My fiancé was furious with me when I told him I would not quit escorting. I felt bad about it. I only knew two married escorts at the time and I couldn't imagine how I was going to pull off marriage and sex for money. Yet, I couldn't imagine quitting either. I had become engaged to my future husband in 1991, just two years after entering the sex industry. By then I was very active and public as a sex worker rights activist.
He seemed fine with my chosen profession until I accepted his marriage proposal. Then suddenly, he needed me to retire from the sex industry. His request seemed reasonable to me at first but gradually I realized that I could never be happy giving up something which had become such a big part of my identity. I loved the profession and besides, as a feminist there was no way I was going to quit my job when I got married. It just didn't sit right in my gut.
Amazingly, my fiancé somehow worked past his anger and we took our vows in a little chapel surrounded by family and friends. The other escorts I counted among my closest friends were there and so was an ex-lover who showed up in a super short dress with a plunging neckline. She was the woman who had taught me how to be a high-end escort. To celebrate my new role as both wife and "working woman," I wore a pair of gold heels under my traditional off-white wedding gown. The gold heels were a concept I had borrowed from a class in sacred prostitution where I learned that gold was a preferred color for the garments of ancient temple prostitutes.
However, aside from my ex-girlfriend's conspicuous ensemble, there was nothing about our wedding which would have looked out of the ordinary to an outside observer. And yet, my husband and I were making a life choice which is actually quite rare. As the years ticked by, most of my sex worker girlfriends would remain single and unattached. Not that they didn't fall in love or want a special relationship, but too often the men (and women) in their lives just couldn't tolerate the fact that they had sex for money.
My life as a married escort was not without problems. It is true that I didn't stop working as an escort and we did get married. But during the next two years there was hell to pay as my new husband made life difficult for me. When I was preparing for a date with a client, he often became irritable and argumentative. Eventually, I realized he was jealous of my clients and seemed to have formed the opinion that I was providing my clients with a sexual version of myself which was superior to what he experienced with me.
So I invited him to schedule an appointment with me. I rightly guessed that he would be disavowed of his assumptions when he realized the reality of my work with other men. No matter how proficient I was at being an escort, I was not in love with my clients. I was however, deeply in love with my husband and there was a stark contrast between my professional persona and my personal relationship with him. He quickly realized that he didn't like being my client so after his "appointment" with me as an escort, my husband ceased to be jealous or insecure and became a truly supportive spouse.
Meanwhile, many of my girlfriends found themselves soundly rejected by potential boyfriends as soon as the man in question learned of their professional activities. Most men find the idea of their wife or girlfriend working in the oldest profession to be disturbing and utterly unacceptable. Those men brave enough to attempt an amorous personal connection with an escort, often complain that they don't feel "special." It is also fairly common for partners to worry what friends and family might think should they ever discover the truth about their female partner's involvement in the sex industry.
And sadly, when the inevitable conflicts common in all relationships arise, the negative stereotypes about sex workers often enter the conversation in the form of character assassination and name calling. While most every woman dreads hearing herself referred to as a "whore," women who are paid for sexual interaction find the label even more hurtful. Working in the sex industry can be lonely and isolating and when the person closest to you turns on you, the results can be emotionally devastating. Many of my girlfriends dealt with break-ups so painful it eventually led them to just stop trying to date.
Getting rejected and abandoned is no fun. But even more seriously, if it looks like a relationship is about to end, most escorts will begin to worry that their former partner may reveal her secret life to family and friends or report her to the authorities. Living double lives as most escorts do, often leads to a profound sense of isolation.
Family members and even close friends are not good sources of emotional support either. Most don't know the truth about an escort's life and work or they hold that truth in contempt. At best, they may tolerate what an escort does in hopes that she will come to her senses someday. But this isn't a safe place to take feelings and fears. Instead, escorts can become increasingly solitary. All too often it seems the clients of escorts are the only source of love and respect which an escort can count on.
Men who get caught "cheating" on their wives and girlfriends by frequenting prostitutes will often console their partner with words to the effect that "it is only sex, I just wanted to get off," belying what every escort knows to be true which is that men tend to become "regulars," frequenting the same provider over and over again, often for years. The reason for this loyalty? Although motivations vary from client to client, for the most part it holds true that the average client of escorts wishes to form affectionate and personal bonds with the person they are having sex with.
People who know nothing about the lives of escorts are often shocked to discover that the clients of escorts can be such a boundless source of adoration and support. Aren't the clients of sex workers selfish clods bent upon degrading the lives of women? Well, while their political orientations often leave much to be desired, the way any one client treats his provider is usually far better than how he treats his wife or girlfriend. Many clients hold their favorite escorts in high esteem, bestowing all manner of verbal praise, gifts and pampering.
When I worked as an escort, I quickly became addicted to this positive attention. It was akin to living in a dream world where I just happened to be the celebrated queen of all my subjects. The lengths to which my clients would go to impress me and to create encounters which catered to my every whim were astounding.
And yet despite being catered to, the attentions of adoring clients are never a fulfilling substitute for a meaningful, long-term connection outside of that which is created in the financial arrangement we call escorting. Everyone needs to know they have the loyalty and support of those closest to them and yet that is in short supply if you work as an escort.
Ironically, toward the end of my 15-year career as a high-end escort, my marriage began to deteriorate. The two factors weren't really related as my husband had problems of his own with prescription pills but the timing was weird nonetheless. I filed for divorce and exited the escorting business the same month. In so doing, I avoided the dating dilemmas inherent in the life of a single escort. But I was left with one overwhelming shift in my perceptions regarding romance. After a decade and a half of being compensated royally to date professionally, I could not for the life of me envision doing it for free.
In many ways, the sex industry alters your sense of reality in ways the "straight" world can't comprehend. I prefer to believe it is a more honest view of society and the games people play. I know that I don't care much for the games and I tend to have a more pragmatic view of life than most. I think that is something I share with most sex workers.
However, like many sex workers, I never lost my appreciation for true love. I just don't have any interest in dating for the sake of dating. It bores me unless I am getting paid for it. But love is another matter entirely. After all, love is something which is very precious and can be in short supply sometimes. True love is even more rare and I think sex workers are better equipped than most to sort the superficial good times from deep and meaningful connections. Being exposed as escorts are to so many human interactions which pass for romance and intimacy, the ability to distinguish what is genuine from what is fantasy tends to be a natural byproduct of that exposure.
The world may not be ready to love escorts, but I believe escorts are uniquely equipped to love the world. Certainly each escort is an individual and it isn't wise to generalize, but the escorting profession does provide a unique window into sex, romance, dating and relationships. That perspective can cultivate not only an accomplished ability to make others feel appreciated but it can also refine the escort's appreciation for matters of the heart.
Contrary to the popular stereotype which asserts that escorts are selfish, superficial and money-hungry, most of the women (and other genders) I have known in the escorting profession tend to be sensitive to the subtleties of relationships and love. Though they may not give their hearts easily, once they find someone they feel worthy of their love, they can be exceedingly sincere and impressively loyal.
Today I have parlayed my experience and expertise as an escort into a new profession as a couple's consultant. Using what I learned about men and women and sex and relationships both from my escorting clients as well as from a 30-year relationship which included marriage for about half that time, I coach my clients into more connection, compassion and sexual passion.
As the author of Sex Secrets of Escorts, it isn't surprising that some of the couples I work with are dealing with prostitution. Whether the male partner has been caught seeing escorts or the female partner has recently revealed that she is making extra money as an escort, I am able to shed light on the relationship dynamics unique to the sex profession while maintaining a shame free and judgment free stance which is relatively non-existent in our current culture. In that way, I am still doing my part to create more opportunities for romance and love in a world which is in need of both.
Written by Guest Author for Geisha Diaries, Veronica Monet