real life

'My life as a male sex worker.'

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.

Mike describes it as “a fast, easy way to make money, from people who didn’t care that you had a peculiar resume.”

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.

“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.”

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.

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On his earnings:

While he quotes more for clients who seem “super sketchy,” he will give a blow job to his regular clients for USD$40 – $60 (about AUD$55-82).

“It depends on each individual client, but generally I’ll suck a c**k for anywhere from $40 (for repeat clients) to $100 (for people who seem super sketchy); Most guys get scared away at that number.”

For a “full service,” Mike says he charges more.

“I don’t mean to be blunt or rude– but yeah, there’s pretty much a “menu” of different acts, ranging from [USD$]80 to 300 for clients who I don’t know (ie: non-repeats). I’m willing to charge less for repeat clients, because I know they’re safe, in every sense of the word.”

On some of the strange requests he’s had:

Mike says he’s been asked to defecate and urinate on a guy for $500.

“He instructed me to quaff a [lot] of drinks,” he said. “I’m hella weirded out by this– but hey man, I’m a good actor, and $500 will cover me for the month, so I can’t complain too much.”

The client didn’t expect penetrative sex – just the urine and faeces – but he did, according to Mike, “fap like mad”.

“[T]he sound on the context would have made me giggle, if I weren’t concentrating on facilitating my bodily functions,” he explained.

All those old assumptions about what male sex work involves – based on old, dodgy movies – are not accurate at all.

On all his married clients:

Mike said the vast majority of his clients are aged 35 and above — and some of them are married.

“While not a huge majority, a majority of my clients are married men who want ‘discretion.’ There’s a surprising number of dudes who will pay to offer a blowjob, on the condition that everything is kept hush-hush.”

On his worst experience:

Mike recalls one awkward encounter when the client didn’t know — or pretended not to know — he was a sex worker.

“I had this guy respond who wanted a massage. Seems like a standard client, yeh? Only, this guy apparently wanted an actual massage. Never mind that I used phrases like “happy ending,” or that I posted on a sub-board that was cluttered with posts like ‘f*ck me sideways’ and ‘blowjobs for str8s’– this guy just wanted an actual massage,” Mike said.

“So when I tried to [give him a blow job], he kind of flipped out on me, kicked me out, and refused to pay.”

On running into clients outside of work:

“This has happened once or twice, but they didn’t seem to recognize me,” he says.

“The most awkward was in reverse, though; one of my… professors emailed me,” he recalled. “We started chatting, and as soon as I got his pic I recognized him, and started sending him spam so he’d dismiss me as another craigslist bot.The rest of the semester in that class was freaking weird.”

“(W)hile prostitution is not my preferred choice for income, it’s better than starving or being homeless,” he writes.

On whether he plans to stop:

He does eventually plan on stopping when he gets “a job with regular hours”.

“(W)hile prostitution is not my preferred choice for income, it’s better than starving or being homeless,” he writes.

*Not his real name.

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