An Open Letter to the Respectable Men Who Don’t Have My Back

Sex work is real work, even if my clients imagine otherwise

The Bad Courtesan
Human Parts
Published in
5 min readNov 16, 2018


Photo: Antonio Saba/Cultura/Getty Images

YYou know me in the light of afternoon, over wine or scotch in a midrange hotel. You know me in a luxury suite in a strange city, a diversion during a business trip. You know me as patient and gentle, coaxing stories from you with soft caresses and empathic, active listening. You know me as the woman who understands you. The sex kitten. The fantasy girl.

You moan as I unzip your pants, your cock stiffens at my ministrations. You feel pleasure in these moments with me; perhaps you discover some lost part of yourself. Perhaps you talk about your wife, how she doesn’t understand you, how the sex has evaporated from the lovely home you share with her; how you walk the halls aching for touch, for connection. Perhaps she remains a phantom unacknowledged between us.

I do not ask, but I am happy to listen if you feel the need to talk about her. I will never show jealousy because I do not feel it. I may enjoy your company, but I am not attached to you. I am, after all, a professional. I want to give you pleasure. I want to create an oasis in your otherwise chaotic life where you can let your guard down and let the vulnerable, shadow parts of you out to swim.

I have spent time and money learning the arts of pleasure. I know the pressure points to press to intensify your experience, to delay your orgasm, to make it more powerful when it does arrive. I have learned the art of coaching you through your sexual shame, and I handle your shadows with care and tenderness.

What you do not say, though your words drip with the implication, is that you are ashamed of what you do in these rooms with me and that you expect me to keep your secret.

I smile and offer thanks when you advise me on exit strategies, tell me to go back to school, to get a degree so that one day I may climb the ladder and become respectable like you; perhaps even marry a nice boy who will never know the things I once did with powerful men in dimly lit rooms for the crisp bills they left behind in envelopes.