“predators”

I spent the entire weekend meditating on the words of Melissa Farley.

Why does everyone assume my clients are predators?? When I process with woman what it is that I do, particularly processing their feelings about how someone they love does sex work and how they feel about it, it almost always turns to a discussion where I defend my clients against assumption and hostility.

Of course I have my days where I bitch, days where everything is not rosy, but I hear more complaints from these same friends about their boss or co-workers at the office job. I have the power to cancel/refer/reschedule, they don’t.

When I started doing sex work, it was for a commercial dungeon here in Chicago. I did not identify myself as a sex worker, because I did not “lay on my back”. I had these ignorant assumptions that the power dynamic of doing sex work would change if I ever included actual sex… like penetration would take away my power. This is the fallacy of Melissa Farley, and every other feminist who claims that sex for money is inherently objectifying and victimizing.

After a few years of feeling victimized my MY EMPLOYER, I started to get active with labor organizing within the sex workers movement. All of my thoughts changed as I began to get friendly with escorts who traveled, had their own hours, didn’t require the huge overhead, clothes and equipment that domination did. Then I figured out that I was having “sex” all along. Maybe not the conventional type of sex we all think of, but sex by definition to both society and government. The distinction existed only in my mind, nowhere else. I started to dabble, then found myself working 6 days a week for an escort agency very much like Palfreys (but better hourly rates;)

I didn’t lose one ounce of power. I brought the same strong-head and stubbornness, my own sexuality, my own command of the situation into hotel rooms downtown for this work. At first I had no idea what these men wanted, I assumed it wouldn’t be spanking though. As my psyche loosen up,and I became more bold and excited about what I was doing, I figured out that spanking was a great ice-breaker for escort work, as long as I was into it. When one thinks of escort work, they have the idea of a prostitute and the “cock party” she participates in. An idea is created that has been conditioned into our minds from media and society. We think of a long-legged busty woman, and a seedy business suit man, participating in a scene not unlike tasteless porn. Wrong.

I have my marketable features to my body, but they do not fit the prototype of an escort. I didn’t say dumb and formulated phrases that you typically see in mainstream porn. I dressed how I wanted to, sometimes heels, sometimes combat boots. In fact, the less I looked the prototype of an escort, the better. Jeans and a creative shirt are the best working outfit to date (no pun intended).

And I didn’t give up my power. I was firm about boundaries, firm about my time, firm about my rates. Rarely did I ever encounter someone looking to walk all over those. I encounter a lot of respect and gratitude from clients. Do you hear me Melissa Farley??? RESPECT AND GRATITUDE.

My escort clients were typically travelling family men, in Chicago on business, nervous and easily intimidated. They are salesmen, teachers, lawyers, and they are your dads, neighbors, and yes… husbands. They are not “predators”. They are normal and professional (they have to be to afford my rates) and sexually frustrated. I had all the power in my confidence, and they were at my mercy.

If I said “this makes me hot”, they would do it in a heart beat, and these scenes always played out to be fun and experimental on their part. The real element that appealed to my clients was that I was having fun. As long as I stayed amused and involved with a relaxed and sincere spirit, they were thrilled. My true sexuality is very kinky, and they indulged that side to see me happy and hot. I never felt like I was compromising or lying about who I really am, and also rarely felt like I had to cater to them. I simply brought to the appointment a refreshing spirit about sex, and they bent and swayed to my agenda left and right.

This is one thing that I constantly am amazed at: how fluid and formidable men’s sexuality is. For a woman to be happy, the lengths they will go. This idea of losing power is nonsense. If you are a victim in life, you will be a victim in sex work. It is true and applicable to everything in this world. You are who you are. YES, there are woman victimized in sex work, and then further victimized by government and criminalization. There are woman victimized in 40 story office buildings, and in their marriages, and I have NEVER felt more victimized when I simply walk down the street in a tank top. It happens, and it’s root does not lie in our occupations, but in our society at large and in the dynamics of gender. I feel EMPOWERED when I am working in sex work, because the dynamic is drawn: You are my client, I have the services. You are paying me, therefore I make the choice. Sounds like an oxymoron, but it isn’t.

THIS IS WHY I LOVE SEX WORK! I am breaking down the walls of stigma! I am recreating the dynamic of power between genders! When you charge for your sexuality, you are drawing a line that doesn’t exist in normal gender relations. I am holding the power of my sex over the heads of whoever is willing to buy and stating the worthiness of being female saying: “THIS is how much I am worth for the hour!” No wasting time and energy asserting myself to the general public as a woman, my rates are right there at my website. You say I cannot commodify my sex and put a price on it?? Yes I can, and will, because I am sick of the standard of giving it away for free to one man at a time and only when I am in love with him, for marriage or relationships only. Their is a market for sex outside of these standards, and it is a way better deal.

There is a statement of the worthiness of women when you accept cash for sex, and it is that: I am female… I have everything.

I understand not every worker is female, but almost every client is male. If you don’t think that the power lies in the worker, think about who is getting paid, and who is not. Seriously, think about it. If this society was as chauvinistic and male-centered as we ought to believe, wouldn’t we be paying them? We are not. It leads me to believe that at the base of sex work is the TRUE dynamic of genders in this world. This is most definitely a man’s world, but you must subscribe to it and work within it to keep up that conception. Sex work does not do either of those things.

My clients are not predators… They understand the dues that are owed when they want to participate in sex outside of the standard. They understand the boundaries of charging for the hour, because they do it themselves in their own work. They understand that they are the recipients of services that I choose to give or not, based on the lines I have drawn, and they will respect that if they want said services.

I REFUSE to villainize them just because I am not their wife, it is only society’s sad expectation of men that they keep their cock in their pants for only women they love. I don’t want to live up to that expectation either.

6 Responses

  1. Well, this statement sure speaks volumes…”I am holding the power of my sex over the heads of whoever is willing to buy and stating the worthiness of being female saying: “THIS is how much I am worth for the hour!””

    1. Do you think it is healthy to hold power over others (hint: it is not). This is probably a result of someone in power abusing you when you were young. Get thereapy!

    2. The worthiness of a female is NOT in how much she is worth for an hour of sex. The fact that you confuse money with worthiness is pretty telling.

    Your worthiness comes from just being a human. You are a soul in a body. You are special and wonderful no matter how much people pay for an hour of your time. Someday when you are old and the drugs take their toll, you won’t be worth as much on the open market, but you will still be a special and worthy person.

    Seriously, take some of this huge pile of money you say you have earned and put it toward therapy to figure out why you need to play power games.

    You are kidding yourself if you believe the johns really respect you. They appreciate that you indulged their fantasies, and got them off. They may be amused by your lifestyle. But they don’t respect you. You are a prostitute. And you have not helped them deal with their own underlying issues. You have prolonged thier misery.

    You are not doing them any favors, and believe me, if you get busted they will not do you any favors either. They will quickly forget they ever knew you.

  2. Well, this statement sure speaks volumes…”I am holding the power of my sex over the heads of whoever is willing to buy and stating the worthiness of being female saying: “THIS is how much I am worth for the hour!””

    1. Do you think it is healthy to hold power over others (hint: it is not). This is probably a result of someone in power abusing you when you were young. Get thereapy!

    I didn’t say holding power over someone. I said holding power of my sex… which means containing the boundaries and dynamic of sex, body and gender within myself.

    I have never been abused: physically, mentally or sexually. My Father is a very decent and spiritual man who gave me the strength to hold my own. His respectful nature towards me as a child, then a woman, has made me completely intolerant of anything other than total respect from men.

    2. The worthiness of a female is NOT in how much she is worth for an hour of sex. The fact that you confuse money with worthiness is pretty telling.

    I am not confusing worthiness with money. I am, however, confused about the worthiness we place upon women in society, and the expectation that they provide the inherent services of women, i.e. child rearing, housekeeping, and sex only within the context of patriarchal systems of employment and family. How much is that worth? Nothing… it is expected. We as a society are putting said womens expectations on the market with nannies and maids, and those are worth minimum wages in most cases. When we discuss seriously the roles within gender that are expected upon women in order to strive for equality, we must include sex in that discussion. To say there is no monetary value is ignorant and denying the capitalist system upon which all other forms of “womanly duties” and forms of work are based.

    Your worthiness comes from just being a human. You are a soul in a body. You are special and wonderful no matter how much people pay for an hour of your time. Someday when you are old and the drugs take their toll, you won’t be worth as much on the open market, but you will still be a special and worthy person.

    Thank you very much, but this is a very unsophisticated conception of spirituality. I have my own ideas about soul, although not as simple as yours. I am so lucky to have a huge amount of time to dedicate time and participate in my spiritual community, in part thanks to sex work. This spiritual community also believes in totally abstaining from drugs and alcohol, and I do just that. Your stigma is disgusting and insulting. Try prayer and meditation.

    Seriously, take some of this huge pile of money you say you have earned and put it toward therapy to figure out why you need to play power games.

    Actually, I do not make piles of money, I simply work to pay my bills and student loans off. This is a common situation for sex workers. I appreciate very much that I make in an hour what is considered a bimonthly paycheck at my regular job (yes, I have one of those too) and do it so infrequently that I may just cover the bills. I feel very fortunate that I may travel or just go to the beach at noon on a Monday if I so desire because of the freedom within sex work to create my own hours and income.

    You are kidding yourself if you believe the johns really respect you. They appreciate that you indulged their fantasies, and got them off. They may be amused by your lifestyle. But they don’t respect you. You are a prostitute. And you have not helped them deal with their own underlying issues. You have prolonged thier misery.

    You are kidding yourself if you believe that a man’s sexuality is inherently objectifying and so undignified. You need a serious examination of your own feelings about sex and men. I would appreciate it if you would not make sweeping assumptions about how my clients feel about me. When you do so, you are making dangerous generalizations about men, client or not, and the autonomy of choice for all women.

    You are not doing them any favors, and believe me, if you get busted they will not do you any favors either. They will quickly forget they ever knew you.

    I am VERY aware that there are people out there who shame men who pay for sex (ehm….) therefore they are silenced to support sex workers publicly. Alas, these ignorant people are hell bent on passing judgment and firing insults and not actually creating rational and respectful discussion, so I do not blame a client for staying in the dark. Until people like you stop trying to “help women,” sex workers will have no allies.

  3. I find it interesting that comments like the one above seem to have an agenda of characterizing people so that they fit into a clean analytical paradigm. Annaj assumes Kitten is wealthy from all of her sexwork and needs this money to pay for drugs. Kitten responds that neither of these assumptions are accurate. In fact, both of these are 180 degrees off. (Many people say 360 degrees off but that would take you back to where you started. But, as Kitten says, I digress.)

    Sex workers and their clients cannot be grouped and characterized neatly for analysis. Some sex workers are in it because they want the money for drugs. Some love sex. Some are fat and some are thin. Some have passion and some are robots. Sex workers are people who do what the do for every reason under the sun. Clients are also people who buy sex and sex-like activities for every conceivable reason as well. Some cannot function sexually unless they are being humiliated. Some are “trapped” in a sexless marriage. Some just want to have sex with a woman they could never obtain without a commercial transaction.

    Why do either of you feel the need to categorize and classify to make your point?

    For example, why does Kitten feel the need to identify other woman as victimized to make her point. See above (“There are woman victimized in 40 story office buildings, and in their marriages[.]”) Does this strengthen Kitten’s point – not in my opinion. Has Kitten ever been in a marriage or worked a 9-5 job in a 40 story office building? I don’t know but I would bet not. Life is not a zero sum game where one must bring another down in order to move up. Sex workers have the right to ply their trade without the “trade” being a path to salvation. It is a job – sometimes more and sometimes less. It doesn’t have to be better than an office job (regardless of the height of the building) and it doesn’t have to be more fulfilling than a marriage.

    I must be confused by Kitten’s comment about child rearing and its worth in society. What do you even mean Kitten? In my humble opinion, child rearing is the most valuable and value-adding role in society. That role creates future leaders. Done poorly, it can create future predators like those who ogle you on the sidewalk when you wear your coveted tank top. In many homes, that role is served by the MAN – not the woman. I don’t understand your point in your comment. Are you saying sex work is more valuable than child rearing. If so, allow me to retort. (I already did).

    As for annaj – First, what is your agenda with this comment? Sex is a form of power and has been wielded as such by sex workers and wive alike since the beginning of time. Men (including me) who are particularly adept at sex can use it as a tool in the relationship power struggle as well. Maybe you just have not had enough good sex to understand this. I know I don’t anymore but I have foggy memories of the days when “the power of MY sex” was a force to be reckoned with. Second, how do you know whether the “Johns” (inaccurately classified as onehomogenous group with one name) respect Kitten or any sex worker for that matter? Of course they cannot respect the PERSON until the “John” gets to know that person. But after that it is an individual human dynamic that cannot be homogenized for uniformity. Some Johns will respect some sex workers and some will not. Some are seeking out sex workers to fulfill an emotional need while others are seeking purely visual sexual satisfaction to take away and use as masterbatory fodder for a price. Like an expensive porno DVD burned into the brain. Some Johns are seeking a woman to worship and respect. Some are seeking a woman to “save.” One cannot speak in generalities when it comes to sex for money because human sexuality is as varied as fingerprints or DNA. In fact, human sexuality even within one person evolves over time and changes without warning. For you to think Kitten was shaped by some traumatic experience in childhood (because you saw that on a Lifetime movie starring Meredith Baxter Birney) belies your ignorance and/or bias.

    Can’t we all just get along. The simple answer is we can’t when it comes to sex work. Unfortunately for activists like Kitten, I doubt sex work will be decriminalized on a large scale in this country during her lifetime. This debate (while informative and infinitely interesting) may be largely academic.

  4. #If you are a victim in life, you will be a victim in sex work.

    I love this comment because it is so true. Many people assume that most sex workers have been somhow ‘victimized’ in life, whether it be sexual, physical or mental abuse, but it is such an incorrect stereotype. i have never been a victim of any abuse, nor have I ever felt like a victim as a sex worker.

    However, I do tend to notice that girls who go into the industry as former victims tend to feel that way on the job. They get upset at little things more easily and have a harder time standing up to asshole clients. This is where the whole “sex worker as victim” stigma comes in. I find it, more often than not, to be incorrect. Most sex workers I know are intelligent, empowered, gutsy women who enjoy their work.

    However, what we have to deal with a daily basis is people like annaj who criticize our choice-and it is our choice-of employment and throw insults and assumptions our way, without even knowing anything about who we really are. Like everyone else, we are just trying to make a living and if you don’t like what we do, then keep it to yourself. We’re never going away, so get used to it.

  5. Kitten,

    I’ve read over this blog posting of yours many times. Almost every morning since you posted it. I want to say thank you for your illumination into the industry and for speaking our truth.

    The inherent style and confidence you convey here is awe-inspiring; so much so that I’ve been using your words to start off my day.

    Thank you!!

  6. […] order to sleep. But I have a few quick additions to this already fiery volley…I was reading Kitten’s post about how people just assume that clients are predators, and many things rang true. I often find […]

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