Here's my latest piece for Quick:
The complete interview follows below.
Pretty Woman: A Courtesan Tells It Plain
When Alexa (www.realprincessdiaries.com) joined my Facebook page, I didn’t know what to think. Under career, it read “modern courtesan/professional companion.” I had never known any sex workers and I had a million questions. Luckily, she was thrilled to oblige. Now living in San Francisco, this twenty-three year old Nashville, Tennessee native (who likes to call Fort Lauderdale, Florida her official home) was full of surprises. She is stunning, witty, and incredibly intelligent. Here’s Part One of our interview. Check back next week for Part Two.
How did you get started in the business?
I spent much of my undergraduate work focusing on women and prostitution and became familiar with the work of high-end escorts. I was working as a dancer to pay my way through undergrad and had planned to continue dancing when I moved to California. When I got here, though, I found that just about all of the strip clubs were basically fronts for prostitution. I figured if I was going to have to service customers like that in order to make money, I'd go into business for myself.
What services do you provide?
Basically, clients compensate me for the time I spend with them, regardless of what we do together.
I accompany clients to business and social functions, go on dates or travel with them, and, in many cases, act as a sexual partner. Within the sexual realm, I can be anything they'd like, from the typical "girlfriend experience" to what is commonly referred to as the "porn-star experience" (very aggressive, physical sex).
How do generally find clients?
I've been fortunate in that most of my clients come to me through word of mouth or referrals from other clients or acquaintances.
Are there certain things you will not do regardless of what someone will pay?
I won't do anything that leaves permanent marks or involves hitting me above the neck. I also won't do anything that involves tying me up or restraining me until I am very comfortable with a specific client. And there are some scenarios I won't participate in because they squick me out or violate my personal ethics.
What is the worst experience you've ever had?
Spending two hours with a client and being unable to get him off. For a professional sex worker, that is quite disconcerting the first time it happens.
What is the best experience you've ever had?
I get the most enjoyment out of watching a client's eyes light up when he gets to try something he's fantasized about, like porn scenarios that they are too shy to ask their wives or girlfriends to try. When I tell them yes, it’s like they won the lottery.
Does your family know what you do?
My parents do not know, but I have an older sister who does. I haven't told my parents, not because I am ashamed of what I do, but to protect them from the judgmental idiots who'll think less of them because their daughter is a "whore." My parents think I work for the apartment complex where I live and do computer work on a contract basis.
Do you have a significant other? Does he or she know?
I am in an open, long-distance relationship with another woman (I'm bisexual), who I have been involved with for over three years. She knows and, in fact, I sought her permission first. She was a bit hesitant initially, primarily because of her misconceptions about the job. Now that I've been doing it for some time, she's perfectly fine with it.
Do you have another job as well?
This is my only job. I am also a graduate student as well.
How long have you been doing this?
I started seeing clients professionally in June of 2008, so about one year.
How much longer do you think you'll continue doing this?
I have an exit strategy that calls for me to leave this line of work when I complete my graduate degree next summer. I am saving up the money I have earned and will be using it to start my own business when I return home.
What myths, if any, would you like to debunk for people about your profession?
That escorts are dumb women who can't find another line of work. Many women who work as escorts have degrees, including a substantial number with advanced degrees like PhDs and JDs). In fact, the better educated you are, the more you can make at this.
The higher paying clients want a companion who can talk intelligently, act professionally, and then behave act like a wanton slut when they get home.
There's also the myth that we're all drug addicts. But you can't do this and maintain control if you're strung out on drugs or alcohol, so most of us avoid that stuff like that plague.
What do you have to say to people who think you are being victimized or that you must have experienced some sort of sexual trauma in order to choose this profession?
I explain to them that not only was I not sexually abused, I grew up in what many would consider to be the perfect environment. I had a very loving, supportive family, made good grades, never got into trouble, and was never abused in any way. Sexual abuse is not a precursor to entering sex work.
Is there anything else you want people to know about you or your work?
Sex workers are human beings just like everyone else. We're not what we do any more than any other people are what they do, and we deserve to be treated with the same dignity and respect that every other person is afforded.