Managing Risks

Knowing and minimising risks around client-escort bookings!

Dangers in the Escort-Client World

Most of my risk-management in this secret life of seeing escorts has been good luck rather than good management. So I am not sure that I am qualified to say much on this topic. It is however a regularly requested article, so the time has come to do my best. It is as much advice to myself as a tale of caution for others.

Before I start, let me say that I owe almost all of the fact that I have avoided ‘complications’, to the escorts that I have seen. For the most part, escorts brilliantly manage risk for their clients, and it is an under-appreciated part of the escort-client experience.

SunAndClouds

Sex and Intimacy Without Entanglement.

This ‘step-in, step-out’ fantasy world is of course the anticipated promise at the heart of the escort-client booking. Immediately the idea is that there is less risk than an affair or some other more complicated arrangement. It is true that there are far less entanglements, but no one can remove this risk entirely. I will return to emotional risks later, for now, lets start with some of the obvious ones.

Sexually Transmissible Infections (STI’s).

Looming large, and with good reason, is the risk of contracting and spreading infection. Thankfully this is probably a lower risk than most ‘first-time’ clients would expect. As having a rich sex-life with professional and cautious sex-workers is some of the ‘safest-sex’ you can have. Quality escorts are very cautious with their health, their well-being, and their own risk management around disease. I am not disclosing my own level of sexual activity, but so far (touch wood, hehe), I have not had any disease, other than perhaps a cold, resulting from my experiences with escorts.

As a client, it is also up to you to reduce this risk. I get an STI health-check every three-months. Most sex-workers are at least this attentive, if not more. Your own frequency of testing as a client would depend upon your level of activity, but you must get checked, it really is an obligation – unforgivable to transfer disease due to your own negligence. If you have any symptoms or doubts, get tested immediately, and don’t have any bookings until clear. If you are active, get checked regularly. Although the week’s wait is a pain for everyone, knowing that you are ‘clear’ is a good feeling. Being responsible and a considerate client is also a good feeling.

Never partake in high-risk behaviours. I like uncovered oral more than covered, but I always let the escort make the decision, regardless of their service description. There is not enough difference to care, and it is best to leave the ‘safety’ considerations in the hands of the expert. I have realised that in doubles and with toys, my knowledge around ‘safe-sex’ was limited, and I am glad that escorts have taken control and ensured a safe environment for us all in these experiences. Also if something feels strange, stop and ask, once (and thankfully only once), I had a condom come off. It felt odd even though I didn’t know it was off, I stopped and we fixed the situation. Thankfully in my case, it was with someone who had seen me before, and knew that I wasn’t doing anything deliberately. Not surprisingly, escorts will suspect you of poor behaviour, they experience too much of it, so make sure there is no reason to think you are not safe and a complete gentlemen. We all benefit from keeping sex safe and reducing the chance of infection.

Financial Risk – Getting ‘Ripped Off’.

Of course this is a business, money is changing hands and there is a financial risk. The risk for escorts is enormous, getting robbed, being paid with ‘fake-notes’, being hustled in other ways by asshole clients (and I would rather not even call them clients), gamed or fake-booked by other unscrupulous escorts, the list goes on and on. So when I see someone not wanting to pay a deposit, it is laughable really. No escort is going to secure their financial future running off with a deposit. Even if you, as a client, loose your deposit, so what – if you can’t handle a lost deposit, you are playing the wrong game.

The real financial risks for clients are something else entirely. Can you afford what you are doing? If not, you are opening up risks of depression, financial self-harm and resulting anger misdirected outwardly at escorts who are not the cause of your own financial actions or hardship. There is also the risk of trace-ability. Seeing escorts can be costly, moving that money, usually cash, around can create the pathway for discovery in parts of your life where you would like the secret to remain a secret. Think carefully how you do this. This is one area that I managed well from the start and it has saved me a lot of potential risk and grief by making sure it was private and protected.

I have been hustled, although I blame myself entirely for letting it happen. I have also had escorts choose a ‘faster-track’ to some additional financial benefit rather than building a lucrative longer-term connection. I don’t blame them for that choice, it was a choice after all. I decided a while ago, that type of action would be a deal-breaker for me. When an escort wants to work that way, I honour their request, but that is a signal for me that it is the end-of-the-road. I miss some of those escorts a lot, I still like them a lot, but if they would rather take an earlier pay-day, then I know the balance between interest in money and interest in me as a regular client is tilted to a point that I can’t ‘suspend my disbelief’ any longer, and I make a different future booking choice. We all have to make our own decisions and know where our boundaries lie. I have a problem with overly mercenary behaviour and outright lying, it just destroys the fantasy for me. It doesn’t make me upset, and I still respect every escort that I have said goodbye to for these reasons, it is simply a choice.

Getting ‘Outed’ – Being Discovered.

I didn’t understand this risk at the beginning, it was all a new world. It is probably the most pervasive and ever-present risk for a client who is operating a secret life to the rest of their reality. It is also a risk for a large number of escorts who also have an identity and part of their real-life that they want to protect, or just a desire to remain private and operate reasonable barriers to some of the other risks that escorts face.

Some clients operate their own ‘fake identity’ complete with ‘burner phone’ (separate disposable phone) and other ways of creating a separate persona. Other than my blog and public social media presence, I never went down that road. It is the general level of trust-worthiness of escorts that keeps most of us safe, see my article on ‘Secret Keepers’ for some more discussion on this point. Despite this, there is a lot of ‘outing’ and even more regularly the threats of ‘outing’ occur online and in other ways. It is still a surprise to me that something so nasty, so maliciously evil, seems to be threatened on social media and in the back-channels of social media every single day. See ‘World of Private Messages’ article for some more thoughts on this topic as well. I have had a number of threats, as have some other clients I have spoken too. If there is one thing the industry still needs to address better, it is this unsavory aspect of jealousy, extortion, threats and anger – it is one of the nasty faces of the escort-client world, since so many of us depend upon secrecy around our participation.

There is also the risk of ‘self-outing’. An even greater risk than disclosure by others, that is more about lack of personal care, self-destructive behaviours, relationship breakdowns and of course sometimes just coincidence. I have my own stories here, especially early in my journey of both coincidence and naivety, they are too involved for this article, and perhaps I will write on them later. The lesson of course is to exercise care, it is easy to be discovered, and once the story is out, it is very hard to go back. I have great risk as a result of this blog, but then I need to talk about my experiences, we all have to decide what level of risk we can tolerate. Self-outing is one thing, doing it to someone else or even threatening it is unforgivable in my opinion, unless the circumstances are extreme and are preventing an even more unforgivable scenario.

Emotional Risks.

The last part of this article is on the idea that these connections are ‘without entanglement’. They simply aren’t. Yes there are boundaries, there is a transaction, there are appropriate behaviours and it is a better scenario for ‘separation’ than most others where two people come together in an intimate setting. But humans are humans and we are built for connections and we all carry our own issues and baggage.

My advice for this article is prepare yourself for this. Prepare for anger, jealousy, desire, lust, upset and love. If you are going to play in the ‘escort-client’ world, you are playing in a world of heightened experience and heightened emotion. Many of us are sorry for the people who don’t get to experience this and could not go fully back to the ‘muggle’ world. It is a taste of something that is very hard to give up, mostly fantasy, with just enough reality to be confusing and addictive. This ‘super-charged’ world has its own costs, dynamics and price to pay. This will unfold differently for everyone, and in this blog I have spoken about many of the more emotional aspects of the journey.

From ‘Single Booking Sadness’, to ‘Post Booking Melancholy’, ‘Friends and Lovers’ and even saying goodbye to an escort that I love in ‘My End of Summer’. This is an emotion journey for many of us, even if we try to pretend at times that it isn’t. The emotional risk is the biggest risk, just savour the ‘downs’ as a back-ground to how great the ‘ups’ are. Don’t let the darker side of emotion create collateral damage with self-harm or the harm of others. Being hurt is not an excuse for hurting, outing, stalking or otherwise reflecting this on others. Move on to somewhere else that gives you joy and leave the industry and the environment better for the quality of your participation.

At the end of the day, the only way we manage the risks are to work together for a safer, supportive and more enjoyable industry, rich with experience and reward.

Your stories, opinions, comments and feedback gratefully received. Thank you so much for your readership and especially to those that have supported me on this journey and with this blog – now I even have a list of some of these people on a thank-you page.

Xx SP 11 June 2017.

 

 

Secret Keepers

How much information do you risk to build intimacy?

Escorts and clients need to master secrecy.

I believe that secrets, or more accurately personal information, is the biggest conundrum in the escort-client world. Humans give information to each other to build connection, or share secrets to build intimacy if you prefer. Both privacy and intimacy are escort industry requirements, so how do you strike the right balance?

To make this harder, every escort and every client, is on their own different and personal position on the continuum between totally private and fully public. How much can be disclosed, and how much needs to be protected, is a different equation for everyone.

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Why are there secrets?

Escorts need information for screening, security and for some reasonable background research on someone they are about to be intimate with. This information in the wrong hands can be damaging. In addition many clients, myself included, are looking for companionship and intimacy in addition to sex, and that leads to sharing information about our needs, our story, our lives and our experiences. Some of this information can be the most personal and the most secret of information, and it is shared intimately and quickly.

Presented with this ‘client unloading’ of information, it would be hard for an escort not to reciprocate in information sharing in some way. In addition, one major way of showing intimacy and connection is exchanging trusted information, another thing that can be hard to resist doing. Escorts are also just as likely as clients to have issues in their life that they want to discuss and limited pathways that let them do this. Escorts also need to share information for the benefit of the industry and for personal learning and security – the temptation can also be to overshare for peer-to-peer connection building and even sometimes for amusement and entertainment.

The whole industry is under siege from society, so talking within it, about it, and between the participants in it, is not surprisingly about the only way to release, explore and consider important topics, experiences, information and secrets. Information is currency and it can be used for good or evil, it can be used to become intimate and trusted, it can be used to destroy and harm.

What are the rules?

When I first published this article, I thought  that this piece might generate some debate. It didn’t, most people seemed to agree the principles if not the practice and it seems we all know it is a big issue. How do we benefit from personal knowledge without abusing it? There are some legal rules, there are some generally accepted moral rules, there are some industry ‘norms’ and peer pressure (naming and shaming), and then there is individual personal position – personal position is really the rule set that applies. In one-to-one intimate meetings, it is going to be personal position that decides what is shared and what isn’t.

Some clients and escorts believe that nothing should be shared. Similarly some believe that lots should be shared. Escorts that publicly post relatively harmless (but nasty, derogatory or inappropriate) private messages from the identifiable accounts of ‘punters’ into public channels, and then complain about their own bad reviews or shared personal information, are showing hypocrisy in their values around disclosure. Similarly clients who complain about providing screening information and then post denigrating reviews of an escort on public forums, complete with intimate details, are also worse than hypocrites. Everyone has a different view of where the boundaries of fairness, trust and respect lie but some actions are downright despicable in every situation.

Defining the secrecy territory.

Most industry participants have some privacy barriers. Clients are often in a secret-life that most of their friends, family and colleagues are unaware of, they generally want them to stay unaware – in fact they need them to stay unaware. This fact is one of the biggest reasons for the industry existing in its current form and is also one of the best security mechanisms for escorts – the client’s fear of being ‘outed’ in their public life is a force for maintaining good behaviour.

Escorts have every variety of privacy, from total secrecy to celebrity status. Some escorts are part-timers with real-life professions that they would no longer be able to work within if they were ‘outed’. Others have not disclosed their escorting to family and friends. Some just want privacy and a separate life. Of course there are others that are industry beacons, spokespeople and look for marketing and exposure to become a part of their total public brand construction, they are out-and-proud with everyone. Every one of these approaches is reasonable and understandable, none should be shamed by others, and they all should be understood and respected in terms of information, privacy (or publicity) and secrecy. No one should force, by their actions, anyone to move beyond their position on this privacy spectrum by sharing inappropriate information.

Personal boundaries.

I am unusually both public and private. My personal information is totally private and yet I want to explore my experiences and thoughts in this public blog and a social media presence – anonymously – choosing the name of a ‘semi-famous’ fictional character known for his anonymity. You can choose to respect that decision and privacy boundaries or you can try and force me into a different place – one choice is respectful and generous, the other is self-serving and vindictive.

Escorts that I see know more about me (of course) and they generally keep it to themselves, except for information they know I wouldn’t mind being shared – that is in my view the best model. Escorts for the most part are brilliant ‘Secret Keepers’. Since everyone is different, if you need or want to share information, make sure you know that it is acceptable, you know what the other person is comfortable with being shared and the manner in which you are sharing it. If you mean harm or even just a negligent lack-of-care in its sharing, then you are not doing the right thing. If you are sharing it based around your values alone and not their values, then again, you are out of line on this most important aspect of the escort industry.

A story of two people and secrecy.

I have seen a wonderful escort called Jessie Lee Pierce, although I prefer to call her Doctor Pierce (I guess I could take the M.A.S.H. connection further and use Hawkeye as a nickname – a reference for us older types). I can tell you this for four reasons. Firstly Jessie is a relatively open book, very authentic, open and honest in her public presentation on a range of social media and online channels. Secondly, it is public knowledge through these channels that she is studying bio-medicine – much smarter person than me. Thirdly, it is pretty clear through my social media and through hers that we have a small (but highly valued by me) client-escort connection. Finally, I asked her if I could say this, and kindly (and hopefully safe from any resulting negative impact), she said yes.

Every part of this is a trust and permission story. Not every escort wants (some, any or all of) the clients they see to be known. That choice should be respected, so my social media occasionally mentions some of the escorts that I see and not others (also not always on the same day or with correct or identifiable detail – be careful believing what you see and read on Twitter) – it is a result of their choice, permission and preference. The information itself is important, every piece of information has a different sensitivity. I have shared something Jessie is relatively comfortable with, not the things that we discuss in private. It is never OK in my opinion to share ‘outing’ information – real names or similarly sensitive information. If it is because of a crime or malicious act, share it with the right people not in public forums. Again in my opinion alone, there are some reasonable exceptions to this for escorts, however protected forums, industry groups, and back-channels, are probably better than public posts in the majority of cases. Although even in those ‘back-channels’, there are unscrupulous people who will take advantage of private information. I have been trolled with information that was from a channel that I am not even meant to know exists – so be very careful with what secrets you share.

How to be a secret keeper.

Everyone makes mistakes, especially since this is a complicated and huge area. It is hard for many of us to talk to people outside of the ‘isolated’ bubble of the sex-work industry, so we talk to each other, and we are all interested disciples of the industry, dependent on the knowledge we have for our safety, enjoyment, industry friendships and building intimacy.

Since personal information is one of the ‘tools-of-the-trade’, managing it is a big deal. We are all secret keepers. If you have been in contact with anyone for long enough, the sharing and trust circle gets bigger and bigger. There are some escorts that know more about the deep, real me, than almost anyone else in my life, this often leads to them trusting me with similarly deep, personal, emotional and sensitive insights. No matter what happens, no matter how upset in the moment we are, remember hurting someone else will not heal you. Let’s protect each other’s sensitive information, then we can be more intimate, safe and helpful to each other in a world that is loosing some of this respect and personal connection.

As I’m sure you agree, this is a big, big, topic. It has so many aspects and will no doubt be an area that I return to in future articles. I hope it made you think about your own perspective on this topic and I would be most pleased with any comments (here or on Twitter) that you have. Sharing and re-posting also very much appreciated.

Stay safe, stay nice and build connections. Thank you for reading.

Xx SP 25 April 2017 (Lest We Forget) (article updated 30 May 2017).