There's Nothing Particularly Adorable About Women Who Pay For Sex

"They don't want to be found out. They want to do something private - it's their own world, a part of their life that they want to be secret."

According to a piece on the BBC, women hiring escorts is, without exception, practically heartwarming. The news oulet profiles "Catarina," whose disability has made sex painful. Her experience with the male escort Andrew (who has written the new tell-all Whatever She Wants ) was an unadulterated boon: "I was able to have sex that was completely pain-free. My self-esteem grew. My confidence grew. If it wasn't for Andrew I wouldn't be where I am today. I wouldn't be as confident as I am, as sexually aware as I am. I think I grew up as well."

As Andrew puts it, "It's no more seedy than somebody going out to a bar, getting a bit drunk and then ending up going home with a complete stranger. What's the difference? With what I do, you know what you're getting, there's no illusion. You pay your money. You get what you get. You meet some guy at the bar, you don't know what you get - he could be anyone."

Well, sure. And there are plenty of men who pay for sex for any number of reasons that are their business and which many of us would have no problem with. However, one can hardly imagine such a touchy-feely piece on johns and the women who help them "be selfish," live out their fantasies and explore their sexuality without at least mentioning the potential unregulated sex work gives for abuse, exploitation, and flat-out creepiness.

But if we're going to play the warm-and-fuzzy empowerment card (it's like fuzzy dice; kinda hard to shuffle) let's be truly even-handed. Women can take advantage of these situations too. Stories about female sex tourists getting their grooves back with young boys in Thailand or disadvantaged young men in Kenya, are not exactly a step ahead for anyone, and it's disingenuous for the Beeb, in their kid-glove efforts to be accepting, to romanticize a transaction which, in its illegality, is still unregulated and prone to abuse both financial and sexual, whoever is paying. So while we're sure "Andrew's" memoir leaves all his ladies happily satisfied, this "profile" hardly does: a headline called "Women who pay for sex" should deliver a little more.

Women Who Pay For Sex [BBC]
The Shameful Truth About Sex Tourism [Brave New Traveler]
Older White Women Join Kenya's Sex Tourists [Reuters]