Hey Good-lookin’: Read this before hookin’!

Part 1

Having been escorting for over three years, and having dabbled in sugar dating for ten, I’ve learned a thing or two about a thing or two about this business. I have people regularly asking me about getting started, so I’ve put together some information on such things. Without further ado…

1) Understand the legalities of prostitution in locations on where you plan on working.

I can’t stress this enough, and it should be one of the first things you think on before getting into this business. Prostitution laws fall under one of several models:

  • Decriminalization, meaning there are no criminal penalties for prostitution, which is the best sort of legal framework you can hope for in this business.
  • Legalization, where prostitution is legal and fully regulated.
  • Abolitionism, where some elements of prostitution are legal, such as selling sex, and others are illegal, such as buying sex, running a brothel, or engaging in other organized activities.
  • Prohibition, meaning prostitution is fully illegal in all manners.

Prostitution is illegal in all areas of the United States (with the exception of several counties in Nevada), and in many other countries. In Canada, we follow the Nordic model (an abolitionist approach) whereby it’s legal to sell sex, but not buy.

If you’re undertaking this sort of work, knowing your legal risk is key, especially if you end up getting caught. You want to have full knowledge of your rights and freedoms in the event you get arrested, harassed, or assaulted on the job. For an outline of legalities by continent, check this article out.

2) Become familiar with the sex work community.

Sex work can be a lonely road if you go it alone. You’ll eventually need someone to confide in, and if you’re working this job on the down low, it can be hard to talk with friends and family in your daily circles. By meeting other sex workers, you can associate with your peers and learn from others’ experiences, on top of getting support when things are rough. I took a break from sex work in 2016, and one of the things I missed the most was the community!

Community is found in many areas, but twitter and Switter are probably the two biggest. Set up a profile and start looking for other sex workers on there. Avoid things like review boards; they cater entirely to clients, contribute to a shitty review culture, and are just generally foul places to hang out. Stay away.

3) Learn how to screen clients.

Screening clients is an important part of sex workers’ jobs, and our lives can literally depend on it. Screening involves getting information from your client to make a decision on whether you would like to see them or not. People screen in different ways, but it can involve any of the following:

  • Government ID
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Employment verification
  • References from other sex workers
  • Accounts on whitelist sites
  • Meeting in person for a coffee date
  • Telephone call
  • Blacklist check
  • Searching phone numbers and emails
  • Asking other sex worker friends (see above about creating community)

In an ideal world, all clients would readily comply with sex worker screening protocols, but the reality is that many clients refuse to give information. It’s up to you on how you manage this. I personally have options for screening and ask them to choose at least one. If they absolutely refuse to provide anything, I won’t see them.

In saying this, I realize I’m fortunate enough to screen clients and refuse those that don’t meet my expectations. There are many, many sex workers, however, who cannot afford this, and I recognize that. We all do what we can and need to in order to survive in this world, and that’s ok. And it brings me to my next point.

4) Learn how to protect yourself.

Sex work safety includes protecting yourself from sexually transmitted diseases, assault, robbery, online harassment, and stalking. Not to intimidate you, but these are real risks of our work. Here are some tips:

  • Practice safer sex always. Use condoms and get tested regularly. I wrote a previous article on STD risk, which you can read here. This article provides resources on accessing clinics and sites that have information about STD.
  • Have a safe call. A safe call means you can contact someone upon entering and exiting a call to let them know you’re ok. This can be anyone you trust. Give your safe call the start and end time of your date, the location, and any other information you feel they need. Check in with them at the agreed upon times and let them know what to do in case they don’t hear from you within a reasonable time frame.
  • It’s not mandatory, but it’s a good idea to use a pseudonym for work and online profiles. Most sex workers have some sort of alternative persona that they create when working. It gives you a different “personality”, it can prevent clients from knowing your personal information, and it makes it harder for those in your civilian life to find you, which protects your privacy.
  • Blur or crop your face from photos. Again, not mandatory but if privacy is critical, you’ll want to do this. I only know a handful of escorts who show their faces; the rest will cover up. A good photographer should be able to do this for you. Another reason to not show your face pertains to crossing the US border. Unfortunately, homeland security has banned a number of escorts attempting to enter the US, citing their profession as reason. While there have been no confirmed links between showing your face and getting shut down at the border, some readers may not want to take any chances.
  • Protect your online privacy and security. This means using encrypted emails and storage, using Tor browsers and VPNs, and cryptocurrency when paying for advertising or other services when possible. I wrote an article about it a few weeks ago.

5) Communicate effectively.

If this job has taught me anything, it’s how to be assertive. Before I became a sex worker, I had a hard time expressing emotions, and with communication in general. But over the years I’ve learned, and you can, too.

Clearly expressing your boundaries with clients is a must-do. If you’re not comfortable with something, do not feel obligated just because you’re being paid. Communicating effectively doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole; it means you say what you need to in a respectful manner. Here are some examples.

When a client overstays:

“I’m looking at the time and I notice we have gone over by a few minutes. I’ve really enjoyed our time together and would love to see you another time. Can I offer you some privacy while you get dressed?”

When a client asks for a sexual act you’re not ok with:

“No, we cannot do X, I am not comfortable with it.”

In telling clients what your rate is in an email:

“As a gentle reminder, the donation for my time is X. Please have the donation ready in an envelope upon my/your arrival.”

At the beginning of a date when a client needs to pay but hasn’t yet.

“It’s so great to meet you. Could we take care of the business side of things before we get to the fun? Because I’d really like to get to the fun!”

I know these are all rosy examples, and many situations occur where polite assertive language goes out the window. If you are in a dangerous situation, you do not need to be polite; get out of it as fast as you can, in whatever way you can.

Resources

Maggie’s — Toronto

Stella — Montreal

PACE Society — Vancouver

Peers — Victoria

Sex Worker Outreach Project (SWOP) — USA

Red Umbrella Project — Global

Sex Professionals of Canada — Canada

I know there are a ton more. Post your awesome resources in comments below!

Got a question about getting into sex work? Drop me a line at lafemmeisobel@protonmail.com.

Connect with me online!

Twitter — @lafemmeisobel

Website — http://elitetorontoescort.com

Email — lafemmeisobel@protonmail.com