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Archive for the ‘Q & A’ Category

One of the most common questions I’m asked is, “Why don’t you ________?” where the blank is filled with some thing the questioner would like me to do, such as  “Why don’t you tour?“, “Why don’t you advertise on such-and-such site?“, or “Why don’t you do morning appointments?”  And the short-but-not-entirely-satisfactory answer is always the same:  “Because I don’t want to.”  As regular readers know, I’ve been doing sex work for a really long time: 34 years in all, almost 22 years as a career, and almost 20 years as an advertised escort.  And as one might expect, I’ve learned a great deal in that time, and one of things I’ve learned is that it’s easy to burn out if one isn’t careful.  It happened in only two years as a stripper, and as an escort I burned out several times and had to change my work style in order to maintain an income while giving myself time to recover (the longest break of this sort was from July 2006 to July 2010, during which my sole client was my then-husband).  But now, the stakes are much higher; I’m much older and much more realistic, and I know very well I’m not likely to score any gig that’s both more lucrative and less stressful for me than harlotry.  It isn’t that sex work is in and of itself uniquely stressful; it’s just that running a one-woman business of any kind is, and criminalization heaps an extra load of stress on top of that.  So a sex worker, like any other businessperson, needs to prioritize, pace herself, and figure out the right work-life balance so as to make it possible to continue bringing in a solid, dependable income year after year without burnout.

One important part of that is figuring out what things cause one the most stress and/or resentment and eliminating (or at least minimizing) them; another is its counterpart, maximizing the things that one enjoys or finds rewarding.  And as you’ve probably already guessed, most of the things I don’t do are things that I find stressful and/or annoying.  I’m slow to awaken and hate waking up to alarms, so I have always refused to do morning appointments.  I am not good at navigating formal systems, and since that includes filling out forms it’s rare that I can motivate myself to create a new ad.  I tend to be very set in my ways where work is concerned (note how slowly the format of this blog changes, and how some features never change), so I only like to travel to see overnight clients or to do incidental shorter sessions in a place I’m visiting for some other reason, like a speaking engagement.  Last year I realized how much I’ve grown to hate taking cold phone calls, so I stopped doing it; I also realized I need more time to unwind before bed than I used to, so I stopped scheduling sessions to end later than 11 pm.  And because the inability to know my schedule in advance was probably the number one factor in my big burnout in ’06, I’ve been reluctant to take same-day sessions since the beginning of this decade and now don’t do it at all anymore unless A) it’s for a regular or by request of a sex worker friend (last-minute duo, that kind of thing) and B) I have at least a few hours’ notice.  I think you get the idea; if I don’t do something, it’s probably because I dislike doing it, and asking me to do it anyway is not likely to win my favor.

(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 been getting a larger-than-usual number of enquiries from guys who’ve never seen an escort before.  Some of them find me through this blog, some via my Twitter, others via my articles in Reason or my various interviews, and still others via my ordinary escort advertising.  Some of them want to see me in particular, while others are just looking for general first-timer advice, but nearly all of them are nervous (or even full-out scared) about the possibility of falling into a trap set by the pigs.  That’s why they contact me; even the ones who discover me via my escort ads usually notice that I’ve got a strong decade-old social media presence under the same name, and as I myself have said many times that’s a very good indicator that a lady is the real deal rather than some pervert cop pretending to be an escort so he can have the fun of destroying a man’s life for the terrible “crime” of loneliness.  Most of these guys, however, are not regular readers, and this blog has become so enormous it’s a bit daunting for the newcomer.  Hell, it’s sometimes even intimidating to me, and I wrote the damned thing!  So I think it wouldn’t hurt to pull together a “best of” collection of resources for new clients that I can then simply link when one of these new gents contacts me.

The single most useful essay on the topic is undoubtedly “What To Know Before You Pay for Sex“, from the July 2018 issue of Reason; I wrote it specifically for guys who are neither regular clients nor regular readers, so it contains all of the information I consider vital in one brief and easily-digestible article.  It draws in (small) part on “Advice for Clients“, which I think still holds up despite being a decade old.  And then, of course, there are a number of Q&A columns about the basic mechanics of finding sex workers:

And some about more specific issues that could be of especial interest to newbies:

I think that’ll do for starters, but if you want more there are links to scores of essays on my questions page.  And if you’d like to see me specifically, all the information you need is on my escort site.

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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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