Sex Work Clients: A Call to Arms
Considering how stigmatized sex workers are, and how harshly the culture at large treats prostitutes, I've found that the stigma against the clients of sex workers is far worse- being outed as a client can often ruin someone's career.
It's disturbing that a questionable "study" like "Challenging Man's Demand for Prostitution in Scotland " is being used to persuade the UK government to criminalize clients. The surveyors refused to let their survey questions be seen, and they come to drastic conclusions like that 10% of clients would rape a woman if they didn't think they'd be caught. (As my clients have been, on the whole, incredibly lovely, and because I've studied psychology and scientific studies, I find this one suspicious).
Anyway, one of the questions I get asked a lot is how I think clients can help working girls. In the light of criticism around the often-recommended Swedish Model, the consistent shutting down of propositions in the Bay Area to decriminalize sex work, and the increasingly alarming laws being considered about the criminalization of clients in the UK, I figured now was probably a good time to offer up some suggestions on how to help people in prostitution by being a decent client.
The number one thing, and the most difficult for most people, is:
-Speak out. Every time I get asked what sort of men my clients are, there's an assumption, perpetuated by the media, that clients are physically undesirable perverts who, if they weren't seeing sex workers, would be off raping women. I have not had a client yet who I believe would be a sexual predator if it wasn't for seeing me, even including that one guy. I imagine he mistreats sex workers because they're not really "women" in his mind. Not that I think that's ok, and maybe because he's a dick he would, in fact, do it otherwise... but somehow I doubt it.
Speaking out, anonymously or not, is a way of standing up to be counted, and saying, "hey, guess what, this is the face of punters". I know my clients are generally fantastic men and women (yes, women are clients too) that I enjoy spending time with. At worst, some of them are a bit boring. If every man who bought or considered buying sex work said so, the government would really have to take notice, and the anti-prostitution feminists would be speechless (granted, only for a second). Write a letter to your MP or your mayor. Write into the paper. Write a blog!
-Donate. There are multiple organizations that would use your support- if you're worried about trafficking, donate to the Poppy Project (which I have some issues with but is, in general, a great idea). If you care about sexual freedom in general, letting consenting adults do what they want behind closed doors (like kink), etc, then the Spanner Trust is a good bet, as is the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom. The International Union of Sex Workers can always use a boost, and the Lusty Lady is a fantastic unionized peep show- which leads to my next suggestion:
-Support unionized sex workers, or at least educate yourself about it. Some girls don't like it, others are proud members, you'd have to read up to decide for yourself whether you support them or not. You could always ask the workers you see if they know about the Union and see what they say. You could decide to go to Union girls and businesses. You can join as an ally. You can just donate some money. Or, like I said, you can just educate yourself about them, what they offer, how they work, and what they do.
-Read. It's also pretty awesome to read books on the subject of sex work and clients- I recommend "Paying For It", which is a great guide for clients written by sex workers, "Sex Work", which is a collection of essays on the subject, "Working Sex", which is a collection by sex workers writing about how the industry is shifting, and "Tricks and Treats", which recounts stories by sex workers about clients they've had, good and bad.
-Respect. Respect the rates- if we want to change the rules for you, we'll let you know. Respect "no"- if we don't want to, don't push us... and be glad that we like you enough to give you the intimate knowledge of what we do enjoy, instead of just putting up with it! Respect that our pleasure is our own. We don't owe it to you- we only agreed to help you meet your pleasures. If we decide to tell you what makes us cum, or what we like, be glad, but don't expect it. For some of us, those sorts of intimacies are left to our lovers. Respect our time. We know shit happens, but don't make an appointment and break it last minute without expecting us to be suspicious you're a timewaster. It's a professional meeting, ultimately, and we're likely moving around our personal time to accommodate you.
-Offer to pay transit costs, or to provide any special toys or costumes. If you want us to spit champagne in your mouth, bring it with you!
And the number ONE thing you can do...
-Be upfront about what you want. It's ok if you're not sure what gets you off. But please, let us know what fantasies you have, what you're tried and liked, what you've tried and didn't like! If you want anal play during a session, ask us beforehand, don't spring the request on us when you get here. If you want watersports, tell us when you book so we can be ready. If my tweaking your nipples and spanking your ass is boring you, let me know so I can do something different. If you're being stoic, I'm bored too.
So, clients, potential and regular- sally forth and make me proud! For Kitty and Cuntry! ;)