I love men. The way they taste. The way they feel. There’s nothing more delicious than watching a lover undress or, better still, undressing him myself. I’m shameless and shallow about my physical preferences: Men’s Health cover material always triumphs a good sense of humor. It’s not that I will have sex only with hot guys, but my best sex has always been with hot guys.

Sex frees me from religious and cultural confines — I am a Muslim woman of Pakistani heritage — and it liberates me from social norms. I am single and child-free with no honest desire to change my life.

I’ve spent hundreds of dollars an hour on male escorts so I can have sex when and where I want, rather than spend time searching for hookups on apps, and I have even taken long-haul flights to see my dom. My lovers are generally a decade younger than me, sometimes more. They come with lots of energy and no baggage.

Sex is now one of my greatest pleasures, but my background kept my desire and experience in check for more than two decades.

I didn’t ask about feelings or relationships. Girls from my community who fell in love, even those who had a crush, were disowned, and one even vanished for several years. My parents once vowed to kill me if I ever had a boyfriend. It seems shocking now, but at that time and in that climate, it was common to hear this kind of threat. I knew that I also faced the possibility of an arranged marriage once I hit my twenties.

Sex frees me from religious and cultural confines — I am a Muslim woman of Pakistani heritage — and it liberates me from social norms.

I wasn’t part of high school conversations about contraception or boyfriends. I was also on the outside in college, when my friends were already in couples or knew how to flirt and date. There were other things to experiment with, I told myself. I was away from home and could choose who I spoke to, what I wore, what I ate, where I went and when. I had money for the first time, through my summer jobs, and didn’t need permission to spend it.

But I was ordered home every vacation and checked in with my parents every night while on campus. Sometimes my parents would surprise me with visits or ask their friends to drop in on me unannounced. I spent those four years on edge, turning to therapy more than once to make sense of all the changes and challenges.

I left college single, a virgin, and barely holding things together, just as I had started it.

But I wanted companionship. I used to believe the intimacy of a sexual encounter would lead to a second one with the same person. It never did. Yet I pressed ahead with the cycle of dates, one-night stands, and disappointment because I didn’t know how much time I had before my family found me a husband. I wanted to be in love once, or even to feel something other than trapped.

The shift came in my thirties. Some families had asked after me as a potential match for their sons. But then they would say I was too dark, too educated, my family too poor. My parents found someone they liked. He admitted he was only marrying me for residency, and although he seemed decent, I couldn’t take it anymore. I told my parents no.

They pressured me, and, again, there were threats of violence. One call from them was so distressing that I vomited afterward. Another night, I received 34 missed calls in a 20-minute period. I changed my number. I moved. That was the first time I experienced hair loss caused by stress, and it wouldn’t be the last.

We reconciled months later, and the subject of my marriage was never raised again.

Discovering Tinder changed everything, partly because I was living in an oil-rich state full of expats with too much time and money on their hands.

Shortly after this, in my late thirties, I moved abroad for work. It was the first in a series of international moves for me, and while they didn’t always work out as planned, they gave me the time and space to focus on areas of my life I had neglected. And one of those areas was sex. Everything else had fallen into place: I had a strong support network, my career was moving in the right direction, I had a great social life, plenty of outside interests, and money in the bank.

I was almost 40, had never been in a relationship, and had experienced only one orgasm with a sexual partner. Sex had not been fun or even enjoyable. Discovering Tinder changed everything, partly because I was living in an oil-rich state full of expats with too much time and money on their hands. I was on dates most nights of the week, and the men were young, in their early twenties, and really fucking sexy. I loved the honesty. We both knew why we were there, in that hotel room or in that bar. With no repercussions, expectations, or judgement, I could experiment with myself and also with him.

I became bolder about approaching men I wanted to have sex with. One man I set my sights on is now my dom — but he lives on the other side of the world, and we see each other only a few times a year. I call him my dom, and when we’re together he is, but I can control him from thousands of miles away. I can distract him, stop him in his tracks with a one-word message saying hi, even though I’m the submissive one when we’re in the same room.

Having him so far away is problematic, and Tinder was riddled with catfishing and other kinds of time wasters, so I started researching male escorts. There are lots of choices for gay and straight men, but hardly anything for straight women. You don’t get the variety or competitive pricing. A straight male escort who is attractive and professional can charge what he likes.

The one I see is my body type, he’s discreet, and he’s safe. He has offered to go to the cinema with me or out for dinner so I can have the “boyfriend experience,” but that’s not what I want from him. I have no issues paying for sex, and I feel satiated afterward. I feel invincible.

An ex-roommate (who was male and charming) once told me that women had all the power when it came to sex, and that nine times out of 10, you could have sex with any man you wanted if you told him that’s what you wanted. This approach has crossed over, belatedly, into other areas of my life. Nothing is off-limits. I believe that I can do anything and that I can have anything I want.