What Sex Workers Mean to Me

I pay women for sex. I guess I’m supposed to feel ashamed about this. Some people might criticize me for indulging an institution often considered exploitative. Other people might decry my willingness to exchange money for physical intimacy. I’m thinking a few people might ridicule me for not being able to find a partner willing touch me for free. In each case, people might wonder what is wrong with me. I don’t care what anyone has to say about me, or about my habit. I’m comfortable with myself. I’m also comfortable with what I do.

I turned to sex workers out of a sense of necessity. Not many people who can get laid otherwise will seek the help of sex workers. Doing so recreationally comes later after a person gets hooked. Doing so initially is typically an act of desperation.

At twenty-three, I was a virgin. Although I had managed a few dates immediately after high school, I hadn’t managed to so much as kiss anyone since my senior year. I was in my third year of what would go on to be a five-year stretch without a date. This wasn’t for lack of trying. I just couldn’t manage to interest anyone. It was stark and frustrating. Getting a date began to seem impossible. Getting sex began to feel like nothing more than a fantasy.

In the absence of touch, I turned to porn. Next came phone sex, followed by strippers. Each outlet made me feel incrementally better. Strippers in particular gave me the attention I craved and couldn’t get elsewhere. I knew it was artificial, but I didn’t care. What I did care about was touch. I wanted more touch than strippers could give me.

After talking with a friend who had visited one, I went to a massage parlor. I didn’t know what would happen, but I was willing to throw some money into finding out. My first visit turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life up to that point. The attendant was sweet and understanding. She was perfect for a first-timer. She made me feel wonderful. My only regret was not tipping better, but I made certain to increase my tips in future visits. I would have many future visits.

I visited parlors regularly for over a year before I found a place that offered full-service. Hearing an attendant offer sex for an extra one hundred dollars was a beautiful moment. I lost my virginity at twenty-four to a prostitute who barely spoke English. If I saw her today, I wouldn’t recognize her. She probably forgot me within a few days. I’ll never forget what she did for me.

For years, I spent as much as I could sensibly spend on sessions with masseuses. I enjoyed going to parlors, but I became enamored with the idea of having a session at home. Eventually, I started hiring outcall escorts. I went out of my way to be accommodating for them. Maybe some of them appreciated this. I definitely appreciated them.

While my income increased, other aspects of my life simultaneously became more expensive. As I aged, I also became more protective of my privacy. I actually began to find inviting escorts to my home to be too pricey and somewhat intrusive. Luckily for me, technology gave me a great option. Cam performers became a phenomenon just in time to meet my need for thrift and isolation. Ironically, I ended up spending nearly as much on cam performances as I had on in-person contact. It was just so easy.

I struggle to emphasize how important sex workers have been to me. With each escort, masseuse, and cam performer I’ve hired, I’ve done my best to convey my sincere gratitude. I’ve always been nice to them. I’ve tipped them as well as I could afford to tip. I’ve never been delusional enough to think they’ve actually wanted to touch me or that I’m in some way making their lives better, but I’ve tried to make their experience as inoffensive as possible.

My experiences with sex workers have fostered my desire to continue doing anything. Much of my motivation for having a job has been the need to pay for company. Come to think of it, much of my motivation for continuing to eat and breath is the hour of devoted attention I get. I try to downplay this somewhat while with sex workers, because I don’t want to think I’m clingy or weirder than I actually am. I’d like to gush forth everything, though. I’d love to tell what they do for me. It’s so much more than just touching me or letting me touch them.

This is directly for the sex workers I’ve known: Thank you. On some level, I love you. The way you’ve nourished me has saved me on many dark nights. I wish I could improve your lives the way you’ve improved mine. I wish what we share could be more reciprocal. I suppose you get your money and get to go on your way. Just know you stay with me. I keep you with me as you keep my alive.

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