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Archive for the ‘Q & A’ Category

I don’t really like to criticize other high-profile sex workers, but Buzzfeed has given the porn performer Stoya an advice column, and bluntly speaking, a lot of her advice is just plain badI criticized one of her responses before, in a column back in February, but the advice she gave that time wasn’t nearly as bad as the advice in this column from April 30th, which if followed is very likely to destroy the questioner’s marriage. Since most porn performers have done at least some escorting, I presume Stoya isn’t completely ignorant of that type of sex work, so I can’t fathom how she completely missed the bus here.  This is an edited version of the reader’s question:

My wife and I stopped having sex regularly after our kids were born.  It dwindled from almost daily sex to maybe once a month…We…tried therapy, but…she would get angry if I suggested sex and would say she found my sexual “neediness” unattractive.  I love my wife and the last thing I wanted to do was push her, so I stopped trying and decided to take care of my needs through masturbation, but she caught me once and said she found it pathetic.  About a year ago…I tried to open up a discussion about our missing sexual life but was quickly shut down.  “That part of my life is over” was my wife’s response.  She’s 41…One day, I went to a massage parlor…there was something so healing about human touch.  Since then, I’ve been to several…and…I’ve found a few regular spots that are friendly and well-run…The women I see are thoughtful, funny, and empathetic about sex and men’s bodies’ needs…While I still desire my wife, I don’t feel the need to press and annoy her, and I understand that part of her life might be over.  (It’s been six years since we even kissed.)  The thing I fear the most is that the image of my wife, of her body, is being replaced by the images of these other women, with these massage ladies fill a gaping hole in my life.  Should I stop?

And here are the parts of Stoya’s answer which caused me to think “What the fuck?”

…to be on the ethical side of things, you would need to at least float the idea of opening things up with your wife.  Ideally your wife would know about and be OK with—or even approve of—your behavior, but her shaming reaction to finding you masturbating leads me to suspect she’d be very upset, so brace yourself for a less-than-enthused response.  Your wife sounds closed off to communication about sex in general, and I agree a life without sex doesn’t sound healthy for you at least, so you’d likely both benefit from a professional third party to help along any future discussion…

No, no, no, FUCK no.  I have no idea what she was smoking when she wrote that, but it’s a recipe for disaster.  This is a woman who shamed and ridiculed her own husband for masturbating after she unceremoniously cut him off; how could anyone who has lived among adult humans for more than a few months believe that asking such a narcissistic, controlling, authoritarian prude for an open arrangement would result in anything but a catastrophe?  Women who are mature enough to accept “open” relationships do not go around calling their husbands “pathetic”, “unattractive” and “needy” for having a sex drive in their forties.  And asking a selfish, judgy, sexually-immature woman for an open relationship is going to be about as productive as throwing a stick of dynamite into a cesspool.  If she doesn’t immediately demand a divorce (which might very well happen), she’s going to A) subject her husband to more ridicule and abuse; and B) become suspicious and start watching his every move to detect “infidelity”.  If this dude had written me I’d ave given him the same advice I give every husband in a similar situation:  find a discreet sex worker you like and trust, keep your damned mouth shut about the subject, and just be satisfied with whatever aspects of your married life have caused you to stay married to someone who, from where I’m sitting, doesn’t seem to give a shit about 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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Why do you advise activists not to debate prohibitionists?  Haven’t you argued in the past that the goal isn’t to convince your opposition but to convince the undecided/uninformed spectators? I would think a debate would help with that.

The main problem with “debating” fanatics of any stripe is that the human mind is more easily convinced by stories (however false) than facts (however solid).  The only way to counter the scary tales of prohibitionists is by long, thorough exposure to boring, mundane true stories of real sex workers.  Scare stories are intense & quickly told, but have shallow intellectual roots.  True stories are mild & boring and have no quick, exciting climax, but have deeper intellectual roots.  That’s why everyone used to believe in fanciful tales of witches, but almost nobody does now.  When gay rights started to become A Thing, prohibitionists vomited out their ugly “child molester” BS, but very few believe that any more; that change didn’t come from “debating” the fanatics, but from enough gay men being “out” that only the craziest couldn’t see the truth.  Similarly, note that the public’s opinion on sex worker rights is slowly shifting, as demonstrated by the fact that decriminalization is now a safe position for politicians in some places.  The prohibitionists are still vomiting out their wanking fantasies, but “out” sex workers are slowly washing away those ugly paint-bombs with the clean water of truth.  We are winning, and there is absolutely nothing prohibitionists can do about it in the long run; to lend them credibility by dignifying their nasty masturbatory fantasies with “debate” would only prolong the demise of their narrative.

(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 was a sex worker in the 1980s.  My abusive ex-husband used this against me to legally kidnap my two daughters, and of course poisoned them against me.  Well, my now-middle-aged daughter contacted me recently after many years; she is angry at me for “bringing disgusting men into our apartment” and wants to know how I could “do such a thing”.  At the same time, she expressed concern and compassion and practically apologized for hurting me.  I know this comes from my ex and the cultural stigma around sex work, but I don’t know what to say to her.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

This is a very tough situation, and I’m sorry you are having to go through this for a chance at healing the rift with your daughter.  I think the best way to start a dialogue with her would be to write her a letter or email, briefly explaining that because of stigma a lot of lies are told about our work, and it’s actually not the horrible thing she imagines.  You can then include some links to a few good resources, so if she really wants to understand she can read or watch those resources in her own time and without all the emotion that would certainly result if you tried to explain it yourself, especially since she does not trust you.  Tell her that you have never stopped loving her and would like a relationship with her, and that you think this is the best way to help her understand.  If you try to explain it yourself, she’ll just keep interrupting and you will get upset, and nothing will be accomplished.  But if she is at least introduced to the idea that sex work is not what she thinks it is, I think you’ll have a lot better chance of getting her to listen to you.  The initial message has to come from someone she doesn’t know, who has no motivation to lie.  My blog is one resource, but I’m sure you can find others (videos and such) which will help.  If you need, I can suggest resources that specifically focus on the issue of courts abducting sex workers’ kids.  Also:  this has got to be stressful for you; do you have any friends who know your past, who can support you through this?  You need to have someone you can trust close by.

Good luck, and please let me if I can help in any other way.

(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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Community

How do I connect with other escorts in my area?  The few that I have reached out to for references, haven’t appeared to be too keen on continuing a conversation past the reference subject.  A point in any direction for support, friendship etc would be much appreciated.

I don’t believe there are any sex worker organizations in your immediate area, but the easiest way for you to start finding other sex workers to talk to would be Twitter.  If you follow me (@Maggie_McNeill) you will see that I interact with and retweet LOTS of other sex workers, some of whom may live close to you.  You can then follow other people and interact yourself, and even make good online friends (some of whom you may later meet IRL).  It’s a very good idea to do this; though it’s lucrative and flexible, sex work can be very isolating, especially in a criminalized regime.  And when you get overwhelmed by all the bullshit lies told about our work in the media, it’s good to have other ladies you can get a reality check from.  Twitter’s also a good way to keep up on what’s happening in our world; people post information on bad clients, stings, activist events, etc.  I think you’ll find it’s exactly what you’re looking for.  There is currently considerable concern that due to FOSTA Twitter may kick sex workers off as so many other platforms have, so you may also with to join Switter and also get contact information (phone, email, etc) from the friends you make so that if catastrophe happens you won’t be cut off.

(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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Peeking Out

I retired from sex work about 4 years ago, and I’m in university studying the health system and health policies.  Nobody in my life knows about my history and I do not discuss it.  However, I wish to do my graduate studies in social policy and rights focusing on sex worker policy, so I am thinking it might be time for me to start to “come out” to some people.  I am about to meet a lecturer on my current degree, who is helping me with my graduate application.  I am planning on coming out to her about my history; I think she will be supportive, but I am very nervous.  Any advice you can offer me, I would appreciate so much.

Obviously, we need as many sex workers and sex work alumnae to be out as possible, and I’ve written on the subject before (as have others I’ve collected in my tag “Coming Out”).  However, there’s no doubt it can be harmful to some.  My main concern would be, can this woman you want to come out to harm your academic career if she reacts badly?  And has she given you any indication that she won’t?  Because more than anything else, those are the important factors; there’s a very good reason most people who come out voluntarily are in a position where very few others have power over them.  My thought is, if this woman has publicly expressed support for sex workers, and she cannot easily derail your career, it’s probably OK to come out to her (especially since you want to focus on sex work policy).  But if she could possibly harm you and has never expressed any public pro-sexwork sentiments, I would choose another person to come out to first, and see how that goes before proceeding with your advisor.

(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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Beyond the Pale

Last week I saw this question linked on Twitter, and I was rather dissatisfied with the answer the advice columnist gave.  So even though it wasn’t directed at me, I am going to answer it in case any of my readers is ever in a similar situation.

My husband wanted to try anal…I let myself be talked into trying.  I hated it.  We tried again.  I hated it.  We tried with toys of slowly increasing sizes. I hated it…We try it now every few months at most…and I inevitably cry during and after…I want to never ever do this again or even hear him ask about it, suggest it, or joke about it.  He keeps saying he doesn’t want it to hurt, but thinks it’s fair for him to keep wanting it and keep asking for it…thinking of my husband as the man who sometimes pesters me to go through this kind of pain on his behalf has done a lot of damage to my enjoyment of sex and intimacy in general.  He says he needs some variety.  An open arrangement is not on the table.  Is one of us being unfair?  Are both of us?…

First of all, I really hate the word “fair”, and this is a perfect example of why.  Reality is reality, and it doesn’t change just because one person (in this case your husband) is unhappy with the results.  It isn’t “fair” to my friends that I get to claim the front seat in every car ride where I’m not driving, but because of my severe vertigo it’s necessary unless somebody wants to clean up vomit and listen to me crying like a little girl.  It doesn’t matter whether your aversion to anal is physical, emotional or something else; the fact is that it exists, and that’s that.  You clearly want to make your husband happy, but you’ve made the effort many times with the same result, and he needs to accept that; now it’s his turn to make you happy by giving up this butt obsession before it utterly destroys your sex life and possibly your relationship.  You say you don’t want an open relationship, and given his inability to respect boundaries I think that’s wise; however, please recognize that if he’s as obsessed by this as it seems, he may go behind your back anyway, and if that happens you will need to decide if you’re willing to continue trusting him.  In any case, stop trying to do something that distresses you so; set a firm boundary and tell him you are done even talking about it.

For the husband:   Dude, WTF?  I understand you’ve got a fetish for anal, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But there’s plenty wrong with your insistence on repeatedly violating your wife’s consent.  It was fine for you to ask her once, and even to wheedle her a bit if she was reluctant.  But to continue insisting, begging, haranguing or whatever else you’ve been doing to get her to try something she obviously hates over and over and over is sadistic, and I don’t mean that in a good way.  You are harming both her and your relationship, and for what?  If you absolutely must experience this, do what ethical men have done since time immemorial and go hire a sex worker who is open to this activity.  Do not try to pick up some amateur in a bar, or go on some dumb dating site, unless you actually want to destroy your marriage; find a discreet professional who offers this service and see her as needed.  Do not just pick an escort at random and assume Greek is on the menu, because not everyone offers it (and the ones who do may not offer it to everyone, or not on the first date, or some other stipulation) and it requires special preparation (which, judging by your wife’s letter, you seem not to comprehend).  And if you do go that route, please be discreet yourself; it’s OK to get your needs met, but it’s not OK to hurt your wife because you’re too damned selfish to think with the big head.

(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 never been with any kind of sex worker before, and I’m planning to book an escort in a couple weeks.  I asked for a three-hour date because I wanted there to be plenty of time; longer appointments seem to be what high-end escorts generally prefer anyway.  I imagine the first part of the date will be getting acquainted, having a drink, etc, but I’m a little concerned that when things turn physical I might climax very quickly; if that happens, is it OK thing to to go again, or is it better to try and prevent it from happening?  Or would you suggest I shorten the date to two hours?

It would be pretty rare for a “high-end” escort to do a la carte pricing; we charge only for time, though most of us do have separate rates for purely social dates (no intimate contact at all) and “full service” dates.  So it really doesn’t matter what y’all do with the time, and most experienced escorts aren’t going to be surprised if a guy wants to go twice in a three-hour date, especially if the first one is accomplished fairly quickly.  That having been said, don’t try to spring a second round on her with less than half an hour in the session, unless of course you want to piss her off.  With the exception of Tantra, “edging”, etc, the preoccupation with delaying orgasm is purely a male one; men seem to imagine that women like interminable pistoning, and nothing could be further from the truth (especially with a pro).  When a man expends effort in attempting to delay orgasm, all he usually accomplishes is annoying his escort and (if he succeeds too well, which I have seen happen innumerable times) frustrating himself.  I suggest you spend the first hour chatting and relaxing, then let nature take its course; if you climax quickly and want to do it again, try to start around the beginning of the third hour.  But if you are satisfied after the first (and most men are), just spend the rest of the time enjoying a beautiful lady’s company; most of us are quite good at entertaining gentlemen in ways other than having sex.

(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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