By Jolene DuBois
There are many misconceptions about what it’s like to be a prostitute. Although people are fascinated by us, they’re rarely interested in truly understanding us. Portrayals of prostitutes in media and film are highly inaccurate most of the time, which fuels misguided public perception of the “oldest profession.”
I’ll admit, I was terrified to start escorting myself because of society’s abundant misrepresentations. One of the greatest and most insulting misconceptions is that prostitutes aren’t even human; there’s a degrading acronym law enforcement uses when crimes they investigate involve hookers (or junkies and transients): NHI, for No Humans Involved.
Instead of judging us and our line of work, here are 10 of the biggest myths about sex workers.
1. We’re here to pick up unwanted scraps of men who can’t get laid by traditional methods.
The typical escort client is married in his 40s or 50s, and the vast majority are happily married. When it comes to supply and demand, everyone likes to think “not my husband” or “not my father,” but frequenting escorts is very common with normal, well-adjusted married men.
Because people don’t like imagining the normal, well-adjusted men in their lives seeing escorts, they assume that we pick up society’s unwanted garbage: mentally unstable men, violent and sadistic men, men who are grotesquely ugly or overweight, and men who are never married past middle age.
Most of us don’t specialize in low hanging fruit or deal with them more than once in a blue moon. If we did, we’d get the hell out of the business before it mentally and physically broke us.
The typical escort client is married in his 40s or 50s, and the vast majority are happily married.
2. We’re victims of violence.
I’ve never once been violated by a man, “John” or not, nor am I the product of childhood sexual abuse. I just enjoy sex more than the average person and I enjoy lifestyle-oriented service work. We aren’t all damaged goods.
3. We’re addicts and need drugs or alcohol to do our jobs.
I won’t pretend there isn’t some correlation between substance abuse and sex work, but that’s because we have flexible hours with no bosses, not because our work is so traumatizing we simply can’t bring ourselves to do it without numbing our senses and feelings first.
Having your wits about you is the way to go during escorting appointments and I’m one of countless escorts who is clean and sober, which lots of clients are as well.
4. We lack “better” career options.
Smart escorts use the job as a “stepping stone” the same way college students wait tables while working toward their degree. Escorting has a short shelf life and it does not age well, so the vast majority of us have an exit strategy that involves education, building a career or, yes, marrying into money.
None of us wants to stay in the business forever and the worst possible exit strategy from escorting is to become a madam running other escorts.
5. We come from rough backgrounds and are too classless to take in public.
The internet has given rise to a higher caliber of escort than there once was. Escorting isn’t just a way for disadvantaged people to make a buck, the way men from bad backgrounds deal drugs (and pimp). The landscape has changed so much; escorts are more educated and sophisticated than ever.
An upscale gent can take many of us to dinner without worrying we’ll say something uncouth or have awkward Pretty Women moments of confusing silverware at nice restaurants. Escorting really is about more than just sex now, and that’s largely because clients can learn a lot about us and our personalities (personas) via our websites, ads and social media.
6. We’re clueless and irresponsible when it comes to money.
First of all, one-third of our clients are accountants, while another one-third are lawyers, allowing plenty of free legal and financial consultation. We know about FICO scores, saving for retirement, avoiding conspicuous consumption, and most of us even pay our taxes. We mostly hire professional accountants to make our source of income look “normal” and keep us off the IRS’ sh*t list.
A small minority of escorts live precariously, storing money in a shoe box and living off money orders with no income proof. But most of us realize we need proof of income for virtually everything. We also know that being between age 22 to 32 and making six figures is not a sustainable plan, so we plan and save accordingly.
7. We do all the kinky, crazy things in bed your husband never asked you to try.
Sure, some escorts are kink-friendly, but many are quite “vanilla” when it comes to the sexual acts themselves. I’ve only been pressured to do anal once and I’ve never done much anything kinky.
Most clients seek a “girlfriend experience,” which means good conversation, kissing, cuddling, and pretty run of the mill sex, not “balls to the walls” porn reenactments. To be painfully frank, most men just want a younger version of the woman they chose to marry — someone who hasn’t lost their looks and interest in sex yet.
8. We don’t have lives outside of escorting.
Trust me, having lives outside of this business is non-negotiable. The isolation would drive you crazy otherwise. You need to have other things going for you, whether it’s school, a day job, or other career and creative pursuits. Hell, even signing up to learn Russian at an Adult Learning Center helps.
The ability to compartmentalize escorting from the rest of life is key. Escorting is but one aspect of a dynamic life and because it’s so stigmatized, we don’t let matters around escorting seep into our roles as family members, students, office workers, and so on.
Escorts always get mad when a client tries to book last minute. Why? Because we don’t just spend our days idly enjoying mani-pedis, hair blowouts, and choosing the perfect hair and wardrobe on the off-chance someone wants to book us impulsively. Because, again, we have lives. We’re not ready and willing to drop everything for you.
9. We are all gorgeous tens.
A lot of us are quite normal looking. I even see ads for escorts who are downright homely. Your husband isn’t seeing an escort strictly because her looks are of a higher caliber; he’s seeing her because it’s less tedious than chatting at bars or maintaining ongoing affairs.
Before I began in the sex industry as a stripper, my impression from the movies was that my body had to be tight, tall and statuesque, with flawless hair. Some strip clubs may require that look, and some clients paying top dollar have high expectations on looks. But on average, escorts are mostly 6 to 8s with the occasional 9 or 10, and even a 3 or 4.
10. Being paid for sex is unthinkable and immoral.
I hate to break it to you, but we live in an age where young women are being murdered by their Tinder dates. In less extreme cases, they are wasting lots of time trying to find true love through apps and dating sites, only to find that their date thinks buying a couple of drinks entitles him to sexual contact.
The dating scene is bleak right now, and I prefer depositing large sums of cash on my way home from a “date” than having a long walk of shame because some douche didn’t even give me cab fare.
Mixing sex and commerce will always give others a reason to look down their noses at us, but the more today’s hookup culture prevails, the more hypocritical it becomes. We might say compensation is merely for our “time and companionship” for legal reasons, but, in most cases, guys don’t just want quickies, but actual companionship and quality time with a good looking, personable woman.
This article originally appeared on YourTango.