Since becoming a full-time companion (my euphemism of choice) in the United States about nine months ago, I have noticed two distinct issues that affect our safety and ability to continue to operate. The first, most pressing issue is the fact that full service sex work is illegal in most parts of the country. The second issue is the fact that a very large online community of reviewers or “hobbyists” exists. While most hobbyists are not sociopathic predators who use coercive tactics to rape sex workers, the very fact that a review community exists creates a power structure that makes coercive rape a fairly common occurrence for sex workers. With so many sex workers coming forward saying they were sexually violated after being blackmailed with the threat of a bad review, there is something deeply wrong with a community of reviewers who perpetuate misogyny and rape culture.
The problem comes out of the hobbyist propensity to reduce sex workers to commodities. Many hobbyists claim it is important for them to know what they are getting into if they’re going to drop that kind of money on a “product,” and on the surface this argument makes sense. Law enforcement is a very real concern not only for sex workers, but also for our clients. It seems reasonable that a client would want to know whether or not they can trust that a sex worker is legit before agreeing to meet with them. Depending on the mood I’m in, I can even be sympathetic to the plight of the poor hobbyist who had a kinky fantasy that a sex worker cannot/won’t fulfill. We are, after all, quite the expensive hobby.
When we talk about reviews, though, and the information that is contained within them, we are not just talking about simple yes or no answers to questions of legitimacy and customer satisfaction. The hobbyists’ arguments for the necessity of reviews fall apart with one look at the reviews themselves. Not only will you find a full and detailed accounting of a sex worker’s body type and appearance, grooming habits, gender assignment versus presentation, and how nice/real their various body parts may or may not be; you also have the opportunity to read a very detailed account of the session a hobbyist enjoyed (or didn’t) with a sex worker. This includes all the dirty details on what the sex worker was or was not willing to do, and how happy or unhappy that made the hobbyist. These reviews can often read just like an Amazon.com review, with all the information about the provider’s body listed like basic product info, and the experience with the product (person) detailed below. I think most sex workers and even quite a few hobbyists would agree that these details are unnecessary and in fact compromise sex workers’ legal safety, since most of us try not to admit to exchanging sex for money.