Love & Sex Magazine

Time and Companionship Only

By Maggiemcneill @Maggie_McNeill

I’ve seen a fairly common complaint in hobbyist forums — apparently some providers will be deliberately vague about their services (as they must be), and sometimes it’s not until the actual appointment that a client realizes the provider does not offer “full service”.  Do you think providers do this purposefully or is it just an unfortunate effect of the industry being underground?  Do you think these providers have a responsibility to communicate their strict limits before an encounter, or should clients not assume anything about what they’ll receive?

smoke and mirrorsI do think that the vagueness about services is a direct (and wholly predictable) result of criminalization.  Since our society wants to pretend that it’s moral and legal to criminalize thoughts (because that’s what motives are) in the case of sex, we arrive at the bizarre and absurd situation of two totally benign and legal activities (offering sex and asking others for money) becoming illegal when performed together.  It’s therefore necessary to break the link between the two in situations where one suspects armed busybodies might be skulking about with intent to ruin peaceful people’s lives, either by being straightforward about the sex but coy about the money, or straightforward about the money but coy about the sex.  The well-known Backpage nonsense about “roses” and common euphemisms such as “donation” are attempts at the former, while the standard “time and companionship only” disclaimer is an attempt at the latter.  I say “attempt” because this evasive language fools absolutely nobody from escort to client to cop to judge; it’s part of an elaborate pantomime our society has concocted to pretend that persecution of private sexual behavior can ever be legitimate, and sex workers participate in it as a means of whistling in the dark and skating just below the strict evidentiary standard a judge who recognizes prostitution laws as evil (but dares not say so aloud) might impose upon cops and prosecutors.

Prostitution laws, and the arse-backward morality which supports and nourishes them, create an environment which rewards duplicity and punishes honesty; many sex workers who might prefer to be honest in their advertising are afraid to be, and some dishonest practitioners are thus easily able to hide amongst them.  Ethically speaking, an escort should not take money for a service she doesn’t actually provide, nor lie about her services, nor allow clients to believe she offers things that she doesn’t; practically speaking, a client shouldn’t assume that absolutely everything he might want will absolutely be on the menu.  Absolutely nobody but fraudsters and prohibitionists benefit from this kind of poor communication; a sex worker who doesn’t offer a given service doesn’t really want clients trying to push her into providing it, and a client who wants a particular service doesn’t really want to end up with someone who can’t or won’t provide it.  The review system is an attempt to bring some sort of transparency to the process by establishing how individual escorts have behaved over time, but there will never be a wholly open and honest marketplace in our trade until we can do away with the smoke and mirrors created by criminalization and the demimonde’s attempts to protect itself from persecution.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)


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