, aren't you?

I knew it babe, I like that freshness. Maybe I can break your sugar-cherry so to speak. You know, it's a beautiful thing. It's about a young, beautiful woman enjoying being taken care of by a wise, intelligent older man. It's about clear expectations, it's about honesty, it's about no drama. So tell me...what are your favorite sex positions?

A pervert? Baby, now, you need to loosen up a little bit. I'll be gentle and ease you in, I promise. Forgive me, it's all of the testosterone in me, and from that photograph, you're a delicious looking little lady.

My expectations?

Well...Well, it's very important, I don't waste my time, you gotta be ready for me when I want you, you gotta be willing to travel, I'm a dominant guy, so if you're into being a little slave, then I think we're on the right track. And well, to set up expectations, this type of thing is all about honesty, you know, I do hope we can enjoy intimacy on the first date. My time is valuable, baby, I don't have time to waste with someone who's gonna flake. And it's natural to want to crave that after spending an hour in the company of a beautiful young woman, to want to enjoy her.

And, I'm just telling you this cause I get really fucking annoyed when I do the chivalrous thing and rent her a hotel room and all the girl does is want to cuddle and fall asleep. Damn, just thinking about that chick gets me going...look what I do for her, I don't want my drunk baby to be alone with one of those african arab cabbies, you can't trust them, I protect my girl from that trash, waste 400 dollars on a hotel suite, and then she does that to me? 

How about this baby, why don't you calm me down. Tell me, what kind of underwear are you wearing?

What I mean by NSA? I just mean I want a happy go lucky relationship. You know, I've had these in the past where my girl ends up becoming dramatic. You know, letting their hearts take control of them and just going wild, wanting to see me when I don't want to see them, talking about feelings, wanting to meet up and not have sex, wanting me to leave my wife...You know, liking the idea of a sugar relationship and liking it are two different things. It takes a very strong woman to be wild for a man and not confusing that with love, to enjoy being someone's dirty little secret...I respect that. So babe, tell me, how many times a day do you masturbate?

Huh? What do I mean by mutually beneficial? Baby, I tell you I always take care of my girls. I would be more than happy to spoil you rotten, take you out to to restaurants your college boys could never afford.

On a diet so you don't know if...well, I'm glad about that, baby. I like my girls so I can see through em. The protective part of me. But every girl likes to dress up for her man, be his arm candy. And babe, you can be sure I'll get you lots of sexy little outfits and lingerie and bling so you look the part.

What? You really aren't materialistic, don't see the point in having a 500 dollar dress when you could shop at nordstroms rack, don't see the point of going to really overpriced restaurants?

Listen, you sound like an experience, not things girl. I'll spoil you rotten with trips? Why don't I fly you out with me on my business trips and we can enjoy some sensual time together on the corporate tab? I have frequent flyer miles up to wazoo, and my secretary always books with consideration for my girls. You like to travel right?

Excuse me? You'd really rather have the cash and use it to take a trip with your real friends? Ouch. That hurt. I am your real friend, baby. Right, and that's another thing I have to explain...I like your freshness...it's not a public friendship. It's a private one. We don't meet eachother's family, colleagues, friends. And my girls can't call or text me...and...since honesty is so important in this, most of the time, we'll just be meeting in the intimacy of my hotel room...I really can't find someone my wife knows spotting us, that's understandable, right baby?...but I love my girls, I love them in a really deep, special way that isn't about thinking about the future or showing off to friends.

So tell me baby, are you shaved or bare? I like a clean pussy.

Accepted to Columbia law, protect your discretion too...Baby, now, don't get me wrong, I always love my girls for the beautiful young women they are...but how can a guy hide something he's so proud of? You know it's gonna be impossible for me to not show that sexy little picture you sent me, yeah, on the bed, you got it, to just a few of the partners at the firm?

Baby baby, listen, no, I never treat my girls like pieces of meat. Baby, you don't understand, I love them, I want to protect them, I always take care of my girlfriends. Rent and gas, Let me be your mentor, any college debt?

Excuse me, did you just say that your mother pays for your tuition and apartment? I'm sorry, did you just say your mother works? Like, in a suit? Women don't have real jobs. Wait, so why are you doing this again?

You like money, you like people, and you like sex?

So tell me, sweetheart, what do you hope to get out of this relationship?

Excuse me. Did you really just say you want to put money into gold funds? I don't know if...I always help out my girls, but I'm really only okay with helping out. You know, taking care of their needs. Adding some sugar to their life while they're in mine. 

That's just, you know, that makes me angry. "Is that because because it ensures that the other person is really pretty desperate and allows me to think I'm mentoring and helping out someone rather than paying for sex?" You really don't understand, babe, do you?

What, are you crazy? Starting up at Columbia in a year, parents won't pay for, you want me to pay it all now? Baby, I have to be discrete, baby, and I'm pretty sure the wife would notice if that goes missing.

How much would I be able to contribute on a monthly basis? You mean, like an allowance?

No, baby, now that just isn't fair to me. You see, I'm a busy man, I'm a workoholic, work and family first, what happens if I'm busy at work or on a family vacation and don't get to see you? Then I get the raw end of the deal.

No no no, baby, no. I'm not saying that I would want to help you out less if I see you less.

How long? How long? Baby, this is N. S. A. No strings, no drama, no BULL SHIT.

The last one? Well, do you mean someone I didn't stop shagging because they had a wierd mole, or didn't like me pulling their hair, or had droopy breasts, or stretch marks on their thighs, or a loose cooch?

About four months...but that was only because the wife checked her email in the middle of the night and saw hers there and threatened to forward all of her emails if to her daddy if she ever contacted me again.

But baby, live in the moment!

Then you'd like to at least do a set amount? Baby sweetheart don't you see, that's so transactional. That hurts me, that makes me feel like you're just doing this for the money. Can't we just be free...I give you the spare wad of twenties in my pocket at the end of the night.

You'd really rather be able to know exactly what you're getting out of this?

Excuse me? I don't take girls who aren't in for me. And me only. You've been burned before, baby, I know it, see, that's how I became so protective, so many girls have been burned and don't know how to let live and trust. You won't have to worry, I've made my way up in life, I'm a gentleman, one of those guys that like to take care of girls, you hurt me by asking how I'll help you out.

What? Did you just compare that to... how can you see it like that. See, I didn't think you were that kind of girl, but maybe I was wrong. It's not like that, how can you see it like that? It's about helping out a friend whenever I have time for her.

Did you really just say you've reconsidered and would rather have control over what you get out of sex than who you have sex with.

Are you saying you let anyone fuck you however they want? Huh, not picky, but that the 500/hour as a screening tool should do the trick?

You're going to get ugly ass men who are old enough to be your grandfather.

Huh, not attracted to physicality but intelligence, wealth, power and kindness?

You're full of shit. Attraction is all visual. You know, men who pay for sex are pathetic sadists and hate and exploit women. You do know that don't you?

You poor thing, I can see it, you've been burned so many times you don't know how to open your heart; you'd rather whore yourself to the world then trust and become a knight in shining armour's little princess.

Poor poor girl.

I pity you'll never find a way to open yourself to the beauty of a mutually beneficial relationship.

Monday, June 13, 2011

3 a.m.

[to be accompanied by:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4KXUr9JVng]

He holds me, kisses my neck, rubs my shoulders, strokes my wet chest. I rest my head on his shoulder, eyes closed. I kicks my legs out, padding wide feet against a cold tile wall. I open and close bright pink headed toes. 
“They're talking to each other.”
“My toes.” I say. I laugh. I flicker my toes back and forth, back and forth. 
“They're five-headed aliens and they're talking to each other.”
  He rubs my neck. “What are they talking about.”
“Oh, I don't know. Whatever aliens talk about.” I lean my head back into his shoulder and slip down, laughing until I spit up water with words: “You are so nice.”
“Really, why am I nice?”
 I laugh and slide up his chest. I turn around, kiss him. 
"You're listening to me talking to my toes.”

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"You know, when I read some of the stuff written by so-called 'feminist allies,' it feels like they are fighting over our bodies. It's like prostitutes are just these bodies who are somehow connected to something bad and evil or something good and on the cutting edge of revolution. They just turn us into symbols."

-Sandy, former teenage sex worker, in Wendy Chapkis' Live Sex Acts: Women Performing Erotic Labor.

Friday, June 3, 2011

"Cheap is when you fuck them just to shut them up.
Cheap is when you do it because they are worth so much.
Cheap is when you suck them till your jaws hurt so much they won't say you're uptight.
Cheap is when you do it to keep them home at night.
Cheap is when you want less than pleasure, a baby, or a hundred dollars.
Cheap is when you do it for security.
Cheap is what you are before you learn to say no.
Cheap is when you do it to gain approval, friendship, love.
--Scarlot Harlot, San Fransisco

"Prostitutes perceive trick unworthiness differently than society at large. They are less likely to judge either the sexuality or the commerciality of tricks and more likely to judge trick hypocrisy. One ex-prostitute said "I left The Life when I realized the very customers who were my friend in private were my enemies in public." ... In short, prostitutes consider betrayal to be unworthy, they consider corruption to be unworthy, and they consider dishonesty to be unworthy."

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Since no rational person would willingly be consumed as a sexual object, prostitution is necessarily a form of exploitation: its existence depends on the role social inequality plays in ensuring that the socially more powerful have access to sexual objects of their choice." 
-Scott Anderson

"47% of women reported the fantasy of ‘‘seeing themselves as a striptease dancer, harem girl, or other performer,’’ and 50% had fantasized about ‘‘delighting many men’’ and being an ‘‘irresistibly sexy female.’’ Out of a list of 16 fantasies,
the latter had the fifth highest mean frequency per month (5.3)."
-Leading researcher in heterosexual female desire, Marta Meana 

"...virtually all prostitution, phone sex, nude dancing, etc. is unwanted sexual activity by definition, since these workers require payment."

-Martha Becker

"The two primary sexual stimuli are partner advances (the strongest and most available sexual stimulus, especially for women without the spontaneous desire to seek out stimuli) or sexual activity initially agreed to for nonsexual reasons. [in other words, incentives, such as money, the desire for intimacy and cuddling, and the desire for attention cannot just be constructed as motivations for unwanted sex but rather as part of the erotic process"

Marta Meana 


...Although not enough
data are available to explain the existence of these fantasies,
one of the more persuasive explanations for the
‘‘being overpowered’’ fantasy is that it arouses by virtue
of its assertion of the woman’s irresistibility (Critelli &
Bivona, 2008). Another instance of desirability without
implication of surrender featured prominently in
Strassberg and Lockerd’s (1998) study: 47% of women
reported the fantasy of ‘‘seeing themselves as a striptease
dancer, harem girl, or other performer,’’ and 50% had
fantasized about ‘‘delighting many men’’ and being an
‘‘irresistibly sexy female.’’ Out of a list of 16 fantasies,
the latter had the fifth highest mean frequency per
month (5.3).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Body Rental - Part Three

I didn't plan to write about this again, but read an article about Organ markets...

so final thoughts...

I sort of see a list of physical services that undereducated poor people's bodies provide:

Ranked in Order of the social "good" they provide the developed world:

Ranked in order of harm done to the developing world:

Questioning potential trajectories for the development of each industry, I see

Transplants: Hopefully, if post-mortem organ donation normalizes across the developed world, the industry of harvesting organs from live donors will disappear.
Prostitution: Dubious. There are simultaneously increases in sex tourism AND in demand for more authentic, more emotionally fulfilling sex work. And there are a bunch of women who aren't sex workers. Don't see this skyrocketing. Or in other words, I don't see sexual services being completely outsourced to the poor/third world countries.
Surrogacy: I can totally see a society where all middle and upper-class women, with a few exceptions, outsource carrying babies to the third world/poor. I mean, that's sort of the last step gender equality needs to take, right? Freeze some eggs, work, have a great career, at 40, ship your eggs and your husbands sperm to a clinic in india to be carried by a woman there. I'd do it if the idea wasn't so horrific.

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Antis.

So - Amanda Brooks' last blog post was on Craigslist's dismantling of the erotic services page.

The post included a general rant over frustration with "Antis." Generally, prohibitionist groups. Who dominate discourse on Prostitution in America and use bogus research to construct arguments to heighten penalties against prostitutes/clients and heighten law enforcement activity.

The topic of prohibitionist Advocacy Groups in America is something that I've increasingly become interested in, thanks to a little miss I met dabbling in the club environment in Berlin last fall who made the unfortunate decision of taking a lot of sexual identity courses and studying commercial sex, broadly, when she returned from DE.

Poor America.

Anyways, Little Miss sent me a link to a very insightful article on abolitionist groups, advocacy research, and prostitution mythologies that get circulated in the press. Apparently, little miss sent an email to her father, who replied with:

"The most reasonable argument (and coincidentally my own view) about the effect of paid sex on the women (and men) involved is that it destroys all that is rewarding, challenging, life-enhancing, about intimate interpersonal relationships...the infinitely interesting negotiations between prospective lovers is replaced with cash and play-acting, the only remotely interesting questions remaining being a) the man's deluded question of whether she would "really" like him even without the cash and b) the woman's question of how much money she can make from the man.  This sort of more or less reasonable position is held by more or less reasonable people.

I'm guessing many ardent prohibitionists are (unreasonable) Homely And Over-Educated (HAOE) women.

HAOE women resent men and women who are having loose or paid sex: they resent men because men reject them. They resent "loose" women because loose women "unfairly" employ physical attractiveness to snare (gullible, stupid) men.  Most of all, they resent that their homeliness and over-educatedness completely rules them out of the paid-sex arena. (Men with money choose attractive and educated women; men without money are too "low" for HAOE women.) 

Because they aren't getting any, HAOE women have a great deal of energy available to agitate for their position, they're angry. The "reasonable" argument stated above in the second paragraph isn't the sort of position that anyone can agitate for or get get worked up about.

So HAOE women have to create a fantasy world in which their anger (at being rejected by men, at being excluded from the paid-sex world) is justifiable. 

For HAOE to direct their anger at paid-sex women would expose their jealousy and make them look silly.

But while (loose and) paid-sex women are merely unfair competition, paying-for-sex men actively reject HAOE, and thus come in for the worst attacks.

So what is generally a routine, freely bargained cash-for-fun transaction is transformed in HAOE fantasy to brutal exploitation by the paying man, and desperate helplessness in the paid woman.   

In this way can the HAOE woman express in a socially acceptable way her rage at being rejected by men and excluded from the paid-sex arena."

Thank you, Father of Little Miss.

And then, there are a few other Ardent Abholitionists:

-Women who have had traumatic, exploitative experiences in prostitution. I empathize with this group. I do. And in no way do I question the depth of their pain or the legitimacy of their subjective experiences.

At this point, it's important for me to state: in no way do I believe my own experience as an escort is entirely representative of sex work. I do believe, based on meeting an increasing number of escorts, reading blogs, and reading this really fantastic british escort discussion forum that the number of women in sex work who enjoy sex work or at least don't hate it and who are almost solely harmed by the stigma of participating in sex work (harm=difficulty in finding romantic partners and employment, hiding a large part of their life from friends and family, the threat of arrest and fear of reporting rape and physical assaut to police) is not insignificant. 

Returning to this group: just as I do not say that all hookers are happy hookers, I find it unfair and irresponsible for this group to claim that all hookers are underaged, coerced into sex work, and abused in sex work. Angela Dworkin, I feel for you. I do. But ask yourself why your writing on prostitution becomes the literary flag of all prohibitionist groups, whereas your writing on marriage and heterosexual sex is ridiculed.

Honestly, if banning prostitution entirely would prevent 14-year-old girls from being emotionally manipulated by pimps, abducted and traded into sex slavery, I would support that. It is banned. It doesn't. Essentially, I hope that in the future, this group will work with the happy hooker group to advocate for social and child-welfare services and for policies which best promote the safety and welfare of vulnerable groups in prostitution.

-Pie-in-the-sky philosophers.  Prostitution inherently objectifies women. Legalizing prostitution will enforce gender inequalities, institutionalize gendered labor, and sexualize society so that male bosses, colleagues and classmates will feel comfortable offering all women money for sex. (This is too much to delve into right here. A later post.)

-Wives and Husbands Remember Spitzer was New York's Antitrafficking Crusade's number one man. America, and perhaps western society in general, is so obsessed with physical fidelity, and views physical infidelity as a cataclysmic event in an emotional relationship. (This will be another post.) Thus, young, attractive women who are available for physical infidelity are an existential threat to partnerships.

-Evangelical Moralists I believe the true-in-words-and-spirit-and-acts evangelical moralist is a rare creature. A rare rare creature indeed. But hey, if you truly believe that handing out pamphlets and hugs on street corners and in strip clubs will save women and souls, power to you.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wives and Whores...

Found in the New Internationalist...

"The whore-stigma ensures that the Good Woman and the Bad Girl stick to their separate spheres. For what might happen if it were suddenly OK for housewives and hookers to get together?

A friend of mine, a working prostitute, comments: ‘I think a lot of men are afraid that if their wives cottoned on to how much we make in this business, they wouldn’t put up with the old man anymore. I’ve had clients say as much. It’s the money – women don’t have the money to get out of a boring marriage, or whatever, and these men know it. It’s how they keep ‘em down.’"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"I like to believe I have some kind of free choice. Some choice in my life. That
I chose a lesser evil. I wanted to do it. And somehow I want that to be respected.
I wanted to do that. Somehow their pity deprives me of my freedom of choice.
. . . Something in me just resents this moralism, their uplifting. I’d like so much
to have the illusion that I had some freedom of choice. Maybe it’s just an
illusion, but I need to think I had some freedom."

Female Body Rental, Part Two

Right right right.

Motherhood is noble.The desire to give a child a good household is...noble. Having Children is a right. Yeah yeah yeah.

But let's backtrack here: how is this right constructed?

1a. It is the right to have a child with your own DNA
1a. It is the right to have a child from your CLASS, of your race.
2 (for couples that can concieve) It is the right to avoid the burden of pregnancy.

For 1a, there is always the option of adoption. There are LOTS of options...and yes, knowing people who have adopted, it's a round-about process with long wait times.

For 2, it's especially problematic.

Supporters of surrogacy for group 1 support (my assumption is largely middle and upperclass women)'s desires to posess a child of their own DNA makeup.
Supporters of surrogacy for group 2 support middle and upperclass women's desires to posses a child of their own DNA makeup and to outsource the physical burden of creating that child to another woman.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Female Body Rental

Women's bodies can be rented for gendered purposes. They can be rented for sexual purposes. Or reproductive purposes.

Since the cash incentive of prostitution and economic exploitation of empoverished women in prostitution is already well documented (I mean, noone in their right mind would argue that women have sex in prostitution for altruistic reasons or because they...just enjoy it.), I'll leave that fact out and focus on the cash incentive and economic structuring of surrogate purchasers renters. Then I'll compare the physical and emotional risks and benefits of selling your womb versus selling your vagina, and ask some open-ended questions about how each is understood.

Surrogacy Facts:

-There are fewer surrogate mothers in states and countries where commercial surrogacy is banned.
-The average surrogate earns between $10,000 and $35,000 for surrogacy.
-The average surrogate’s annual income is between $6,000 to $55,000.
-And while a survey of surrogates indicated that 80% of respondents said that money wasn’t the main motivator, the following questions on a surrogate mother forum indicate that money actually does…sorta…matter. http://www.surromomsonline.com/answers/11.htm
-The average cost of surrogate pregnancy for a couple desiring a surrogate child is $100,000.
So it’s…wealthy couples. Wanting reproductive services. From lower-class women.

Comparison between physical and emotional risks and costs of surrogacy and pregnancy:

-Time Nine month, 24/7 rental, hormonal and physical changes; Hormone injections.
-Control factor If complications arise, couple might want you to abort the baby. You cannot abort the baby past the second trimester. Lifestyle changes and constant monitoring by "couple."
-Physical Risk 10.43 per cent chance of experiencing complications for women aged 20-29 (This is not including C-sections, random minor complications), 3 months of physical discomfort and 4-35 hours of intense physical pain. Permanent physical alteration, damage (loose breasts and skin on stomach, stretched out vagina).
-Emotional Damage: Preparing yourself to be detatched from a human being that has been growing inside of you for nine months and to which your body is releasing a bunch of attachment hormones.
-Power relationship: You are being monitored, and are being pressured into maintaining obligations by lawyers, a married couple, and a host of doctors. Pure objectification - the act of harvesting a baby involves, purely, providing a good, drug free enviornment for a future child.
-Pay Rate: (considering median surrogate fee of $20,000 for 9 months, 10 days of 24/7 on-duty, we'll add another month of 8 hour/day for dietary and health constraints and hormonal injections) Appx. $3.00/hour
-Fraction of total fees paid to woman rented: appx. 20%

-Time: Most frequently, between 10 min and an hour of continuous and purely physical services.
-Control: The possibility to terminate provision of services if pain/physical discomfort arises.
-Physical Risks: If we assume standard work conditions, physical risks include minor vaginal or anal tearing, jaw or hand cramps, and minimal possibility of STD transmission via Oral sex or if a condom slips off or breaks during vaginal or anal intercourse.Generally, none. Possible minor laxity of anus and vagina.
-Emotional damage: detachment from someone you most likely weren't attracted to anyways. Possibly closing your eyes and imagining that George Clooney, rather than very sweet but quite fat 60 year old banker, is on top of you. developing a different attitude towards sex. possible trust issues.
-Power relationship: at best, it's you and the guy.
-Objectification Factor At worst, pure objectification. No conversation, the guy walks in, he fucks you, he leaves. At best, you're a temporary girlfriend and your personality, interests, speech and movements are all cherished.
-Pay Rate (assuming a women with the same socioeconomic stability, health, and education as the average american surrogate mother) $350.00/hour.
-Fraction of total fees paid to woman rented: 
Independent: 100%
Agency: 50-75%
Brothel: 40-60%

Why is surrogate motherhood legal in the United States while prostitution is illegal? Why is the former illegal in Canada, the UK, and the EU, while the later is either completely or partially legalized?

What makes it acceptable for upper-middle class couples to provide financial incentives to young, lower class women to perform reproductive services and why is this practice construed as “noble” and “not exploitative?”

Also, what makes it unacceptable for upper-middle class men to provide financial incentives to lower class women to perform sexual services, and what makes this institution “dirty,” “exploitative,” and “abusive towards women?”

A bit of literary candy...

In a beige hotel room. Satin curtains blowing.

I was blowing him. About an inch and a half in, focusing on the tip, not very much head movement, rotating hands. Licking, exploring the crease of the tip, the scar mark from circumcision, the little line that pulls the tip downwards...

I glance up. He's gripping the back of his head. The white pillows. He sees my pupils.

"God, that's absolutely amazing."

I flip up. Jut my face forward. Grin.


"Yeah, you're avoiding the common problem. Girls make it all the time. Most girls go really fast up and down, you know, jam me against the back of their throat. The tip, though, is the most sensitive part. So having lips and tongue around the base of my cock and the back of her throat against the tip doesn't actually feel that great."

Holding his cock gently with one hand, feeling the soft skin, a teasing kiss...

"I know why. Porn. Guys watch porn. Girls watch porn. Porn is all about deep throating, pushing a woman's head down, a woman frantically going up and down."


My lips are gently pursed around him. I flicker his tip with my tongue. Resting my chin on the tip, holding him gently. Rub the tip against the dip in my chin, my lip, bring it in, lick, look up.

"Yeah, this is oh...amazing. Visually, does nothing." I grin. Move up and down, hold his hardening balls, feel pricks of freshly shaved hair push up through the skin.

"Yeah. I think that's hot because it's power. You have a girl taking it in really deep, and you get the thought, she's doing this FOR ME. But I'm not into pain. So it, yeah, doesn't really do anything for me.

A few minutes later...

"You know, if you want to get in on this at all, you better stop doing that, missie."

I get up. I kneel over, squatting on his thighs, my abdomen pointing his penis straight up, towards my belly buttion.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Boooo ooooring

Too many MFA applications, too much solitary time, perpetual grey, not enough living.

Leads to theoretical, dry, boring and dogmatic posts. Very dogmatic. Reading these posts from the third-party perspective, would fear the author might any day
a)tie stones to the skirt of one of her new dresses and drown herself in the spree
b)go kill bill and start castrating men while inside of her
c)shave her head, make moccasins, and join a Catherine-Mackinnon-esque commune somewhere a few hundred miles outside tuscon.

I apologize.

 The next batch will be titillating. Visual. And devoid of commentary.

Female Consumption

What is female consumption? I've been milling the question over, sort of inspired by a book an anthro-student-friend recommended sort of inspired by a rampant shopping spree.

Fuck mother fuck those god-damn designer-sale websites.

I swear, Gilt.com, Hautelook.com, Ideeli.com, it's like they restage black friday daily on the internet. Replacing 80% off walmart-brand electronics with 80% off bridge-wear. Replacing middle-america housewives with the average young and bored manhattan working woman on their lunch-breaks. Seriously, it's quite easy to blow $1,200 when you have only 10 minutes to decide if you want to buy a $2000 dress for $350, and you only have 10 minutes or Debby the PR lady in San Fran will snag the only size 8 left.

I'm expecting two boxes to arrive tomorrow morning. A pink silk one-shoulder dress and a grey-blue, embroidered tunic.

I'm excited.

I'm excited to try them on.

I'm excited about trying them on and looking at myself in a mirror. I'm excited to be taken out to dinner while wearing them and feel a man's eyes wash over my body.
*       *      *

What am I buying when I buy these dresses? I'm buying an image of myself, I guess. It's not about the object. It's about the physical transformation of myself through an object.

Women buy make up. And hair products. Beauty services. Jewlery. Clothing.

They buy drinks at upscale bars. They buy dinners. Essentially, they purchase an image, they veil themselves in it, and they purchase the opportunity to be seen as that image.

This extends to divorced, celibate women without sex drives, to married women with children as well...

So - they aren't doing this so much to attract attention. To attract a specific goal. Rather, they are paying to partake in a visual fantasy.

Funnily enough, men will pay for that very same fantasy. Just spoke with an 1500, 3 hour minimum escort. When I asked her what distinguishes someone at her level from a lower level, she laughed: "conversation skills. Being well-kept. And clothing. I mean, if someone is paying that much, you can't show up in something from Banana Republic or Gap. Or with chipped nails. They're expecting pucci, or dior."


"Yes. They actually, believe it or not, some guys will actually ask what you're wearing. They're quite knowledgable." [No wonder I make 300 euros/hour]

If women spend surplus money on embodying a specific fantasy; and they enjoy that fantasy through the eyes of another: even if that enjoyment comes through looking in a mirror, in a window pane, through imagining onesself as the magazine clipping she is trying to emulate, can anything but escort work fully complete that fantasy?

Can anything other than escort work fill the void of the fantasy, imaginary observer with an equally distant and unattached observer?

I think that escort work can be erotic for the escort - if only auto-erotic.

Auto-erotic in that the financial nature of the transaction, and the one-sided nature of it, makes the experience entirely centered around the female body, it's up-keep, and it's adornment; and ultimately, it can be the perfect and most honest way for a woman to consumate that fantasy, by mentally, at least, enjoying her own body alongside her client.

A Job or Not Quite A Job

Some people are wives and mothers and doctors/journalists/ceos. Some people are girlfriends and doctors/journalists/ceos.

I like babies. A lot. Way too much. And it's super-easy to see myself - a nice, fairly well-off guy comes along, a year of dating, some "ah, I don't know what I want to do with my life" instability, and bam, I end up a housewife/mother.

The nice thing about being an escort is that that ain't gonna happen. What would my mother say if I became just an escort? What would my father say? What would anyone say? Becoming just a housewife is acceptable, becoming just an escort is not. Loosing yourself completely into an alternate-universe-relationship with a boyfriend is acceptable. Loosing yourself into being a sex worker is not. Whining and moping and bitching and gossiping about casual sex and having that be the key-point of conversations with friends is acceptable. Having it be about being an escort is not.

And honestly, now I know all about so many different things. And honestly, where else can I get paid for getting investment advice from someone who makes a million a year at a bank?

I think that's why I'm really super-wary of going professional, you know? I even - I went on a shopping spree over the past few weeks: 1200 dollars in clothes; really cute, versatile clothes because I'm sick of everything I bought, and because what flatters my body now is really different from before plastic surgery. But that 1200 made me sort of (completely) sick...I don't know - it sort of felt like I was investing a hell of a lot of money into being a pretty object. So - long story short, set up a brokerage account and am depositing all but 200 dollars into that. And hopefully I'll not end up, like so many other masters and post-liberal-arts masters students, stuck in a dead-end job.

Being found attractive and getting taken to really nice restaurants and hotels - not such a shock-excitement any more. Getting intimate access to the world's best and brightest and most experienced and respected, while obtaining financial freedom? And getting enough whatever to not be a push-over/take shit from stupid boys? Pretty priceless.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Interesting: Women in MBA Schools...

From a friend

"E. Thought you'd find this interesting. Just attended a presentation on women attending an Ivy League MBA class: the findings were that women-minority students were highly conscious of their gender, while the male majority and male teacher was not conscious of either their gender or the gendered experience of the females in the class room. Women are fucking insane."

I did find it interesting.

What interested me, then, is that at least in this case, females are responsible for their own dis-empowerment: discrimination, harassment just isn't there: it's not the 1960s News Room or Wallstreet bidding floor.

But the basic idea is that in order to advance as citizens and professionals, in order to gain status and independence, women had to emasculate themselves and take on male tastes.

I am sexually equal became I, like men, can enjoy casual sex. I, like men, I can play sports.

The interesting thing is that in doing this, women lost a lot of the power they traditionally had: power over relationships, the idea that men should financially and emotionally support women; the sense of guilt men traditionally had, for example, over sleeping with a girl and then not talking to her, or, if a girl got pregnant, the implication of not getting married - all of this has disappeared.

Casual sex, it turns out, produces a lot of single mothers, abortions, and difficulty finding someone to settle down and marry. And women enter the work place, but still more often than men switch to part-time work or house-wife themselves entirely when they have children.

I think the feminist movement forgot a few things: women are most fertile in their 20s, and fertility rates begin to drop dramatically at 28. Women are physically transformed by producing children. Women age differently than men. Heterosexual women still want relationships with men.

So - listening to the presentation, I was inclined to think that womens' consciousness of their gender: dressing up for class, acting flirtatiously, performing femininity, is a strange way of reasserting traditional aspects of female power.

To conclude: is true gender equality ever possible? Highly doubtful.

Debtors and Creditors in Romantic and Sexual Relationships

Gift Giving. Social Theory - one very useful thing that comes out of two years of communal common core reading.

A friend at one of America's other universities that forces social theory down the throats of undergraduates just sent me this, and we both thought it would be worth sharing here...

In City of Capital's first Chapter, Carruthers explores financial exchange (the loan-debt relationship) as a way of solidifying relationships between states and between debtors and creditors, and how being in debt places debtors in a position of power. 

Debtor Creditor Relationships also exist in romantic and sexual relationships, I think, and I'd like to explore this, and the way exchange influences 3 paradigms of romantic and sexual relationships. 
Society has traditionally considered women to be the provider of sexual services and men to be the consumer of sexual services. Whether this dynamic is based in biological differences between genders, (gendered evolutionary reproductive strategies, the cost of pregnancy and child-rearing for women, etc.) Judith Butler-style gender performativity, or to womens' traditional domestic sphere has been widely and inconclusively debated, and that I've personally spent a lot of fruitless mental time and space struggling with, but, anyways, for this post, it isn't so important. At any rate, this attitude lingers despite women's economic and professional advancement, demonstrated in "Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate and Think About Marrying," by the authors' main claim that the value of sex has dropped to an all-time low in contemporary mainstream relationships as college-educated women increasingly outnumber men and as casual, uncommitted sex becomes more available. 
Thus, we can think of sex as a good women offer and men “purchase” in a number of ways: through attention and commitment (marriage, going steady), informally (through gifts and meals purchased during a traditional courtship period) and directly (through prostitution).
  1. Through non-financial means: a man shows prolonged interest in and commitment to a woman. In a contemporary relationship, non-financial goods and sexual services are exchanged in an incremental process that leads to increasing levels of intimacy and commitment. This is what the authors of “Premarital Sex in America” have in mind. Taking traditional gender norms as a basis, both the male and female partner exchange “goods” on an encounter-to-encounter basis while subconsciously evaluating a parity of exchanges. The partner who is a “debtor” in this relationship is most likely to hold power in the relationship, and the “creditor” is more likely to be interested in prolonging and intensifying the relationship. Women who have casual sex are more likely to want a long-term relationship with their partner then men who engage in casual sex demonstrates this. Likewise, women are more likely to find marriage partners and secure committed relationships after a long, nonsexual courtship process, typfied in conservative cultures (Christian colleges, Muslim countries) where sex is generally withheld until marriage. In the former example, women desire a longer, more serious relationship because they feel the attention, commitment and interest provided were not of equal value to the “sexual services” offered. In the later example, the courtship process turns men into creditors, where attention, commitment and investment are given prior to the receipt of sexual services.
  2. Sugar-Daddy/Sugar-Baby style relationships. Referencing 1930s, Male-majority college dating culture, Kathleen Boygle writes in “Hooking Up” that “exploitation occurred when one partner was more interested in a continuing relationship that the other and thereby she or he was willing to give in to the other's demands...women might exploit men by “gold digging,” while men could exploit women for sexual favors or “thrills.”” (179) Today, this grey-zone of romantic relationships involves what Boygle would consider mutual exploitation: women exchange “sexual favors” and “thrills” for gifts and allowances. Like in mainstream relationships, the female “sugar baby” holds power if the sexual and romantic “goods” she provides are worth less than the financial goods she receives. Having examined Arrangement-dating websites and blogs interviewed 10 men and 4 women involved in these relationships, both sides attempt to become the debtor in this relationship: women often attempt to withhold sexual services and commitment until a certain number of gifts have been given or the first installment of a monthly allowance has been made; men attempt to receive intimacy (either by talking extensively about their own and their potential partner's sexual desires or kissing or fondling on the first date.) Like in normal relationships, the partner who has given more is most likely to become emotionally attached to their partner and to desire a continuous, ongoing relationship. Often, in order to meet both the Sugar Daddy and Sugar Baby's desire for reciprocity, the relationship begins with the exchange of financial services for romantic and sexual services on an encounter by encounter basis. Generally, because the language of this type of relationship refers to “generosity” and “spoiling” and “being spoiled,” the man holds the power in this relationship: rather than, like in prostitution, stating a price for specific services or chunks of time, the man will suggest a certain sexual encounter with the promise of “being generous” without explicitly stating the level of “generosity.” Thus, in a one-time encounter, services will be provided prior to payment; or, in order to procure a long-term arrangement with a monthly allowance, a potential Sugar Baby will go on multiple “dates,” physically and orally indicate attraction and sexuality, and allow for lower levels of physical contact.
  3. Explicit exchange of sexual services for money. Reviewing a British escort and escort-client website, it becomes clear that male clients of escorts are much more often interested in entering a long-term, romantic and unbounded relationship with a female escort than vice versa. Additionally clients often want to please the escort: there are a number of long topic-threads discussing how to best way to sexually pleasure escorts, escorts receive gifts, flattering hallmark cards, etc. This odd gender-norm-reversal can be explained by the power of the creditor in a debtor-creditor relationship. Clients of escorts become sexual creditors: they pay upfront; they also seek at least the illusion of mutual attraction and satisfaction. (Collins, Interaction Ritual) Further, in the act of selecting and purchasing a sexual encounter, indicate physical attraction and sexual desire for the woman. The dynamic of casual sex, discussed in “Hooking Up,” where unbounded sex implies that the woman is attracted to and values the man but not necessarily vice versa, is flipped. Thus, clients enters a commercial sex transaction desiring mutual attraction and sexual satisfaction, and, in paying upfront, is likely to receive neither. 


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Favorite Female Lead?

So - like, about half of the time I meet a client, I have this Ahah! moment. Basically, what happens is there's a pause on either side, and I realise exactly what the guy wants, which is ultimately different from what I'm giving him, and by that point it's too late.

The problem is, when you do GFE, it sort of kills the mood to just at the beginning say "OK, so what are you looking for" and most guys don't really know how to answer the question: the general (80%) answer is "oh, you, know, just the usual...although I did get one guy who went through an inventory of my offerings as advertised on the agency site...quite funny. Um, but what I'm getting at is that the question: what do you like, is a lot more complicated when it isn't just sex.

I also, a guy I saw a half-dozen times in Berlin just sent me a film clip, and I had that ahah moment: the way the female lead interacted in that movie, in a different scene from the climactic one he had sent me, was exactly how I interacted with him. And so the basic idea of that is that I was this character for him...and this character eventually, in the film, looses her spunky naivety and innocence and leaves the country...and so I can imagine he kept on seeing me and has booked me to travel with him because I am that character in his mind.

And so...yeah, the great thing about advertising over the internet is that it's all a fantasy until the transaction begins: it's not like working on the street, or in a brothel or in a strip club, where your first encounter is an actual in-person encounter. The client builds up a fantasy, phantom character of you based on your picture, your description, and the limited email contact you have with him. And the goal is to be that phantom in real life...

So...and when I think about it, if I were to hire a male escort, looks, the actual content of the date wouldn't be important. But I love gregory peck in roman holiday...absolutely, in all moods, would love to be with that character. It's not just the physicality, the gestures, the way he talks...but something about the persona, the masculinity, the conflictedness and complexity.

So...going to weave in "love movies: what's your favorite female lead role?" into every pre-booking interaction. And then boom - 10 minutes watching you tube clips, and I'm ready to go.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Problems in Prostitution Research

I've been MIA. Erm...sorry. It was vacation. It was grad school applications. It was a lot of reading...news, news articles, social work, gender studies, etc. articles.

A friend of mine is studying commercial sex, loosely, and has introduced me to the very impartial world of American prostitution research.

See - www.prostitutionresearch.com



 Some of them result from accessability issues, some of them from the ideological approach of researchers...and some, simply from the fact that writers don't place prostitution within a wider economic and sexual context.

I'm not sure where to begin, so here are a few assumptions that are made:

-prostitution only takes place in enviornments of coercion: women are exploited by pimps, or agencies, or brothel owners.

-prostitution objectifies women; that women's bodies can be bought and sold create a larger societal understanding of women and sex as something that can be purchased.

-prostitution puts women in danger of sexual and physical abuse, rape, murder, yada yada.

-prostitutes find work emotionally traumatizing.

Problems with these assumptions:

-the internet, and forums for advertising independently, allow women to work independently. I've spoken with women who were sort of worst case scenario: abused as a child, currently addicted to heroine, detached, who were able to escape abusive situations and continue to do sex work independently. Traditionally, street-workers could make more money working with pimps, simply because pimps were able to access high-end clientele. The internet allows women to access this clientele without a 3rd party intermediary.

-emotional damage: there are a lot of aspects of street work, brothel, and even strip club work that I feel like I would not be able to handle: I would not be able to handle standing in a public place waiting for clients. I would not be able to handle having my own body as a marketing tool - standing, smiling, dressing, talking in a way that would advertise myself. I would not be able to handle a line-up situation: standing there with other women at an establishment and being viewed and selected (or not selected) by a client.  The internet allowed that to take care of the advertising/selection process: I was "objectified" (if we can even consider the encounters I had as objectifying...) for a discrete period of time for only a few hours a week. In terms of clientele, I was able to screen clients (I was shit at properly screening clients; most professionals will ask for full names, contact details, even require customers to submit to full background checks...). I screened clients based on their level of respect via email and phone conversations. I would not take a client who was rude, who was sexed up, etc. I also would not take requests to visit apartments.
The practicalities of escort work mean that women work from home, or in hotels, and can, if they choose, have many fewer clients than working in an establishment. (for example, I was able to make between 150 and 200 euro/hour doing escort work--per sexual encounter; working in a brothel, I would have made 20-40 euro per sexual encounter, depending on management cuts and the length of the encounter.) Thus, in order to sustain an income that approximates what student loans alot Germans in Berlin, I had to have sex with 3-4 clients a month, versus 15-30 times/month.

-again, screening issues allow escorts to filter out potentially violent clients...

So - anyways, this is a bit round-about, but I essentially see the main problems with prostitution research is that

-they draw conclusions about the entire industry from the most accessable individuals in the industry. The most accessible individuals, generally, are individuals seeking social services, in drug rehabilitation clinics, in jails, on the street, and to a lesser extent, in brothels, saunas, and clubs where multiple women can be accessed in one go (funny funny funny, sounds like the same reason clients go there...)

-they approach research with bias: for example, the idea that having sex multiple times in a row with people you don't know is traumatic, that sex workers have traumatic childhoods and few other options, that sex work...yada yada.

-they don't contextualize (or some do, props to Venkateesh) sex work within a broader framework of relationship and economic possibilities:

What does the amount of money one earns doing sex work allow for? I'll answer the question: it allows for a middle class lifestyle. It allows, if one is careful, escaping a sexually or physically abusive father of boyfriend; it allows single mothers the ability to raise children without using overcrowded day-care facilities. It (or at least escort work) allows young, undereducated women to meet and get professional life advice from wealthy, successful men). It allows single mothers to stop living with relatives they really are not comfortable from living with. It allows women to pursue certain educational and career pathways that financial limitations might have barred her from. It allows women to escape group homes, half-way houses, etc.

And I think, the most important thing, it allows women to use their sexual bargaining power in discrete, financially beneficial transactions: women need money, men have money and want sex; women from third-world countries, in particular, need money. Prostitution is, I think the best way to exchange sexual services for money, of all of the other variations (gold-digging marriages, mutually beneficial arrangements). That prostitution implies the loan of emotional and physical services for a discrete amount of time for a set amount of money gives women...essentially...freedom and power. You know what emotional and physical work you have to do and you know what you can get out of it, and for the rest of the time, you can go about your own life..

-prostitution exists within a wider framework of gendered interactions: the idea that female sex is a "value" is still there in sociological works: for example, on dating on college campuses. I'm not an expert, so I won't say whether it's a biological thing or a butler-style performative thing, but men gain a lot more out of casual sex (in terms of social status and confidence) than women do. As long as we sexuality is highly gendered, I see prostitution as the most empowering type of sexual relationship that exists out there.