Sex for sale
We've all had financial worries, but when Amanda, 26, needed extra cash she decided to take drastic measures. She tells TheSite.org about her life as an escort.
I wanted to get on the property ladder, but even with my own business I couldn't afford it. A few friends had tried escorting and it seemed like easy money. I'm very liberal sexually and when my relationship ended I became quite promiscuous, so I thought, "Why not get paid for it?"
I was having a fling with a stripper who used to see clients after work. One night she suggested we did a lesbian show for two guys she'd met. The men seemed sweet and since we were together, I agreed. We went back to their hotel and drank champagne, eventually having sex with them and leaving with our pockets full of money. The guys were perfect clients and I had a good time. It opened my eyes to what I could earn, so I joined some online escort agencies and then I decided to set up my own website to attract clients.
What escorting involves
The amount of money I earned at the beginning was crazy and taking a day off felt like losing hundreds of pounds, but it wasn't long before I felt exhausted. Now I see one or two clients a day, Monday to Friday. The guys are usually married professionals who see escorts because they don't want to have an affair. They're well-kept middle-aged men with lots of money, so they can afford it.
Escorting isn't just about sex; I have to entertain the client verbally, pretending to be fascinated, even if they're utterly boring. I have to keep my wits about me and stay in control without dominating them, unless they want that!
Clients sometimes desire role plays. One guy wanted me to dress up as a superhoeroine called 'Futuregirl', while he pretended to be some villain of the universe. I had to wear a silver outfit with massive boots; chasing him around and torturing him for all his secrets before he eventually overpowered me with kryptonite. It was hilarious.
I've never felt dirty or ashamed, but having to look at disgusting toenails or be with someone who has bad breath is the worst thing about the job. I cope by disconnecting from sex and concentrating on the person, and I don't put myself through anything I don't want to do.
"No regular guy can handle my job so I can't really have a relationship unless I lie about it or date someone who works in the industry."
No regular guy can handle my job so I can't really have a relationship unless I lie about it or date someone who works in the industry. If you're having lots of sex with people you're not attracted to, it can also put you off having sex in your private life. Lying to friends and family also gets more difficult to cope with. My siblings are used to my wild ways, so they weren't too shocked, but I could never tell my parents.
Health and safety
Even with a good security system, you could meet a nutcase, but I try not to think about it otherwise I'd be a bag of nerves. One guy tried to pay me with fake notes and after I kicked him out he kept calling and threatening me, so I gave the money with his fingerprints on it to the police. Since then, I always call a friend to let them know when someone's with me and the flat I work in has security cameras everywhere so I warn clients they'll be filmed when they enter.
People think escorts spread infections, but I think you're more likely to catch something from a stranger in a nightclub than a sex worker who has to protect themselves. I always use condoms, even for oral sex, and I check clients' groins for sores, which could transmit herpes. I also get a full sexual health check every 12 weeks. Ultimately though, I am risking sexual infections and attacks, which is something I can't be complacent about.
What the future holds
The sex industry's growing and it's not going away. The main thing is to make sure women can work safely, which is why sex work should be decriminalised. If there's only one girl on the premises you can't be prosecuted, but any more and it's considered a brothel, leaving you facing up to seven years in prison.
I definitely want to stop escorting soon. My brain needs more of a challenge and over time it starts to affect you, however much you think it doesn't. When you become bored or distressed, it's time to get out.
The facts about prostitution
- Prostitution isn't illegal. However, activities associated with it, including soliciting, advertising using cards in telephone boxes and kerb crawling, are criminal offences;
- Prostitution can often mean the exploitation and abuse of young people. It's most associated with women and young girls, but there is also a significant sex market involving men and young boys;
- It's suggested that in Britain up to 5,000 young people under 18 are involved at any one time, with a female to male ratio of 4:1;
- One in 20 men aged 16 to 43 have paid for sex in the last five years;
- 95% of those involved in prostitution have a serious drug problem and many are homeless. Around 70% have spent time in care and reported poor school attendance;
- As many as 85% of people involved in prostitution report physical abuse in the family, with 45% reporting sexual abuse at home.
Amanda's name has been changed.
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Written by Marcella Carnevale