She touched me with the same familiarity that I touch myself.
In the early 2000s, I was studying in an area of Australia where prostitution is legal, and being a thrill-seeking twenty-something in a place I was relatively anonymous, my interest was piqued.
I’d always wondered what sex with a professional was like; however, the often violent, unclean, unsafe parameters in which America’s sex workers commonly operate dissuaded me from wanting to seek out an escort stateside. I take serious issue with knowingly perpetuating cycles of exploitation, so hiring a lover for an evening was always something I’d just fantasized about.
After a month researching local brothels and learning more about the testing and protection regulations under which Australian courtesans are covered, I decided to take the plunge.
Finding a decent bordello was as easy as a quick Google search, and I was blown away by the selection of high-end establishments open almost any time of day or night. The nicest ones were nothing like the sleazy backdoor brothels I’m used to seeing here in the States. Instead, they were lavish, modern facilities right in the middle of the city’s central business district, with a cocktail lounge to relax after guests checked in with the manager. These places made Nevada’s famed BunnyRanch look like a halfway house.
The brothel I chose was billed as the ‘best in the city’ and appeared to be the pinnacle of opulence. Optional room features varied from massive hot tubs, giant circular beds that vibrated, a wall-mounted harness for bondage play, and dozens of other bells and whistles designed to get your rocks off in the utmost of luxury.
Due to legal restrictions, I was unable to see photos of the employees beforehand — male or female — but each name came with a physical description and a brief character profile. Still, on a budget, I opted for a half-hour session during the early afternoon and nervously placed my call to set an appointment for the following day, giving specifics for the escort I wanted and a credit card number to reserve my spot. It was as easy as booking a dental exam.
The next day, I arrived early and nervously checked in with the hostess, who confirmed my appointment before sending me to the lounge. Because I was a first-time customer, the club welcomed me with a complimentary cocktail and had my date come join me in the bar for a little conversation before we got started.
I felt really weird about the idea of hiring a male escort, so instead, I opted for a Caucasian, brown-haired, college-educated woman a couple years older than I was.
So basically, I paid to get f*cked by Me With Photoshop.
In retrospect, this sounds embarrassingly narcissistic but at the time, I felt like choosing someone whose features I was familiar with would make me feel more comfortable in such a foreign situation. Whatever my motivation, it worked.
While my escort was gorgeous in an unaltered way, she was also intelligent, which immediately put me at ease. I’m whatever sexuality label involves being attracted to anyone as long as they can stimulate me mentally, so having someone who could meet my style of conversation without resorting to those terrible “sexy” clichés strippers and adult film stars always break out was automatically a turn-on.
As I’d discussed on the phone when I’d booked my appointment, she was slightly taller than me and she was toned with gentle curves and natural breasts. I don’t know if it was because my appointment was in the middle of a workday, but she wasn’t wearing a lot of makeup, just some powder, eyeliner, mascara, and gloss.
Even though I know her career requires her to appear interested in the client, she seemed genuinely curious as to why a young, moderately attractive single female like myself was opting to pay for sex when there was plenty of it out there for free.
Admittedly, she was probably just giving me the opportunity to say “Well, I’ve always wanted to try (insert crazy barely-legal socially-unacceptable fetish), but can’t get anyone on board” so she could know how to work this gig, but regardless, it was exactly the ego boost I needed to be rid myself of anxiety as I followed her up to her room.
Unlike hotels where the lobby is fabulous but the rooms look like prison cells, her boudoir was as chic as the lounge.I breathed a sigh of relief when I entered, having feared that the pictures on the website were fake and I’d be having my supposed fantasy encounter in a seedy windowless room with fluorescent lights. (The HORROR.)
Matter-of-factly, she explained that in Australia I was legally required to shower before she performed an inspection of my genitals before we could proceed. Thankfully, this announcement happened the moment my cocktail kicked in, so a quick scrub suddenly didn’t seem so bizarre and by the time she was giving my ladyparts a once-over, I was relaxed enough for it not to completely kill the mood.
After the all-clear, she got to work. Her smooth pacing never broke stride during the following half hour and she worked seamlessly from one position into another, gently introducing the few props we’d agreed on and continuously checking in every few minutes to make sure I was OK and that what she was doing felt alright.
I felt open to giving direction to her but frankly, she didn’t need much! She touched me with the same familiarity that I touch myself while also stimulating areas I either can’t access or hadn’t realized would heighten my pleasure until that moment.
More impressively, she never stopped moving or working, and when I finally climaxed, she kept her hands on me, massaging me gently until I’d calmed down.
At the risk of sounding like a stereotype, I was so enthralled with physical pleasure that I stopped thinking. All my worries and apprehensions vanished. My inner monologue silenced itself and I was completely swept up in the physical sensations.
It was legitimately incredible, which I might’ve yelled at her a couple times mid-orgasm despite myself. God only knows what else I blurted out in my ecstatic stupor.
When the timer chimed, the whole experience felt like it had somehow lasted all afternoon and just a few minutes. I was dizzy with euphoria as I struggled to move off the satin sheets and stand.
Cheerfully, she helped me back into my bra and onto my high heels and linked her arm through mine as we made our way back to the stairs. I tipped her $50, all the money I had in my purse. I still feel like I shortchanged her.
To this day, I’m not sure if what I had was a typical escort visit or if I happened upon something serendipitous and unique.
I understand how a lifestyle of visiting sex workers repeatedly would be easy to fall into. This was a beautiful woman who fulfilled all my carnal desires in a very short amount of time without asking for any sexual effort or emotional investment in return.
Of course, if I lived in an area where prostitution was legal, I don’t think I’d make hiring an escort a habit. For me, I’d easily become unfulfilled after a series of sexual encounters that were completely one-sided — not to mention my wallet could never support the habit. But I don’t regret trying it solely as a novelty treat to myself just once.
All this said, I’m not so naïve as to believe all high-class escorts enjoy their jobs, and I’m aware that there are still many who are working against their will, even in legal environments. At the time, I fully realized that the sex industry thrives on creating an illusion of enjoyment and voluntary participation but in the decade since my encounter, I’ve learned much, much more about human trafficking’s scary ability to circumnavigate protective legislative restrictions.
While I don’t regret visiting an escort from a sexual morality standpoint, I still worry my ignorance allowed me to be part of a transaction that was not as consensual as it appeared in that opulent brothel. The name she used at her job wasn’t real — there’s always the chance her comfort and volition weren’t either.
Truthfully, this is something I struggle to mentally reconcile even today and is the sole reason I would hesitate to book a visit to a legal brothel ever again.
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Alex is a lover of wine, small animals, sweet, sweet love-making, and a writer for YourTango writer.