Thursday, November 30, 2006

It is just acting: sex workers strategies for capitalising on sexuality

I have just finished reading this paper by Teela Sanders. These articles are not available to the public, but Teela very kindly emailed them to me, to share with my readers.

Teela interviewed some clients and escorts in the UK for her book.

Sex work a risky business

The paper looks at how sex workers create emotion management strategies. It looks at Sex work as a service industry. The study concentrated on the indoor sex market. The women were selected on three criteria, they had to be aged 18 and over, British citizens and define their involvement in sex work as "voluntary".

Some of the areas that are covered are: strategies to manage emotions in the workplace, bodily exclusion zones, the condom as a psychological barrier, the manufactured identity, the preference for domination services,protecting the self and performing as a business strategy.

Teela interviews an escort called Natasha who pretends that she went to public school, and is waiting for an inheritance. Natasha 's physical appearance supports the story that she tells her clients, and the person that she pretends to be when she is marketing, negotiating, and peforming the service. Her appearance gives the impression that she is genuine the wig, implants, and penthouse that her fake character would live in. Natasha insists that her clients are convinced that the fake character she performs at work, is the same one that appears in other parts of her life.I read about Natasha, and have a strong feeling that I know who she is!

The paper looks at the importance and difficulties of maintaining multiple identities in this work. Teela also looks at how with regular clients this can be increasingly difficult, and how regular clients tend to know more about you.The escorts also talk about how stressful it is, trying to remember your cover story each time.

I know the feeling.

The dangers of telling the truth, could lead to obsessive behaviour by clients, and because most escorts are not open about the work that they do, they want to avoid the association with the whore stigma.

If you want to read the article here it is.

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It's interesting to me because it's radically different from my approach to the industry.

In my early days at an agency I realized I was a bad actress. I didn't want to have to pretend, hide or create identities. I wanted to be myself and meet people who appreciated just that. Now, as an independant, I have the freedom and ability to do so.

I won't meet with a client unless we communicated in advance and seem to like each other intellectually, and can spend an hour simply talking. Naturally, my minimum is 2-3 hours.

It was scary at first because yes, demand is more uncertain than on a typical hourly market. But somehow, such presentation seems to attract the people you don't need to hide from. People who see you as a person, admire and respect you, and genuinely care for you. And there is no need to go through frogs to find them.

Although I suppose, many women in the industry don't want genuine intimacy with their clients. And in my view, such intimacy is only feasible when you are seeing a very small circle of people people you do put a lot of your own soul into every encounter.
There is no way I could work in this way if I were seeing one client a day.

But I only wanted to say that a different mode is also possible. Protecting yourself through being yourself and genuine and open, and the feeling of wholeness it gives you.

(Off to actually read the paper)

Thank you for your views. I think that we all work in different ways; and different modes of working are possible.
You are tagged. Come over to see weird things about me.
La player,

It will take me some time to come up with six weird things :)
LA Player tagged the Glengarry Leads as well as you. The Glengarry Leads then tagged nina (Lazy Geisha) and nina tagged me.

So I'm tagging you again to try to find out six wierd things about you!


B xx
I tend to skew my identity only slightly. I change it enough to avoid stalkers but similar enough where I can still talk about myself. I say I grew up in a city I once lived in, went to a different liberal arts school, own a different breed of dog, etc. However, I'll avoid talking about myself if possible!
Miss NFS,

Thank you for your comments. I think that is the safest way to work.
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