“Escort, hooker, prostitute, whore – I don’t mind what you call me, that’s just semantics.” – Belle De Jour
I’ve been watching Secret Diary of a Call Girl lately. I’m totally in love with Billie Piper and thrilled the show was brought back for another season. I don’t want this post to go into all of the issues that surround sex work. I’m not arguing that I am any sort of sex work expert or that this show accurately depicts the lives of sex workers.
There is an episode in which Belle is with a client with whom the sex is mediocre and she’s fantasizing about it being someone else. One of the common remarks I’ve heard about why sex work must be so awful or should be outlawed is because the women couldn’t possibly be enjoying it. I don’t think all women in the profession enjoy the sex, but I’m sure some enjoy some of the sex. The character Belle claims that she enjoys much of it.
You do all kinds of things for work that you may not really like. And that happens in every profession. Even people who do work they love don’t love every minute of it. A teacher may love teaching and love their students, but there are still days when it sucks. And there are plenty of people in jobs they can’t stand because they have to earn an income somehow.
But that really isn’t the point of my post. That attitude assumes that women, outside of sex work, always enjoy sex. I don’t mean rape, date rape, grey rape, or doing their “wifely duty” or any other pseudo rape crap. (It’s all rape as far as I’m concerned.) I mean consensual sex which a woman doesn’t really enjoy.
Women have sex all the time when they don’t really want to for plenty of reasons, from the noble (we want to please our partner) to the ignoble (to get some sort of material possession.) I don’t think I know a woman who hasn’t, at some point, started having with a guy, become bored because the sex is mediocre (or worse, bad) and kept participating anyway. I’ve done it. I got off so you should get off too, even if it takes you forty-five fucking minutes. And men put out when they don’t always want to as well. I don’t think the guy I used to date who wasn’t much into morning sex was being raped every time we fucked before 9AM. I’d argue that men do it less, but that’s not the point of this post.
So while Belle is laying in bed, fantasizing about some other guy, I’m not thinking “Oh my gosh that’s so terrible,” I’m thinking ‘We’ve all been there.”
And at least she was getting paid for it.