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Dear John Letters: An Anthology of Stories from Hookers, Customers, and Assorted Sex Workers

Dear John Letters: An Anthology of Stories from Hookers, Customers, and Assorted Sex Workers | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it

Sex workers have become much more visible in politics and culture over the last couple of decades. Thanks to a surge of activism starting in the 1990s, memoirs and essays about sex work have become their own subgenre. Even in liberal circles, a lot of stigma still remains, but publicly admitting that you're an escort, stripper, or porn star is a lot more likely to be accepted as a valid choice.

 

But while the workers have been able to edge ever so slightly into the daylight, the clients have remained securely and silently in the shadows. With their new anthology, Johns, Marks, Tricks, and Chicken Hawks: Professionals and Clients Writing About Each Other,co-editors David Henry Sterry and R.J. Martin, Jr. are trying to shift the conversation to include both sides of the transaction. Sterry, and Martin will be reading at The Booksmith on Haight Street tonight along with several contributors. Sterry, who worked as a rent boy when he was 17, talked to us about sex, money, and how to be a good client.

 

SF Weekly: Why did you take the approach of doing a book about clients?

Well, the first book that we put together [Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys] was all sex workers. I just felt like it would be cool to see what people who are buying sex are thinking about it as opposed to people who are just selling it. People buy and sell sex for such different reasons, depending on who they are and what their circumstances are. People who are buying sex -- they're not heard from. It's this billion-dollar industry with no customers. So, I really wanted to find people who would write articulately about what the experience is like for them.

 

 

Who are some of the people you got to write for you?

I tried so hard to get so many people to write about buying sex, but it was very, very difficult. Much more difficult than I thought. Somehow, at this point in our culture, it's easier to say "I'm a prostitute," than "I'm a John." I have all these sort of liberal, arty friends, and none of them would write about it.

I found much more accessibility in the gay community. The only people I could get who were heterosexual wanted to use a fake name. There's only one person in the book who would use their real name when it came to buying sex. I posted stuff in hundreds and hundreds of places, and I have enormous networks of people. It was shockingly difficult to get people just to write about it, but then to get them to use their real names was almost impossible.

 

Of the people you got to write about buying sex, what did they have to say about their reasons and what they got from it?

It was interesting. There's a guy who calls himself a "captain of industry," who writes about having sex with a transgendered person and this guy has a high-powered job where he makes these very important life-and-death decisions. And he talks about how he wants someone else to be in charge of him. But he can't do it in his real life, so he pays this transgendered person to take control of him. I saw that myself when I worked, as well. ... People pay sex workers to give them stuff that they can't ask for from people they know.

 

And then there's Chester Brown, the cartoonist. There's the one guy who's really so out about paying for sex. He has such a different view than the rest of society does about this whole thing. I was talking to him, and I said, "A lot of men say 'I don't pay for sex, I pay so I can just walk away.'" And he said, "Well, I couldn't really walk away, I'm in a relationship with this woman. She's obviously not my girlfriend, and she does have sex with other men for money, but I'm in a long-term relationship with this woman that just happens to involve me paying money to her for sex." And he says that for him, he doesn't like the idea of having a traditional girlfriend, or a wife, or a partnership. ... The whole idea of domesticity kind of puts a damper on the sexual spark that was there.

 

When you were a sex worker, what were your feelings about your clients?

Well, I wanted to please them. I wanted to do well. I was 17, I was young, you know. The people that I worked for were a very high-end agency, and it was made very clear to me, "If you fuck this up, you're going to get hurt." So there was kind of a pressure from above to perform well.

But for myself, also, I wanted to please these people, these clients of mine. Some of them were really nice to me, and some of them were really mean to me. I'd say about 40 or 50 percent of them, these women who'd hire me didn't even really seem to want sex, which was so weird to me. Like, they just wanted to talk and be listened to. A lot of them wanted to talk about sex, but a lot of them just wanted to bitch and moan about their horrible husbands and their ungrateful children.

 

Some of them were just great. This one woman who was a yogini, she was so nice to me. She asked me "Would you like to take your clothes off?" Like, no one ever asked me that, as if I mattered. As if what I felt had any importance at all. But she did. That just made me like her so much.

 

What do the other sex workers have to say about their clients?

Oh, it's the whole realm, you know. The story that starts off the book is by this woman that I just love. Her name's Jessica, and she describes this relationship she had with this guy. He was just another guy, but they've known each other for a decade now, and he's helped her out. When she's in a terrible situation with no one to turn to, she can call this guy who started out as a client and now is almost like family to her.

 

So, that's on one end of the bell curve, and on the other, this woman was working the streets, and a guy picked her up and pretended to be a cop to try to get free sex out of her. But she called him on his shit: it's really a funny story. Clearly he's not a cop; he's clearly a thief and a bully, and someone who's trying to weasel sex out of her for free. So that's at the other end of the bell curve: people who are violent and abusive and have no respect for other human beings. Probably not much respect for themselves, either.

 

If someone was going to become a client, what would your advice be on how to be a good client?

My advice would be make sure you're with someone who is very comfortable doing what you want to do. Don't try to force someone to do something that they might not want. Be very respectful. Show up on time. Smell good -- that's very important. It may not seem that important, but smelling good is a very important thing when you want to become a good client.

 

Give them the money up front, as quick as possible. In an envelope. On the dresser. That's very, very important. And you know, a lot of clients, they agree on something and they keep wanting more stuff. "A little bit longer," "Oh, but you could do this, you could do that." I think that's very bad behavior from a client. If you want other things, arrange it beforehand, and if something comes up, you pay for it. People want stuff for free, and it really annoys me so much.

 

Try to, if you can, put yourself in the mindset of what needs this person has, and if you can satisfy any of those needs. Put yourself in the other person's stiletto heels, as it were.


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Are we ignoring the sexual needs of disabled people? - Telegraph

Are we ignoring the sexual needs of disabled people? - Telegraph | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
A new book sets out to educate care workers on the importance of sex to disabled men and women. But as a society, are we accepting of the sexual needs of the disabled man? Gareth May speaks to the book’s author to find out
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10 Weirdest, Most Fascinating Sex Stories of 2014

10 Weirdest, Most Fascinating Sex Stories of 2014 | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
Sex tips from a man with no penis? Open relationships reduce jealousy? Here are some of AlterNet's most interesting sex stories of 2014.
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Doctors Are Examining Your Genitals for No Reason

Doctors Are Examining Your Genitals for No Reason | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
When a girl becomes a woman, she is initiated into a bizarre and mysterious annual ritual. She takes off her clothes, sticks her arms through a backless medical gown, reclines on an examination table, and spreads her legs.
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Just Who Is A "Sex Worker" & Who Carries The Shame? Irv O. Neil & I Discuss

Just Who Is A "Sex Worker" & Who Carries The Shame? Irv O. Neil & I Discuss | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
“Erotica author Irv O. Neil and I continue our talk, this time traveling into the semantics and shame of sex work. Do you consider yourself, or erotica writers in general, to be sex workers? Why or ...”
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The Intimate Moments Between People And Their Sex Dolls

The Intimate Moments Between People And Their Sex Dolls | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
While, since its popularization in the 1990s, the phenomenon of sex dolls—life-sized and lifelike synthetic figures intended both as erotic objects and as stand-in companions—has been riddled with condemnation, Danish photojournalist Benita Marcussen seeks to shed these judgment
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Gracie Passette's curator insight, November 24, 2014 10:01 PM

See here for more on sex dolls (info & art).

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People Want to Know: Why Do We Watch the Dong?

People Want to Know: Why Do We Watch the Dong? | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
All the highbrow justification you need.
Craftypants Carol's insight:

cause it's about fucking time

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www.MyBeautifulSexLife.com

www.MyBeautifulSexLife.com | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to one of the best sex education websites in the history of the world: www.MyBeautifulSexLife.com. Designed for high school and college students—and terr...
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Are All Women Essentially Prostitutes?

Are All Women Essentially Prostitutes? | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
“A perspective from someone who knows what she’s talking about”
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Sean Pusol's curator insight, October 5, 2014 9:44 PM

I love this maybe extreme but defintiely true on a LOT OF AREAS 

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10 of the All-Time Greatest Masturbation Scenes in Literature

10 of the All-Time Greatest Masturbation Scenes in Literature | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
This week saw the release of Ben Lerner's 10:04, which, beside being a truly remarkable book, happens to feature a hilarious scene of masturbation. Despite the fact that it has been dubbed by some ...
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It’s Like Magic Mushrooms, Only More Graphic Sexually (Vintage German Porn)

It’s Like Magic Mushrooms, Only More Graphic Sexually (Vintage German Porn) | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
Usually, I don’t find there to be a language barrier in porn. But…Well, just watch this
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Reaction to race & beauty standards in the 1970s

Reaction to race & beauty standards in the 1970s | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
“Reaction to race & beauty standards in the 1970sdarksilenceinsuburbia:“ Jacob Holdt. American Pictures of african american oppression circa the...”
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Christy Mack's Assault Exposes Misogyny, Victim-Blaming, & Sex Worker Shaming

Christy Mack's Assault Exposes Misogyny, Victim-Blaming, & Sex Worker Shaming | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
By now you've probably heard about the brutal attack on sex worker Christy Mack alleged to be the work of her ex-boyfriend, Jon Paul Koppenhaver aka War Machine. The model and adult porn star relea...
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How I know squirting/female ejaculation is real (and not pee)

How I know squirting/female ejaculation is real (and not pee) | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
I've felt it, smelled it, and soaked towels with it, and many other people with vulvas also report: it's not urine. Take that, sketchy scientific studies.
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female ejaculation, and the problem with "average"

female ejaculation, and the problem with "average" | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
A fascinating study (Nature and Origin of “Squirting” in Female Sexuality) was just published on female ejaculation. It was the first such study I've seen that concluded that "squirting is essentia...
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‘Am I Normal?’: Hilariously dated sex education film on male puberty, 1979

‘Am I Normal?’: Hilariously dated sex education film on male puberty, 1979 | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
“‘Am I Normal?’: Hilariously dated sex education film on male puberty, 1979”
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Is The Clothed Female Naked Male Fetish Feminist?

Is The Clothed Female Naked Male Fetish Feminist? | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
Ever visited PornHub and spotted an incongruous image of a naked man surrounded by clothed women? Then you've stumbled upon the fetish of CFNM – Clothed Female, Naked Male.
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The Healing and Rejuvenation Magic in Sexual Arousal--Pamela Madsen | Good Vibes

Regular Good Vibrations blog contributor Pamela Madsen talks sexual healing through female arousal
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The Buying & Selling Of Used Panties Makes News Again

The Buying & Selling Of Used Panties Makes News Again | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
As we covered before, in Skanky Panties & The Business of Faux Fish Juices, there is money to be made in selling used panties online. That means lots of people are running panty scams too ~ as ...
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A guide to decoding shitty articles about the G-spot's existence

A guide to decoding shitty articles about the G-spot's existence | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
Look beyond the clickbaity headlines and lazy reporting. The latest "study" does not "prove" anything new about the G-spot. The G-spot is alive and well.

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Wasteland.com Publishes BDSM Book LETTING GO

Wasteland.com Publishes BDSM Book LETTING GO | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
Wasteland Studios has published LETTING GO, an erotic BDSM novel about pushing boundaries in the world of BDSM.
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‘Cycle Slut’ Barbra Streisand gets naughty in BDSM photoshoot, 1970

‘Cycle Slut’ Barbra Streisand gets naughty in BDSM photoshoot, 1970 | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it

Holy hell! I had no idea Babs had it in her! Barbra Streisand looks absolutely crazy-hot here in a series of photos from a photoshoot she did for the 1970 film The Owl and the Pussycat. I mean, just look at her!
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What everyone gets wrong about sex work

What everyone gets wrong about sex work | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
When talking about sex work, media and the public tend to focus on the "sex" rather than the "work."Melissa Gira Grant aims to change that conversation with her recent book
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Ritu Rana's curator insight, August 21, 2014 5:23 PM

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Why We Need More Erotic Photos Of Older Women (& Lots Of Other Awesome!)

Why We Need More Erotic Photos Of Older Women (& Lots Of Other Awesome!) | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
“Recently a blogger of note accused me of 'pandering to men'. Keep in mind that 'pander', to be precise, means to 'gratify or indulge (an immoral or distasteful desire, need, or habit of a person with such a desire).'...”
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Gracie Passette's curator insight, August 14, 2014 7:29 PM

Also worthy of reading because even blogging about sex makes you a sex worker...

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5 Reasons Being a Male Porn Star Is Less Fun Than It Looks

5 Reasons Being a Male Porn Star Is Less Fun Than It Looks | Love n Sex n Whatnot | Scoop.it
“Cracked sat down with Lance Hart, veteran porn star, pornographer, and all around porn-type guy, to get the lowdown on getting down for a camera. Here's what we learned.”
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Ritu Rana's curator insight, August 21, 2014 5:24 PM

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