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Sex Buyer Study: A Sex Worker’s Response

My name is Perla and I am a licensed courtesan at Sheri’s Ranch. I have been a sex worker legally through the Nevada system for three years, and I have serviced a considerable number of male clients.

This month, a study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence comparing sex buyers with men who do not buy sex was heavily publicized. The study concluded that men who pay for prostitutes were more likely to commit acts of sexual violence.

While it is not my intention to criticize the research that lead to the study’s results (the Huffington Post did an excellent job of that), I would like to talk about my perception of sex buyers and explain why my personal experiences as a sex worker are in direct opposition to the study’s findings.

When I mention what I do for a living, I’m often surprised by the reactions I receive. How can you have sex with all of those strange men? Aren’t you afraid something horrible will happen to you? It still amazes me how conditioned many people are by the stereotypes surrounding sex workers and our clients. Often, the perception is that I must be disgusted by my clients, and that I endure this disgust because it’s “worth the money.” Also, with the perceived sexual assault around every corner, I must be risking my life day in and day out because I’m a reckless, uneducated, desperate whore.

Well, at the risk of disappointing those who buy into these stereotypes, I’m here to say that my clients are some of the most fascinating, wonderful, amazing, kind, and genuinely good people I have ever encountered. I tremendously enjoy spending time with them. I love my job and I have never felt that I have been in danger or in any way not in control of my situation while working.

How can you have sex with all of those strange men?

I will never forget a time when a gentleman came in to see me, standing 6’ 4” tall, built tough, dark hair slicked back with a scruffy beard that covered the sides of his face and large hands that felt rough to the touch. He was broad, deep-voiced, and had a very imposing appearance.

As I guided him to my bedroom, it became clear to me that this was about to be his first time having sex. He was completely unaware of what to expect or how he should act, not sure if there were any “rules” he needed to abide by or what limits I may have. In time, as we conversed at length and I tenderly comforted him, we developed a genuine, sincere connection. The view he had of me in the nude standing there in front of him as he sat on the edge of my bed with his hands on my hips gazing over each and every one of my curves with his big eyes just blew his mind. He was very warm with his words and very sweet with his compliments as we drifted into his first sexual experience. Many would probably be very intimidated, not aware that this giant was simply a gentle soul longing for a compassionate embrace from someone willing to take the time to understand him and his needs.

My beautiful giant is like many of the clients that I see regularly: people looking for an experience that they only trust a sex worker to give them. They may be adult virgins seeking an understanding person to take their virginity, a disabled individual who has difficulty finding a regular sexual partner, a couple looking for a sexually experienced third party to spice up their love life, or a fetishist embarrassed to share his peculiar desires with his loved ones. For these reasons, and many more, I have had clients visit me from around the world, and it continues to be a pleasure to spend time with all of them. In the years I have been a sex worker, I have never encountered a customer with an intention to do me harm.

Aren’t you afraid something horrible will happen to you?

Let’s be realistic. There are violent crimes committed against prostitutes. I’m not so naive as to believe that nothing negative ever happens to a percentage of women working in my profession, which is one reason I choose to practice sex work in a secure, legal establishment (another is that I don’t want to go to jail.) As a woman, I certainly feel that we should do everything we possibly can as a society to alleviate rape and violent crime against members of my sex.

However, those who are responsible for this recent study suggest that the sex work profession, by simply existing, attracts violent, sexually aggressive people. This conclusion is an insult to the men and women who visit not only me, but the hundreds of other working girls currently plying their trade in licensed brothels throughout Nevada. Nevada brothels service over 400,000 clients annually and have been operating legally for over forty years. If violence was so prevalent in this profession, wouldn’t we see more reports about such crimes occurring in Nevada over the last four decades?

I am not a victim. I am a woman who is doing the best she can to make her way in a difficult world. I’m proud of what I do and I’m appreciative that certain counties in Nevada allow me to practice sex work legally and without shame. My customers also deserve to visit me without shame or stigma. All this study really accomplishes is to label the vast majority of sex buyers as sexually deranged predators. I’m here to tell you that they are not.

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