The author – Harley Brixton – is a male escort for women and couples. He is currently based in Christchurch, New Zealand.
This is the second in a three-part series of blog posts about why women are currently less likely to hire a male prostitute. Follow this for part one, which looks generally at these reasons.
A private purse
I think there is a historical context to may women’s aversion to hiring a male escort, rooted in inequality yet with a practical nature.
Only a few decades ago, a lot of women were not in paid employment and only had limited access to the family’s financial assets. Men, on the other hand, had money available for many things, including sexual services outside of conventional relationships. Furthermore, thanks to the absurd reality of women being paid much less than men for the jobs they did have, they may not have had the discretionary spending power to hire a sex worker.
While the gender pay gap still exists, this is changing. Women are now more and more likely to hold well-paid professional employment. More women, therefore, have the discretionary income to pay for discreet romantic encounters. Plus, more women are feeling empowered enough to be able to say that what’s good for men can be good for women, too, if in slightly different ways. If men can enjoy the benefits of paid companionship, human warmth, and sexual services, then so can women; and, why shouldn’t they? (#smashthepatriarchy)
As a result, women’s financial access to sex work services is finally starting to enjoy an increase in demand. And women’s increasing sense of independence and confidence, as equality slowly improves, is feeding into this demand.
Male sex worker John Oh has produced a great series of videos on the topic of male sex work. In one, he notes that the proliferation of personal mobile devices like smartphones has meant that women now have the privacy to seek sex work services discretely and with far less sense of shame. Again this comes back to a sense of safety that comes along with that privacy.
Any market economist worth their salt would say that a market will rise to meet the demand for it. Yet, there is a problem with this prediction within this growing market: the prediction is predicated on the existence of appropriately trained and experienced service providers to meet the demand.
Safety must precede trust.
Male-on-female sexual assault, abuse, and predation are, very sadly, widespread. A great many women deal with unwanted advances, creepy stares, inappropriate propositions, and straight-up physical assault on virtually a daily basis. For the men perpetrating these abuses, the experiences might simply be awkward or clumsy; they may be oblivious to the effects of their actions. For women, they are downright scary.
Assuming that women can “find sex whenever they want, in a bar or on Tinder” is a fallacy. Women cannot be assured that the near-strangers they find will be safe. There is a poverty of trust in these ‘hook-up’ situations and too much risk for abuse.
For a woman to fork over money to a near-total stranger to be in a room, naked and vulnerable, with a man who could literally be two times her size, is a huge leap of faith. After men eroding women’s trust over years or decades, drawing the courage to book a male sex worker could be one of the most anxious experiences conceivable.
I think the concern for safety risk is the biggest barrier for us to overcome.
A hard man is easy to find
A hard man is easy to find… a good male escort is hard to find
A good male sex worker will have enough of a handle on the concern for safety and the power-imbalance to be able to reassure, support, and encourage their clients through the booking process. He must demonstrate a deep well of maturity, patience, and empathy.
The problem is, from the accounts of several female clients, that there are too few of these ‘good’ male escorts currently in circulation. There is a strong case to be made that men’s cultural dominance of sexual relationships has resulted in few men being able to deeply empathise with, and respond to, women’s needs.
Judging from the overwhelming avalanche of ill-conceived, badly thought out, and poorly executed advances towards women everywhere from men looking for attention, for a date, or simply for sex, one might be forgiven for thinking that, currently, men as a population do not yet have the capacity to meet womens’ sexual needs at all – merely their own.
So, while demand for male prostitutes is increasing, what is not yet clear is whether those purporting to be male sex workers have the qualities necessary to meet this demand.
We see this problem reflected when we go searching online for male escort services for women. Most of the listing sites contain several male profiles with selfie body shots or dick pics, often in poor light and with messy domestic backgrounds, and profile wording such as “I will leave you 100% satisfied”, “I am fun, friendly, and good at what I do”, or the more direct “I am the best fuck you will ever have.” A disparagingly large number of these profiles make it all about themselves: their dicks, their egos, and what they can do, rather than making it about you and what you need. Really, they are making it about what they need: a misguided need to feel powerful, valuable, and important, and the need for you to acknowledge that.
It can seem like a disappointing extension of the rest of the world… except these bros want you to actually pay them – they believe they deserve to be paid for sex, by you, in yet another tiring imposition continuing thousands of years of male sexual dominance.
Again, this is about trust. Most of these guys simply do not seem trustworthy.
The pain of always being put second
In one cruel case, a client told me about setting up a booking with a male provider and booking a hotel for the encounter. When she answered the door of the room, he took one look at her, turned around, and left. She believes she was not attractive enough for him to want to sleep with her; that he believed he deserved better. She was confused and very, very hurt. It took two more years before she regained the courage to try again.
So, after trawling the internet for a half-decent male escort and finding little else but legitimate but irrelevant gay male sex workers and unenticing, pretentious wankers who you probably cannot trust, and who have the potential to physically harm you, many women just throw up their hands in defeat and walk away from the idea.
There is some accountability in places, though. Some escort agencies have straight male escorts on their books and make personalised recommendations for enquiring clients. Booking through agencies adds a layer of accountability; if the escort behaves badly, the client can make a complaint to the agency. In other cases, I have seen female sex workers act as referees for independent male workers. While testimonials also exist, their credibility is questionable and I have heard several clients say that they don’t read much into them. Ultimately, accountability remains an issue.
Still, some disparaged women may actually opt for the services of a female sex worker for a bisexual or bi-curious service in preference to the males on offer, in the hopes of being understood and respected. Others might fork out several hundred dollars for a top-of-the-line vibrator or other sex toys instead, opting for a solution to sexual frustration that takes another human out of the equation altogether. After all, so long as you have electricity, you can trust a vibrator not to take advantage of you, shame you, or beat you up.
Women want sex, make no mistake. They just don’t want to be dictated to or overpowered without consent when having it. What’s lacking is the agency and choice for when, where, how, and with whom to do it.
In part three of this three-part series, we go a little deeper into more of the barriers that women face in finding and hiring a male prostitute, including the fear of being judged by others if they find out
For more information about the author, Harley Brixton, see his: