Why Do YOU Do It?

I wrote last week about Miss Keller and her attempt to force her young female students into more masculine activities. I talked about categories of people, be it gender related, personality related, or racially biased. I’ve been thinking about categories for a while now as it relates t my clients. I may have written about this before but I want to really dig into this idea of the three reasons people seek out sex workers.

This will be one of the themes to the book I’m working on. The other is me since I’m the only connecting thread between all my clients, but that’s a much larger idea and a longer story to tell. Later. The theme for the book is that the categories are helpful, elastic, and none greater or more acceptable than the others.

First reason is for fun. Sex is fun, it feels good before, during, and after. We anticipate and feel the effects of our anticipation throughout our body and during the day leading up to it. I know one beloved who spend several days b enforce hand getting a pedicure and a manicure, doing a full body scrub, trimming and shaving everything smooth and soft, and stopping off for a bottle of wine and some nibbles. It’s part of the ritual and part of what makes the fun last longer. Another spends our entire hour together edging, drawing out the pleasure until the last possible moment, both of us working towards the constant upward climb with the focus on the pleasure of now and the joy of a powerful orgasm. Yet another beloved looks toward the evening, using several appointments during the day as part of his foreplay with his kinky girlfriend. His focus is on the build for later. He holds off on his orgasm all day, stimulated but waiting, holding onto the feeling of delayed pleasure until it’s almost painful and he can share the intensity with the woman he loves. In all cases, they’re focused on how fun and pleasurable it is to feel sexual, to let the pleasure of erotic touch from a respected provider be what it is and to feel, not guilt or shame, but exultation and powerful, sexual, fun.

(Special mention goes to my 92 year old beloved who is determined to see as wide a variety of high quality sexual service providers before he goes. World War Two vet, avid sportsman, clever, charming, and adventuresome, if I can behalf as vital at half his age I’ll count myself a success. For him, I think, this is pure good fun!)

The second reason and most common for regulars is sustenance. The stereotype is the sexless marriage; children, time, life, health all change and sometimes the change removes sex from the relationship. For whatever reason, neither partner can leave and so they seek outside companionship. Affairs can be messy and compromise the integrity of what relationship there is so many men (and some women) in these situations seek professionals to meet their desire for calm, nonjudgemental, safe, sexual human contact. There may be fun, as well, if there wasn’t I imagine they’d find another provider, but the primary purpose for seeking sexual services isn’t the sex, it’s the intimacy and emotional support that helps sustain them during their daily lives. I’ve seen single men who are frustrated with the dating scene, businessmen who don’t have time for traditional relationships, married men with ailing or non sexual wives, some who’ve told their partners, most who haven’t. When their life circumstances change, they may move on to more traditional relationships or simply to a provider who offers something different, or they may stay inside the comfort of a long standing, uncomplicated provider-client relationship even through life adjustments. Whatever happens, they are the most pleasant, consistent darlings and they are the ones who most often break my heart and heal it again.

And then there are the healing and the learning. The healers are those who recently experienced a major life change, most often divorce or loss of a spouse but any personal loss can effect someone’s desire for sexual contact. I see an arc in the healers, beginning with their ability to share their trauma and experience loving sexual touch, sometimes for the first time in years. As they get more accustomed to it and our relationship builds, I watch them grow in confidence and they begin to expand in their personal lives, be it reentering the dating world, beginning creative projects, finding joy in daily life, and generally reenergizing. The learners are often shy, seeking knowledge about themselves and their sexual partners. Young shy people, suddenly expected to perform in an extroverts world, baby kinksters who want to explore new things and need a safe place to play, some have an idea that there’s more to making love than what the’ve seen so far and want to explore, most have no idea at all.

Clients slide between these three general reasons for seeking sexual services, often coming for more than one reason though sometimes it takes a while for us to figure out which ones. Healers become fun seekers, sustainers become healers, fun seekers become sustainers, and all the reasons jumble together in a beautifully dynamic journey. Some people draw lines between acceptable reasons to seek sexual services and unacceptable reasons, claiming that the healers need services but the sustainers are wasting their money and the fun seekers are exploitative. Within the political movement to decriminalize the exchange of sexual services for a fee, we see the danger in those lines. While the stories of the healers might be legitimate, popular, emotionally compelling arguments for decriminalization, we cannot let their needs delegitimization the motivations of other clients.

Providers also have these primary reasons for providing sexual services. Some do it for fun: because they enjoy the sexual activities they share with their clients, because they enjoy expanding their sexual repertoires, because they enjoy a lifestyle above what they might have otherwise, or simply because they enjoy meeting interesting people. Most do it for sustenance: to provide for themselves and their families, sometimes to sustain poor habits, and some because the emotionally rewarding experiences help them maintain high self worth. And some do it for healing: to solve a financial problem, to learn about themselves, to take control of their lives and find a new adventure. Again, providers slide from motivation to motivation: I started for fun, because it sounded pleasurable and adventurous and I was attracted to the idea of fast easy money. I stayed for sustenance, to keep a pleasant roof over my head, good food on my table, and to find time for self improvement. I now enjoy the benefits and privileges of all three reasons: I learn and grow from my interactions with the healers, I exchange pleasure with the fun seekers, I sustain my long time regulars, and all our relationships enrich my life. While I am fortunate enough to enjoy all these, not all providers can or do but again, telling some sex work stories as if they are better or more right than others is to lose out on the variety and depth of human experience and choice.

There would be no healing without fun, no sustenance without constant healing, no fun without a sustainable relationship. To attempt to parse out and draw lines between what is a good reason to consent to sexual activity and what is a bad reason to consent to sexual activity is to destroy the autonomy that all consent relies on.