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Bethany St. James

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What Could a Former Prostitute Teach You About Relationships?

Posted: 07/02/2012 12:40 pm

Whenever I am asked to speak at a function or when I have written articles on the subject of relationships, it is often inferred that I am giving credit to my former profession. Some have actually accused me of somehow giving it an air of nobility. My feelings on prostitution are actually much to the contrary! There is certainly a reason that I have retired and now work toward educating on what I've learned, as well as heading up organizations directed toward finding new career paths for sex workers and adult entertainers as well as empowering men, women and teens with self-image and self-esteem issues. However, it is a rarity when someone takes the time to ask me about that part of the equation.

Setting aside my formal education, the lessons I learned regarding interpersonal relationships during my lifelong tenure in the adult entertainment industry have proven to help many suffering with miscommunication, misunderstandings or even infidelity within their relationships. Being immersed in a world wrought with poor judgment, lack of personal responsibility and poor communication has allowed me to see firsthand and given me the ability to identify what makes a healthy relationship versus an unhealthy one. Who better to give advice than those who have played an active role in the unravelment?

For example, someone who was raised in an alcoholic home or struggling with alcoholism would be a viable source of information regarding the realities and effects of alcoholism. In fact, some of the most influential and powerful drug abuse counselors are themselves recovering addicts. To further my point, law enforcement officials often ask former criminals or inmates for advice on how to catch offenders. Couldn't the same logic be applied here?

As a paid companion who spent the majority of her career "playing house," for sometimes as long as two weeks, I was often times in the marital home while the unsuspecting spouse was out of town. Those years living a life surrounded by deceit certainly gave me some inside information to the desires of the unfaithful. My opinions are not derived from simple "quickies" in a dark alley nor are they experiences I am proud of. I am simply sharing what I have learned through hours of "pillow talk" with men and women who stepped outside the sanctity of their marriage or a seemingly monogamous relationship. Instead of attacking my former career, of which I have never defended, the more important issue should be why I was the one lying on the beach or engaging in unfettered pillow talk and not their spouse. I have been in paid relationships, lasting at times over three years and it is certainly not uncommon.

In most cases, paid companions hear a much deeper level of sharing with respect to intimate thoughts and feelings than a spouse does. (It is a sad reality but a factual one.) Those who have paid for the company of a companion, either for sex or for a relationship will often open up in a much different way than with someone they have an invested interest with, such as a mortgage or children. They have nothing to lose by baring their soul to someone with whom they are paying for companionship.

Although, my former profession should never be considered "right," there is certainly a lot to be learned from it. It may be painful to listen to the advice given by someone you feel is "beneath you," but I am a firm believer that good advice can often come from places society has condemned. Prostitution is certainly not noble, but the lessons learned from it are. Information should not be dismissed simply because it is hard to hear.

I feel it is important to mention that I have been lucky enough in my life to have seen both ends of this spectrum. Growing up amidst chaos, I spent a great deal of time with my Grandparents who were happily married for over 40 years. I have never known a happier couple and for that I am grateful. My hope is that all couples can have a relationship based on love, happiness, honesty and trust.

 

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