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I’d Like to welcome to welcome James ( you can follow him on twitter at@jamesbisexual ) as a new writer for Harlots. He hopes to become a regular contributor to the blog. Please feel free to comment.
From the outset I want to make it plain that I hate labels of any kind unless it says Calvin Klein and it is on my underwear. Other than that labels are out. As a sex worker you can call me just that or an escort or a rent boy or a prostitute or whatever – it is fine with me. But what has occurred to me recently is how others choose to label me and people in my industry as a bisexual man who sells sex. It has also occurred to me that different sections of society react and pigeon-hole me (or not as the case may be) and I thought it might be worth sharing my experiences. These are based upon actual conversations I have had in social settings such as wine bars and clubs in both Oxford and London and elsewhere.
The groups which have never reacted in any positive way to learning that I am a bisexual sexworker have tended to be from those groups which have not had a university education and which tend to be in lower-paid work. I find an inbuilt fear or dislike of those who do not conform emanating from this group of individuals. I do not criticise but observe. I think the idea of any person being gay or bi is a threatening thing for some as is a person selling sex. I guess the combining of the two makes for a doubly difficult engagement and I have become very guarded about admitting my lifestyle in circumstances like that.
What surprised me when I first openly mentioned my work and my sexuality was that University females from rich/public school backgrounds actively said they approved of my work and found it fascinating. I have been actively asked what it is like to be a sexworker and the financial gains seem to appeal to this gender and socio-economic group when taken in tandem. Maybe the traditional upbringing of women in this group attracts them to the taboos of life and to those who have a similar background to them (as I have) and yet who has kicked against that traditional world to be a bisexual/gay sexworker.
I read this and it resonated with my experiences: “Girls afflicted with said syndrome [rich white girl in a society such as ours] are constantly trying to escape the fact that they are rich white girls. To seem more down to earth they try too hard to be artsy and/or outdoorsy. Despite the fact that their parents have paid their way through life, they still attempt to appear independent and free spirited. Commonly, a female in this group will force themselves into friendships with minorities or gays, as they think that this will make them out to have substance.”
Of course, the danger of labelling rears its ugly head again and I reiterate my hatred of labels. What is undeniable, however, is that I have been often “admired” by this group and feted as a trophy gay sexworker in some of the more exclusive venues in London and by well-heeled University students in Oxford. Do I mind? Of course not as long as they don’t want to go beyond window shopping and handle the goods in display. Unless they want to use Daddy’s credit card that is.
If you would like to write for Harlots about your experiences as a sex worker or about human sexuality then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Douglas at his personal email email@example.com.