People assume its just so easy to exit from the sex industry. The financial rewards and lifestyle are so attractive compared to other alternatives, so quitting is often met with severe withdrawals. There are many other factors making it difficult to exit. There are no real alternatives to exit the sex industry. There are no social support networks that eliminate the FACTORS that placed women in prostitution — how can we eliminate the ills of society? There will always be inequality in a capitalistic system — it’s comprised of the “haves” and the “have nots.”
Most escorts, including myself, fall in love and hope their lover will ‘protect’ them, but that’s not addressing the entire problem. Not all escorts want to quit, nor do all escorts want to be dependent on one man. Our problems can be multiple: the addiction to money, the stigma, and lack of social acceptance, the desire for love/acceptance. There are services for various addictions, but where is the help for women addicted to selling their bodies?
Another problem is denial. For years, I felt the sex industry didn’t actually impact my happiness, I felt above it’s implications. Initially, I thought the money could solve all my worries, but then I realized my shallowness was leaving me feeling empty . Even worse, I gained so much pride (ego) from making fast-money. I felt having money and autonomy would override my pain. Clients further gave me the impression I was in “good shape” because they always compliment on how I was so ‘normal.’ Many clients enjoyed me because they thought the industry didn’t affect me. Yet it’s all fake, and lies. My ego was a mask, hiding the empty soul inside. I made sure that people saw I was confident, while on the inside I felt misery, insecurity and hopeless. What causes this pain is the stigma, because we are marginalized for not conforming to the norms.
I am accustomed to tuning out my emotions because of this job. I am a master at being fake — faking a smile, faking happiness — it’s become normal to me. I hide my pain, but sometimes its unbearable that I just retreat from everything and everyone. We cannot run away from our emotions…they will never go away unless we deal with them.
I am scared to trust. I constantly fear abandonment, rejection. I retreat before I can be neglected. I use my work (prostitution) as a method that allows me to ‘profit’ from being neglected. Men can use my body at their advantage and neglect me at the same time. Yet somehow, the money is supposed to compensate for this act of neglect. Basically, prostitution is saying it is OKAY to neglect someone if you pay them off. I make a lot of money to be used. In my case, however, it isn’t as terrible as I am making it seem….I am treated respectfully, thankfully. Clients do not hurt me physically, and in reality my clients are extremely polite and respectful of my rules as a courtesan. I do not blame clients either, because not all clients have the intention of neglecting me. Many men tip generously, and many feel their money will ‘help’ me. However, the money does NOT erase the emotional turmoil of being hated by mainstream society. Now I finally understand the cliche of “having all in the money in the world, yet all material things become meaningless.”
Some clients are aware of this disconnect, which also affects them. I’ve encounter many clients who, if they had the chance, would love to be with me and make me happy. After all, my ex was my client, and he wanted to protect me. As mention, there are a minority of clients who are fearful of rejection themselves: These clients are looking for belonging and THEY, themselves, are rejected by prostitutes. Ironically, I also have to reject and indirectly neglect men. I encounter clients who have feelings for me, yet I am not interested at all. Many of my clients want love and companionship, not just sex. While I appreciate my admirers, I do not love them. I have to remind them that I cannot get involved with them beyond business. The only exceptions has been my ex, the Sheik, and a few others whom I felt a connection too. I can share my body for money, but I cannot share my soul so easily. I feel sad when I think about all the lovely men I meet who want something that I cannot give them outside the confines of business: love. As an escort, I try my best to make good-hearted clients feel good while we are together. Now, it might seem understandable why one of my friends jokingly referred to me as the “Mother Teresa” of prostitutes.
Yet for the Sheik, I am just a woman on lease — a temporary wife. Many Saudis in modern times hire maids, cleaners, drivers, and temporary ‘pleasure’ women like myself. Sometimes I feel like his worker too; his lover on lease. Yet he claims to love me more than his own life, swears by god and his mother’s life. I do believe he loves me, given he treats me exceptionally well. But his version of love is conditional, and moreover he doesn’t know the importance of love. Some Saudis have this mentality: that money buy can anything. Money buys maids, drivers, and sex….and its “okay.” But how many Saudis feel empathy for the lives of their workers ? Do they feel guilt or remorse? I hardly doubt it. Sadly, many are far too “Arab-centric”….what doesn’t concern them is not important. I don’t think my Sheik has this mentality, but I’ve encountered many Gulf men who are hardly concerned with the fate of their workers.
The irony of it all is that he, my love, treats me better than himself. He buys whatever I want, and doesn’t buy for himself. He does whatever I want, and all he wants in return is my love. He has designated me as the Queen…and he even loves if I refer to him as my “slave.” He is, for the moment, completely devoted to me in both words and action. Yet I must always remind myself: this is love on a lease. He may treat me like his Goddess now, but the reality is he does not think about my future. In his mentality, he thinks giving me lots of money is helping me, and somehow, he feels his generosity can compensate for neglecting me later on. Some Saudi men justify temporary love, because temporary love has been propagated as ‘halal’ by their state officials. It is sanctioned in state discourses by way of Misyaar and Muta (temporary) marriages. Sadly, many men exploit these laws for their selfish motives. There is nothing ‘halal’ about neglecting a woman, and thinking it can be fixed by financial compensation.
I hide my pain. It’s the fault of the ego I developed from making fast money .. Yet it’s all a facade. I am happy with him, yet it’s followed by unhappiness when I am alone and reflect on everything. I go out and put on my ‘happy face” but when I retreat I feel the wound . I am a deep wound concealed by layers of superficial bliss.
Sometimes the pain unbearable. No one can understand because I portray myself as strong and wise. But the truth is I’m so damaged inside . I don’t pity myself … But sometimes I feel envious of those who had easy lives. Nobody would care even if I did pity. They will say I choose to sell myself and that I could have made better choices.
The Saudi double standard. A stab to my heart… That it’s okay to use me….how does he feel about it all?! A man who claims to love me yet has no intention to marry. It’s selfish.
Do Escorts Enjoy their Lives? Maybe on the outside. We portray our lives as great, luxurious, perfect , but it’s concealing the pain that brought us to serving men we don’t love. Of course, however, many of our clients are also serving us — so it would be incorrect to say all prostitutes are being degraded. Nonetheless, our pride forces us to hide the pain. We are forced to defend our ‘choices’….and defend the lives we made for ourselves…and deny the truth to ourselves. Short term happiness, and long-term depression. Bouts of happiness, followed by retreats of deep thinking and questioning. What sort of happiness did this bring me?