One of the main feminist rants I go into with anyone willing to listen to me is our society’s fucking absurd beauty standards. Prostitution shattered my internalization of those standards in 3 ways:
One thing people seem to find upsetting about the idea of whoring is not the exchange of money for sex. It’s not the danger. It’s not even having sex with total strangers. It’s having sex with those deemed ugly.
“I’d do it to if I could just do it with hot guys!”
“But how do you deal with the fat men?”
“Don’t the wrinkly guys gross you out?”
The truth is that it’s… an afterthought. Fat isn’t gross. Wrinkles aren’t gross. I mean, they may not be your thing, but they’re not dirty or even ugly when you really see them. I think most of the time people see projections. They see a fat person and instead of seeing that person they see a symbol for all society TELLS us about fat people. I see a fat person and I see a soft, cozy, or voluptuous body. I remember how safe and comfortable I felt with one of my very overweight customers who was the gentlest person I’ve ever met.
I see wrinkles and I think of how papery soft that skin might be, how delicate. I think of all the experience someone must have accrued in the time it took them to get the wrinkles.
That doesn’t mean I’m attracted to every random thing in my day to day life, but I can see the beauty in whatever I want to see it in when I need to. Maybe that’s the main skill necessary to be a good escort. And you know, it has changed my preferences. I used to think I was only into skinny people, and now I know better. Now I know I just wasn’t allowing myself attraction to anyone who didn’t conform to that.
The most important thing in a customer is respect. If I know I’m safe with a customer, everything else is secondary. What do you think. Would you rather go for a) someone who treats you well or b) someone hot? The sad answer of many folks is b, but a is not expendable in prostitution because “someone who treats you well” can mean “someone who won’t murder you” to an escort.
The second most important thing is hygiene, which is why I’m not afraid to tell guys to brush their teeth and shower before we get going.
My friends who are very well-paid, oft-requested escorts come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and ages. None of them ever find their services in short supply. The people who hire them adore their bodies enough to spend hundreds of dollars an hour on them.
The point? There are multitudes of people fantasizing about and even paying money for bodies that are not the media-pushed ideal. It’s not the trite “There’s someone for everyone” cliche. It’s “there are loads of various, surprising someones attracted to pretty much anyone.”
The way many of my clients look at me. I know I’m being objectified, but the awe in their eyes? It makes me feel like a fucking Renoir.
No, not prostitution itself. But that’s another post.
What I’m talking about is customers who have sex with us and then refuse to pay and/or steal the money back.
There was a post on Feministing a while back where someone asked if it’s RAPE or THEFT if customers refuse to pay prostitutes. Several people claimed that, by turning their bodies into a service, prostitutes turned the stealing of sex with them into theft instead of rape.
That is fucking bullshit.
There may be prostitutes out there who actually agree with that, and far be it from me to say they can’t define their experiences in any way they want, but that’s not how I define it.
If my necessities of consent are not met (whether that involves using a condom or cash payment), it’s fucking rape.
Lemme make this clear: I like my job, but only comparatively. I like it better than working at Starbucks or something. But I’d rather stab myself in the eye than have sex with someone I’m not at all into just as a charity service.
I remember the first time I had a good bit of money from whoring. I told my partner how much I had, and he said, “Oh, you know, I need a new pair of pants.”
I lit into him. I was ON MY BACK for that money, and though the money makes it worth it [to me personally], it still is not a little thing. It is a big fucking deal. And if I get nothing in return for it, it’s fucking rape. It’s letting me do a thing I’d never do otherwise simply for the other person’s pleasure. It’s taking advantage. It’s cruelty. It’s stealing, sure, but there’s no such thing as sex being a totally simple commodity. Sex is not a car. It is not a pair of diamond earrings. It is entrance to one’s body.
People who watch shows like “Secret Diary of a Call Girl” or fantasize about whoring but would never do it have this idea that, for whores, there’s the “real life” and the “secret life”, and the latter is a stressful but nonetheless small and even fake diversion from the former.
It’s true that I feel like I have two lives, but — my “secret life” is the real one to me. My “real life” where I have dinner with the in-laws and volunteer for community benefits is the one in which I feel fake and lonely. Strangely, the people who don’t have the faintest clue of who I really am? I don’t let their presence determine which part of my life is real and true and better.
All my customers who are worth at least their weight in feathers understand that I’m a real person with real interests and real friends. Sure, they don’t know my legal name or home address or the fact that I volunteer for [insert local organization here]. But they understand that I can be a woman who fucks for money at the same time as being a woman who seems pretty goddamn normal to the rest of the world. They understand that whoring and sitting at home watching Lost with a blanket wrapped around me aren’t mutually exclusive. They don’t think that, because I whore, I can’t possibly enjoy a good book or have a degree with honors from a good university. The rest of the world? I don’t trust them to get that.
You have no idea how many times I’ve bitten my tongue when people use “whore” to mean “worthless”. When people say that “sluts” have no morals. When people make fun of sexually active women by saying they’re probably diseased. When people say that anyone who could fall in love with a whore is a pervert who likes used goods. My customers aren’t the ones saying this shit, people. The people saying it are my family members and friends and acquaintances and people who love me and know that I would never, never be that kind of girl.
I am that kind of girl.
Okay, so that’s a lie. I was masturbating to orgasm from a fairly early age, but being able to climax was a sporadic ability for me. At thirteen I’d imagine Jesus was watching me angrily; at fifteen I was too focused on imagining how I’d please some boy based on what I’d read in Cosmo; at twenty I had just resigned myself to the fact that, for whatever reason, I spent so much time thinking during sex that my intellectualism pushed out any possibility of feeling during sex.
Then I started whoring. The funny, ironic, completely batshit thing here is that you wouldn’t imagine fucking a guy you’re not at all into to be a turn on — but it was. I wasn’t thinking about:
Does he love me?
Am I pretty enough?
How am I doing?
Wow, he’s so great.
I was thinking, “I’m not so into him, so I guess I’ll just close my eyes and focus on the sensations.”
That was something I’d never been able to do before — shut my mind down enough to stop thinking of goddamn England and start losing myself in feeling.
I remember the first time a client got me to cum. It was one of the customers that loves giving oral (which I’d previously thought I didn’t enjoy — hello self-consciousness!) to the exclusion of all else. I was lying on the hotel bed thinking to myself that, since he was really enjoying himself, I might as well just let him. I knew he wanted to lick me as long as possible and therefore he wouldn’t be thinking, “Hurry up, let’s get to my cock!” Also, more importantly, I didn’t really care if he was thinking that. Why would I? He was just a customer, and while customer service is important and all, worrying about making a customer happy is not even remotely like worrying about making a lover happy.
Back to my internal monologue. “Wow, he really likes this. He’s kind of good at it. Not very attractive, but — oh! That was nice.”
And I came. When I opened my eyes and smiled at him, I realized how proud he was of himself from the tell-tale crinkling around his eyes as he grinned. I reached towards his cock and — surprise of all surprises — he said, “Maybe next time,” before pulling away and putting on his pants.
That was a nice session. More importantly, it changed me into someone capable of feeling my own body. If you’re lucky enough to have always been in tune with your body, that probably sounds like a no-brainer, but it wasn’t for me. He accidentally provided a greater service for me than I did for him, AND I got some cash out of the deal.
So THANK YOU client whose name I don’t remember! You were pretty cool.
I’m starting this blog because I’m a whore. No, really. Literally. I fuck for money.
I’m goddamn sick of being talked ABOUT instead of TO. I’m sick of listening to otherwise intelligent people start talking about how all prostitution is rape, and how if for some whores it’s not, they should really just shut up and sit down in order to cater to The Movement. Because obviously my own lived experience is worthless bullshit if it contradicts your ideology — I totes understand. I mean, insomuch as a stupid whore can wrap her little abused brain around systems of oppression. Hey, we all do our best.
Let me make a few things clear about me. I’m not claiming they’re true of all or most prostitutes, but they are true about ME, and I have a right to say them.
- I like what I do.
- I’m not financially needy. I like extra cash to buy expensive shit I otherwise might forego, but by expensive shit, I don’t mean “medical bills” or “rent”. I mean that I would maybe buy a PC instead of a Mac, but the whoring money allows me to splurge.
- Being a whore made me love my body for the first time in my life. It shouldn’t be hard to explain how, after a lifetime of growing up seeing commercials about women whose bodies don’t look a damn thing like mine, it can be refreshing to realize that people will pay to worship my body, stretch marks and saggy tits and all.
- It’s true that it’s a dangerous job. It is primarily so because it’s illegal where I live. Thankfully I am well-trained in self defense and turned the few people who’ve threatened my safety into sobbing puddles on the floor.
- I’m a goddamn militant fucking feminist, but I’m not prescriptive. I don’t tell people what to do with their personal lives. In all honesty, “The personal is political” should be interpreted as “The personal has a political component, but shut up you fuckstupid fascists if you think that outweighs individual lived experience.”
The End. For now.