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Archive for the ‘Q & A’ Category

The Real Red Flag

My boyfriend of 3 yrs frequents local escorts and hookup websites and doesn’t erase his browser on our shared PC. I’ve confronted him about it and he threw the whole, “if you don’t believe me about not searching and what not then YOU have trust issues”.  He even said he didn’t even know what site I was talking about.  Lies.  What’s your take on this?  I want to trust him but this is a red flag.

Trust is not something that can merely be given; it must be earned.  And your boyfriend doesn’t seem to be making much effort to earn it.  While it’s certainly possible he’s just searching escort sites to look at the nude pics, it seems unlikely unless you know for a fact that he hasn’t got enough disposable income to actually hire escorts (and even then, it’s not like there isn’t plenty of free porn on the internet).  And the “hookup” sites don’t even have that catch.  Furthermore, while escort transactions are professional and therefore no threat to your relationship, the same cannot be said of amateur dating.  But whether he is or isn’t stepping out is far less important than what I see as the real red flag here: his apparent lack of respect for your intelligence and sense.  A guy who doesn’t erase his browser on a PC he shares with his girlfriend is either a fool or thinks his girlfriend is, and for him to respond to questions with weak denials tends to point toward the latter.  As for “If you don’t believe me something is wrong with you”, that tactic is such a classic of beginner gaslighting it probably appears in Chapter One of Partner Abuse for Dummies.

Look, if he was merely masturbating to porn, I’d tell you it was nothing to be concerned about.  And while it’s certainly possible that this is a similar fantasy-activity (because human sexuality is astonishingly varied and complex), his guilty reaction seems to hint otherwise.  As I said above, it’s not that he’s looking at other women, which is typical male behavior signifying absolutely nothing other than that he has a penis.  It’s that he reacted to your questions with lies and blame-shifting, which wouldn’t bode well even if it were about something other than sex.  In fact, I’m going to suggest you think about your other interactions with him; is this the only area in which he seems to be behaving dishonestly, or is it part of a pattern?  Because if you come to the conclusion that he cannot be trusted in general, not just about sex but about other aspects of your partnership, perhaps it’s time to consider whether the two of you may not really be right for one another.  Because while breakups are never easy, they’re usually a lot easier (and far less acrimonious) at the 3-years-living-together mark than at the 10-years-married-with-children mark.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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The Best Option

I recently received a letter from a new reader which, among other things, asked why I became a sex worker, and volunteered a number of suggested motives, none of which (other than “Was it the money?”) made much sense to me.  This was my reply.

Everyone has to have money to live, and unlike square jobs, escorting involves neither bosses, nor licenses, nor “permits”, nor piss tests, nor arbitrary rules, nor uniforms, nor “zoning”, nor “reporting” to anyone, nor having to ask permission to be sick (or to run errands during the day), nor creepy surveillance of my personal life, nor the government stealing a big chunk of my income before I even see it and then forcing me to ask for some of it back, nor any of the myriad other oppressions or indignities most people just accept as the cost of material existence.  Sex work is much more lucrative per unit time than any other honest work requiring no degree, certificate, or title of nobility, and its flexibility is almost unparalleled even in comparison with other modes of self-employment.  In short, I chose sex work because it allows me to live my life with the minimum amount of interruption and distraction from what I actually want to do, and you’ll find that’s a pretty common theme running through the lives of the great majority of us.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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A friend told me that when he’s out of town, his girlfriend goes on paid dates with other men.  She claims that there is no sex involved, but he’s unsure and asked me if compensated dates without sex are really a thing.  My response was that if he can’t trust her, that’s the bigger problem, but I figured I’d ask you about the sexless dates.

The short answer is “no”.  That isn’t to say that some compensated dates don’t involve genital-diddling; however, it’s not really possible for an escort to make a living by putting “no sex” in her profile or repeatedly disappointing clients’ expectations.  Sexless escorting is mostly a fantasy of white bourgeois American women which is not found in nature; my tag “Delightful Conversation” collected cases, but I haven’t seen one in six years and figured it had mostly dried up.  But most importantly, your advice to him was correct.  The problem isn’t that she’s an escort; the problem is that she doesn’t trust him and vice versa, which doesn’t bode well for a relationship.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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I’m a virgin who will soon be 40, and I’ve been wanting to engage the services of an escort.  I read your piece on the topic in Reason, but I don’t know if going the sex worker route would make me feel any better.  I realize she wouldn’t be hot for me, but I dread the thought that she’d just not want to be there at all.  Sensing that I’m just a chore to get through would make me feel worse. I don’t want to rent a living sex doll, I want…I don’t know how to articulate what I want out of the experience.  I know I want a woman to have sex with me for free, just because she wants to, but it isn’t happening.

The concept of “free sex” is largely a male fantasy.  As Billy Crystal once humorously expressed it, “Women need a reason to have sex.  Men just need a place.”  Sure, there are exceptions to every rule, but waiting for a woman that you personally find attractive who just wants sex with you because she’s “hot for you” to come along is kinda like refusing to demolish that old barn on your property because you figure that that sooner or later it’ll be struck by lightning and burn down.  The great majority of women are going to want something else other than the mere physical act, partly because we’re wired that way and partly because it’s so easy for most women to get sex from men that the chances of one picking you in particular, without any effort on your part, resemble those of winning the lottery.  For the typical woman, the “something else” is likely to be some kind of romantic relationship; for the more pragmatic sort, it’s likely to be money or some other means of support.  And women who are specifically looking for a husband rather than a mere boyfriend combine the two.  You haven’t given me enough to determine why you’ve never stumbled into a romantic relationship over the past two decades, so I’m going to guess you’re shy and lack the self-confidence to ask girls out on traditional dates.  And I further suspect (unless there’s something you aren’t telling me) that the origin of your fear that an escort would view seeing you as especially laborious is that same lack of self-confidence.  Truly professional escorts, women who view sex work as a career and proceed accordingly, have professional ethics and standards; they are no more “living sex dolls” than boxers are “living punching bags”, and the only reason you believe otherwise is all the anti-sexwork propaganda permeating American culture.  Given that, I think you need to adjust your thinking a bit if you’re to correct your problem.  I suggest you peruse my column “From the Top”, which includes links to a number of columns for newbies; also this essay from a guy in a similar position to yours.  If you don’t find anything to help you there, I suggest buying my book Ask Maggie (both volumes) and reading all the essays whose leading questions speak to you (there are probably more of them than you think).  And once you do stop making up excuses to avoid seeing a professional (because that is what you’re doing, honestly), I think you may find the mystique around sex will start to evaporate, and your problem with it.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Is it legal in New York City to meet a professional at a short-stay motel for the purposes of a BDSM session? The only sexual activity contemplated would be masturbation by me while naked.

There’s little point in concerning yourself with whether a consensual sex act is “legal” or not, because cops can and will arrest anyone they think they can get away with arresting, whether the supposed act they’re arresting someone for is legal, illegal, or nothing more than a product of their own sick imaginations.  The only relatively certain way to avoid arrest any time you step out of your front door is to avoid cops; when sex is involved, that means contracting with an established professional.  If you see someone with a long and proven professional history, you’re as safe as you are doing just about anything else involving sex (and much safer than doing the same thing with an amateur) regardless of the diktats of power-hungry busybodies; if you try to see someone without a reputation, there’s no way to guarantee it isn’t a cop and you won’t end up in the paper under a headline that screams “SEX TRAFFICKING!” regardless of whether you did anything any sane person would consider wrong or criminal.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Price Point

How do escorts decide how much to charge?  I can’t seem to find much correlation between rate and my satisfaction; I’ve seen amazing women charging a third of what I paid for a terrible session with a far less attractive provider.  Do they target a certain number of dollars a month?  A certain number of clients a week?  I’ve definitely known ladies to raise rates if they’re busy but I’ve never seen them lower rates.

Most escorts charge whatever is typical for their area, but some choose to charge a bit less to attract more business or a bit more to work less while still making what they need or want to earn.  It’s interesting that you seek some correlation with quality, when that isn’t true of any business; quality of widely-available goods and services often has very little to do with what one pays for them.  Every person has bills and other financial goals, and anyone not fortunate enough to have a trust fund has to figure out what they need to do to meet those needs and goals; why would you expect pros to differ from amateurs in that respect?  And why in the world would you expect ladies to ever lower their rates, especially in a time of higher-than-normal inflation?  Would you ever go into your boss and ask him to pay you less, or if you have a business would you lower your rates (outside of some kind of marketing ploy)?  Unless your business model is a “cheapest in town” one like Wal-mart, that does nothing but create the appearance of desperation, and in any luxury service that can be severely detrimental to business (not to mention the provider’s mental health).

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Client-facing

I recently had a wonderful evening with a pro, and I would like to meet them again in the future.  Is it polite to follow them on Twitter to stay informed of their city/availability schedule?  Or do they not want anyone other than fellow workers following them, lest it lead to time-wasting intrusions from the public, or worse, concerns of stalking?

It’s fine to follow sex workers’ Twitter accounts; those the provider advertises with her stage name are nearly always “client-facing” accounts you’re meant to follow.  Accounts they don’t want clients to follow usually have other names they don’t advertise, and may even be set to “private” or otherwise protected from unwanted attention.  And if a sex worker wants to keep time-wasters out of her client-facing account, she can simply set her DMs to disallow messages from accounts she doesn’t herself follow.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Some escorts in my area insist I pay with an Ebay gift card instead of cash because they believe that this will protect them from prosecution if I am a cop.  Is that true?

Nothing protects anyone from prosecution; prosecutors can basically do anything they like, and pretending otherwise is just whistling past the graveyard.  As the expression goes, “you can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride”.  A competent lawyer might be able to use various things as part of a defense to win a dismissal or “not guilty” verdict, but cops can arrest anyone they like without any valid reason, and since the invention of plea bargaining, prosecutors have no reason not to file charges against anyone (except violent cops, of course).  The only relatively-sure way to avoid prosecution is not to end up in a room with a fantasy role-playing cop in the first place; from the escort’s side that means good screening practices, and from the client’s side that means sticking to established providers with good reputations.  There are no magic words, practices or talismans that will ward off the evil of state violence any better than carrrying a rabbit’s foot or making the sign of the cross.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Fan Mail

This reader was inspired by last week’s column to send me a fan letter, and it made me feel so good I just had to share it with y’all:

I have never emailed to ask a question, but I wanted to let you know that you have helped me in multiple ways.  I found your website through Scott Greenfield a number of years ago, and have been a reader ever since.  My wife and I regularly discuss your blog posts and Twitter comments, and more than a few discussions have been started based on “what would Maggie say?”  Our daughter is now 14, and she states that she is clearly somewhere on the LGBT spectrum (she just isn’t sure where yet); the perspective you bring has helped us deal not with our own feelings (we love her to death for who she is), but with how we deal with how others treat her.  You and Scott are my first two clicks every morning, allowing me to ground my day with two anchors that help guide my thinking, and have greatly shaped the way I view the world around me.

Oh, and I LOVE the woodworking.

Thanks for everything!

After all the time and effort I’ve put into this blog for the past eleven years, letters like this really give me the inspiration that helps me to keep it up.

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Ordering author copies is a much slower, more cumbersome process than it formerly was; now the system treats it like any other Amazon order, albeit slower.  I ordered a box of Ask Maggie, Volume II almost a week before I announced the book was available, and it was finally delivered last week, so now I’m offering autographed copies in my store; if you’d like one (or an autographed copy of any of my other books), please visit my store by clicking on the picture at the top of the right-hand column.  I’d also like to ask a favor; once you buy and read the book (whether from me or directly from Amazon), would you please take the time to review it?  Since I now have a number of products available there (six books, two short stories and a documentary), I only lack a sufficient number of reviews to trigger Amazon’s algorthms to start suggesting it to browsers in the greater Amazon ecosystem (though they’ve sent me an advertising offer I’ll probably try out).  And given how economically difficult last year was, that would be a great help to me.

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