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Thread: The inner world of a prostitute

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    The inner world of a prostitute

    Two years ago I moved to Copenhagen. Denmark is a country where prostitution has been fully legalised since 1999. As a result it's become completely normalised. About the same time I moved over I made friends with one such sex worker. I met her in a bar and asked her what she did and she just told me frankly with zero shame. Which seems to be how it works here. Danes are extremely relaxed about it. Over time we've grown to become quite close friends. This Easter she organised a getaway in a country cabin for her friends, most of which also were prostitutes, and invited me.

    It was interesting to get a peak into the inner workings of the prostitute's minds. It was the first time I was surrounded by prostitutes who were off the clock, relaxing and just having fun. As well as the others who were their friends, both men and women.

    The girl who invited me (my friend) has got an incredibly sharp eye for reading people. Ie, a "people person". This was typical for all of the prostitutes. They were all four steps ahead of where things were going in conversation. Their bodies were incredibly relaxed. I do a lot of power lifting, so have gotten and given a lot of massages. I've never comes across athletic people this damn relaxed in their bodies. I'm not sure what the significance is. But being tense is associated with having stressful jobs. Clearly they didn't feel their jobs were stressful. Which surprised me.

    They discussed sex a lot. They were all well read on the psychology of sex and were extremely knowledgeable. Philosophy and such. They discussed how to handle various clients just like I would do in my job (in IT). It was so matter of fact and obvious, I don't understand why I found it surprising.

    One of them had a career as an successful accountant. Pulling in tonnes of cash. But was miserable. Went to a tantra course where her sexuality was awakened and found it impossible to go back to her accounting job. She found it soul destroying. So switched career to become a prostitute. Which she finds fulfilling. Albeit, worse paid. But she thought it was worth it.

    My friend is a trained massage therapist, with her own practice (still active and is her job when she's on her period). She's still the go to girl for bodybuilders who want a seriously good masseuse. But now has a shortage of hours because she has another preferred profession, prostitution.

    It was similar stories for all the girls. None of them were forced into this. It was a career they switched to for various and sensible reasons. They all have jobs to go back to if this doesn't work out.

    They also made me realise that it's a very hard job. Just being a hot girl isn't good enough. This shit is hard. They're basically professional psychologists, just with no formal education. Men who have erectile dysfunction turn to prostitutes, rather than psychologists to help them out (obviously) and these girls know exactly how to fix it. It makes me realise how stupid it is that prostitution is ever illegal anywhere. I mean... how else is a psychologist supposed to cure something like this unless they can sleep with the client/patient. We live in a very stupid world. Prostitutes don't get nearly enough respect. They deserve the respect any other qualified job gets. It is not a no skill job.

    Anyhoo... I just thought I'd share this peek into a world few ever get to see.

    I'm not really arguing for anything. It's not that kind of thread. I'm just sharing.

    Other than that people who think trafficking will go up if we legalised prostitution are retarded. Of course it won't. It didn't in Denmark. It went down. Of course.

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    I've been following a woman who's done a PhD in sex work on Twitter for some months now, and she's really changed the way I look at prostitution. Before I had little to no opinion, but now I get where they're coming from, and can see how this kind of thing is often framed in the media.

    Basically the gist is: sex work is real work, and there should be no stigma surrounding that. And also many people who think they're 'saving' prostitutes are actually just taking away their livelihood.

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rousseau View Post
    I've been following a woman who's done a PhD in sex work on Twitter for some months now, and she's really changed the way I look at prostitution. Before I had little to no opinion, but now I get where they're coming from, and can see how this kind of thing is often framed in the media.

    Basically the gist is: sex work is real work, and there should be no stigma surrounding that. And also many people who think they're 'saving' prostitutes are actually just taking away their livelihood.
    Yes. I'm guessing the people who have a problem with prostitution are mostly just women who feel threatened by other women sexually available to their husbands. And it's that damn inane.

    BTW, these women all had waiting lists. They had the ability to select customers. I recall my friend once calling me and asking me if I wanted to go for a beer, because she'd just cancelled with a client. When I asked her why she said "I got the feeling he just wanted to fuck. Just anything. Rather than me specifically. I wasn't feeling him. Didn't feel good. So I told him to leave". I wasn't aware it worked that way at all.

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    Contributor DrZoidberg's Avatar
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    This is a good blog on sex work. It's the researcher Laura Augustin who kills off myths.

    https://www.lauraagustin.com/

    These are also great. The prostitutes union of Sweden. A great resource of research. I have a bit of a mancrush on Pye Jakobsson. The leader. She's awesome. It's purely platonic crush. I admire her from a distance

    http://www.rosealliance.se

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    I've never been friends with a sex worker, but I've always been in favor of legalization. Out of curiosity, I've visited forums for sex workers and the women either seemed content with their work, or they felt it was much better than other jobs that they had held, such as waitressing, or working in retail. They loved the freedom of choosing their own hours and here in the states, they can usually make more money working just a few days a week than they can working full time in many other professions. Those that didn't have professional careers prior to doing sex work, were only making 8 or 9 dollars an hour in their former jobs.

    One of the more empowering things about female sex workers is that they make a lot more money than male sex workers.

    Some of the sex workers on the forums talked about how they loved providing services for handicapped people, who would never have the opportunity to have sexual experiences if it wasn't for their work. I had never thought about that issue before reading their very compassionate outlook. Some of their clients were totally disabled, and some were paralyzed. I know from personal experience inserting catheters that even men who are quadriplegic are still capable of obtaining erections because I had that happen at least once when I was catheterizing a young male quad. These sex workers also served female who were homosexual and suffered from handicaps. How can anyone not appreciate that compassion is beyond me. It's not something that I would want to do, but there are a lot of jobs that I would never want to do, and I've had strangers tell me that they appreciated my work as a nurse, but they could never do my kind of work for a living either.

    I know there are women who are forced into doing sex work, but from what I've read, those are the minority and legalizing sex work hasn't increased sex trafficking. It's decreased it by a small percentage. In other words, legalizing things that some people disprove of, doesn't seem to change things. It's like drugs. When they become legal, drug usage doesn't change, it just makes it safer. Portugal is the best example of that.

    I use the term sex worker because I have had the impression that is the term that most sex workers like to be called. Anyone ever watch the excellent Netflix show called, "After Life" staring Ricky Gervais? He has a friend who is a sex worker, but he refers to her as a prostitute and she always corrects him by saying she's a sex worker. This thread just made me think of that show, although it wasn't necessary for me to mention it. I just felt like it.

    I do have a question about the sex workers in Denmark. Many years ago, I had read that there are older women who are still involved in that line of work. I'm talking about women over 60. Is that still true? It makes sense to me, since a lot of sex workers serve older men, and the older men are often lonely, feel isolated and long for female companionship, as well as sex. I would think some of them would feel more comfortable with a woman closer to their own age. Despite the claims that older men prefer younger women, I actually received a lot more attention from men once I was over 50. ( flirting or hitting on me ) And, I've known plenty of older women who married or dated men who were much younger than them. So, in your experience Dr. Z, are there many older sex workers in Denmark? If not, how do younger sex workers transition, once their services are no longer in demand?

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    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
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    I would expect sex workers would regularly have to deal with clients falling in love with them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    I've never been friends with a sex worker, but I've always been in favor of legalization. Out of curiosity, I've visited forums for sex workers and the women either seemed content with their work, or they felt it was much better than other jobs that they had held, such as waitressing, or working in retail. They loved the freedom of choosing their own hours and here in the states, they can usually make more money working just a few days a week than they can working full time in many other professions. Those that didn't have professional careers prior to doing sex work, were only making 8 or 9 dollars an hour in their former jobs.

    One of the more empowering things about female sex workers is that they make a lot more money than male sex workers.

    Some of the sex workers on the forums talked about how they loved providing services for handicapped people, who would never have the opportunity to have sexual experiences if it wasn't for their work. I had never thought about that issue before reading their very compassionate outlook. Some of their clients were totally disabled, and some were paralyzed. I know from personal experience inserting catheters that even men who are quadriplegic are still capable of obtaining erections because I had that happen at least once when I was catheterizing a young male quad. These sex workers also served female who were homosexual and suffered from handicaps. How can anyone not appreciate that compassion is beyond me. It's not something that I would want to do, but there are a lot of jobs that I would never want to do, and I've had strangers tell me that they appreciated my work as a nurse, but they could never do my kind of work for a living either.

    I know there are women who are forced into doing sex work, but from what I've read, those are the minority and legalizing sex work hasn't increased sex trafficking. It's decreased it by a small percentage. In other words, legalizing things that some people disprove of, doesn't seem to change things. It's like drugs. When they become legal, drug usage doesn't change, it just makes it safer. Portugal is the best example of that.

    I use the term sex worker because I have had the impression that is the term that most sex workers like to be called. Anyone ever watch the excellent Netflix show called, "After Life" staring Ricky Gervais? He has a friend who is a sex worker, but he refers to her as a prostitute and she always corrects him by saying she's a sex worker. This thread just made me think of that show, although it wasn't necessary for me to mention it. I just felt like it.

    I do have a question about the sex workers in Denmark. Many years ago, I had read that there are older women who are still involved in that line of work. I'm talking about women over 60. Is that still true? It makes sense to me, since a lot of sex workers serve older men, and the older men are often lonely, feel isolated and long for female companionship, as well as sex. I would think some of them would feel more comfortable with a woman closer to their own age. Despite the claims that older men prefer younger women, I actually received a lot more attention from men once I was over 50. ( flirting or hitting on me ) And, I've known plenty of older women who married or dated men who were much younger than them. So, in your experience Dr. Z, are there many older sex workers in Denmark? If not, how do younger sex workers transition, once their services are no longer in demand?
    I've read the opposite about legalization decreasing forced prostitution--that it increases sex trafficking/forced prostitution. This is the primary reason that I am opposed to legalization. I would feel differently, as well, if numerous sources had not cited 15 (one or two a little older or a little younger but mostly 15) as being the average age that a prostitute begins sex work. At 15, we don't allow people to operate motor vehicles or perform other dangerous tasks. 15 year olds are not mature enough nor do they have the legal status that allows them to effectively advocate for themselves.

    I have known a few women who worked as prostitutes although one would not have seen herself as a prostitute although she engaged in sex in exchange for money and expensive gifts. But she was fully adult, if somewhat...unstable (not a judgment based upon her prostitution gigs but on other...behaviors I noticed and she described.) Another was a girl I knew from elementary school until we or I graduated from high school. I'm pretty sure she dropped out but not 100%. She had a very sad and difficult home life. Her mother died when she was young and her father later remarried a woman who was....not a good person. Not that her dad seemed like a good person, either. She was so starved for anything remotely resembling love or affection that she was certain that her 'boyfriend' just found her so hot he had to share her with men and he needed the money and oh, she hid drugs for him in intimate parts of her body. She was so many different kinds of fragile and damaged which made her extremely vulnerable to the pimp who pretended to care for her as long as he could use her. From the little I could gather from very old facebook posts, she seems to have been able to get herself into a more stable way of living (not necessarily referring to prostitution here--she was a mess and it was horrifying and heartbreaking) at least for a while but honestly, I don't know.

    So that's the other part of the equation for me: young girls who are very vulnerable due to family situations and/or mental illness/and/or substance abuse being exploited and put at serious risk for all kinds of violence and damage for the profit of other people, starting at ages too young to legally consent to sex in the first place. After spending your adolescence being used, it is hard to imagine how, at age 18 or 20 (still adolescent but legally adult) you are very well able to imagine any other kind of life. Which is very much how many people follow their fathers onto factory lines or stay in farming or a host of other occupations, mostly reserved for men.

    I very much understand and have a great deal of sympathy for those who are handicapped and otherwise would not be able to have a sexual relationship. On the other hand, I know a number of people with handicaps, some significant, who manage to have a good sex life without a prostitute. Of course this is extremely individual.

    I'm not in any way disputing the experiences of others but I am laying out why I believe the way that I do.

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    Heard of the book and movie The Happy Hooker? Her arrest and revelations of client's was a big scandal in the day.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xaviera_Hollander

    In 1968 she resigned from her job as secretary of the Dutch consulate in Manhattan to become a call girl,[1] where she made $1,000 a night. A year later she opened her own brothel, the Vertical Whorehouse, and soon became New York City's leading madam. In 1971 she was arrested for prostitution by New York Police and forced to leave the United States


    In 1971 Hollander published a memoir, The Happy Hooker: My Own Story. Robin Moore, who took Hollander's dictations of the book's contents, came up with the title, while Yvonne Dunleavy either transcribed the book[3] or ghostwrote it.[6] Hollander later wrote a number of other books and produced plays in Amsterdam. Her book Child No More is the story of losing her mother. For 35 years she wrote an advice column for Penthouse magazine entitled Call Me Madam.[7]

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    I recently moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and prostitution, while illegal here, is pretty openly tolerated. I've met several sex workers who, as you say, brought it up in casual conversation. Something that, coming from the East Coast of the United States, was pretty jarring at first, but sex workers are organized and part of the community.

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    Quote Originally Posted by J842P View Post
    I recently moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, and prostitution, while illegal here, is pretty openly tolerated. I've met several sex workers who, as you say, brought it up in casual conversation. Something that, coming from the East Coast of the United States, was pretty jarring at first, but sex workers are organized and part of the community.
    It was those Puritans who landed at Plymouth Rock. In the 80s I took a vacation to Montreal and took a walk down St Catherine St, strip clubs. Far more relaxed and stigma free than the Northeast.

    I was watching a TV commercial in French. Two couples at a table. One guy is talking cool and snaps his fingers. A box of condoms flies across the screen and into his hand. The other guy snaps his fingers and an unwrapped condom flies across the screen and hits him in the4 head.

    Pretty funny, and I doubt you would see it on any mainstream TCV show adverting here today.

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