The Litmus Test

Now that I can’t use the bar as a standard setting for screening my dates, I’ve decided that I should put more effort into the other aspects of screening my dates. I always like to find out about a man’s relationship with his mother – that’s usually a good indicator of his general attitudes towards women. But recently I’ve found that my favorite, perhaps most important litmus test is: how does he feel about sex workers?

While I have never been a sex worker myself, I have always felt very accepted by the sex worker community for the writing I have done. Several of my best friends are sex workers. I believe that sex workers’ rights is one of the most important new social justice causes of the century. So it’s important to me that the men I get involved with aren’t whorephobic.

I like to bring up sex workers casually. Sometimes I mention my best friend, sometimes I mention my best friend’s sugar daddy, sometimes it’s just random. I like to gauge a man’s reaction to my conversational mention of sex workers. Does he tense up? Is he at a loss for words? Is he contributing something to the conversation? Does he get weird and ask inappropriate questions? Or is he cool?

Nowadays, I find that most men know the correct answer: sex work is real work. Plenty of men know women who are sex workers. Some of them are even friends. However, recently I’ve discovered that ‘not being whorephobic’ simply isn’t good enough for me. Because even if a man can deliver the politically correct answer to, “How do you feel about sex workers?” I find that often times men always like to put a caveat on the response: sex work is real work, but I would never pay for a prostitute.

I do not like this answer. Granted, there’s more context to the answer that makes me dislike it. Generally, men like to say, “I would never pay for a prostitute because I don’t need to/have to/want to pay for it.” Something like that. It’s so condescending. It’s almost like saying, “Paying for a sex worker is beneath me.” Which to me sounds like, “I support the idea of sex work, but it’s for ugly men and beta cucks.” No! No, no, no, no, no.

The idea that paying for sex work is a last resort for desperate men who can’t score pussy on their own is a toxic attitude that perpetuates whorephobia in its own way. First of all, whenever a man says that to me, I always want to tell them: I know plenty of men, some of who are hotter, younger, richer and/or happier than you, and they revel in paying for sex. Being able to fuck women for free has nothing to do with it. I have learned from these ‘plenty of men’ that paying for sex is about having a quality experience. It’s about investing in sex rather than throwing the dice and hoping that tonight’s Tinder date is down for some freak shit.

To say that paying for sex work is for desperate men implies that there’s something shameful about paying for sex, that it’s an act of defeat. Shaming men who pay for sex perpetuates the stigma and shame around sex work, which in turn makes it harder for sex workers to fight for their rights. If the clients of sex workers hide in the shadows, how are sex workers supposed to come into the fold?

Sure, I get it, a lot of men aren’t interested in paying for sex, and that’s fine. I would feel differently about the conversation if a man were to say, “No, I don’t pay for sex, and it’s not something I plan on doing because that’s not where I’m at with my sexuality right now. But, who knows, maybe that will change in the future.” If a man says he supports sex workers, but then turns around and poo poos the idea of paying for sex himself, then he doesn’t really understand what it means to support sex workers. And that’s not good enough for me anymore.

Turns out I love men who love prostitutes.

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