Sex and Guilt

Buying sex and dealing with associated guilt.

Client guilt, the dark-side of seeing escorts.

Get over it! Guilt is the most useless emotion. Guilt is anger directed at ourselves. Guilt is to the spirit, what pain is to the body. Forgive yourself, guilt helps nobody. I’m sure you, like me, have heard similar quotes on the subject of guilt.

Every client wants to rid themselves of guilt and embrace the pleasure and enjoyment they seek when buying the services of an escort. However guilt is a sneaky and invasive feeling, shaking it isn’t always that easy to do. So why do I feel guilt and what should I do about it?

GuiltShot2

So where is my guilt coming from?

Well that is a very long list, summed up by the cheeky T-shirt above. (one of my all time favorite photos – can you imagine how great it was, a regular of mine agreeing to wear this for a photo – OK, getting distracted). Here are a few of the obvious sources: I’m deceptive and breaking trust in a monogamous relationship. I have daughters who wouldn’t understand my secret life or sex-work in general. I’m buying intimacy from someone who would most likely not even notice me in the ‘normal’ world. I’m older, I’m spoilt, I’m selfish, I’m entitled, I’m wasting money that could do something far more meaningful in society. I’m a creepy client of sex-workers and other better men than me don’t need to buy this service. I’m needy, flawed, and insecure. That is just the start of the ‘hate-list’ I use against myself.

Worse than that, I may be self-destructive, seeking solace and comfort from an escort that can’t give the same to me in return (without being self-destructive in their own right). Clients often want to ‘suck up compassion’ and the poor empathetic escorts that give ‘too much’ of this support away, can do significant damage to their own psyche. The fact that I know this unhealthy dynamic exists, and yet I still desire real intimacy with many of the escorts that I meet, just makes me feel even more guilty for having these feelings and hopes. It is almost a vicious spiral, adding to all of the other causes of guilt. So as the T-shirt says, ‘I am a cunt’ (in the unfairly negative use of this word)!

Of course I didn’t even add that society hates us both – escort and client alike – if only they knew the level of guilt, shame and insecurity that can hit us. It’s not that we are ashamed of ‘buying sex’, or anything about sex-work – we are just generally ashamed of other aspects of ourselves. The mythical sexual freedom and indulgent debauchery that society may often imagine when picturing sex-work, probably isn’t anything like the world that they expect it is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going back (it is amazing), but there is always a price to pay, and sometimes one of those prices is unfortunately guilt. Most of us have issues to deal with, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t on to a much better, free, and more contemporary reality.

So why do I continue to see escorts?

At TedX Sydney in 2016, Elise Payzan-Le Nestour (behavioural economist) said, “we are all greedy and lack self-control”. The smoker, gambler, drinker and even extreme athletes, vegans and religious zealots all know that their activity of choice has consequences both positive and negative – joy and despair. My initial decision was to seek joy in parts of my life that I felt I had lost, youth, intimacy, wild sex and even the adrenaline of secrecy and ‘seeing behind the curtain’ of social taboos.

Some of these reasons remain, but over time the reasons that I continuing to remain a ‘client of escorts’ have changed. There are now other reasons as well. Things like loving more than one person intimately, maintaining important connections, learning new things (both the salacious and the mundane) and having joyful, compressed and intense moments to look forward to in the future and then to savor secretly when looking back at my hidden past. I added an article specifically on ‘Staying in the Moment’ to look more specifically at this unique dynamic that exists in the escort-client world.

I actually feel quite sorry for people who do not have this amazing level of sexual and intimate experience in their lives. So those who give in to guilt and choose a different moral path, may not have to deal with the negative consequences, but they may be robbing their life of areas of fulfillment that they may regret. I believe that I would look back and regret aspects of my life, if I gave up on these amazing experiences.

I know I need the highs and lows to feel alive. My personal discovery in seeing escorts, is that a mundane, predictable and vanilla path is death, a zombie-like existence, that fails to see there is more joy to be had. This has led me to do many, many other new things, however seeing escorts is still my favorite part of a more vigorous, spontaneous and vibrant life.

How do escorts manifest and deal with guilt?

This will probably be material for a longer article in the future (if an escort or two would like to help me with the appropriate material). For now, it still needs to be placed within this discussion. Like clients, escorts are on their own journey of dealing with guilt. The sources, the resulting emotions, and the level of personal resolution changes from escort to escort and even from moment to moment with the same individual (clients as well). I have had moments when I felt I had ‘resolved the guilt’ and then it comes back and ‘bites-me-in-the-ass’ in unexpected ways.

I have been watching this play out with some escorts. In many social media conversations there is pressure to agree that guilt is bad, society has it all wrong and escorts are like the ‘mutant X-Men’ and the future of a liberated and sexually enlightened society. Wouldn’t it be nice to think that were true, and in some ways, I think that it is.

Some of the same voices however will then say that when they “retire, they wouldn’t see a man that has visited escorts”, often missing the guilt-laden irony in this statement. Some particularly smart escorts also experience guilt from their astute awareness that as advocates for feminism, their earning potential is still largely the result of residual patriarchal structures and ‘women as object’ thinking. This also causes guilt for me – as I support feminism but take advantage of the contradictions that allow me to book escorts.

Of course most of the guilt comes from us having difficulty escaping our upbringing, the standards of our families and friends, and the malicious attacks that come from an ignorant society with a mistaken view of sex-work. The social errors don’t really matter, as wrong or right, the sheer volume and persistence is a weight on client and escort alike. It scratches away at our insecure selves in those weak moments, and creates self-doubt, sadness and this most useless of all emotions – guilt.

What does it all mean?

So I don’t know what to do. Sometimes in the ten-seconds it takes to get a condom on, the guilt-laden doubts enter my head, and my penis goes into retreat. I win the battle more than the doubts do, and most times joyfulness ensues for a brief few hours, more than worthy of the financial cost, and an amazing memory is created. Of course later the guilt can return in what I guess we might call ‘post-booking melancholy’ (a topic I added after this original article was written).

As for the industry, we shouldn’t pretend that guilt doesn’t exist. Please don’t shame those who feel it more acutely than you, those who can’t be ‘out’ with their family and friends, and perhaps most of all: those of us compassionate clients should remember that in our own guilt, we need to be reinforcing to our wonderful supporting escorts that their choices are more than worthy too! Any guilt that they may feel should give way to the youthful, vigorous, spontaneous and vibrant life that they are providing to their clients, and hopefully they are fully able to enjoy this more vibrant and enriched life as well.

Guilt really is the most useless of emotions.

Xx SP 17 March 2017 (Happy St Patrick’s Day) (article updated 9 May 2017 and again on 7 May 2018)

Post-Booking Melancholy

Coming down from the high of seeing an escort.

Seeing an escort was wonderful – so why am I so sad?

What goes up, must come down. A useless saying, but in a sense it can be the simple truth of the emotional roller-coaster that we all ride.

I have chosen the word ‘melancholy’ to describe the mood that can follow an escort booking. Meaning a period of reflective sadness with no obvious cause, it is a feeling that I experience all too often. It is also one that both clients and escorts speak about, as we move between the awesome highs, and low lows of this amazing escort-client world. The phenomenon of ‘post-booking melancholy’.

CloudsRollIn

When the clouds roll in.

My bookings with escorts are one of the great joys in my life. Making a booking, the sense of anticipation in the lead-up to the meeting, that moment of meeting someone for the first-time are all adrenaline raising experiences. Other strong emotions appear when we reconnect with an adored regular, and of course the bookings themselves are all experiences that those of us who know them, feel sorry for the rest of the world that doesn’t. A client-escort booking is an amazing high, that builds, has a crescendo, and then a relatively hard landing as the real-world comes flooding back in to our ‘muggle’ lives.

Why do the French call an orgasm – ‘Le Petite Mort’?

The ‘Little Death’ can refer to the spiritual release that comes with orgasm and a feeling of melancholy or transcendence somewhat likened to death, or the death of a little part of us inside and the expenditure of life force. The whole ebb and flow of an escort booking can be considered in a similar way, with the peak at the booking and a ‘little death’ afterwards. As mentioned in previous articles, a post-booking contact of reinforcement can be similar to a hug or kiss or sign of affection after orgasm – one way of reducing the ‘little death’, but with or without that, a little part of you dies and the clouds roll in after the sun is gone.

Why purchases make us feel ecstatic and depressed simultaneously?

The wonderful Wikipedia will tell you that ‘Buyer’s Remorse’ or ‘post-purchase depression’ after major purchases comes “from a fear of making the wrong choice, guilt over extravagance, or a suspicion of having been overly influenced by the seller”. I guess these can certainly apply to the escort-client transaction, however in the case of this unique purchase, I would restate these three factors in the following ways …

The ‘gap’ until the next ‘high’.

The wrong choice is not a factor in melancholy for me. The whole ‘choice’ element has a different flavour, when the booking goes well, it is about ‘how long until I can meet this escort again’ and relive this wonderful experience. Since the reality is, like the day after Christmas, the moment straight after the booking is also the longest distance from the next booking – the next high. One way to reduce this cause of sadness is to ‘lock-in’ the next booking, as then the length of time is set and you have something to ‘look forward to’, and the escort also knows that you appreciated the last booking.

Spending money and financial constraints.

The guilt over extravagance is also not a factor as such. I am always conscious that I am a very fortunate person (although from humble beginnings) and being able to do what I do, being able to afford independent escorts on a relatively frequent basis already makes me both fortunate and extravagant. This guilt isn’t ‘post-booking’ it is ongoing and material for a future article, but for me it is not a part of the post-booking ‘down’ mood. I would imagine, that if I was not able to afford to see a wonderful escort for an extended period of time, or the booking resulted in some financial hardship, then this may well be a factor contributing to melancholy. Maybe in a way I feel guilty that this isn’t a regret factor for me.

The pain of choice and the rejection of alternate pathways.

Finally a ‘suspicion of being over influenced by the seller’ is an intriguing factor that I want to cover around both ‘seller influence’ and ‘suspicion’. Firstly ‘seller influence’ as it would translate to the choice on ‘who to book’. The choice is mine and if I allow that to be influenced, then the fault is mine if I am unhappy or fooled by the influence. So I understand this could be a factor, but for me it is about something else, it is about loyalty, opportunity, rejection and self-doubt.

After a great booking, I wonder about when I will see that wonderful escort next, however I also wonder about how long it will be until I see some other escorts that I feel strong connections with as well. This whole complicated ‘when and who’ conundrum is fraught with angst and emotion. Every choice made seems to close the door on all of the other scenarios and I feel some subtle distress, I guess we can call it melancholy, at this pain of ‘selection’.

Put another way, there are a few escorts I would see as much as I could and some others I really want to see again at some stage. Every booking is a choice that includes one of those pathways being fulfilled and all of the others being rejected. I know ‘rejected’ is a harsh word, but it explains the weird guilt and deprivation that I feel. Guilt in choosing one escort over another and deprivation in not being able to fulfill all of my selfish personal desires. The moment after the enjoyment of one booking is when both the guilt and deprivation are at their strongest. In a way, the pain of choice is also brought back into the picture as the certainty of a ‘single booking’ moment in time concludes and choices once again have to be made.

My insecurities get their moment.

So finally suspicion. I hope that this is just a reflection of my personal insecurities and weaknesses, I fear however that it is a shared human condition. In the ‘time bubble’ of a booking, there is a purity of place, time and emotion, the perfect chance to get out of one’s own head and shut those demons up for a brief and wondrous moment in time.

In the time that passes afterwards, I doubt myself, I doubt the moment, my insecurities re-assert themselves and the darker voices tell me that it wasn’t as good as it felt, the moment was a lie, my part is done and I am rightfully forgotten. I suspect that I am not as special as I felt, that the escort despises me as another tragic, entitled, middle-aged buffoon. Worst of all, I wonder if I am ignorant of the lies I tell myself.

It is easy to listen to the negative.

The perverse irony of the universe is that the stronger the high from the booking, or the closeness I have with the escort, the stronger my subsequent insecurity is likely to be. This is as honest as I can be, a window to everyone that the ‘apparent strength of a successful middle aged man’ is all a facade, there is a little boy cowering behind the curtain hoping that someone, somewhere, actually likes him just a little and thinks about him without disgust.

If any reason existed for me to stop seeing escorts entirely it is because of this easy to trigger insecurity. I have stopped seeing some escorts under circumstances where I couldn’t suspend my disbelief anymore, because the evidence of disdain or dislike was too strong. These escort break-ups are their own special form of ‘Le Petite Mort’, killing me a little inside each time, because in my mind I am that same worthless person that they see. The longer you are at this activity, the more ‘breakdowns’ there will be, and if these trigger insecurity, then the load builds with each addition to the negative internal voices.

Wow, that was full-on!

So, not wanting to end this article in the depths of ‘post-booking melancholy’, what can we do about it if it exists for more people than just me. Firstly book ahead, the process of making a booking can re-start the pathway toward another ‘sunny day’ and build a sense of positive anticipation.

Tell the escorts that you care about how special they are, this may not rid all the guilt of loyalty and selection, but hopefully it is good for the sender and a pleasant thing for the receiver. Try to hear the messages of love, worth, support and value and dismiss the negative ones, whether they are from others or the more insidious ones we tell ourselves. Send communications, I know that I’ve said it before to what has been mixed reception, but as long as discretion, privacy, security, marketing and business conditions are met, send post-booking communications to reduce ‘the little death’.

The escort perspective?

I have also been told that many escorts feel this same post-booking sensation at times, and with certain clients. If you have been reading my articles, you know I am reluctant to (read as: will never) say anything on behalf of escorts, but I think the important point here is that it’s better to treat escorts as though they feel the same emotional roller-coaster than it is to treat them as having resolved these feelings and as a result don’t feel any emotion toward their client. I would rather try and do no harm and ‘believe’ what I felt, than protect my heart from ‘dying a little’ when I discover those distressing instances where I really was just an another anonymous punter with a payment.

I was just not built to be cynical or harsh and would rather be hurt than cause hurt, for me that is a far better way to walk through life. I am interested in client and escort perspectives, but remember this one is just my own, one boy behind a curtain.

Thank you for your readership. I look forward to any comments and feedback and appreciate any sharing of these articles.

Xx 🌺 SP 23 March 2017 (article updated 14 May 2017 and again 15 April 2018).

Winter’s End

Change is often painful …

Thoughts on a dark period for Percie.

I’m back, perhaps? This is my first blog article in almost two months, following a period of three months in which I wrote forty-five pieces. What happened, where have I been and why am I back?

This is a personal story of change. So much has changed in the last five-months while I wrote this blog and then during the more recent hiatus while I didn’t. This is going to be self-serving, over-thinking and a rambling return to writing. So get out now if that isn’t for you.

EmptyBottles

The Honeymoon is Over

Not that far into my journey as a client of escorts, I remember a dialogue on Twitter with a far more experienced ‘client of sex-workers’ in another country. I was rambling on about how amazing escorts were, how mind-blowing the experiences were, and why doesn’t everyone do this? His reply was, ‘of course … you are in the honeymoon period, it’s all new and there is no baggage, no entanglements and no regrets’. I remember thinking, what the f–k is this idiot talking about, don’t kill the buzz like that. It will be different for me. Of course I was the idiot, but most of us have to learn these lessons for ourselves – especially me.

Then that early period comes to an end. You see behind the ‘glamour’ that many escorts and many clients are profoundly sad and have holes in their souls that they are trying to fill or forget. No different to every other human in many ways, but exposed when the intimate engagements that are the hallmark of this industry show them, play with them, sometime soothe them and sometimes inflame them. It is an exciting and rewarding exchange, but like everything, the strength is also the Achilles-heel, the same intensity impacts on negative things like envy, insecurity, anger and emptiness.

My Transition

I was very lucky. The start of my journey and the end of my ‘honeymoon’ period were in many ways clearly marked out for me, in retrospect at least. If you have read my piece ‘My End of Summer’, you will know the end. In reality it isn’t exactly that clear cut. Just like my becoming a client was actually a complex life-transition, so in many ways is this shift. The obvious point of change is the retirement of my longest and closest companion, an Escort that I had fallen in love with. A sudden ending, and then the process of letting go is hard. Much harder than I expected. It really is a type of grief, complete with all of the stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance). Denial and anger passed quickly for me. Bargaining was a surprise and one I may write about one day. Depression lasted a long time, not clinical depression of any type, just a very down period connected to the specific events occurring at the time. I hope I am now in acceptance and will come to what that means shortly.

In addition to this trigger, I had other stuff going on. Two close deaths, elderly relatives but painful and connected to my own mid-life existential and mortal angst. I have an unwell daughter, the worst of all my real-life issues, but both too painful and too personal for this forum. I had work issues, domestic issues and some other surrounding real-life dramas just to make sure it was coming from all directions. Many people I know are dealing with worse, maybe you are too, I hope that changes and improves, but this was a big emotional load for me. The perfect time for change.

Percie’s Transition

Within my journey as a client of escorts, it wasn’t just the retirement of my longest standing companion. There were other ‘end of the honeymoon’ moments. Another companion that I also adore seemed to be having her own turmoil, well hidden but apparent, and had largely withdrawn from contact and public channels. There were others that I liked to converse with in social media and messages who also seemed to be backing away from the same contact points (primarily Twitter). Then of course there was this blog. My cathartic desire to write, led to an audience (who knew) and some of that audience didn’t particularly like Percival Blakeney.

I don’t mind a bit of banter, exchange and even the occasional argument. I’m not as well equipped to handle this with a light-touch when I’m already down and damaged, as I found out for the first time. It hurt when a couple of escorts who had actually met me turned away and even went on the attack. It hurt less getting attacked by those that didn’t know me, but it still managed to ‘get under my skin’. There is a certain perverse irony in Escorts complaining that people misunderstand them and then laying into an online client that they know nothing at all about. Being blocked and bullied was just another experience, but it really hurt when others I did care about started suffering collateral damage. A few escorts and clients that know me said kind things and then promptly got targeted as well.

I wasn’t enjoying being a target, but I really went into a downward spiral seeing other people I liked and cared for being hurt on my account. Some other kind people sent private messages and offered to comment publicly. I asked them not to. This is a journey for me, mostly positive, sometimes not, but it isn’t my livelihood, it isn’t my real-life reputation, and it isn’t my peers and close friends. I don’t want anyone putting things that important at risk just to stop some mild online nastiness, the type that those very same kind souls face in greater volume and stronger viciousness every single day.

Of course when you’re down, that has a shame cycle all of its own. It made me want to defend them instead, hold them and protect them, that made me feel like a stupid ‘white-knight’ and risk speaking out for people who can (and do) protect themselves better than I ever could. Just another sense of worthlessness and irrelevance for someone already beating themselves up for being a failure as a father, a partner, in business, a friend, a client and even as a fictional online character. Compounded by my own neglect of contact with people I had connected with and thinking of my own sorrows instead of supporting others with theirs.

Hard Lessons

I already look over many of the blog articles I wrote between March and June with some concerns over my naive views. They were all true and all emotionally valid for me when they were written. Since they are my journey, I am leaving them. If I would summarize my shifting perspective, I would emphasize the idea of ‘bookings-as-moments’ more. They are real and fake all at the same time. However since it is two ‘real-people’ together, alone and mostly free from external distraction, they are as pure as almost any moment in time that this modern world creates. The moments should be respected and valued.

As for what happens between moments. Some of that is real and valuable too. However most of what happens online isn’t real and isn’t great. Most of the entanglements between moments aren’t great. They are better considered as admin, marketing, chatter or worse. Only a small amount of it is real-connection and valuable, inter-personal exchanges. Those rarer high-quality items, if they exist for you, should be cherished but in many ways they sit aside and independent from the moments that escorts and clients create together – hang onto them and don’t get caught up in the ‘in-between’ spaces.

I spoke on friendships and connections in past articles, and I think they are rare. It isn’t surprising that we chase them. It just shouldn’t be a source of angst, causing us to miss or ignore the fun, strength and amazing moments that escorts create for their clients. The companion that I loved isn’t my friend, she is gone. Gone to have a glorious life and be a young woman on a different path. I will always have those moments to remember and maybe our paths will cross again. It is just the simple reality that without our client and escort connection, the transactions, the moments and the in-between spaces, our lives just don’t intersect anymore. The escort controls this, because an ex-client can NEVER take the initiative with contact once the business relationship has ended. Friends can reach out to each other, ex-clients must remain silent. An ‘ex-client’ without invitation is less able to make contact post-retirement than any other person on the planet – for that reason we may think about each other, but the ‘ex-client’ is forever prevented from being a friend. That is one very tough lesson.

I think when I retire as a client or other close companions retire, there may be a few connections and possibly even distant friendships. This might happen where we already have contact because of other things happening in each of our lives. I think that it will in a couple of cases, and that makes me very fortunate. However, each of these is a case-by-case thing, that will have to survive that moment when the ex-escort says that it is fine to contact, because no quality ‘ex-client’, would ever take the initiating step. This is obvious really, but in the cold, hard, light-of-day, it is a bitter pill to swallow for people chasing intimacy and filling holes in their lives. Why? Because it speaks the truth that no matter how connected and special the moments feel, they are a fantasy bound by a transaction and industry rules of engagement. Those rules are forever! The only person that can change that dynamic is an escort and only once the transaction (or future transaction) is removed. That is always going to be a very, very rare thing indeed.

Back from the dead!

So I am back – sort of. Things have improved in my life in many areas. I am getting healthy with a personal trainer, I am seeing a counselor and I am once again listening to positive voices more loudly than the negative ones. Instead of ignoring good advice, I am taking it and embracing it. I have lots of life transitions ahead, but I see them as positive and progressive, rather than negative and stalled. I have grieved for my youth, missed opportunities, my early escort experiences and my retired angel. Alright, all of those are still a work-in-progress, but I am at least on the right road.

Percie has changed and so has his pilot. All my life I have been an introvert and a thinker (alright, an over-thinker). That point I made earlier, our strengths are our weaknesses – well they made me a world-class strategist (strength of thinking and introversion) and not a very good emotionally-connected person (same deal). I have always been shifting slowly towards being more of a natural extrovert – a life long journey of ‘faking it till you make it’. I had never thought though, that the thinking bit would shift to feelings. Well it seems that bit-by-bit, with the help of trauma, experiences and role-models, it is. Take a look at 16-personality-types (Myers Briggs) model for some background.

I have always been in the ‘Architect’ (INTJ) personality type – good for my job, not always so good for my life. I thought I was drifting to ‘Commander’ (ENTJ) personality type (swapping the introvert for extrovert one day). Instead, it looks like I’m tipping over into ‘Protagonist’ (ENFJ) personality type as my engagement with the world becomes more feeling and socially led. Percie has probably always been my ‘Protagonist’ self, but the ‘pilot’ is following his constructed reality. I would miss Percie if I retired him, he needs to help with my personal transition for a little while longer yet.

I won’t be writing as much. I won’t be so down. I may not even keep this going or even Percie going for that much longer. I don’t know and I don’t really care that I don’t have a plan. I’m going to do what suits me while respecting others and I’m going to celebrate my transition either on these pages or with the people that are important to me. Whether they are important in the moment and moments we have together or for some longer and unspecified connection.

If you are still reading my articles thank you. If my own journey, roller-coaster and drama filled period hasn’t dislodged you yet, then I guess you’ve decided to stick around. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Xx SP 28 August 2017