Confessions of a Professional Dater

by Vin Armani on November 8, 2011 · 22 comments

in Clients, Prostitution, What is Sex Work?

The term “sex worker” usually makes me cringe. By most people’s standards, as an escort, I certainly fall into that occupational category. Living in a country where prostitution is illegal in all but a single state means that labeling myself a “sex worker” is hardly pragmatic. Besides, to call men like myself (straight male escorts) “sex workers” is almost insulting. How great would my life be if I could just sell sex? I have very few clients whose primary interest in retaining my services is sexual intercourse, or even sexual physical contact. Critics of the show I happen to be a part of have no frame of reference for what my profession entails. I will be the first to admit that the show, with eight 30-minute episodes per season, is not exactly made to be educational. Those critics have said repeatedly that women don’t have to pay to get laid. I have said repeatedly that they are correct, but that both women and men most definitely pay for “sex.”

I was raised on the Discovery Channel. Both of my parents were educators and naturally curious people. In my home growing up, there was no shortage of animals fucking on our TV screen. Those scenes were usually over in a matter of seconds, as compared to the sometimes hours of observation and analysis of the courtship rituals that led up to the act. It’s always been fascinating to me that although sexual intercourse among mammals is pretty much homogeneous, the courtship rituals and mating systems that get individuals to the act are incredibly diverse. That (entire process) is “sex.” Intercourse is by far the least interesting aspect. It’s a series of hip thrusts in a few positions. The mating game that happens before intercourse, on the other hand, is captivating. For us human animals living in the “modern world,” our mating game is the world of dating. I am a sex worker, but I am primarily a “professional dater.”

Professional Dating is the true occupation of many male and female sex workers. The difference between the sexes in this matter is what constitutes a “perfect date” for a male client as versus a female client. There have always been male escorts and gigolos who are able to provide women with an expert courtship display. This is a difficult skill to master, however, and the number of men who are able to make a living in this manner has always been incredibly small. For a woman, “the perfect date” means a genuine feeling of a connection, physical attraction, a high degree of comfort, and psychological stimulation. It is up to me to develop each of these things beginning immediately upon meeting her. She’s paying for guaranteed chemistry, something that the vast majority of men simply cannot provide (if they could, there would be little call for female sex workers). When there’s a high degree of sexual chemistry, of course a woman is going to want to continue on to a more physical experience. That’s just biological programming. But my clients, by and large, would be very unsatisfied, no matter my sexual prowess, if I simply walked through the door, dropped my trousers, and said, “Let’s get it on.”

Comparatively, there is virtually no barrier to entry for a woman who wants to become a professional dater (sex worker). The perfect date, for a man, is to meet a woman in a private and intimate setting and have her be charming and complimentary and available to him sexually without him having to expend any effort at the dating (read: mating) game. For most female sex workers, that is exactly what the job entails. The goal of every man on a date is to get laid. A female escort isn’t paid for sex, she’s paid for the guarantee that the “date” will end how the man wants.

What of the escorts who never have sexual intercourse with their clients, as a matter of policy?  There are thousands of BDSM “escorts,” particularly dommes, who never even remove their clothing in the course of a session and yet whose clients are completely satisfied. Even in places where prostitution is illegal, these professionals can openly offer their services, as they fall clearly outside the lines of “selling sex.” Acts of domination, torture, and humiliation don’t add up to “sex work” when sex work equals prostitution. Obviously not everyone is interested in the standard ending to a standard date, and professional BDSM daters capitalize on that fact.

My agent, the legendary Garren James of Cowboys4Angels, has often told me that he gets hundreds of men hoping to be escorts sending him “pictures of their cock.” Whenever he describes these “applications” he gets a look on his face that is a mix of disgust and bewilderment. It simply isn’t the service that we provide. I’m awesome in bed, but I’m a master of interacting with women so that they actually want to be in that bed with me. That interaction is what I am paid for. Sometimes my dates with clients don’t end with any physical sexual contact. Sometimes that’s not what she was looking for, and it’s certainly never anything that has been offered in any case. I’m no prostitute. I sell “sex” but only in the broad sense that I sell an experience that encompasses an aspect of human sexual behavior, namely seduction.

Politically, sex work will always be a hot-button issue. Maybe it’s because, by hiring a sex worker, a client feels like they are admitting that they lack the skill to find “the perfect date.” Honestly, if I found a woman who really was “the perfect date” and I wasn’t paying her, I’d be a bit uneasy. For now, I’ll proudly stick to being “the perfect date” for my clients. If that makes me a sex worker, I’ll wear that title proudly as well.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Sex Mahoney November 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Strange, you’d think the perfect date would be someone who wouldn’t mind it if you fart too much but the expectation of professionalism probably makes it as unwelcome with a sex worker as it is with a proctologist.

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New Slut November 8, 2011 at 8:31 pm

What’s with the assumption that every woman’s perfect date involves a genuine feeling of connection and all men just want easy sex?

If it’s easier for a chick to be a hooker that’s societal programming, not biological programming.

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vitch36 November 9, 2011 at 9:28 am

Actually for the most I think you nailed it Vin.

For many…it’s all about the dance.

I write romance, I read romance. The novels where they instantly fall into bed usually lose their page pull quickly. Those that have the ‘dance’ keep those pages turning. What will be the factor that finally pulls them together? How many more problems might occur prior to?

Will she finally see ‘him’–Will he finally see the true ‘her’.

Anyone that can quickly learn that perfectly orchestrated tango…vera good!

Interesting interview/article. Thanks for sharing.

:)

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Vin Armani Vin Armani November 9, 2011 at 11:37 am

I’ve spent many hours discussing the romance novel phenomenon with friends. Understanding the narrative in romance novels was huge in helping me figure out “the dance” as you call it. It all started because in the span of a month I had 3 women admit to me that they often pleasured themselves while reading romance novels in bed at night. These same women told me that they really weren’t very turned on by porn (movies).

There are certainly women who are more aroused by porn than they are by romance narratives, but they are the exception rather than the rule. I would say they are probably about equal to the percentage of men who are more turned on by romance novels than by pornography. Much of it is just biological hard-wiring after millions of years of evolution.

Unfortunately for me professionally, but fortunately for me (and all men) personally, those marvelous women who could care less about the dance and just want to get laid (and to some degree that is all women if you catch them at just the right time), find it inefficient to schedule an appointment with a male escort and pay cash to scratch that particular itch.

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Jenny DeMilo November 9, 2011 at 1:51 pm

I cant even verbalize how much this article leaves a distaste in my mouth and on how many levels but I’ll say this… If you cant self identity as a sex worker with out cringing, maybe you shouldn’t be speaking for them. #JustSayin

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Vin Armani Vin Armani November 9, 2011 at 2:08 pm

In the very final sentence of the post I state explicitly that I do self-identify as a sex worker. The issue I have is with the word “sex worker,” not because I don’t consider myself a “sex worker” (I definitely do), but because even those in our industry (and virtually all civilians) use the terms “sex work” and “prostitution” interchangeably.

Prostitution is well defined, particularly in penal codes (where it is illegal) and government regulations (where it is legal). Because in many cases both male and female escorts (dommes especially) do not end up having sex with their clients, you can’t classify those encounters as prostitution.

I’m comfortable with defining prostitution as an aspect of sex work (and one that I think should be completely legal everywhere). It is not an aspect I am engaged in, as I (like most escorts) am paid upfront for companionship for a set period of time, with ABSOLUTELY no guarantee of sex of any kind. Even if it were legal and offered, women simply would not pay for my services “by-the-act.” When we use the term “sex work,” particularly as we attempt to educate the public, we miss the chance to have the broader discussion. We, as sex workers, may understand that “sex” is much broader than intercourse and oral. The general public (who we are ostensibly trying to educate) most definitely does not understand that.

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00goddess December 18, 2011 at 11:32 am

The thing is, a domme isn’t an escort. There are escorts who do BDSM sessions, but I think you are incorrect in categorizing a domme as a type of escort. At least in the biz, the terms are not interchangeable.

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Riley November 10, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I am always baffled when a client I see does not want actual intercourse. It feels like I am standing naked looking for pockets to put my hands in. I had no idea there was straight male-escorts until the show came on. then I am eargerly wanting to knwo what it’s like on the other side of being the date/client who is paying for the companionship.

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LoganWright November 11, 2011 at 2:24 am

@Riley I would hope you would have to offer a client more than just ACTUAL intercourse. I’ll have to agree w/ Vin on this one… I have clients who actually looks forward to my conversation and what I have to offer as far as personality, charm, wit, aura and presence… adverse to just being naked looking for pockets, as you so put it.

-Logan Wright
Straight Male Companion
http://www.loganwrightnow.com

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mumtaza November 12, 2011 at 7:16 pm

I think now that the straight male side of sex work has been invited in by the editors of TitsandSass we’re all in for a wild ride intellectually and emotionally. I think there have been a lot of stereotypes bandied about unchecked when discussing straight male clients, who they are and what they want, and why. To a certain extent it’s easier to group clients or tippers together because they can be so messed up. I think what has been said, good and bad, about customers has been appropriate.
Now we are going to see the same types of things written by these men about the Women who are their clients. It’s not going to be easy.

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Vin Armani Vin Armani November 13, 2011 at 10:12 pm

That’s an interesting assumption, but I think you’re very wrong. The straight male escorts that I know and work with simply don’t discuss our clients in the same way that the female escorts that I know do. Male strippers, on the other hand, are a different story, but they see women at their rudest.

The men that I know and work with, myself included, are all proud that we are able to make a living doing what we do. For many men, we have something of an “ultimate dream job,” and we are thankful and honored that our clients choose us to spend time with. I honestly have nothing negative to say about any client I have ever had, and if there is one stereotype it’s that they’ve all been generally pleasant to be around.

But then again, it’s a 2-way street, and if you are the type of man who has a general disdain for women, you won’t last a day as a straight male escort.

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Of many names... November 17, 2011 at 2:26 am

“The straight male escorts that I know and work with simply don’t discuss our clients in the same way that the female escorts that I know do. Male strippers, on the other hand, are a different story, but they see women at their rudest.”

“The issue I have is with the word “sex worker,” not because I don’t consider myself a “sex worker” (I definitely do), but because even those in our industry (and virtually all civilians) use the terms “sex work” and “prostitution” interchangeably.”

These two statements interest me. I’m a stripper, and I proudly call myself a “sex worker” to anyone who I’m talking about it to (including my Mom), in part because it’s one facet of my self-identification as a person, and also because I like to use it to educate people. The idea that “sex work = whoring” has irked me, too. But because of me, there are now some 800-odd people (my Facebook friends, including some family members) who now have some understanding of the fact that sex work does not have to include the physical act(s) of sex.

As a stripper, I see men at their rudest. My escort friends have far fewer stories of rude clients than I do (would that I could screen my clientèle so carefully and still make a living at my job!), but still proudly identify as sex workers.

I thank you for this post; it helps the cause of educating people about all types of sex work. I just wish it didn’t feel quite so condescending. What you and I, female escorts, and even cam girls and porn stars, are selling is sex appeal. That’s what makes us sex workers, regardless of how much or little physical contact we have with the people who pay us, and this reads as if you are splitting hairs about the details. I’m sure there are straight women who buy the services of straight male companions who simply want to get properly laid. You are clearly young-looking (I have no idea how old you are) and otherwise privileged enough to sell a service beyond your physical sexual prowess, but I don’t believe that you speak for all male escorts.

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Amanda November 18, 2011 at 7:51 pm

High-end escorts female spend most of their time using their mouth to talk because their clients want to be seduced, have a feeling of romance and connection, foster a genuine, mutual attraction and get to know the person they’re going to have sex with. They want a relationship. There are female escorts who don’t wish to talk and prefer clients who only want quickie sex. Female strippers can make money in the clubs by sitting and talking — or by taking off their clothes. It depends on their skills as well as the customers they attract (and the type of club they work in).

Gender doesn’t make the difference so much as type of market the sex worker appeals to.

Getting into the whole “I have more/less sex than any other sex worker” edges into the sex work hierarchy.

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Charlotte Shane Charlotte Shane November 18, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Yes, that’s exactly the distinction; it’s about the market you’re trying to cater to.

I’ve actually turned down a female client just a day before we were due to meet because she sent a very crude, explicit email about what she was expecting from our night. (Hint: It was not romance.)

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Vin Armani Vin Armani November 18, 2011 at 9:30 pm

The way that gender does make a difference is that there is NO market for a male escort whose clientele just want to “get banged.” There’s no market for that because it’s available to just about every woman for free (often within arms reach).

To address your “more/less sex” comment, I actually would say that I have “more sex” during the course of an average appointment than virtually any other sex worker, besides hardcore porn actors. That’s an expectation of my clients. What I am saying is that while sex is most often an expected outcome, it is not what I was hired for. Women don’t need to pay a man (attractive or not) to simply have sexual intercourse (and foreplay, etc) with them. If I’m not being paid for “sex” (as most people interpret the term), then the term “sex worker” seems inaccurate.

I certainly am not making any qualitative statements. There is no real hierarchy on the straight male side. There’s strippers, porn actors, and escorts. The only hierarchy would probably be reflected in our bank accounts, and on all three counts, there are those of us who do quite well and those of us who can’t pay the bills with our profession alone.

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Amanda November 22, 2011 at 8:20 am

There actually ARE male escorts who are there for quickie sex. I’ve looked and found them. They’re not high-end male escorts but they are out there and they do have female clients.

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Simplicity November 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm

“What I am saying is that while sex is most often an expected outcome, it is not what I was hired for. Women don’t need to pay a man (attractive or not) to simply have sexual intercourse (and foreplay, etc) with them.”

I completely agree, they are paying you for what comes before the sex… the conversation, the interest in their lives. My only question is this, aren’t you afraid that after years of escorting you won’t know which feelings are real and which are fake? You are being paid to act as if you care about their lives… the “boyfriend” experience. It’s like the whole if you repeat a lie so many times you start believing it idea. Won’t making a connection become automatic pilot rather then something that just happens between 2 people?

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Vin Armani Vin Armani November 20, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I get asked this question quite often. It’s something I write about often. I don’t know if it fits the tone of a TitsAndSass post, but if I was asked to write another post, it’s a meaty topic.

The short answer to your question is that I simply have no need to “fake” a connection. I am not “acting” as though I care about the lives of my clients. I get great satisfaction from knowing that, by spending time with me, someone’s life has been improved. The money is a fantastic perk, but I was interacting with women in this way for years before I ever knew that I could get paid to do it. It was one of those women, in fact, who introduced me to my agent. I was already making six figures in a career I was passionate about before becoming an escort. I became an escort full-time primarily because I saw it as a step in my personal development. So, there is no “lie to repeat.”

In terms of connections, there is a difference between a genuine connection and a strong connection. All of my connections with my clients are genuine. They are not all equally strong, nor do they need to be in order for each client to feel fulfilled by the experience. The fact that I am an escort removes the idea that a connection would “just happen.” By the time we meet, my client has: decided, for whatever reason, she wants to retain the services of a male escort; begun researching possible escorts to hire; contacted my agency; sent sometimes dozens of emails back and forth to my agent; chosen to hire me; made plans, sometimes months in advance, to set up our meeting as she sees fit. She has invested time and energy into the process. Before we meet, she has already established a connection. We aren’t running into each other on the street, our meeting has been well orchestrated. I am always curious how she came to that point, and often, simply discussing that with an open mind and heart, coupled with my desire to learn something from her, if possible, is all it takes to establish genuine (relatively strong) connections in a short period of time. Nothing fake about it at all.

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Charlotte Shane Charlotte Shane November 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm

That is so well put—that while your connection to a client may not be strong, it’s genuine.

I think it’s strange to think that anyone, as Simplicity says, has “fake” feelings. What would that mean? If you yourself are feeling something, it’s real. That “fake it ’til you make it” cliche has been borne out through scientific studies. If people smile, even when they’re not feeling happy, their mood lifts. And acting empathetic makes you a more empathetic person.

There’s a term for this: emotional labor. And a lot of professionals engage in it, most notably nurses, nannies, and therapists, but also hair stylists and personal trainers and others who provide one-on-one services. “The Managed Heart” is a book that’s become a touchstone for lots of academically-minded sex workers. We might run a review of it here on the site soon! http://www.amazon.com/Managed-Heart-Commercialization-Twentieth-Anniversary/dp/0520239334

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Amanda November 22, 2011 at 8:22 am

I’m buying that book! Thanks for the recommendation!

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Michele Gwynn November 24, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I found your insights as fascinating as the show. Probably more so. I was introduced to Gigolos by a friend about two months before season two began. It captivated my attention for many reasons, but mostly, as a woman, I was intrigued about what kind of women would hire a male escort. I was surprised to discover it was pretty all kinds of women and certainly not the ones you’d expect. One of the surprises to me was how truly likeable all of you guys are. It led me to interviewing Nick right before your season two premier. What I noticed is that if I didn’t even know what you all did as a profession, I’d easily be drawn to hang out with each one of you. You’re all educated, sophisticated, and genuinely nice. And you’re so right about the expectations a woman has from a male escort versus what a man would expect from a female escort. Women want (for the most part) to have that appreciative male attention focused on them. For a myriad of reasons, they are lacking in that commodity. Honestly, I don’t know if I could ever personally pick up the phone and book an ‘appointment’ (it brings up all kinds of self-analysis about why I would do it – self-esteem issues come to mind), but I do know that spending time in any one ya’lls (sorry, I’m from Texas!) company would not be a turn-off. By the way, love the way your write! Now that’s hot!

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Lindsay Berlin February 7, 2013 at 12:44 am

I just started watching the show, and I have to say, Vin is my favourite. Props to you dude. You are the only one I feel “gets it”. If that makes sense.

As a woman who’s been on both sides (I am an escort and I’ve also paid for sex with a male escort), I paid for sex so that I would be the focus. Since most of the time, I’m the one directing things and it’s not necessarily about my pleasure, it is nice to switch it up. A professional knows what he’s doing and won’t send me endless texts after wanting to know when he can see me again.

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