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I’m a Christian who has only had sex with the woman I married, and we waited until our wedding night for that.  About 8 months ago my wife took the kids and moved out, then divorced me; her excuse was that she caught me looking at porn.  She bailed out of counseling, telling the counselor that it was all my fault.  At first I felt she was wrong, but then I found a couple of books on sex addiction and found myself on every page.  Now I’m attending a sex addiction program, but I’m not sure I’ll ever be clean.  Can you give me some advice?

My advice is simple, though I’m going to elaborate on it a bit:  You were correct when you thought your wife was being unreasonable, and you should work on accepting your sexuality rather than letting a bunch of profiteering prudes inflict a never-ending guilt trip on you.  As I and others have written many, many times, the entire concept of “sex addiction” is bullshit; it’s just Christian morality dressed up in psychobabble.  Sex is a natural function, not an outside chemical you’re introducing into your body; it’s no more possible to be “addicted” to sex than it is to be “addicted” to breathing, eating or pissing.  Try not taking a crap for a few days and watch how your thoughts slowly become dominated by thoughts of pooping; after a while your concentration will probably deteriorate and you won’t be able to think about much else.  Yet when your sex drives go similarly unrelieved, you actually believe people who tell you that means you’re an “addict”?  This is nonsense.  Studies show that so-called “sex addicts” don’t have sex (or think about it, or watch porn, or masturbate, or whatever) any more than other people do; they just feel more guilt and anxiety about their normal sexual impulses, and those bad feelings are directly correlated with the degree to which they carry guilt-inducing moral & religious attitudes about sex.  Those who write “sex addiction” books, teach “sex addiction” courses and give “sex addiction therapy” are charlatans, con artists who are profiting from “treating” a condition that can never be cured because it doesn’t exist in the first place.  The only way to “cure” sexual impulses is by castration (chemical or surgical), and even that’s not 100% because a lot of sex derives from regions of the brain which are going to do their thing even if your testosterone level drops to nearly zero.  And of course, all humans crave touch and intimacy no matter what their sex-hormone levels; the only way to “cure” that is to die.

In your very long letter you didn’t mention when you started looking at more porn and thinking about sex more often, but I’m willing to bet it correlates nicely with a decrease in physical intimacy with your wife.  I get letters with depressing regularity from Christian men whose Christian wives cut them off dry and then complain that said husbands pester them for sex or watch porn; this makes about as much sense as refusing to keep food in the house and then bitching because their husbands complain about being hungry or sneak out to McDonald’s.  For whatever reason, your wife wanted out of the marriage; porn provided her a convenient excuse that would satisfy her Christian family and allow her to push the blame off onto you.  The “sex addiction” industry is feeding on your guilt and will try to encourage your unhealthy sex-negativity so it can keep feeding; if you want to be cured, what you really need to do is stop believing the abusers who keep telling you that you’re sick.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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I’m a young-looking 40-year-old woman in Belgium who worked part-time as a prostitute years ago to pay for my education.  Now, however, I’m suffering from physical disabilities due to two severe auto accidents; these make it difficult to hold down a “normal” job, so I’m thinking of going back to prostitution.  I always liked it; I’m a very sexual person and it made me feel good.  But this time, I don’t want to work for anyone else, but as an independent; I just don’t know how to start.  What do you think?

I think if you still feel comfortable doing the work, there’s no reason for you not to return to it; many women go in and out of sex work at different times in our lives, as our needs change.  Sex work is legal in your country, and the flexible schedule makes it especially good work for women with health issues that would interfere with a “straight” job.  Since as a sex worker one sets one’s own schedule, it’s easy to work around doctor’s appointments & times one knows tend to be problematic; for example, if you hurt more in the morning you can simply refuse morning appointments.  And once you’ve got regulars, you’ll even be able to reschedule appointments if you feel bad that day.  I’m afraid I can’t really give you advice on working in Europe because I never have; however, I’d suggest you search Google for escorts in your city, and that will show you the top local advertising sites.  You might also consult with the sex worker support organizations in your area.  Good luck, both with your health & with returning to work! 

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Given that most sex workers only stay in the profession a short time, why have you remained in it for so long?

It’s not entirely true that most sex workers only stay in the profession for a short time; I’d say a more accurate statement would be that most only stay in specific sex work jobs for limited consecutive stretches.  What I mean is, while there are certainly a large fraction of sex workers who only work for a few years (say, while attending university or after a divorce) and then never go back, there is a much larger fraction who drop in and out of various types of sex work at various times in their lives.  A woman might strip while in school, then take a straight job for a while, then do camming to bring in extra cash while married, then switch to escorting after divorce, go to another straight job for a while, then do phone sex on the side because that doesn’t fully pay the bills, etc.  Once a woman learns she can capitalize on men’s sex drives, she never forgets that she can dip back into that pool of cash whenever she needs to (and for as long as she needs to).

You are, however, correct in saying that most women don’t stay at it for decades at a time as I do (and I know some ladies who started around the same time as I did in the ’80s, or shortly before or after, and never took as long a hiatus as I did from 1987-97).  Even when I was married, I never really stopped; I thought of the period from July 2006 to July 2010 as a long gig for a single client, because the fact that I loved my husband was immaterial to the economics of the situation:  a man was supporting me in return for my companionship & sexual favors.  The reason I’ve stayed so long is simple:  this is my profession.  This is what I do, what I know, what I’m good at.  I’ve never done any other job for remotely as long as I have this one; the next closest approach was librarian, and it lasted only five years.  But it’s a little more than that.  Every profession has some members who are merely interested in the money, and others who consider it their calling.  Of course they want the money, and except in very rare cases they wouldn’t be doing it if they weren’t getting paid.  But such individuals derive gratification not just from the money, but also from an emotional satisfaction deriving from the job itself.  For example, there are physicians who take up medicine merely because it’s lucrative, while others are emotionally fed by the knowledge that they are healing the sick.  There are lawyers who go into law simply because they can make a lot of money at it, while others (especially criminal defense lawyers) are deeply committed to principles of justice and derive satisfaction from helping people escape being crushed by the gears of the State.  And there are sex workers who are attracted to the job simply for its good income and flexibility, while others also feel “paid” by the joy, pleasure and healing we provide to our clients; as you can probably tell, I’m in the latter group.  Now, it’s important to note that I’m not making any moral or qualitative judgments here; a physician who’s only in it for the money is not a worse human being than one for whom the satisfaction of healing is also a motivation, and a lawyer whose only motive is profit might still be a better lawyer than one who is driven to fight for right against might.  And a whore who is motivated only by income and nothing else might still be the right choice for a particular client.  However, it seems to me that people whose motivations extend beyond the purely pecuniary are more motivated to stick with a job (rather than, say, accepting a more highly-paid hospital administrator position); they’re also the ones who are more likely to be found doing pro bono work such as writing law blogs or doing sex work activism, because although those extracurricular activities pay nothing in actual cash (and indeed, may actually cost money), the individual who indulges in them may feel compensated in less direct and material ways.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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It happened again this week:  somebody emailed me a question that I could answer, but won’t.

When I first started this blog seven years ago, I was just a little past 40 and still a little bit naive about the capacity of humans to handle unpleasant truths.  Of course I recognized that most people prefer to live in blissful ignorance than to have their comfortable delusions challenged, but I foolishly believed that the sort of person who would read a blog specifically offering “frank commentary” from a hooker would be different.  And you know what?  I was wrong.  Just because someone’s against the establishment and wants to change the status quo doesn’t make them open-minded; very often, it just means they want to establish their own censorious, oppressive status quo.  So during the first year I was writing The Honest Courtesan, I often stepped on the toes of people who weren’t actually my enemies, and against whom I meant no disrespect or offense.  Sometimes it was because I was wrong; sometimes it was because I was basically right, but expressed myself in a clumsy or offensive way; and sometimes it was because I was completely right, but the objectors simply didn’t like what I was saying so they mischaracterized it as something else or simply denied that I was qualified to opine on the subject at all.  The majority of the times the latter happened, it was because I’m not a member of whatever group the question involved; on a few occasions, people who wanted to be offended have actually claimed I wasn’t a member of some group that I actually am a member of, so as to have an excuse to attack me.  I’ve had women claim I was never raped because they were angry that I challenge neofeminist bullshit about rape; before I went back to work prohibitionists would often claim I had never been a whore (it’s kinda hard to do that now that my escort ads are easily found on Google by typing in “Maggie McNeill Seattle escort”); and before I was showing my face in copious selfies and freaking TELEVISION APPEARANCES, some idiots who thought themselves clever tried to claim I was a man (specifically a client) because they didn’t want to believe that a woman might not think like them.

At first, this didn’t really bother me, but now I’m over 50 and operating in a chronic state of emotional exhaustion, and people with axes to grind are just looking for excuses to undermine my work by making asinine accusations against me; some of these are even sex workers for whom ideological purity trumps actually unifying to fight for decriminalization.  So I’m sorry, but I will no longer answer controversial questions about groups that I’m not a member of.  If your question is about women in general, or sex workers, or bisexual women, or kinky people, or any other group I’m part of, fire away and it can be as controversial as you like.  And if your question involves some group of which I’m not a member such as nonwhite people, trans people, heterosexual people or whatever and it isn’t controversial, fire away and I’ll answer as best I can.  But if you have some question which arouses considerable acrimony and involves a group I’m not part of?  Forget it.  I’ve been directly told, for example, that I’m not allowed to have an opinion on circumcision because I don’t have a penis, even if that opinion is based in data from published studies.  And while I think that’s nonsense, I’m too tired to fight it any more; you’ll need to address such questions to a member of whatever group is allowed to have opinions on the subject.  Sorry about that; I’m not masochistic enough to enjoy beating my head against a brick wall.

The one exception is questions about those in power, of course; I’ve never held political power, but I’ll opine on those sociopaths all day long.  Fuck them.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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I’ve been married for about 6 months and my husband needs sex almost every day, but I’m not into this most of the time.  Sometimes we speak about role play, and other times he spanks me, but later I feel guilty that we may have done something wrong.  How can I increase my desires?

I’m a little concerned that you’re already disinterested so soon after marriage; do you feel that your level of desire has changed since the wedding?  In other words, were you more interested in sex at first, but now find that you’re less so?  If that’s the case, it might be helpful for you to pay attention to when you feel interested, and when you don’t; for example, do you feel more receptive to sex on days when you don’t work, or when your husband treats you in a certain way (helps you, compliments you, etc)?  Do you feel less interested when he wants to do things (like spanking) that make you feel guilty?  You didn’t mention your age or background, but I’m going to guess you’re fairly young (under 30) and from a traditional upbringing that taught you to feel guilty about sex.  So what I’m thinking is that your husband may be more experienced than you, and might be rushing you into things you’re not quite ready for yet.  As I suggested, note the times you feel more interested in sex, and tell your husband so; when he wants to do things that make you feel shy or guilty, say to him, “I really like it when you do x to me” (where “x” is something you’ve noticed makes you feel sexy).  People tend to respond better to positive statements such as “I like it when you do this”, than to negative statements like “I don’t like it when you do that”.  That having been said, if he does something you really dislike, you need to tell him so gently but firmly (as advice rather than as an accusation).  Marriage is a partnership, and though your husband may always want more sex than you do, he has to take care of your needs, too.  Over time, you’ll become more comfortable with sex, and experimentation won’t seem quite so strange to you; at that time, you may find that things which used to bring on guilt no longer bother you so much.  It looks to me as though you love your husband and want to be a good wife to him, but for right now he needs to demonstrate his love for you by being patient and allowing you to sexually mature at your own rate.  If he keeps pushing you too quickly, it’s just going to make you resentful and less interested in sex, and that’s not good for either of you.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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How can I convince my wife to see an escort with me?

The short, pithy, and not-entirely-accurate answer is, “You can’t.”  Now, hear me out; I’m not just being a killjoy.  That answer is based on some assumptions, hence the “not entirely accurate” descriptor; if any of these assumptions are incorrect, the short answer also might not be.  However, I’m willing to bet that even as it is, it’s hovering around the 75th percentile of applicability.

First of all, if your wife were the “game for anything” type, you probably wouldn’t have asked me this question; the two of you would’ve already discussed it, and even if she said “no” prior experience would almost certainly give you a hint as to how to proceed in convincing her.  I’m also going to assume that she has never expressed a strong interest in bringing another woman into bed with you; if she had, it would’ve been a simple matter for you to say, “That sounds like a great idea, but we should probably just hire a pro so as to avoid awkward situations with friends and the uncertainty & weirdness of trying to pick up a gal together at a bar or party.”  I’m even going to assume that she has not openly (or even coyly) expressed a desire to “spice up” your sex lives, because that would’ve given you an opening to suggest something.  No, I’m going to assume that you’ve had a pretty vanilla sex life so far, and that you have a fantasy of being in bed with two women that she doesn’t (to your knowledge) share.  And if that’s the case, please reread the first line of this column.

Now, there are a few caveats; you might try making a kind of vague suggestion about spicing up your sex lives, and see where that leads you.  But before you do that, I need to give you two warnings:

A) It’s not unusual for vanilla amateur women to react to such a suggestion by taking it personally and getting angry at you for insinuating that your sex life is boring; the mere suggestion may precipitate an argument in which work, children and the fact that you don’t pay much attention to her any more will almost certainly be mentioned.

B) Even if A doesn’t happen, most vanilla amateur women’s idea of “spicing things up” is a “romantic” (and much more expensive than hiring me for two hours) vacation to a quaint little bed and breakfast.  Or Hawaii.  During which you may or may not have the same kind of boring sex you’ve had for years, only in a different (and much more expensive) bed.

Do I sound a bit jaded?  You’ll have to forgive me; even before I was a professional I had a long history of being “the other woman” (for partners of both sexes) and the understanding friend who consoles people over their romantic difficulties.  And I’ve seen this script played out on a regular basis since 1983.  The sad fact of the matter is, the majority of modern American women have been thoroughly brainwashed into the belief that male sexuality is inherently pathological, and your desire for variety will be dismissed as a sign that something is wrong with you and/or that you don’t love her any more.  Please don’t take this as meaning I’m letting men off the hook; there are plenty of things men could do to improve their marriages, but that wasn’t the question which was asked.  And though men are usually more receptive to trying out their female partners’ fantasies than vice versa, that isn’t necessarily the case if said fantasy threatens his delicate ego in the same way that a man’s desire for variety can threaten a woman’s sense of security.  Furthermore, I can assure you from both personal experience and the experiences of female friends, vanilla men are every bit as likely to be squicked out by kinky fantasies they don’t share as vanilla women are.  My advice to any man who wants to be in bed with two women is, unless your wife has clearly expressed interest in such a thing, just ask an escort to arrange a duo for you; you’ll get what you want without drama, and it’ll be a lot cheaper in the long run.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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I’m a successful professional woman who has been married for 20 years, but over the last few years I’ve been growing more bisexual.  So I hired an escort, and later we started dating (around the end of October).  I’m not her “sugar mama”, although I do try and help her out a little bit here and there.  I suppose when a relationship starts out as escort/client, there are hurdles to overcome on both sides; being that you previously married a client, I figure you might understand what I mean.  Obviously, by hiring escorts, I was not looking for a serious relationship, and it’s been kind of intense; any advice (or words of caution) you have on this situation would be appreciated!

You’re right about the hurdles; sometimes they can be overcome, and sometimes not.  In my case, the marriage eventually broke down for reasons only tangentially related to my work, but 14 years isn’t a bad run for any marriage nowadays.  From the information you’ve given me, I don’t think your girlfriend being an escort will really matter one way or another (though it usually does with men), unless you become jealous of her clients, but since this is (I assume) your first lesbian relationship there are a couple of things you may appreciate my mentioning.  In lesbian relationships, sexual interest tends to ramp up quickly (“What does a lesbian bring along on the second date? A U-haul”) as you discovered firsthand, but often dies within a year (the dreaded “lesbian bed death”), and you’re already past four months.  Of course, this isn’t always the case, and even when it is lesbian relationships can go on for years or decades after that due to shared intimacy & deep emotional bonding; for some lesbians that’s enough.  But if you were the kind of woman who can be satisfied with a relationship devoid of lesbian sex, I don’t think you’d have been intentionally seeking out an escort in the first place (regardless of what actually happened when you met one you “clicked” with).  So while it’s true that there are special difficulties in any relationship with a sex worker, what I’d be more mindful about in your specific case is how you’ll feel when the sex dries up.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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