Why I Wrote This Book

Any study of escorts in America that doesn’t include changes after 2014 is out of date.  When the internet became popular, it changed the mores of young people and increasingly changed the sex business in a series of  waves.  Prostitutes and sensual masseuses (“providers”) were able to advertise directly to potential clients and describe themselves as loving their work.  Children were seeing pornography at very young ages.  Popular singers, TV shows and other media showed sex and nudity regularly.  All this led to a higher acceptance of sex for a new generation.  For better or worse, this is the reality and we have to face it in order to understand, much less affect what is going on.

The mature public still perceives providers as tragic victims or morally corrupt, and police jail them for being paid for what others do for free.  I sought at first to raise the image of the sex worker so they wouldn’t suffer so much from the public’s misperception.  After interviewing providers,  it became clear that raising the perception would be, in part, a disservice.  Even those that liked their jobs and prospered, cautioned me that many sex workers are damaged by their profession.  It’s a very mixed picture and, according to sex workers, no one has written the truth of what sex work is really like today.  Opposite theories and different feminist goals seem to each bear some truth, depending on the individual.  Other books have had their agendas, and taken one side or another as gospel, missing the messy truth that the sex business and psychology of those involved is extremely complex.  Working with Dr. Christine Peterson, a practicing psychologist, professor and college dean, I explored what sex workers lives are really like by interviewing them by phone or email, and the effects on their clients as well.

Sex slavery is in the news so much I looked into it and found that the alleged prominence of sex slavery in America today is predicated on a very broad definition of sex slavery, which much of the press seems to accept uncritically.  It’s prevalence seems to be exaggerated.

The people I interviewed turned the tables on me, demanding that I examine my own motivations.  I helped a couple of people, who thanked me movingly, and gained a lot of insight into myself.  Dr. Peterson says she learned a great deal about humanity; how people can overcome seemingly impossible circumstances, and the near universal need for connections and a sense of being cared for.

The book is a compassionate, honest look at the lives and feelings of people in this world. I don’t deal with transsexuals or male prostitutes as I didn’t feel I could interview them as well.  It disproves a lot of myths, and points to a more loving future for all of us.

 

James Tugend

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