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Posts Tagged ‘ethics’

Diary #321

selfie 8-13-16Last week was…intense.  Unfortunately, at the risk of being repetitive, I really can’t tell you about most of that due to issues of confidentiality.  What I can tell you is that I had a lovely dinner with the young escort I mentioned last week, and I think we’re going to be very good friends; I invited her to relax with me on Saturday night, which turned out very well because we both needed it.  And yes, gentlemen, we will see you as a duo if you like!  Speaking of duos, I’m looking forward to another one this coming Saturday with the lovely and brilliant Lorelei Rivers, whom I always enjoy working with.  And in just a few weeks, I’ll be in New York City; as of right now I’ll be available for bookings on Thursday, September 15th, Saturday the 17th and Sunday the 18th, but obviously that will change as my schedule fills up, so if you’d like to see me it’s best to book right away (and ask about my tour special).  Speaking of being booked up, I’ve recently tried a new method of advertising which I’m very pleased with so far; if it keeps being this productive, I will finally be able to complete some improvements to my ranch that have been in limbo for years.  And that, dear readers, will buy me a considerable amount of satisfaction.

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Age Before Beauty

I’m thinking about calling an escort for the first time; do they take young guys seriously?  Or would I be treated differently from older men?

Some ladies have a lower age limit of 30 or even 35, but if one does it’ll be marked clearly on her website.  If a young man wants to see an escort, there are some very simple steps he can take to ensure she takes him seriously:

  • Read her website carefully and approach her exactly as she says she wants to be approached.  If you don’t have references, you need to find a lady who specifically advertises as “newbie friendly” or else you’re just wasting her time and yours.
  • Be clear, honest and polite about being young, and understand that this is a liability for you rather than an asset; one of the most asinine and annoying things a would-be client can say is something like “I’m young and good looking, so you’ll enjoy it” or “Do I get a discount because I’m young and fit?”
  • Don’t ask prying or lurid questions, and don’t try to get dirty talk for free; be polite and respectful.
  • Be patient if she expects you to jump through some hoops; give her whatever screening info she wants.
  • Read my “Advice for Clients” column and follow it.
  • If she won’t see you, tell her you understand, thank her for her time & try another lady.
  • If she does agree to see you, make sure you’re on your best behavior and tip her extra; the next time you want to see someone you’ll be able to give the first lady’s name as a reference, and she will speak well of you.
  • Treat all the first few escorts you see this way, and I promise you won’t have any trouble after that as long as you respect the wishes of those who have a posted lower age limit.  If you try to approach one of the ladies who do, she will take your ignoring her boundary as a sign that you’re impolite & disrespectful, and you still won’t get in to see her.

Good luck!

(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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Last Friday, Dan Savage tweeted a question he’d received to get the opinion of several sex workers, namely Mistress Matisse, Mike Crawford and me (plus anyone else who cared to chime in).  The question itself is interesting, and I found it fascinating how much the answers diverged.  So although Dan already published the question and answers on his Stranger blog, I’d also like to feature it here:

man courting womanI’d appreciate your thoughts on a matter of sex worker etiquette and social boundaries.  Someone I’d describe as an acquaintance/casual friend recently let me know that she is working as an escort.  I’ve known her for a few years, and have always been more than a little attracted to her.  We dated very briefly when we first met and have had an intermittent friendship in the years since.  We’re close enough to talk about subjects like sex work and our mutually non-judgmental attitudes toward it, though this is someone I bump into fairly rarely—maybe a couple of times a year.  If there’s an appropriate and respectful way to bring up that I’d be interested in her professional services, I’d love to do it in the right way.  Or would you advise me to leave this alone?  We’re well enough acquainted that I could broach the subject in an in-person conversation or by text (as opposed to, say, booking an appointment anonymously and saying “Surprise! Remember me?”).  Any thoughts?  –  Friend In Favor Of Compensating For Benefits

My answer:  It’s a delicate one. If they had never dated I’d say it was pretty straightforward. But as it is she could conceivably feel awkward. My advice: He should tell her he’d like to see an escort and ask if she has any recommendations. Then IF she’s comfortable, she can volunteer her own services, and if not he’ll get a very good recommendation to another.

Matisse:  I personally do not accept people as clients if I’ve been friends with them socially. But that is partly because I’m a dominatrix and some fantasies and D/s rely on a certain level of mystery and distance. Definitely via email, NOT in person. Tell her it’s cool if she doesn’t feel comfortable. And accept it will change things.

Mike Crawford:  “How’s business? Are you taking new clients? Would you be open to seeing me professionally?” Best approach I can think of. As mentioned, the prior relationship could make it awkward. As any client should, if she declines to see him, FIFOCFB should accept that graciously.

Lara Belle:  I would choose one of the zillion other SWs where boundaries are not an issue. The question can be broached: “Are you open to seeing clients who are part of your personal life,” etc., but don’t even go there at all if he expects her to keep it a secret and have a whole range of new pressures forced upon her with her other friends/acquaintances.

Conner Habib:  Yes, he definitely has the right to ask! But I want him to ask himself why he’s asking, too! I’d ask: Out of all the escorts in the world you can hire, you chose one whose boundaries may be problematic for you and would need negotiation. What does that tell you about yourself? Self-investigate & move on.

Rosemary Lashes:  I had a friend ask this of me when I came out and frankly I find it insulting. For me, I want compartmentalization. I do not mix business/clients w friends. It complicates too much, and $ creates power dynamics regardless of intention.

Ava Grace:  Definitely don’t surprise her with a booking without notice. But considering the history of the friendship you can always ask the question. If she’s not ok with it she will say no. And you need to be prepared for and ok with accepting that no if it comes. Good luck.

Daddy’s Princess:  It would be awkward to see him professionally & maintain a friendship.

Melodie Nelson:  Sex -paid for or not-can change relationships. But he should ask simply. No more stigma 1 day.

Sensual Muse:  IMO no on this-personal life is sep from work: 2 mix risks never having down time.  it’s personal I think…just my boundary pref. no clients in personal spaces

Mandy Mitchell:  every SW is different but to me the “used to date” part gets a little dicey, there are plenty of other pros to seek, always

Sophie Darling:  I NEVER EVER mix business into my personal life. Just my MO though…

Buttercream Bombshell:  My view is to face to face express interest politely and let her decide.

Violet Baudelaire:  IF she says yes, he needs to realize that all her normal work rules still apply, even though they know each other.

There were also a good number of conversations on the topic; Matisse especially had some good discussions with a number of the respondents, as you can see by following the links.  It just goes to show you:  everyone’s different, and on matters of sex work etiquette there’s sometimes no one “correct” answer.

(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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Madison Graham is the pseudonym of a sex worker who was working for one of Dennis Hof’s brothels in Nevada; she recently contacted me because of her deep distress over an immense ethical violation Hof committed in the full view of the entire world last autumn.  Here in her own words (edited only for style and brevity) is what she told me.

Dennis Hof, self-promoting buffoonDennis Hof courts the media and has specialized in hijacking news; he takes current relevant stories that have nothing to do with him and finds a way to insert himself into the story.  For example, when Hillary Clinton announced she was running for president, suddenly the Bunny Ranch issued a press release about their working ladies forming a “Hookers 4 Hillary” campaign, a maneuver I am certain did not impress Mrs. Clinton.  When hackers released the names of millions of Ashley Madison members, Hof boasted, “Ashley Madison hacking victims’ privacy would’ve been safe with my prostitutes.”  Hof then launched a media tour to every Morning Zoo style radio show that would have him, focusing on how Ashley Madison should have taken the BunnyRanch’s approach to client privacy and not stored anyone’s information.  He often bragged that “If those guys who are about to have their lives ruined had been meeting beautiful women on BunnyRanch.com instead, their identities would’ve remained completely anonymous…”

No one had reason to question the BunnyRanch’s privacy policy until basketball player Lamar Odom was picked up by an ambulance from Hof’s southern Nevada brothel, Love Ranch Vegas, after being found unconscious in the VIP suite where he’d been staying.  Within minutes, TMZ had the scoop on their website, utterly destroying Lamar’s career; he will never receive another endorsement deal again, and the various children’s charities he has been involved with will distance themselves.  But Hof fed off of Odom’s crisis and milked it as hard as he could, so that he could get his face on TV as much as possible to say “LoveRanch” in front of millions of viewers.  Hof displayed absolutely no empathy, no awareness and certainly no consistency; he contradicted himself in just about every media op he got.  First Lamar didn’t have drugs when he came in, then Hof fired the two girls who were with Lamar because he feared they gave him drugs, then a 180 degree turn to claiming there were no drugs at the Love Ranch.  Well, the truth is I have never seen so many drugs and drug-addicts in my life until I started working in legal brothels; hardly a week goes by without an incident of a lady getting too drunk to work, or the management discovering drug paraphernalia in a lady’s room.  If the lady makes good money, her problem is largely ignored; once she becomes too impaired to make money, she is quickly packed out and told to get herself into a treatment program.  One top earner at the Bunny Ranch was caught over and over with drugs in her room and giving drugs to other girls; eventually cops pulled her over and found drugs in her car and now she is in prison, but when she is released I guarantee she will be returning to the ranch:  She makes a lot of money and America’s Biggest Pimp wants his 50%.

The careless way Lamar’s personal information got out is disturbing because it reaches far beyond surface titillation.  Lamar Odom will never get another endorsement deal ever again – a multi-million dollar loss.  The revelation was a violation of the Hooker Code that is understood by most sex workers:  loose lips sink ships, so you keep your mouth closed.  That is the real reason we make so much money:  it’s for remaining quiet.  But Emperor Hof just couldn’t keep his mouth shut, and now he’s in denial about the severity of repercussions he and his empire are about to incur.  Hof is a defense lawyer’s worst nightmare; he appears to think he is in one big never-ending infomercial for his corporate brothels.  For example, once the Odom news veered away from the brothel and began to focus on the human-interest element, Hof blurted out that if Odom’s wife, Khloe Kardashian, contests the credit card charge, he will sue her because she “has the money”.  What kind of human-being would make such a statement to a grieving wife?  Whether you like her or not, she is clearly suffering and being as supportive as possible to her husband, but all Hof can think about is $ signs and publicity.  Hof is like that semi-lucid grandfather who blurts out the most ridiculous and offensive rubbish and you just sit there in shock, mute with embarrassment for him.

After this, I can’t imagine anyone with real money would walk into one of his establishments; they know they can’t trust Hof’s nonexistent discretion.  And what if Odom, Kardashian or whoever sues the brothel over this?  The suits and reputational damage could destroy all that Hof has created, and this is a shame because whether you may think of Hof’s character, he knows how to run his brothels.  He knows how to train his girls to make money, and to provide a level of service that keeps the clients coming back; the working conditions in his brothels are also better than those in any of his competitors’.  The biggest threat to Hof’s brothels comes from Hof himself, the self-proclaimed “Pimpmaster General”.  Rather than recognizing the danger posed by the Odom situation, Hof truly believes this is the best thing ever to happen to the Love Ranch Vegas (in spite of the onslaught of death threats the employees receive on the phone daily); he thinks this will triple his business.  But the locals are getting restless.  You can sit at a restaurant or saloon and hear the people saying things like “When are they going to close Hof down?”  Public officials are elected and if they don’t give the locals what they want, they won’t be re-elected.  Lamar Odom’s overdose at the Love Ranch Vegas could result in the closure of one or more of Hof’s brothels, and trouble for the entire industry.

Love Ranch signBrothels are an ideal place for men who have been going through a divorce, or breakup, who need to have their ego-stroked a little, feel desirable again.  I consider myself a sexual healer offering a public service.  If a man has a need for sexual intimacy, and he isn’t able to get that from his wife, he has this safe, legal outlet for his needs and when he leaves, nothing follows him home.  He is truly anonymous and there will be no negative consequences from his visit.  A big part of my sales pitch to potential customers during the negotiation was about how his family and friends won’t ever find out…but how can I possibly offer that guarantee now, after Hof blasted one of his guests’ name and secrets all over the media?  I have always said that I wouldn’t work for any other brothel owner, and I still feel that way; as bad as Hof is, he is much better to his employees than the other owners are.  However, I don’t think I can remain working for a man who would do the things he has done.  I may take my chances and go back to working independently and screening out the cops and the creeps.  Or I may return to the work I did before I became an escort, which I left because I burned out.  But that’s fine for me; what about the people who can’t just move over to escorting, such as the cashiers, bartenders and housekeepers?  What about the money Hof’s businesses bring in to an area that isn’t exactly overflowing with other industries?  If Hof continues to destroy the reputation of his businesses in his constant pursuit of publicity and self-aggrandizement, he’s going to hurt a lot of people beside himself and those whose secrets he betrayed.

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Ordinary Men

Not long ago you linked to a piece about what sex workers want from their clients, and I was deeply depressed by it because of the very low bar for client behavior that it seemed to set.  I cannot imagine showing up dirty, nor behaving meanly unless I were greatly provoked.  Is that so terribly unusual?  What is the percentage of clients who are honest and courteous men?  I grew up as a “local” in a coastal resort community, surrounded by wealthy retirees and summer vacationers, and spent several years in retail there.  Some of these people were outright asses, some were oblivious or self-absorbed, and some were kind and interesting people.  Is it really as simple as that?  To some extent, is all service work the same?cartoon guy

In a word, yes.  The clients of sex workers are neither paragons of humanity nor the cartoon villains imagined by prohibitionists; they’re just ordinary men.  I would say that the fraction of them who are really awful is extremely small; the majority are polite and honest, and anything they do to offend is mostly unintentional (born of social awkwardness, poor habits or a bad sense of sexual boundaries and/or practices).  That having been said, it’s a well-known observation that the less a guy pays, the more he wants; girls who charge less probably see a lot more misbehavior than those at a higher price point.  I don’t think that has anything to do with wealthier people having more “class”; you and I both know that rich people are very often boorish, rude and unpleasant, and poor people are very often polite and gracious.  No, I think it has more to do with the fact that the more people pay for things (and that includes experiences), the more they value them; nearly every whore I know has remarked that men who pay here usually treat her much better than those she dated for “free” before starting her career.  Furthermore, I’ve noticed that as I’ve aged, the clients have become much more polite and respectful; part of that may be that older men are on average more mature and better understand how to treat a woman, and part may be that my own presence has developed to the point where it silently demands more respect.  Nobody’s ever done a survey, but I suspect that younger sex workers, inexperienced ones and those who charge less see a lot more misbehavior from clients than older ones, those who charge more and those who have the self-assurance that comes with years of experience.

(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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Amateur Night

I’m a 33 year old man who was the victim of more than 20 years of physical, emotional and non-penetrative sexual abuse; as you might imagine this has impacted my sexuality in pretty negative ways.  But thanks to more than a decade of therapy, I believe that I have put the most of the worst behind me and I would like to lose my virginity.  I respect prostitutes a great deal, but there’s a part of me that doesn’t want that as my first experience.  I could go out and get a girlfriend (I’m actually quite comfortable with women), or I could attempt to have a one-night stand, though I don’t know the first thing about doing that.  I could go back into more therapy, but at this point I’m leaning towards doing the deed itself being the best form of that.  I would appreciate any assistance you might possibly render with your wisdom and experience in this field.Amateur Night

There’s nothing wrong with taking the slow, socially-approved route of getting a girlfriend and losing your virginity to her, provided you

A) aren’t in a rush;

B) are reasonably sure you won’t have any extreme reactions if she accidentally does something that triggers a traumatic memory; and

C) don’t really care about the quality of the sexual performance itself.

If, however, you feel a sense of urgency about this, like you “need” to lose your virginity right away, it’s probably much better to get a professional.  With a pro you can control the time and pacing; it will happen when YOU are ready, not when an amateur decides she’s ready.  And while navigating the dance of consent and the give-and-take of a romantic relationship is probably something you should learn at some point in the future, learning it right now, at a time when you aren’t yet sure you’re completely over your trauma yet, might be more than you can handle.  Furthermore, I’m a little uncomfortable with the way you say, “go out and get a girlfriend”, like “go and get takeout food”.  It makes it sound like you plan to use her to lose your virginity, and then…what?  What if you have a traumatic reaction, as I touched on above?  What if you get really needily-attached to her, or have a bad experience and reject her?  While those are things an adult woman should be able to handle, it’s just not ethical to dump your garbage in someone else’s yard without her permission, and frankly, most amateurs really have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to dealing with any sexuality more complicated than the typical vanilla “love” or lust-based interaction (which is why their STI rates are so damned high).  To me it’s a lot more honest, ethical and sensible for you to pay a seasoned professional (choose one who has a long internet history and a reputation for patience) for a multi-hour session, take her to dinner, get to feel comfortable and tell her about your issues so she can be ready.  Once you’ve got that troublesome first time out of the way, you can decide how you want to proceed in the future.  But given that most amateurs are barely even competent to give an untraumatized person a decent first time, I think your reticence runs counter to your best interests.  At one time it was quite normal for young men to have their first experiences with a whore; the modern preoccupation with amateur initiations is based in foolish romanticism, not good sense and a sober analysis of what would provide the best results.

(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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What do you think makes for a healthy sexuality?  I’m a 26 year old professional and have a much higher libido than most other people I know.  I’ve had many partners who have been satisfying to me in many different ways, but I have often felt baffled by my intense level of sexual pleasure and excitement.  I’m not afraid of my sexuality, but how does one go about understanding something so powerful?  Does it require study?  A good partner?  Much of the time I feel that my sexuality is offensive to some people, particularly other women.  How do you deal with jealousy from other women?  Do you feel that it is important for a young woman to control her sexuality in some way?

First of all, I want you to understand that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you; in fact, many women are troubled by having the opposite issue from you, a low sex drive  (and pharmaceutical companies are trying to capitalize on that).  I hope you never feel that you need to suppress your sexuality, especially not to make other people comfortable; it’s a large part of who you are, and if other people are bothered by it that’s their problem, not yours.  Now, obviously I’m not telling you to run wild and do whatever you feel like regardless of consequences; as ethical people we need to be aware of how our actions might harm others, and we need to respect others’ boundaries and to be up-front about our motives and intentions so they have the information they need to make valid decisions about consent.  But as long as you are honest and open with potential partners about your intentions, desires and needs, and refrain from pushing clearly-expressed boundaries, you have absolutely no cause to feel ashamed.

Now, it’s true that some other women may react to you with jealousy or competitiveness, but in my experience that usually happens when an attractive woman only pays attention to the men in the room.  I’ve found such reactions can usually be minimized by friendliness, openness and paying just as much attention to the women around you as to the men, thus counteracting the perception that one is trying to be a “queen bee” and monopolize all of the male attention.  Now, I have the advantage of being bisexual, and therefore at least as interested in female sexual attention as male (and maybe just a little bit more).  You didn’t mention whether your sexual interest is confined to men, but even if it is being friendly and platonically affectionate with the women in your social environment will go a long way toward defusing jealousy.  Some people are going to be judgmental of you no matter what you do, but I’m afraid there isn’t much you can do about that, and it would be the same even if you were as prim as a nun; as the expression goes, “Haters gonna hate”.

I wish I could tell you how to go about understanding your sexuality; I’ve been wrestling with trying to understand mine since more than a decade before you were born, and I still haven’t made a lot of headway.  I think sexuality is less something to be understood, and more something to be experienced, explored and accepted.  We still don’t really understand why people’s sexualities manifest in the myriad ways they do; for example, I’ve been attracted to both sexes and fascinated by bondage, dominance and submission since I was a wee lass, long before I had any actual idea of what “sex” meant.  Why?  I never experienced any kind of childhood trauma that might have “perverted” my development, and I can’t recall a time I was any other way.  In high school, I knew a pair of identical twin brothers: one was straight and the other gay.  How in the world could that happen, when they were genetically identical and raised in the same home?  Yet it did.  My advice to you is to accept your sexuality as an intrinsic part of yourself, just as you accept your preferences in food, clothes, entertainment and everything else.  Don’t let anyone tell you that a high libido, a large number of partners and/or enjoyment of kinky activities are signs that something is wrong with you, and whatever you do don’t succumb to pressure to conform.  The intense level of pleasure you can experience is a precious gift, and when one is given such a gift the only gracious and proper reaction is to accept and enjoy it.queenkatherinesdream

(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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