Facts & Info

Should You Hire a Sex Worker?

Money and Lingerie

I am pro sex worker, pro sex work clients, and pro sex work.

There are many taboos when it comes to sexuality. Even the most open-minded, anything-goes circles have non-negotiables, no-go zones, or boundaries and limits. It might be because the action is illegal. It might be perceived as immoral or unethical or nonconsensual. It might just trigger disgust or pity.

Few subjects around sexuality trigger as much controversy as sex workers and their clients. Whether it’s an elaborate fetish ritual or a straight-up vanilla blow job or a rub and tug, there is enormous stigma in being a sex worker and in using the services of a sex worker.

All of this despite the fact that it is incredibly common. Every conceivable kind of guy hires prostitutes or other sex workers—all ages, all classes, all cultures. And yet it is still assumed that sex workers and their clients are all sleazy. It’s either a cheap meth hooker and a john to match, or a sleazy billionaires à la Epstein. That’s because the extremes of the stereotype are the ones in the news.

Today’s Sex Workers and Clients

The vast majority of sex workers and clients are regular people, exchanging needs in a consensual, mutually agreed-upon transaction. Most clients are average, regular, nice men (and some women) who understand that most working girls (and boys) are also everyday, ordinary, nice people.

Read: Interview with a Phone Sex Operator

Sex workers include the college student smart enough to fund her textbooks, the middle-aged divorcee who wants to give men a safe and compassionate space for their unmet needs, and the single mother doing phone sex because she can’t live off minimum wage. Most sex workers are not hanging out in sleazy storefronts or even strip joints—they live and work down the hall from you in your building or around the corner in your neighborhood.

Stigma Attached to Sex Work

Even in an age when societal, religious, and legal judgement of sexually active women has been greatly minimized (as compared to being burned at the stake for suspected adultery or premarital sex), we still stigmatize women who work for sex. If she gives it away for free, no problem.

Even in circles that accept and understand that men and women are kinky as fuck, if someone pays for the services he is looking for, he is viewed unfavorably.

The minute cash enters the transaction, it is somehow dirtied.

Consent, Exploitation, and Human Trafficking

The whore is far worse than the slut stereotype. And it isn’t just sexism—the only figure more reviled than the whore is her client. Men’s sexual desires and needs are viewed akin to Satan.

Much of this is because of the idea that men are exploiting sex workers just by using their services. Men who need to hire a sex worker must be desperate and unable to find a woman willing to have sex with him, so automatically he is an exploiter or abusive.

Paying for sex in an industry that has trafficked humans, bought and sold for sex against their will, means participating in or supporting the slave trade or abuse.

Read: How to Be an Ally to Sex Workers

Sex Work and Porn

Curiously enough, most of us consume porn, free and paid, without the same implications in our mind.

Sex has no monopoly on exploitation.

Does watching Netflix mean you approve of Harvey Weinstein? Does smoking grass, or for that matter, making guacamole, mean you are personally funding brutal cartels? Does shopping at a dollar store mean you are personally exploiting child laborers?

Sex Work as a Consensual Affirmative Act

A consensual transaction between adults means no mixed messages or hurt feelings or consent issues. Everything is agreed to before the exchange. Neither party has to participate or manipulate in order to get something. If you are a respectful client who honors boundaries, and the sex worker is independent or works with an ethical company or team, all good.

Assuming a grown woman cannot consent to sex, on any terms she wishes—personal desire, financial, whatever—is outrageous misogyny.

Sex Services Can Be a Convenient and Safe Option

Dating and casual sex can be a complex dance to find the right chemistry, even for a basic hookup. Human sexuality is a need and right. What if a guy is in med school and doesn’t have time to connect with women? His dates are disappointed and emotionally invested. Maybe she wastes his time. An agreed upon action for fair exchange protects both parties.

Read: Dos and Don’ts for Kinky Hookups

Newsflash: all (or most) men need and want sex. This includes men of all classes, all ages, and all appearances. Yes, some guys are lower on the social ladder, or they are awkward, or nervous, or don’t have the way with women that other guys have.

Lots of men who hire sex workers are hot, loving, funny, desirable, attractive, and attract lots of women. But for those who aren’t, let’s consider some of the guys who need sex workers.

When Hiring a Sex Worker Makes Sense

Some elderly gentlemen find it easier to have an experienced person meet their needs. Some guys with physical or mental disabilities find safety and comfort in transactional sex. Some married men who want to be discreet and not hurt their wife by having an affair, seek sex work in an open relationship. Some guys are shy or abused or have low self esteem because they’ve been mocked for their sexual needs. They may have a kink or fetish that few women want to indulge out of personal passion.

Read: The Pleasure and Pain of Being Disabled in BDSM

Most guys who use sex workers are neither hot and rich, nor lonely and pathetic. They are average, normal, everyday guys. Your elevator repair guy, your mail guy, your waiter, your choir director. You.

Sex Work Can Be Professional and Expert

Lots of sex workers specialize. If you have a rare, difficult to enact, unpopular, or dangerous kink, using a professional experienced in this kind of sex, someone willing to honor boundaries and who knows what they are doing, someone who can show you how a practice works, well, this is as smart as using any professional. You hire experts to cook Thai food for you, consult about your arthritis, or copyedit your resumé.

If you have a specific kink or fetish, it makes sense to visit with a professional, too.

Have you hired a sex worker? Please share your experience!

Tell us what you think!

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