Illustrations by Sydney Couldridge The women Let me preface this by saying I grew up in a well-to-do family. In the beginning of my crack addiction I always swore to myself and to anyone who brought up the subject that I would never sell sex for money. Unfortunately, I was very naive and uninformed about the progression of addiction and I did not yet know what desperation felt like. I do not remember my first trick, but I do remember many.
I have had sex with as many as 12 men in a day. The busiest times were early in the morning when white men in business suits were on their way to work, or during lunch time when they could sneak off for a quickie.
It was always about the money to me and I was always in a hurry to get it over with. I spent no time talking or even pretending to be interested in the men.
I'm sorry to say that, more often than not I had unprotected sex, and it is truly by the grace of God I never caught anything.
I am now six years sober and more than the thought of drugs, I am lured to the thought of getting back in to prostitution. Something about the thought of a man paying me to have sex with them turns me on.
Instead I have a boring life and a boring job and from time to time to spice things up I tell my husband stories of different clients. I placed a personal ad with the offer to meet a client at a hotel for a private lap-dancing session. I had been a dancer for three years, but had started to hate going to the clubs.
I enjoyed the sensuality and intimacy of the job, but hated the crowds, noise and cigarette smoke. The ad stressed that the sessions would be dancing only. I asked that we meet first in a public place, for a cocktail or coffee. I phrased this as "us getting to know each other", but it was basically to give my gut a chance to tell me whether I would be safe with the person.
I was polite, but firm about all of my requests. Very few of the initial responders followed up with me after this, but the ones who did sounded respectful and sane. The first client I met was a guy from out of town. He sounded very nervous in the emails we exchanged, and I wasn't sure he would actually keep the date we made that evening at a smart bar. The first thing he told me was that he was not going to go through with our date, but he felt bad about standing me up and would buy me a drink and tip for my time.
We had a drink together and I drew him out about what he was looking for. As a dancer, I know lots of ways to set men at their ease and encourage them to open up to me. He told me a familiar story: I've heard many versions of this story, and it always makes me sad. He told me that I was too young; I was 28 and he was He talked about how much he missed touching and holding and looking at a woman. We kept talking about the human need for intimacy, and I could tell he did want the meeting.
We went to his room. It was a very nice room, in a nice hotel. It was much more intimate than dancing in the club, where there are lights and noise and distraction.
We had a pleasant, playful time, and ended up spending several hours together. He paid me at the end and counting out the money seemed to kill the mood for both of us a little bit. I made a mental note that if I did this again I would ask for the money up front. Afterwards, he offered to drive me back to the bar and I felt safe enough with him to accept. The drive was slightly awkward. He seemed to feel odd about dropping me off on the street. I wondered if he was having regrets about the session.
He was rather cold when he said goodbye, and I was surprised to notice that I felt a little hurt. This was the only time during the session when I felt "dirty" about what I'd done. I felt he was judging me. I made a conscious decision not to let this bother me: I probably wouldn't see him again, and it was just a business transaction, so it didn't really matter what he thought about me. I would offer this advice to clients, though: You're not the only one who has feelings about what just happened.
In my post-university slump, I felt like my life was in the drain. Now that I was in a new city, the area strip clubs were more plentiful. I went to one "audition". The girls were snorting coke in the dressing room, and the bouncers seemed more malicious and oversexed than the customers. I did not go back. I remembered a roommate I had in university who signed up as an escort through an online service.
I drove two hours to his house, white-knuckled in anticipation of what I was about to do. He was middle aged, pretty average-looking — balding, in OK shape. I don't want to seem flippant when I talk about the sex. There was nothing special about it except for the fact that it was the first time in my young life that I was literally prostituting myself.
In retrospect, my opinion of prostitution is that it is fine if you have straightened it out in your head as to why you are doing it and what you get out of it, but you are risking your safety and your health.
Can you charge a price high enough to compensate for that? And the sex was nothing I remember anything about. He left his television muted on CNN the whole time.
My biggest concern was that I had very little experience and that it would show I had only had sex a couple of times in my life. My next worry was that I would not be able to fill a full two hours with sexual entertainment. It was not that hard. Most people are easy enough to talk to, and once the sex is over it is just pillow talk and back rubs. Aside from an almost overwhelming sense of danger the whole time, it went well.
After two months, I started scheduling dates with men and then not showing up. I was starting to get real about why I was having sex with men for money.
I had been feeling rejected by a former lover, and I was angry about being in debt and was discovering that my university degree was essentially worthless. I felt like being destructive. My last job scared me out of it for good. He was a short bald man with a big spare tyre and smelled of cigarettes.
He asked if he needed to wear a condom about half of the men asked this. I put the condom on him, and then he spun me around and pushed me up against the dresser. The force of this manoeuvre was unexpected. He tried to get me to have anal sex, and I had to struggle to avoid it. It was starting to feel more like a violation than a situation that I was in control of.
It was a wake-up call, though. I have always had confidence in my physical strength and my wits to keep myself safe, but just a small taste of how quickly I might get overcome if I wasn't on my guard was what made me decide to quit. The men I was a year-old virgin when I first visited a prostitute. I've always been shy and a bit of a computer geek, and somehow I missed out on opportunities at school and university that might have got my sex life off to a start.
Once I graduated I ended up in an IT job, full of other single male geeks. It was only when I hit 30 that I started to worry about the other things missing from my life. At that point, my age and lack of experience were a major worry.
I was tempted by online dating, but knew that anyone I might meet would be more sexually experienced than me, and this became a major stumbling block. Websites and forums are what I do, and mostly how I interact with other people, so it didn't take me long to find forums devoted to escort work. I researched diligently, read up on the pros and cons, and the dangers, health and otherwise, of seeing escorts.
The escorts posting sounded genuine, even relatively normal, and not the junkies I'd expected. I made up my mind to go for it. It was still nearly a year before my first experience.
I chose a more mature woman, as I felt it would be easier, somehow, to confess my inexperience to her. My performance was as you might expect from a first-timer, but she was sympathetic and understanding. She didn't clock-watch, and I enjoyed her company as much as the sexual activity. I left with a feeling of relief that I'd got it over with, that I was no longer a virgin. After that, I found other girls local to me.
I've had some fantastic experiences and none of the girls have fitted the mould of trafficked eastern Europeans or drug addicts. There was the single mum of 19, who was saving to put herself through a college course to get a professional qualification and she did, successfully, and gave up escorting to take a less-well-paid job in her chosen field.
There was the swinger, who had decided that if she was going to do it anyway, she might as well get paid for it. Overall, more of the experiences have been good than bad.