Why Men Pay For Sex
sex and intimacy
Up to 70% of men will go to a prostitute once. To find out why, Marie Claire exclusively arranged for three prostitutes to interview their clients.
Tom* is in his early 40s. He is
a professional, "like a CPA," and
a married man who has "had a
couple of girlfriends on the side,
mainly out of necessity "He
doesn't think his wife knows.
Why do you need to pay for sex?
After many years of being married to the same woman, and giving her emotional rewards, I find she ignores my needs as a man. My wife has become very fat. She isn't attractive, but she always comes back with the line, "You should love me anyway." I have to say, "Yes, I do" or be kicked out of the house. She won't do what I want her to - use a dildo or even wear lingerie.
Among my married male friends, I would say seven out of ten have cheated because they weren't getting it at home the way they wanted. My female friends all seem to have a fantasy that they are going to find a man who will sweep them off their feet and take care of them for the rest of their lives. I keep telling them, "Honey, if you don't put out, you're not going to get the emotional rewards."
Do you ever feel guilty?
No, my wife has deprived me of sexual intimacy and fulfillment for about five years. She has made no effort to lose weight, and she always wears frumpy things, so I feel no regret whatsoever.
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I am looking to live out my fantasies with a beautiful woman. My last steady relationship was about four years ago. I don't want another girlfriend because they are so frustrating. I want a professional who has a desire to make sure the customer is happy. The most important quality is looks: She has to be petite, not robust like my wife. Age is not important if she looks fabulous. Location isn't important. It's like a good cigar: I'll drive many miles to find one.
I heard about my first call girl through a friend. I was so nervous when I got to her place: I didn't know who would he there. Would I be mugged? Would I be videotaped?
It was tense at first but she did everything I requested. including using a dildo on herself. We bathed together before sex, which I enjoyed. I didn't want to smell anything on her body, and I don't think she wanted to smell anything either. I told her exactly what to wear - flirt black cocktail dress, stockings, and no panties or bra. She stood over me so I could look up her dress. In the end, it turned out sort of bad for me, though, because I came very quickly.
It was purely sexual, and that's what a man needs every once in a while. I don't think it's what a woman needs but then, that's why we have call girls.
What would happen if anyone found out?
Well, the divorce would get quite ugly. On the bright side, I would be out of a marriage which I'm in purely for financial reasons. Because of the recession, I'd find a divorce difficult at this stage. Then again, I don't know if being found out would be all that bad.
Louis is 23 years old, single. and
a college student Although he has
a steady girlfriend, he regularly
uses the services of prostitutes.
Why do you pay for sex?
I simply need to have intercourse; stress from school and work and a lack of getting; it regularly builds up in me over time. You might think, "Well, why not just masturbate?" I feel that every now and then I MUST have sexual contact - something real - with another human. But paying for a sex is a nightmare!
The problem is, my girlfriend lives a long way away. When I have to have sex, I tell her that I intend to visit a prostitute; we talk about it, and it's upsetting for her. She doesn't want me to contract a sexually transmitted disease or to be with other women. But we both know that it's sexual need I'm acting out; not some whimsical sexual frustration. I'd rather be with her.
Are you nervous with prostitutes?
I've been terribly nervous each time. I find it pretty tough to start a conversation with a stranger, never mind to get naked with one!
The first time was with a street prostitute. It was a little strange and uncomfortable because we ended up in this sleazy hotel with drunks outside and the works that was awful. The woman herself was a bit worn out that evening; she seemed distant and somewhat weighed down. She was extremely concerned with time. Before she began, she said, "Let's sort out the finances first," which thought was a bit abrupt. Then she told me the rules: We've got 30 minutes, and you can come once." Great. Pretty humorless, actually.
The second time, I literally flipped open the telephone book, selected a classy-looking ad, and called an escort service. It was better because the prostitute came to my apartment and didn't seem overworked at all. At one point, she remarked that she was pleased to be with a guy her own age because most of her customers were older men who seemed unstable.
What are you looking for when you pay for sex?
I always ask for anal sex first; most women aren't interested in this. Oral sex is something else I ask for, which many women I've known casually tend to think is "yucky." I also want the woman to bite me, scratch me, or do other sort of wild things. But neither prostitute would bite me!
Do you feel guilty?
No, not really. I would prefer to see prostitutes regularly, but I don't have the money. I mean, sex is something I need in order to function the next day--without cracking up. It's just too bad that people have to buy it and sell it ... but we all know this isn't Utopia. If I get married, I don't think I will need to continue to do this.
Robert is a 48-year-old white collar
worker who has been married for over 15 years.
His wife knows about his fantasy of crossdressing,
but not about his visits to prostitutes.
Why do you pay for sex?
The fantasy developed when I was 25 and just out of the army. I had a girlfriend who used to dress for me in stockings, a garter belt, panties, and a bra. I enjoyed undressing her. After a year, I tried on the panties and stockings, and I enjoyed the silkiness and softness. I did discuss the fantasy with my wife and, before we were married, she used to dress sexy. But about a year after we got married, she turned to more comfortable cotton nightgowns. I asked her to dress up, but she said it was too much trouble. She feels it shouldn't be important to me. I think if it is important to me, why doesn't she care?
She was very negative about having sex after a while. I think that deep down, she never really enjoyed the physical act, and because of that I've had to look elsewhere. I don't think she ever thought about that. She's living in a tunnel where she thinks, "If I don't talk about it, I won't have to deal with it." When we did have sex, it was basically, "Let's jump into bed and get it over with. My mother's coming, the turkey's in the oven. Hurry up!" Then she started giving me instructions: I shouldn't do this, I shouldn't do that, did I touch the dog before I came to bed? It got to the point where, after I took a shower, she would ask me if I'd washed my hands. It was like throwing cold water on me.
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When I went looking for another partner, I answered ads. On the phone, I would always tell them my fantasy of cross-dressing and ask if it was OK. If they said yes, I'd make a date. Now I have five or six ladies who are regulars. There's one I would love to marry because she enjoys our experiences so much and is always so pleasant. I fulfill my main fantasy three or four times a month by dressing in panties when I go to work. The time and location at which I see a lady depends on my work schedule. Usually I do it at my office, or nearby.
Do you feel bad about yourself afterward?
I feel very good. I have a right to live my life as I like to live it, and if my wife doesn't share my feelings, that's her problem, not mine. I'm not hurting my wife. I take care of her; I provide her with a home and money and things she wants. I give her presents and flowers without any special reason. I still love her very much, though I resent how cold she's been about my sexual needs. Twice, my wife found my hidden stockings and garter belts and was upset that I was still cross-dressing. She laid them out on the bed so that when I came home I would see she'd found them. After the second time, I figured that if there was a third I would tell her, "Listen, I'm doing what I have to do, and I will keep on taking care of myself."
What would happen if anyone else found out?
My family would not approve. They're very Puritanical. I went to private schools all my life, and I didn't learn curse words until 1 got into the army. I didn't try sex until I was 23 years old. I used to have a friend I confided in, hut he moved to another state and we don't get to see each other anymore. Basically, I have no one to talk to about my most intimate desires or my problems.
Why Men Go To Prostitutes
Many are married and claim to love their wives. So why do some men pay for sex? Claire Halliday asks them.
"When I'm with them, it's almost like the equivalent of having a massage - physically and mentally. There's no pressure. It doesn't matter if she's had a bad day or I've had a bad day, either. Sex is guaranteed to happen with no emotional struggle and bullsh*t game-playing. If I'm tired, I know that I can still be satisfied without having to worry about what it is she needs. That doesn't come into it at all. Yes, it's selfish. But I'm paying to have a service provided. It's my time."
That's Joe Anderson's reason for outlaying the couple of hundred dollars he spends a month on visits to sex workers. And no, he's not some hormone-fueled 19-year-old, champing at the bit of sexuality. Anderson is 54-years-old and "happily married".
He's had the three kids, got the dog, paid off the mortgage on his house in middle suburbia, has greying hair and a waist measurement that is a little broader than it used to be. He works as a human resources manager in a large retail chain. He says he spends a sizeable chunk of his working life trying to understand why people are the way they are. But he doesn't really understand himself.
"It started when I was in my 30s," he says. "When my wife had our second baby, something happened to our relationship. I don't think it was about the way I saw her. I know some men say that after their wife becomes a mother.
"I really think it was about the way she saw herself. And she was tired all the time. Just not interested in sex any more. At one stage, it had been about 10 months and we hadn't had sex. Still sleeping in the same bed and not really arguing about much - just becoming more and more like mates.
"I know I still love her and I don't want to leave. It's not like I'm having an affair. I've been using the girls at the parlours for over nearly 20 years but, of course, it's not with the same woman all the time.
"I do have a couple of girls I like more than others but if I see them regularly, I start to feel guilty. It's not really about the person. It is just about a sexual release. My wife is still my best friend. She's the one I still sit down and have a cup of tea with in the morning. There's no way I want lose that."
Anderson's wife suspected he was having sex with someone else, but when he admitted it was prostitutes, rather than "another woman" in the classic sense, he was surprised at her reaction.
"I didn't think she would tolerate it or understand it but, in a way, she did. I think she was relieved that I wasn't having an affair," he says. "We talked about it at the start. She needed to be convinced that I wasn't in love with anyone else. Now we go out of our way to not bring it up. I would say she probably doesn't respect me in the same way. I guess it's perceived as a bit dirty, or a weakness. But I'm home with her every night and we have a great relationship as the parents of our kids."
Although their sexual relationship did restore itself to some extent, Anderson kept using sex workers and describes it with a nervous laugh as a "mild addiction".
"It's easy, the girls are young and they just give you their full attention. It's hard to pass that up once you know it's out there."
So difficult, in fact, that some men need to satisfy their urge for paid sex almost daily. As a trained social worker with the Men's Counselling Service, Chris Dawson sees a number of men from all social classes and says that, once it becomes a full-blown addiction, most want it to stop but feel they can't control it.
"It can get very expensive and they'll juggle finances like any other addiction. A lot of these people are self-employed and they're paid cash that doesn't go through the books. It's the white-collar worker, too. They might have a credit card on the side that nobody else knows about," Dawson says.
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Why do they do it? "If they're getting satisfied somewhere else then they don't have to be intimate with their own partner. Most guys aren't good at intimacy."
When they eventually come to him for help, Dawson says it is because their relationship with a wife or girlfriend has become so problematic that they seek counselling to beat the desire.
And like any addiction, Dawson says that the motivation behind it can become muddied. Just as heroin addicts develop a love of the ritual-like needle preparation, Dawson says that prostitution addicts he has spoken to are often more excited by the planning than they are by the sex act itself.
"Some guys talk about how the sex itself doesn't actually do much for them. It's the planning and preparation. It's selecting the brothel, the drive to that building, the selection of the girl. It's anticipation. A lot of men try to deal with their problems by going to the brothels and then just walking out. That might be successful for a few days but then they have to score with someone. They don't like it. They carry a lot of shame. They can't control it," he says.
Ben Wilke, 31, doesn't necessarily agree. Currently "between girlfriends", the IT executive says that his use of prostitutes is purely a physical relief that he utilises when he can't get sex from anyone else.
"You can wake up in the morning and masturbate but it's not the same as really being with a woman and having her touch you."
Wilke has been known to occasionally pay for two girls at once to indulge a common fantasy, though says he has no need for any other role-playing games to inspire his sex drive.
"I just want to have sex, basically," he says. And he doesn't feel guilty. "If it's out there on offer, for sale, and it's a service that I'm happy to pay for, why should I feel guilty? I'm not desperate and I don't take risks. I'd never go to a street girl. At the brothels, it's nice and clean and you know they haven't got any STDs. It's safe."
Despite his projected image as a confident regular, Wilke says his first visit to a prostitute, when a long-term relationship broke down over four years ago, was intimidating." I was scared to death," he admits. Not so much because of what he thought the act itself would be like but because of what he thought it would say about him.
"I know I'm a fairly good-looking guy. My idea of the type of men that used hookers was the ugly, lonely fat guy who just couldn't get laid by anyone else.
"I could go out to a bar and pick someone up without too much hassle if I really wanted to. Paying for it and getting exactly what you want is just easier. You don't have to ring the girl up a few days later and take her out to dinner. I'm busy with work and trying to concentrate on my career."
Reclining in the darkened lounge area of Melbourne brothel The Daily Planet, working girls Heather and Emily have their own slant on why men pay for sex. When asked to sum it up in just one word, Heather comes up with "safety".
"Sexual safety, commitment safety, emotional safety,"
Emily agrees. "Their anonymity. They know that they're not going to be walking down the street with their friends or their girlfriends and we're going to walk past and say hello. Health-wise, we have to provide a certificate to work here.
"You don't go out and meet someone and in the middle of foreplay show a certificate that says you're clean. Plus, they won't get criticised, no matter how bad they are. That makes them feel good about themselves."
Listen to Emily and Heather tell it and you could believe women are partly to blame for all the insecurity men suffer. Loveless marriages and resistance to sexual experimentation are all confidence-denters for the seemingly precarious male ego, they say.
"The majority of men that come here haven't been touched by anyone in a while. They've been autonomous and everyone needs contact. With men, their self-esteem relies on being sexually active, whereas a woman needs a healthy self-esteem to be sexually active. For them, it's the equivalent of us getting our hair done. They need to be touched and have some sort of sexual encounter to feel worthy," Emily says.
"And," Heather adds, "if they're constantly rejected by the woman they love, it really affects their ego."
As long as the boundaries are clear on both sides, both girls believe nobody can get hurt.
"I get a lot of regular clients and some of them are deluded about the nature of the relationship. They do think they fall in love with you and you have to remind them of exactly who you are. But most of them just feel comfortable with you and they love their wife at home," Emily says.
"They might feel guilty about what they do with us but they just needed the contact because their biological needs aren't being filled. Masturbation isn't enough."
James Ogilvy, 51, says his regular visits to sex workers stem from a self-analysis as a "borderline fetishist". Again, "happily married" Ogilvy says he has no need to leave his wife of 26 years, as long as he can keep paying for sex on the side. Colleagues at the financial institution where he works have no idea Ogilvy is aroused by, what he calls, "exotic" women. That his wife is a blonde-haired, blue-eyed English woman began to present a problem two years ago when his longing for someone "different" became so overpowering that sex with his wife became difficult.
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"I find it hard for her to turn me on. We can have sex every now and then - and in truth she doesn't want it very regularly anyway - but I have developed a sexual feeling for women that look different in some way and that's what does it for me," Ogilvy says.
"We've been together for a long time and for most of the marriage we were very sexually active and happy with each other. This started about 10 years ago when I had an affair with an Indian woman at work. My wife found out and things were really bad for a while. We didn't go to a counsellor - I just ended it. But while it was happening, it was so exciting and wrong that I think part of that has just changed something in me."
With what some might view as a skewed moral bent, Ogilvy made all apologies to his wife and swore he wouldn't do it again but gave himself permission a few years later to indulge what he realised had become an overwhelming fantasy. He won't tell his wife for fear it will make her relive her insecurity about the initial affair.
"It really wasn't about love, although I couldn't convince her at the time. I know it was just about sex. Not having to stay the night with someone or woo them in some way. By doing what I do, I can get the sex with no trouble or guilt. I still love my wife."
So, an average fortnight involves at least one interaction with a sex worker. He makes regular use of an agency that specialises in "exotic beauties". African, Asian, Indian and even southern European women make the grade. Ogilvy has justified it to some extent and feels less guilty because there is such a point of difference. "If I was after blue-eyed blondes but just didn't want my wife, I think it would be worse."
According to sex therapist Dr. Janet Hall, men like Ogilvy are probably just fooling themselves. It is an addiction and any addiction is potentially unhealthy.
"One of my patients has a good relationship with his lady but he has a thing for young women. He's late 30s and he's been doing it since he was 22 when he basically had his heart broken. He felt lost and he felt abandoned and now he's addicted to it and it's cost him a lot of money over a long period of time. When it's an addiction, it's often when they're stressed. Other people turn to alcohol or gambling - they'll need a fix. It can become a stress-management kind of anchor."
Power, too, in Hall's opinion, is part of it. While any working girl would argue the issue of just where control rests, Dr Hall believes that male clients perceive it lies with them.
"The money gives them the power to buy the girl and she's basically at their beck and call. She's supposed to do whatever they say so they really get off on that fantasy that they're the one in charge. If they do a slack job, it doesn't matter and if they do a fantastic job, that makes them feel bigger, tougher, stronger, anyway."
But sometimes it's not just about sexual performance. When artist Mack Jamieson, 29, visits his regular prostitute, Isobel (usually around every two months),
he often pays his money for the simple pleasure of conversation. Oral gratification usually comes with it, admittedly, but rarely full sexual intercourse. Admitting he also thrives on the "pathetic madness" of using a sex worker in this way, Jamieson finds some romance in the seediness of the situation.
"I'm not afraid to tell people I do it. In a weird way, I revel in it a bit. I like that my friends think I'm a bit out there. In a real sense, though, they probably don't understand that seeing Isobel really helps me out emotionally. I've had a couple of bad relationships with women that screwed me up a bit and talking to her - it's like I get a bit of female understanding.
"I really think she has taught me things I wasn't aware of about the way their minds work. I've been seeing her for about a year but there's no delusion about thinking I'm in love with her or anything. Yeah, I might get oral sex while I'm with her but sometimes I just do that because it makes me feel less weird about paying for her and just talking."
But Jamieson doubts that he would see another sex worker if Isobel retires. "She's talking about giving it up soon because she is with a partner and she wants to have kids. If she stopped tomorrow, I don't think I would look for another girl to see. She did give me the number of her friend and said I should try her but I still don't see myself as the kind of guy who sees prostitutes," he says.
"When I first contacted the escort agency and had her come around, I thought I was just doing it to get laid but it just became different. My Mum didn't bring me up to disrespect women and I think there was a bit of a block about just paying someone to screw me.
"I just ended up telling her all about myself and my relationships and my work and she was just really good at giving advice. In a way, she's been kind of like a muse. When she stops doing it, I'll stop, too. It was interesting while it lasted but it's been like a sort of therapy and I'm probably cured."
Some names have been changed.
Staff, H. (2008, December 15). Why Men Pay For Sex, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 5 from https://www.healthyplace.com/sex/psychology-of-sex/why-men-pay-for-sex