Cathryn Berarovich is something of a renaissance sex worker; she was until recently employed as a stripper but has held numerous interesting jobs in the industry (and she’s currently an excellent columnist on this very website). Each week, she shares her stories in Harlotry.
The relationships all sex workers, but especially prostitutes, have with their clients and the relationships clients have with their favorite sex workers are strange and many-layered. On the surface, there is the business arrangement: the client pays the whore to fuck him (or her, I guess, though women don’t seem to buy sex). At the moment the money is exchanged, everyone knows what’s going on and from there on out the prostitute has to help the client forget there was ever a transaction involved.
Nobody wants to pay for sex. Sure, there is the odd guy who gets off on the very act of paying, who prefers to pay, either because he enjoys the humiliation, or because he enjoys the power of getting something he wants by an action so simple as throwing a few pieces of paper at his desires, but even those men don’t usually want to see the payment as an intrinsic part of the exchange. They still want to believe they’d achieve the same result if money were subtracted entirely from the equation.
Back when I was a whore, I browsed the m4w erotic services section of Craigslist as frequently as I posted my own advertisements. Naturally there were a few gigolo hopefuls on there, but mostly it was men advertising for prostitutes. None of them actually said they wanted prostitutes, though. There were no “Wanted: Jovial Trollop” headlines. They all wanted a “non-pro,” a “needy student,” or a girl next door with bills to pay. I’d imagine that most of the women responding to their advertisements were, like me, baby hookers who hadn’t yet figured out how to appear polished and expensive and were therefore somehow more enticing to the group of men who pretend that buying sex is different or somehow better if the girl doesn’t sell it regularly.
(Headline photo of Angelina Jolie by David LaChapelle)