There are some questions that shouldn’t be asked until a person is mature enough to appreciate the answers. – Anne Bishop
I generally answer questions via email, then edit the question to make it more concise (and to remove identifying details), correct any clumsy phrasing in my answer, and transplant the whole into a column. In this case the inquirer responded to my answer with a second, more general question that I think might prove useful to inexperienced hookers and enlightening to clients. If you have a question of your own, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I was wondering if you could give some advice to women working as dommes or doing fetish work. I am new to this and don’t know exactly what it “illegal”. I don’t have sex with clients, but I think the cops have other ways of busting you. Do you have any advice/tips? I do not want a prostitution record to haunt me for the rest of my life.
Unfortunately, both the laws and police practices vary from state to state, so even in states where paid BDSM or fetish work is legal one cannot always count on the police to honor that. Many people are arrested every year and charged with things which are not crimes (for example, taking pictures of cops), and even if the charges are later dismissed it’s still traumatic, potentially expensive and (if your local police enjoy shaming people and the local media panders to their sick urges) reputation-destroying once the news is released. You can’t unring a bell, so even if charges are dropped and your record is expunged the story is already out. I’m not telling you all this to frighten you off, but rather to convince you of the necessity of proper precautions. First, consult a lawyer about the legality in your state and the police practices; though you or I could easily look up the law itself that will not tell you if the police in your state have a habit of making spurious charges against dominatrices or fetish workers. Next, screen your clients as thoroughly as if you were a vanilla escort; even if the police are unlikely to come after you, this is still important for the protection of your person and reputation. The fact that your type of work does not involve intercourse matters to nobody but lawyers; it is still surrounded by stigma and an unstable man who is sexually aroused can still be dangerous, so you’ll want to be sure potential clients don’t have a history of violent or stalking behavior (asking for and checking references is the easiest way for a beginner to do this). Finally, don’t cut yourself off from other sex workers; join your local escort board even though you are not a full-service escort, because it will keep you in touch with the latest talk on bad clients, stings and the like. It may even get you some crossover clients; just make it very clear in your ads that you only do fetish and domination work.
I have heard about “screening clients” but it wasn’t really clear. Any advice on how to do that?
The best and simplest means of screening is by referrals; what this means is that you ask the client for the names of two established escorts he’s seen before. It’s best if they provide the same type of service as you do, but even if that’s not possible just the fact that you know he’s the real McCoy, shows up on time and has no history of creepiness can be a great comfort. When you get their contact information, make sure they’re really established girls (not just “Jade at the Bangkok Spa”) and then contact them, telling them Mr. So-and-so used them as references, and ask if they remember him. The more information a girl gives you, and the more honest and friendly she sounds, the better; if she just shoots back a two-word text saying “he’s ok” from her smartphone, consider that just the same as if she failed to respond at all because she may just be blowing you off and doesn’t actually remember him.
You can also join a “whitelisting” service such as P411; “hobbyists” pay the company to verify them, and then give their P411 ID to escorts they wish to visit. It doesn’t cost anything for providers to join, and you can see not only a self-generated profile of the client, but how many “OKs” he has received from other girls. Provider Buzz is the opposite, a blacklist; an escort who has had a bad experiences with a client can enter his identifying information, and others will be able to see whatever she writes in the report (ranging from “no show” to serious violence). Honeysuckle has a nice little escort screening tool which allows you to enter a potential client’s name, phone number and email address, and searches him via Google, phone listings, Amazon wishlists and Linkedin, all on one convenient screen (you may also be interested in her escorting tips and starter kit). Pipl allows you to search names and even accesses some public records, and even just Googling a person’s name can turn up interesting stuff (especially if he owns his own company).
Last but definitely not least, trust your gut. Even if everything checks out, if your intuition says he’s not right, he probably isn’t; at least half the girls I know who were arrested told me later that they felt something was wrong, but dismissed it and went anyway. Vice cops practice deceit as a way of life and a few of them are very good at it, so if alarm bells go off you need to listen.