Male sex workers feature less prominently in our popular culture – but there’s no doubt that the usual misconceptions about sex work apply: That they are forced into it, that they don’t enjoy their work, that they are drug-addicted or that aren’t able to maintain romantic relationships.
A San Francisco-based sex worker has written candidly on a Reddit thread about his job – and his honest answers blow many of these misconceptions away.
Here are some of Mike’s* reflections on his work:
On how he started working in the sex industry:
When he was broke and unemployed at just 17, Mike posted on an online forum — and his job evolved from there.
“I started when I was short $100 for rent one month; I had something like three days to make up the difference, and thought: hey, what the f*ck, why not?’,” he wrote.
“An older guy responded, and I was a little leery, but he offered me some cash,” he said.
He soon realised “it was a fast, easy way to make money, from people who didn’t care that you had a peculiar resume.”
He’s since continued advertising his services online, and now relies on it as his only form of employment.
On whether he enjoys it:
Mike says he “sometimes” enjoys the role.
“I really like my regulars; they seem to be posting for companionship, more than anything else, and I like talking, so that helps,” he says.
“I don’t particularly mind getting other guys off, and if I can pay rent doing so, I don’t see what’s wrong with it.”
On his sexuality and private life:
Mike, who identifies as “bisexual, leaning towards heterosexuality,” says he is open to servicing women, but that every single one of his clients so far has been male.
He has a girlfriend, and they’re in an open relationship.
“I am in a polyamorous relationship with a wonderful, patient-as-f*ck woman,” he says. “While I can (and have had the opportunity to do so) have recreational sex without her, I don’t choose to do so.”
Mike, who is also transgender but not yet transitioning, says his girlfriend “isn’t strictly overjoyed about [the job], but she doesn’t mind”.
“Plus, sometimes I get really hot clients, and she likes to hear about what all went down with them,” he adds.
How often do you see clients?
“I can’t give you am average, largely because the work is not consistent,” he says.
“This week, I’ve had roughly two clients a day. Before that, I had one client over two months.”
On staying safe:
Mike tries to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases after each client.
“I get tested for STDs after every client… Usually ‘when I can get around to it’,” he says. “It’s not exactly the perfect solution, but it’s the best I can do at the moment.”
He’s never been physically assaulted, although he says he’s been “afraid” of some clients.
“There’ve been a handful of times where I’ve been afraid, and a few times where violence seemed imminent, but thus far I’ve never encountered violence from my clients,” he says.