Question from a reader (and stretching partner)

Perhaps I’ll write about her down the road. For now, all you need to know is that she’s blonde, hot, in an adult-Cindy-Brady kind of way. (I’ll call her “Cindy” until she chooses a name for herself.)

I met Cindy through SeekingArrangement. We’ve stretched together twice. The first time, she blanched a little when I asked her to turn around, to put her ass in my face. She seems, now, to have gotten comfortable with having her ass in my face. A good thing, that, as she has a stellar ass.

So she wrote me this: “I wanna know if you think being a sugar baby is the same as being an escort lol.” She had told me, previously, that she’s met precisely one guy through Seeking (as they’ve rebranded themselves) – she flew out to see him, and it was a bit of a disaster. I was floored: I had so much bad luck on that web site, I can’t imagine either flying, or flying someone, for a first date. 99% of my first dates on Seeking have sucked – that’s true from back in the day, when they were “dates,” and now, when I’m trying intermittently to find new stretching/workout partners.

But on to her question – a question I feel confident I’ve addressed somewhere in these pages before, but I can’t find it, so, hey, here goes. My first response was to send her to this page. To which she responded, “Hm but what if you’re not necessarily doing pay per meet but they randomly buy you stuff/ pay to fly you out lol.” [Note: I fucking hate “LOL”]

People involved with sex work – the sex workers and the clients – tend to be ambivalent (at best) about their relationship to sex work. Johns don’t, generally, think of themselves (ourselves) as johns. Sex workers don’t, generally, think of themselves as sex workers. Let alone escorts, prostitutes, hookers, or whores. And everyone is busy drawing all sorts of lines. “I’m an escort, not a hooker.” “I’m not an escort, I’m a sugar baby.” “I’m not a sugar baby, I’m a sex worker.” “I give sensual massages, I’m not an escort.”

These lines have little meaning in the dictionary sense, and tremendous emotional/psychic meaning. Obviously – obviously – if you have sex with someone and a) receive value, b) the value of which you wouldn’t receive absent the sex, and c) the sex you wouldn’t have absent the value…. well, then, you’re engaged in sex work. That’s an exchange of value for sex, which is, I think, the definition of prostitution. So on one level, all the rest is, as they say, commentary.

On another level, though, these words all do have differentiated meanings: an “escort” generally is a fancy name for a prostitute – one who doesn’t walk the streets, but rather, typically, has (or is featured on) a web site. A “sugar baby” is something “different,” in that many sugar babies are adamant that they not be paid “per meet,” that the transactional nature of the relationships they have be obscured by some combination of currency (perhaps they get paid in travel, meals, clothing, gifts, instead of dollars/Euros/rubles/yuan/shekels/etc.). Or, that it be obscured by time – so they don’t get paid per hour or per meeting, but rather, per week, or per month.

To me? This all is game-playing. But. I’m not the one playing the game. So the question isn’t what I think – it’s what you think. Do you think being a sugar baby is the same as being an escort? I think, probably, the question you really are asking is something like, “Is at as bad to have sex for money with a small number of people, or one person, whom you get to know and see repeatedly, as it is to have sex with a large number of people for money.” Or maybe, “I look down on people who have sex with people for money and don’t want to see myself as such a person; does an ‘arrangement’ protect me from falling into that category?”

I don’t know the answer to that particular question. It’s about you. It’s not about me.

To me? The answer is, sex work isn’t remotely bad. There are different kinds of sex work. Different not in terms of status or hierarchy; different in terms of the experience you have. None is bad. None is better (or worse) than another.

If you’re busy trying to draw lines between “escort” and “sugar baby,” you’re playing games with yourself, though: the only people who really are interested in those distinctions are escorts, sugar babies, and johns. To the rest of the world, it all looks very similar….

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