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Archive for the ‘Q & A’ Category

Do you have any idea why some people’s Twitter follower count either stays the same or slowly drops?  Mine used to climb pretty steadily, but lately I’m losing followers even though I’m not doing anything different.

Most internet companies are more subtle than censorship-happy Facebook, which openly and proudly censors posts and bans users using a set of “community standards” so bluenosed they’d make a Puritan swoon.  Google is only slightly less censorious, using secret algorithms to monkey with search results in order to boost its advertisers and “de-weight” any site containing “adult content” (which is why my traffic to this blog from Google is only about 1/6 what it was seven years ago); it also “demonetizes” videos on YouTube (ie, makes them ineligible for moneymaking ads) using similar esoteric criteria.  Twitter, by contrast, likes to represent itself as the most free-speech-friendly of the social media sites, and to a degree that’s no empty pose; it’s the only one left which still allows (some) nudity, frank sexual discussion, and the open presence of sex workers.  But behind the scenes it still has a number of secret mechanisms, most of which it denies the existence of, that are intended to push nasty, dirty, sex into the shadows to make room for nice, fully-clothed bigots.  One of those is the shadowban, a blanket term for a number of occlusions which can be secretly installed by the corporation on the accounts of (mostly but not only) sex workers so as to make their accounts much harder for new readers to find while allowing them to appear normally to those who already follow them:  Twitter used to deny that there was such a thing as a shadowban, but as of January 1st its TOS states that it “reserves the right to limit distribution or visibility of content”, IOW to shadowban users.  But what you’re describing is different.  According to the shadowban checker I linked above, I’m not shadowbanned; yet my follower count, which used to increase by hundreds every month, has now been static for over two years.  I get at least 10-20 new followers every day, yet my count just bobs gently back and forth like a buoy on a calm sea, as though something were draining away followers at the same rate I gained them.  Then since about April, I’ve been slowly losing followers; it’s very gradual, about 220 followers so far, yet I’m still gaining a dozen to a score new followers evey day.  The only thing I can figure is that this is part of their anti-bot campaign; apparently, the site is methodically checking every account over time, and when an account trips some condition that Twitter has decided makes it “suspicious”, that account is either closed entirely or at least “disqualified” as a follower.  I know I’ve had a number of people tell me that Twitter has “unfollowed” me for them without their permission, such that they wondered if I had left the site until they saw someone else retweet me; I suspect a lot of the lost followers are due to a similar process.  But riddle me this:  if it’s an innocent by-product of that kind of routine site cleaning, why are all the people who have noticed it either “adult” or otherwise “controversial”?

(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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My marriage has been sexless for last 20 years.  During that time I’ve been fortunate enough to find three married lovers, but nothing recently despite dating sites.  I did search “escorts” but I’ve never paid for sex and can’t contemplate $750 an hour for those I saw on these sites.  However, I’ve heard housewives selling sex for money are much cheaper; how do I reach these?

Hire. An. Escort.

You are going to get caught if you keep playing around with amateurs, and unless you’re looking in NYC or at porn actresses, escorts aren’t charging $750/hour.  I’m “high end” and I charge $400 for one hour, $1200 for a four-hour dinner date; that’s pretty typical in most sizeable US cities.  I wrote an article for Reason a couple of years ago with advice on finding a good pro; I suggest you follow that advice before you get caught.  And I guarantee you a divorce will set you back more than a few hundred bucks once or twice a month.
(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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Are “talkers” still a type of customer?  It seems like sex workers perform a lot of therapy as part of their job; there’s a lot of sexual stuff I would never talk about to any therapist, and I’m sure there are plenty like me out there.

Oh, sure.  Contrary to the twisted, ugly sexual fantasies of prohibitionists, most clients aren’t interested in the human equivalent of a sex doll; as I wrote in “The Pygmalion Fallacy“,

Prohibitionists…are fond of characterizing men’s interaction with whores as “use”; they constantly speak of hookers “selling their bodies” or clients “objectifying” us.  But as every one of my readers who has ever participated on either side of the equation knows, this is pure bunk; the vast majority of men who hire prostitutes aren’t just looking for warm holes, but rather interaction with real women…

If the fantasies of prohibitionists and “sex robot” fetishists were based in reality, one would expect the demand for passive, inarticulate whores to be much higher than the demand for those with strong minds, strong wills and strong communication skills.  But if anything, the opposite tends to be true:  in general, the more an escort charges, the less sex she has and the more talking she does.  Most guys won’t pay high-range prices for a companion who can’t carry on a conversation, and this has been true throughout history (as demonstrated by the number of famous courtesans who were also accomplished poets, writers, artists, and even philosophers).

This is only half of the equation, however.  As you pointed out, many people don’t feel comfortable discussing intimate (and possibly embarrassing) details of their sexualities with academic types; it’s why surveys about sexual topics are so notoriously unreliable, and the results of such polls are a better indicator of what the respondents think the researchers want to hear than what they actually think, feel and do.  Add to that the existence of “mandated reporting” laws which demand that pschiatric professionals snitch to the cops about the feelings some of their patients divulge under the mistaken belief that their confidences will be kept confidential, and I think you can understand why many men prefer to discuss their private sexual feelings with members of a profession who have been comforting men and keeping their secrets since the dawn of human civilization.

(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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On Monday, I gave clients some ideas about how to help sex workers during this time when everyone is doing “social distancing”.  I was considering doing one about shifting to working online (camming, phone sex, selling porn, etc), but there was only one problem with that idea:  I have never done any of that kind of work before, and therefore don’t know much about it.  However, my dear friend Matisse started this thread that same day, and it’s getting plenty of contributions from people who DO know; Melanie Moore’s subthread is especially thorough.  So if you’re a sex worker considering this option, please read this thread.  And if you’re a sex worker who has experience with this, please contribute to help your sisters.  Sex workers are flexible and resilient, and one of our greatest strengths as a community is the way we stick together and help each other against a world which has been hostile to us for over two millennia.

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Many years ago I was in the business through Craigslist, but am looking to get back in as a true courtesan.  Two topics baffle me and I’d appreciate your advice.  First is screening; I never did this before, just used my gut and only once regretted it.  Is this a common practice?  Do men give their real info?  Second:  I have a legitimate job, so what I make here is going towards debt and savings.  I want to deposit any money in the bank.  Do I need to pay taxes?  Do people want to pay with credit cards?  Should I form a LLC?

I think you should do a bit of research before going any further with your plans.  You can start with my “mentoring” and “screening” tags, both of which should give you plenty of material to help with your questions.  Next, you need to get rid of the idea that sex work is not a legitimate job, because it is, albeit a suppressed one.  Many people who have a square job and just do a little escorting on the side do not report their cash income even though it’s illegal not to, because prostitution is already illegal so I guess they figure “in for a penny, in for a pound”.  But being a “true courtesan” is a full-time job; if you’re going to go that route it would be most unwise to completely avoid taxes because the IRS will destroy your life if they catch you.  If you’re only doing it as a side-hustle you probably don’t need to take credit cards or start an LLC, because you simply won’t have the kind of volume that requires that.  However, it’s easy enough to take credit cards via Square.  And if you’re going to start an LLC, you had best think long and hard about what you’re going to claim it does, because banks and such are nosy and will cut you off (and possibly steal your money) if they think it’s from sex 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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I live in a very small city, so there aren’t many escorts around here.  I contacted a new one recently and when she replied, I notice that her username appears to be her real name (it isn’t the same as her stage name) and I’m not sure she realizes that is showing.  I could be wrong, but given that she seems very inexperienced I don’t believe I am.  Should I say something to her, and if so how?

I’d simply be honest with her; take a screenshot of what it looks like on your end and send it to her with something like, “This is what your email looks like on my end; I’m concerned this may be information you don’t want revealed.”  Also assure her that you will not share the information with anyone because you understand it could compromise her safety.  If you’re wrong (and perhaps even if you’re right), she’ll probably just thank you for your concern and say that it’s fine and you’re only seeing another alias she has used before.  It’s possible she may get upset with you, but if you truly believe she might be accidentally outing herself, telling her is still the right thing to do (before she replies to someone who might try to use the information to exploit her).

(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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People have such a need to cram others into little boxes.  Somebody recently asked me how bisexual I am (I can only presume they meant my Kinsey number).  Now, I’ve written before about the absurd inadequacy of any attempt to reduce human sexuality to a single one-dimensional axis, or even a two-dimensional chart that:

A) crosses Kinsey numbers with what the designers referred to as “attraction types” based on “lustful feelings” (that roughly a third of women don’t have);
B) ignores kink entirely; and
C) “gives a place of precedence to ongoing sexual ‘relationships’ despite the fact that many individuals aren’t interested in them.”

As I wrote in “East is East and West is West“,

Human sexuality is not like a standard light switch, which has two and only two positions; it’s not even like a dimmer switch, with an infinite number of subtle gradations along one linear path.  It’s much more like a faucet, in which two kinds of water can be mixed to produce many temperature gradations while the intensity of the flow can also have many levels.  In fact, if you can imagine a shower where the water can be directed to come out of either the lower faucet or the shower head or a movable nozzle or jacuzzi jets, that might be a model a bit closer to the truth…

But even ignoring all that, the very question of “How bi are you?” ignores the reality of female sexual fluidity.  As I explained in “AC/DC“, “women tend to move around the sexual spectrum depending upon their environment, circumstances and experiences,” and I probably wander more than most women.  So for me, the question is simply not answerable in any fixed, predictable sense.  I mean, are we talking now or at some specific past or future time?  What time of the month is it?  Hell, what time of day is it?  What did I have to eat last?  How many clients have I had recently, and when was the last time a busty redhead made eyes at me?  What was the gender of the last idiot who pissed me off?  Am I high, and if so on what drug?  Is it October?  Is it Tuesday?  Is it raining?  What music are we listening to?  Is there a dog or cat in the room?  Is there money involved?  Is there bondage involved?  How attractive does the person in question find me, and what are they doing to prove it?  And after all that I still probably couldn’t tell you how bi I am.

(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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Tripod

Recently I commented on Twitter that the chance of an all-amateur threesome being awful is approximately 100%, and that if you want a good threesome you really need to hire a professional (or even two).  Naturally, I got some blowback from this, because amateurs – especially a certain subset of female amateurs – are very intimidated by the fact (yes, I said “fact”) that professionals are better at sex than they are.  As I wrote in “Don’t Try This At Home“, “ Part of the reason is that we get a lot more practice, and part is necessity…we have to be better at it because our livelihoods depend on it.”  How many different partners does the average amateur have vs the average pro?  How many times does the average amateur practice per week, and in how many different ways?  How many different skills does the average amateur take time to learn, and how much practice does she get in setting boundaries, resolving conflicts, etc?  But the most important question of all is,  Why is this so controversial?  In every other field of human endeavor, the idea that professionals are generally better at whatever-it-is than amateurs is a given; it’s why the term “amateur” can be used in a pejorative manner.  Except when the subject is sex, “You should probably hire a pro to do that” is usually considered good and wholly uncontroversial advice for any compex task that requires greater skill and experience than the average amateur is likely to have.  And believe me, threesomes are complicated; even some professionals don’t like to do them because of the possibility of couple drama:

The first thing I always establish…[is] that the wife [is] in control…since she might become jealous by seeing another woman touching her husband, she [has] the right to speak up if…something…[makes] her uncomfortable.  Sitting close to both of them, I…point out that they…called me to help them experience something novel and exciting, but that it wasn’t for everyone so if the wife [feels] overwhelmed or freaked out she need[s] to say something immediately…

You think even experienced amateurs (except, perhaps, experienced kinksters) go to that trouble?  It is to laugh.  They just dive in without any discussion of what the session should even look like, and then are surprised when all the various disasters one reads about in amateurs’ silly articles happen.  The Daily Beast declared “Threesomes are Actually a Terrible Idea“; the Daily Mail presented “10 Reasons Why Having a Threesome is a Bad Idea” (SCIENCE!), and the anti-sex-despite-its-name Vice helpfully shared “People Explain Why Threesomes Are Boring and Evil“.  As you might expect, all of these are deeply stupid and woefully ignorant, and only the Beast article even mentions the word “professional” (and even there, it’s bizarrely referring to the male as being the one in need of professional skills).  Even when jealousy isn’t a factor (and believe me, it can sometimes pop up even in situations that at first seem safe), motivation and direction are.  Amateurs aren’t getting paid, so they want to have “fun” and get sulky when they feel left out or lose steam before the others do.  And if all three are equally incompetent, who’s going to manage things?  Because, dear reader, somebody has to.  See, the title of this essay is ironic; a threesome isn’t evenly-balanced like a tripod, though that’s what amateurs believe and expect; it’s more like a parent taking two overexcited kids to the zoo for the first time.  Or, in the case of a duo, two parents taking one kid.  That’s why most pros generally prefer to work with a specific duo partner (for me it’s Lorelei Rivers); it’s much easier to provide a good experience with a partner one knows well than to try to wing it with someone who can’t read one’s non-verbal cues as reliably.  And as any parent can tell you, things always go more smoothly when the people running the show are on the same page.

(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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Lately, I’ve received several requests from escorts, especially mature ones, asking how they can move toward the business model I’ve built, namely eschewing formal advertising altogether and just relying on guys who contact me because of my blogging, Twitter, articles, books, video interviews, podcast appearances, etc.  And I’m always hesitant to even try to answer such questions because, though I often play at being terribly conceited and full of myself, it’s always done with enough of a smile and a wink that most people know it’s a tease (at least, I hope they know).  In reality, it took a very long time for me to accept that I was even attractive, much less a bona fide sex symbol, and I’m still not really comfortable with discussing that status as a factual thing; as a result, I find it difficult to answer the question “How can I market myself as you do?” by stating the true and factual answer: “Be Maggie McNeill”.  No, I’m not being facetious; that really is the truth.  By the time I started escorting full-time at the age of 33, my personality was already pretty firmly established in all of its unconventional, intense, neuroatypical, compulsive, fiery glory, and trying to hide or disguise that personality would’ve been almost as difficult as trying to get a new head.  From the time I was a stripper I’ve never made any effort to “round my shoulders” as my old friend Dr. Helena put it, in other words to soften my edges and cool my fire so as to be less threatening to men.  Some men love my strength and fury, but a larger number are intimidated by them; that’s just something I’ve had to accept as the price of being who I am.  As I’ve explained before, aside from the occasional nude selfie or the like, I’ve never really done anything solely for marketing purposes; astute readers may have noticed that my ads on various escort ad sites are always plagiarized from one another, because I find it much too difficult to find new ways to praise myself.  I didn’t start this blog to market myself as an escort; remember, for the first five years I pretended to be retired!  No, I started it to educate people about sex work and speak about what I believe in, and I started Twitter to promote the blog.  Then the interviews, speaking gigs, books, etc, all followed as natural consequences of that, and eventually I realized there was no point in hiding my identity from potential customers when it was pretty clear that, in our current surveillance state, the “authorities” already knew who I was anyhow.  In other words, I didn’t go looking for fame; it just sort of happened to me, and business (plus the likely attention of evildoers) followed close behind.  Simply put, I can’t possibly tell you or anybody how to get to where I’ve found myself because it wasn’t the result of any kind of brilliant and well-considered plan; it just kinda happened as a result of the choices I made, and those in turn were just outgrowths of who I am.  I realize “Be Maggie McNeill” is useless as career advice to anyone who isn’t already Maggie McNeill, but I’m afraid it’s all I’ve got.

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You often say “Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever”, but what’s the alternative when I’ve been burgled, robbed, or assaulted?  Vigilantism?  I’m sincerely asking.

The cops do not exist to “help” you.  That is not their purpose, and the great majority of crimes are never “solved”; most of the time the cops don’t even investigate them.  On top of that, there are thousands and thousands of cases of cops showing up and either inflicting violence on the caller or their family, or accusing THEM of a crime, or both.  We hear a lot about how rape cases often result in the victim being treated like a criminal, but in reality that’s true for all crimes.  If a cop takes a dislike to a complainant, he may decide that it would be both easier and better for him to accuse the complainant of a “crime” (usually a criminalized consensual act) instead.  In the US, most prostitution charges result not from “stings”, but from cops charging victims of some crime (rape, robbery, assault, etc) with “prostitution”; in this recent example, cops ignored a violent serial killer to try to charge his intended victim.  Examples of cops hurling drug or DV charges at crime victims abound.  You honestly think it’s worth it to risk all that so you can have the faint hope that the state will inflict vicarious revenge on the one who harmed you?  “Closure” is bullshit; people who expect to gain it by seeing the one who harmed them imprisoned often fall into depression when they realize it does nothing of the kind.  Nor is it a valid argument to claim that in seeking vicarious vengeance through state-sponsored violence, you are helping other potential victims; cops generally charge whoever is handy and pressure the victim to agree with their choice instead of actually seeking the true malefactor.  More simply put, when cops act to “solve” a crime at all, they generally do so by picking someone to frame for it and torturing the “evidence” to support their choice; your misfortune may be used to feed an innocent person into the carceral machine.  In short, there are very few good possible outcomes to calling the cops, and lots of extremely bad, even life-destroying, ones; before dialing “9-1-1” or its equivalent, you might at least consider asking yourself whether you’re feeling lucky that day.

(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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