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Guys Do It Too

Male escorting at its finest.

As much as we all love our site name—Kat, you are a genius—we know that it may not make us seem like a particularly male-friendly space. But unlike sex work’s most vociferous critics, we are very aware that not all sex workers are women. Just this week, we sent out a call for a straight male escort to review Hung (Fingers crossed!) and we have a list of guys we’d love to convince to write for us. While we get those posts lined up, why not check out this male escort’s story? My favorite part:

It is a very dangerous business because you have to look out for the police, decoys and other people that might set you up.

He goes on to tell a story of how his friend got picked up on the street by a cop posing as a client, which seems to be the only negative experience he’s had. This, in spite of the fact that “Edward” is what’s sometimes called a “survival” sex worker: he only works when he has bills he would otherwise be unable to pay. Therefore, the theory goes, he’s extra vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Outdated Fear: Criminalizing HIV+ Sex Workers

(Image via the Stigma Project)
(Image via the Stigma Project)

With thanks to members of SWOP-USA

Laws that criminalize HIV exposure are supposed to benefit public health, but in practice are extremely harmful to public health and to the targeted HIV-positive individuals. Sex workers are highly vulnerable to these laws, which sometimes target HIV-positive prostitution specifically. Many require forcible HIV testing, and sometimes they simply criminalize HIV but in reality are applied to sex workers more frequently than to other populations.

The criminalization of HIV-positive sex workers and mandatory post-arrest HIV testing arguably violates international human rights treaties signed by the United States. Treaties with applicable provisions include the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), specifically their provisions on privacy, rights to equality before the law, and sanctions against inciting hatred and racial bias. Recent forced HIV testing in Greece provoked outrage among international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. WHO/UNAIDS (World Health Organization/the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS) made a statement opposing forced testing. It is widely accepted that best practices for HIV testing, with the best public health outcomes, involve three key principles—consent to testing, the provision of counseling before and after testing, and confidentiality of results. The imposition of felony offenses on individuals who are said to be engaging in sex work while living with HIV punishes members of already vulnerable communities. They are prosecuted even when they use condoms and engage in less risky forms of sex with their partners, sometimes even if they have disclosed their status to their partner. Information about their HIV status, sometimes accompanied by photographs, is often distributed widely by the media in their communities, placing arrestees at risk of retaliation and other abuse. This incentivizes avoiding testing and does nothing to encourage treatment or safer sex practices.

Bad Girls and Killer Queens: Hookers in Pop Music

Freddie Mercury delivering one of his most famous quotes.

Songwriters seem to love sex workers, no matter how little they may actually know about us. And on a superficial level, we seem like pretty good song material. We’re sexual, illegal, naughty, and easy to desire and pity at the same time. You want to protect us from the dirty men who pay us for sex, yet you secretly still kind of want it for yourself (see “Roxanne,” below).

Hookers provide instant layers of emotional complexity. Throw one in your song, and viola: an edgy, sexy hit single, depressing and tantalizing all at once. (If you find the hooker-heroine of your song isn’t pitiful enough, just add drugs and that should balance things out.) Charlotte and I sifted through some sex worker songs and rated them, 1-10 based on how obnoxious or pleasing they are to hear if you’re an actual sex worker.

We’d love to hear from readers too, on what songs make you smile or cringe. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Dear Tits And Sass: Review-Free Edition

Carrie Graber’s “Elegant Lady in a Black Dress”

We’ve already established that reviews are one of the most hated aspects of indoor work, so it’s only natural for us to want to avoid them. But how, oh how, can such a feat be accomplished? If you are a current sex worker facing a work-related challenge, you can email info [at] titsandsass.com and we’ll do our best to help or call in a guest who can. (Please no “how do I get started hooking” questions. We’re not trying to end up like Heidi Fleiss.)

Dear Tits & Sass,

I’ve been escorting for under a year, and for most of that time I’ve been working for an agency that could be said to fall under the “blue-collar agency” category. We work for $260-300 per hour, minus fees, and I’d say the independent girls in my city generally list similar prices based on the ads I see around the review boards. I’m interested in the leap that some escorts make to the so-called high class stratum where prices drift upwards, volume drifts down, appointments start at two hours and not 30 minutes, independence is ubiquitous, and where client reviews are unnecessary, if not outright forbidden. I certainly see evidence of girls at that level in major cities, but not so much in mine, though I’d be willing to bet there’s a market for it. So, seeing as the most distasteful aspect of indie work (to me) is review board culture, I’d love to hear what anyone has to say on transcending that snake pit, and going for gold. Tips on advertising, especially, without the good word of the local hobbyists, would be especially fascinating.

I’m in Calgary, AB, but I’m happy to take advice from Americans, because the biggest difference in standards of practice seems to be intensity of screening, and I’m inclined to work that way anyway as cops still love to bust indoor workers for things like running an incall. Our laws are different, but culturally we’re so similar that I’d say most Canadians wouldn’t know that, and would assume prostitution is as illegal here as it is there. Our police seem to forget it, too, sometimes.

Love,

Medium-Class Call Girl

Romance & Relationships: An Escort’s Take

I’m lucky; I’ve never lied. I started escorting eight years into my current relationship, and we had an open relationship well before that. Although my partner’s not the kind of guy who wants to meet or know the other people I bang, he’s the first to acknowledge that ending our monogamy saved us from a poisonous end. So when I chose to start doing sex work it was a leap, but a logical one. Our lives are pretty boring, and we let the job be a normal part of it: I complain about illiterate text messages sometimes, and sometimes I want the car when it’s inconvenient. The biggest difference is that we use condoms now. But I’m the only one who complains about that. He likes them fine.