Sitting over my coffee, in one of my usual places, it occurred to me that those of you with 9-5 jobs on your way to work, perhaps in your car listening to morning radio or thinking about the lunchtime meeting, wondering what to get for supper this evening or when the dry cleaning needs to be picked up, have no idea of what this world, the world of those who work in the oldest profession in the world, the sex workers, the dream weavers who bring to life the fantasies of those who pay for their services, is really like. Well, for three and a half years, I was one of them. I was an escort.
Contrary to popular belief, I was not hooked on drugs, working for a pimp or agency who would take 40% of my earnings, abused as a child, battered, living in a hovel in Earl’s Court, clubbing every single night. In fact at the time my time was spent looking after the little two bedroom house my husband and I shared, gardening, cooking, designing websites, playing the cello, taking photographs, organising dinner parties and bar-b-ques for the neighbours, visiting art galleries, going to the theatre and listening to Maxwell Hutchinson, famous London historian, on BBC Radio London. My ex husband is a great reader and a huge science fiction fan so we would spend hours every saturday in either Foyles or Borders in London’s Soho, him searching for the next Dan Simmons novel and I in either the Computer, Language or Art section or pouring over the latest copy of Practical Photography. Apart from the fact that I sold sex, my life was pretty normal. We’d sit in front of the tele at night watching Heros or Doctor Who, or some drama on BBC, talk about work, get ironing done for the morning and have a bottle of wine with the neighbours.
I worked as an independant escort, usually advertising through Gaydar as that was the most popular website at that time, before the arrival of Grindr, Hornet, Scruff to name but a few. I was not hugely successful I must say, the most clients I would see in any one week being 3 or 4. But it fitted easily into my life and my husband was a very understanding man realising that the ‘work me’ and the ‘real me’ where two very different characters.
At that time I kept a diary and after each meeting with a client, on the central line travelling home, I would write a quick description of what took place, no names or identifying details of course, but merely a description of the scenario, the sex, how I felt at the time and anything else I wanted to note down to be later fleshed out into a story. I had planned to write a book, not the usual glossy wank material that so many people had written before me, but an honest account, warts and all, to give readers an insight into what that world is really like, from the perspective of the escort themselves. Perhaps one day I shall share some of those details with you, but not in this blog.
You see, I wanted to answer the question I have been asked so many times in the past.. Why? Why did you do that ‘job’? If life was so ‘normal’ why the need to work in such a seemingly dark and subversive world? Hummmm…..
So I’m gonna pose that question to myself in this blog and see what answers come to me.
Number one, I wanted to write about sex work. I had been photographing escorts for a gay magazine for some months before and their stories fascinated me. I would ask them questions like, ‘How much money do you make per hour?’, ‘Do you enjoy it?’, ‘Don’t you feel bad afterwards?’, ‘Have you ever been beaten up, attacked, raped?’ and most importantly.. ‘What are the clients really like?’. And you know what they told me? ‘You gotta eat the steak to know what it tastes like?’.
So I guess in the interest of getting to the truth of this world I had become so fascinated with, I decided to try for myself.
I had posed for gay porno mags when I was in my early twenties, I loved sex, had had many threesomes and experiences with my husband who was older, more experienced and into the clubbing scene, had even been in a low budget (very low budget!) porn film and so after much discussion at home I decided that the only way I could really write about this world was to experience it for myself. So I began..
The idea of being able to earn £120 per hour and £500 for an overnight was very appealing! It was a way of being able to have more time to devote to my home life, to my design work, to study, and it meant that I got to be in control of my own life rather than having to answer to a boss who dictated my every action. It was a way to be free and to explore myself. My sexuality.
Was it easy to start? Well no is the simple answer. For in this business there can no training, no trial period, no support network, because only you really know and understand what it is like to be in those situations. You have to wing it! You learn on the job and believe me it is one steep learning curve! You make mistakes, you get frustrated, you adjust how you do things and each and every experience brings new insights, new ways of doing things. It is an education that’s for sure!
It taught me a lot about sex, about business, about psychology, and it created a character who I could use to explore the darker more sensual side of myself. Certainly for me there is an element of exhibitionism in sex work, and indeed in the work that I do now. It is an artform, a performance, probably the closest I will get to acting. It allows you to explore many hidden aspects of oneself for an hour at a time and to be paid handsomly to do so.
Many of the skills I learned as a sex worker I now use in my role as a masseur. Pleasure is an art. But more importantly it teaches you empathy, understanding, compassion. You see fundamentally those who pay for sex do so in order to not be judged. I believe the gay community, certainly in London for example, have in many cases lost the ability to look after and support one another. Everything now is so categorized. Bears, Twinks, Jocks, Leather, Rubber, BDSM, Chems, Gym, Older 4 Younger. We have lost the art of communication. Conversations no longer begin with ‘Hi my name is..’ but rather ‘Into?’. Many men are simply concerned with their own pleasure. It’s too easy these days to be cruel to one another, to simply tap that ‘Block’ button on our iphone screen if we the other person does not offer us exactly what we want, does not fit the perfect image that we think we want to obtain. Rather than get to know each other we crave instant gratification with no repercussion. Personal responsibility has been ditched in favour of what often just using another’s body to masturbate. It is a sad reality of this modern world that we live in. Sex without intimacy or connection.
And this is why I believe that for many people the gay scene can be an intimidating and unfriendly place, especially if you do not have the perfect six pack, the perfect face, the perfect 10″ cock, the perfect gym membership, the perfect clothes, the perfect swanky flat, the perfect cocktail of drugs at hand. The search for sex often leads to the escort pages of magazines and the ability to pay for an be in control of one’s pleasure and satisfaction. I myself have hired a sex worker so I too know what it’s like to simply want to explore my pleasure without judgement. To cut through all the bullshit and to be able to have the kind of sexual experience that I want to have and to feel good about myself. Yes folks, I have been there too.
So, how do I conclude this blog entry. I guess what I’m trying to get across is that ultimately we are all just human beings, all trying to get through life the best way we can, so lets try to get rid of the judgement, of the second guessing and preconceptions. Just live and let live. And the next time you see the handsome face and chisled body of an escort staring back at you from a flashing little screen or the pages at the back of a magazine just remember he is someone’s son, someone’s boyfriend, someone’s husband. There is a real person with a real life behind that glossy image, the big dick, the wicked smile. Treat him well, and I hope that you will be treated well yourself. For sex work can be a very positive thing if both parties respect and look after each other.
It’s as simple as that…
Sending Love and Light from Spain. Aaron x