Becoming a Sex Worker – The Benign
Some sex workers are empowered enough to write a post on Daily Kos. Jonathan says it was an accident. He had been working as a research chemist for a major corporation when a person he was dating asked if he’d be interested in doing a “spanking video.” No brainer. Sure! He’s never officially escorted or hooked, but some married couples he’s “double dated” have left him money, and several others have bought him things he could in not afford, himself. Jonathan is in charge of his life and seems to be fine with his choices.
Here’s another “accident.” A young woman I’ll call “Trina” describes herself as an average looking blonde cheerleader from the upper-middle-class. She has never been abused. But she does know a record promoter named Jesse who one day asked if she could pick up a client and show him around since he was in a bind. He offered her money to buy the client dinner and go dancing. She could keep whatever money was left over. Trina made $70 and had fun so she agreed to help out several more times. Eventually some of the clients wanted sex. She refused and asked Jesse what do. He told her to do whatever she wanted. When she didn’t put out, though, Jesse limited her dates. Then one night an attractive 40-year-old offered her $500 for sex. She said no. But he kept upping the price until he reached $1000. As she recalled,
My initial thought was to slap the crap out of him, however, the things I could do with $1000 cash. It wasn’t hard. No commitments, no future to worry about, and no love to get in the way.
And it wasn’t as bad as she’d expected, so she kept doing it and made over $10,000 in four months. So Trina continued the work, but only when she found a man attractive.
Still, she wants to quit escorting when she graduates from college and live a normal life that she can share with friends and family, and make an “honest” living.
Trina is a more privileged call girl. Let’s turn to the street hookers who sometimes get involved by “drifting” into it. They might start with casual sex at a young age and eventually be offered money. Sometimes it makes sense to them to take it. As one girl explained:
I was going to school and I wanted to go to the dance after. I needed new clothes. So I went out at 10 o’clock and home by 12. I had three tricks the first time, and $15 for every trick.
After the first few times, the girls spend the next few months ambivalent about becoming prostitutes. Instead, they try to think of what they’re doing as “normal.” One girl thought of herself as, “just walking.” And a guy makes an offer. Well, it’s only normal to take the money, right?
Some eventually build their lives and identities around prostitution and stop telling themselves their behavior is “normal.” Instead, they see themselves as “helping.” They are “helping” wives by giving their husbands a sexual outlet that reduces tension in their marriages. Or they see themselves as preventing rape, for instance.
The women and men I have just described got into prostitution voluntarily. And none of them had to deal with violent pimps. In fact, contrary to popular belief, prostitutes don’t actually need pimps, who are, generally speaking, completely useless.
Next week I’ll talk about the brutal side of becoming a sex worker, which appears to be far more common.