The glimpses of the world of escorts, full-body masseuses, phone-sex operators and exotic dancers the “mainstream” audience sees are usually the lurid articles of betrayal, illicit lust, underage sex slaves & streetwalker busts, with a juicy pimp, politician or a celebrity thrown in for the front page billing.
So, if it’s all so horrible, why do we do it again and again? Because of the side you’d never see on 8 o’clock news.
Every once in a while, a Lovings.com advertiser we haven’t seen in years walks in. At the risk of sounding un-pc, we’re glad to see her – it’s often someone we’ve known for a long time and we like a lot :-). Today, an old friend walked in again, and made me think about all the others I’ve seen return over the years.
She’s usually in her late 20’s, 30’s or 40’s, and had not been in the adult entertainment biz since the last time we saw her. She’s usually an independent entertainer, managing her business herself. More often then you’d think, she’s someone who became an escort, dancer or sensuous masseuse later in life – after a failed marriage, sometimes after kids left for college.
She had usually left the business because of a relationship that blossomed into a serious one. As often as not, it’s someone she met through her work. Others leave to go to college full time, or start a career in fields as varied as psychotherapy, law or design.
It may be a year or ten, but we often see her come back to advertise as an escort or masseuse.
The reasons are various – often the end of relationship, or money (where else can you make $150-$400/hr without a PhD or a law degree), but also many that an average newspaper reader would not necessarily consider…
… Freedom. For those who resent being 9-5 corporate working drones, adult entertainment is a perfect calling. You set your own schedule and choose who you see.
… Excitement. The rush of meeting new people, hot sex, and never knowing what a new day will bring.
… Independence. Running your own business, including adult business, is wonderful for people who hate to depend on others for their income, be it a husband or an employer.
I was an exotic dancer and a phone sex operator myself, some time ago. And you know, sometimes I miss those times. I left dancing because I’m a geek and a tom-boy. Having to groom myself for hours every day, and worry every time I break a nail fixing the motorcycle drove me crazy. Phone sex was lots of fun, and I might take it up yet again some day, but having to be nice to people all day long eventually got to me… Well, I like being a bitch sometimes. So I started Lovings.com adult guide where I get to geek out all day long, and boss the office people all I like. (Who knows… if I had discovered domination at the time, I might have happily stayed on that end of adult entertainment business to this day :-)…)
But, if I were not in love with my current job, I’d be one of the ones that return too. I spent several years in academia, and I’ve got to tell you, stripping beats it hands down… except for the summer breaks. I found much more honesty, sweetness and intimacy in a half hour nude modeling session in a jack-shack with a complete stranger, than in university department politics, and much less exploitation in a strip club then as a part timer in a private college.
I do feel that there are much worse jobs than the adult ones. Ok, so they want me primarily for my body – what do you think McDonald’s would want me for; my ability to quote Ambrose Bierce? Nope, my oposable thumbs to flip burgers with… and I would have to wear that silly hat. Don’t even get me started on Hooters!
Yes, there’s the dark side to the adult business, and I don’t want to make light of it (‘scuse me, guess I just did). There’s little regulations and protection, lots of money, and many desperate people who don’t think they have any other choice of work. Adult entertainers are often punished and rarely protected from predators and criminals – this is definitely a business in which one doesn’t feel that the policeman is one’s friend… Unfortunately, things are going to stay that way until both the criminalization and stigmatization are dealt with.
However, as long as you feel that being an adult entertainer is your choice, you like people and feel comfortable about sex, you have friends and/or family you can be open with, and you have the good business sense needed to run your own enterprise, being in the biz is so much fun that many of us can never really leave… There is more of us who are healthy, unscarred and sane, and happy to be your sensual retreat for an hour or an evening, than you might think!