why women are starting to pay for sex

May 5, 2010

caprica poster

While sexual experiences with professionals are often relegated to the realm of sleazy, lonely men who can’t attract a little feminine affection, much less love, there’s been a steadily growing stream of popularity in sexual services among a seemingly unlikely demographic. Career oriented women with disposable incomes, a lack of time for developing a romance, and unhappy with their choices at the local bars at last call, are reportedly buying lap dances, cyber sex sessions, and the company of professional escorts. According to at least one account appearing in the UK’s Times, they do it because they’d rather have the fun without the attachment so they can focus on their work and their kids instead, a very similar reason given by professional men who’ll pay for sex and companionship. It seems women in the US and Britain are sampling many of the same forbidden and controversial pleasures as men after centuries of dealing with discrimination and sexual repression…

On the one hand, seeing women with the money and the opportunity to pay for sex taking up male escorts can be seen as another wrench into some ideas about women held as conventional wisdom. Women aren’t less interested in sex than men, they’re willing to initiate it when given the chance and they feel bold enough, and they aren’t opposed to one night stands, looking for hookups at bars, clubs and even online. Even more, there seems to be a growing trend of couples enjoying professional services together as women use a significant other to either access more sexual experiences, or keep trying new things even though they’re in relationships already. And on top of that, as noted in the first link, female customers aren’t all about gentle and sensual, and are more than willing to try something rough or sexually adventurous.

But they’re not just going to try anything; they want assurances and if there’s a professional who’ll give them the experience they want, that’s what they may very well pick. Of course libidos and tolerance for excitement and experimentation varies from person to person, but the point here is that we need to recognize the obvious fact that women can be, and often are, just as sexual as the men who are often stereotyped as bipedal containers of pure lust. That should be obvious to most of us today, but we often pretend that it doesn’t happen due to long standing gender stereotypes.

On the other hand, we might have a unique double standard. While prostitution and many sexual encounters between a client and a paid professional are generally illegal, the demand for them is always sky high. This is what allows criminal organizations to make millions off horrific human rights abuses. Have you ever seen the film Taken? The unfortunate part is that its portrayals of human trafficking and those who engage in it haven’t been exaggerated all that much. Nations with regulation and government oversight of sex workers can offer a number of ways to persecute and shut down criminal groups without further punishing their victims for having been drawn into illegal activities, though casting human sexuality as an illegal taboo in the face of a non-stop stream of demand always creates serious problems. And generally, the victims of these problems are young women.

Would ladies building demand on the male side of the field be criticized for helping to contribute to a typically illegal and highly abuse profession looked down upon by the morality police of the West? Or would a male side of the supply be ignored due to modern stereotypes of male sexuality? One point to consider is the brand of sex tourism in which well-off European ladies pay young men in the Third World nation of Senegal for sex and company during their vacations. Are they taking advantage of guys who can’t find work in a very poor nation with barely an economy to speak of, or just helping them out, as they put it?

The psychology of sex becomes maddeningly complex when money enters the equation and it’s very hard to make judgment calls about who’s objectifying who when both genders are buying companions’ services in a situation without any evidence of obvious abuses, such as in illegal brothels around the world. What won’t be of much help to figuring out these issues is pretending that only those on the fringes of society or the socially inept would ever seek out sexual entertainment, and that only those who should be shunned and ridiculed, or treated with a mix of condescension and pity, would ever provide such services. Unfortunately, today we’re still living in a culture where the Vatican is ready to crack down of feminism, but when it comes to priests using their position to molest altar boys, they’re not in a big hurry to cooperate with the authorities “for the good of the Church” and the leadership’s public image. Something tells me that we’re not going to make progress in finding constructive ways to deal with the whole subject of sex in the public forum anytime soon…

[ illustration from the sci-fi series Caprica ]

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  • RaggMopp

    Damned straight, gfish! And it ain’t like we don’t have prototypes to follow, look at Hamburg or Amsterdam. It’s like illegal drugs; all you have to do to get rid of the real problem (Mob involvement, near slavery, violence, outrageous profits, and derailment of the police forces) is to legalize it. I puts the outlaw element out of business PDQ. The girls get rich, the authorities can make STD exams twice a week if they want, and the proprietors are as quick to call the appropriate law enforcement agencies as any other legitimate business. And the proceeds are taxed.

    But sorrowfully, I’m sure you’re right. It reminds me of the abortion issue. Legalized abortion is a slap in the face to the Vatican, and they will move heaven and earth to remove the sting of that rebuff. Does anybody care if women get abortions? Hell no! It’s all about legal. If they can get legal abortions, done by competent physicians, in a surgical setting, the world is coming to an end! There’s never been a day when a woman of means couldn’t get a properly managed abortion, and changing Rowe v Wade will make no difference there at all, but it will make the Pope feel better about it. Sweet Jesus!

  • Bruce Coulson

    The sad part is that at the heart of the matter is a basic contractual economic agreement. In a society that reveres ‘independence’ and ‘capitalism’, it’s remarkably hypocritical to condemn a service contract between two (or more) adults. Why is it somehow preferable for attractive women (or men) to put up with emotional and verbal abuse at low-paying service jobs, instead of marketing their sexual talents and bodies for greater pay?

  • Dontuo

    I’m for hire ladies!

  • Cape Cod Paulie

    This article is all baloney. Read this except: “Women aren’t less interested in sex than men…”. Really? Ask any guy that has been married for 5 years and 90% will tell you that the wife could care less about sex. Women will usually have sex with thier husbands if he buys her something or does something nice for her. To me, that is a form of prostitution.
    Women control the sex and they negotiate it constantly. This is why men go outside of marraige for sex. They are tired of being told when they can have sex by their controlling wives. If a women hires a male prostitute, good for her. But to suggest that women are not less interested in sex than men is contrary to all science and societal knowledge.

  • gfish3000

    Odd, I know plenty of people who’ve been married five, ten, or even fifteen years and they tell me that their wives are definitely still interested in sex. Certainly I’ve seen what you describe happen, but in more cases than not, it was cased by the guy treating his wife as an on-demand sex dispenser rather than another person.

    If you really think that women only see sex as an opportunity to get their husbands or boyfriends to get something, I highly suggest making good friends with your dominant hand for a very long time. Likewise, low-level misogynistic cliches do not counter the volumes of scientific studies showing that yes, women like sex for the sake of sex.

  • Cape Cod Paulie

    As I said, ask any guy who has been married for 5 years and 90% will tell you that their wives have little to no interest in sex. So, there are lots of women out there interested in sex. But, for every one who wants it, there are 9 who don’t.
    For men, the exact opposite is true. Case closed.