The Dos And Don'ts Of Reaching Out To A Sex Worker, As Told By Sex Workers

Hello! I'm Jessie Sage — a sex worker, adult performer, and writer who has been working in and covering the industry for the last six years. One of the most difficult parts of the job is walking clients through the process of buying our content/services, and this is in part because no one talks about how to be a good customer or client (few even admit that they are customers and clients)!

“I think when we are trying to get laid, especially if we are feeling a little insecure, we just really struggle to communicate,” says Georgie Wolf, an Australian-based independent escort and author of the bookThe Art of the Hook Up. “Most people have no idea how to have a conversation with sex workers; sex comes into the picture, and their brain shuts down.”

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And yet, communicating well is the only way to ensure that you will have the experience you want. Charlotte Shane, writer, escort, and author of Prostitute Laundry, says that good communication is important throughout the entire process, adding, “I have definitely cancelled because the person was so weird to communicate with.”

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So what would good communication with a sex worker look like — communication that would compel sex workers to respond to text messages and not cancel plans? Here are some pointers!

1.Behave professionally!

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What these “hey” messages convey is that you are not taking us seriously as professionals. While sex is typically confined to the private sphere — and is therefore more casual — hiring a sex worker is a business transaction that should be handled like any other transaction with a service provider. “If you are booking an escort, think about how you would book someone in any other sort of business; the same rules apply,” says Wolf. “If you were contacting a therapist or a hairdresser for an appointment, how would you talk to them?”

Sinnamon Love, sex worker, content creator, and founder of BIPOC AIC (an adult industry collective) stresses that this professionalism is important. She says, “One of the things I think is most problematic is the really casual hello that people will send via email. Sometimes I see people email as if they are texting. It is annoying to sex workers.”

Part of the reason that this is annoying to sex workers is that it doesn’t give us the information that we need to determine if we can work with you. It puts the burden on us to determine who you are and what you are looking for, information we should have before we respond to your message.

While a date with a sex worker often resembles any other date once you are on it, setting that date up can’t look like a conversation that you’d have on Tinder. “In online dating, you are trying to start a conversation, whereas in booking a sex worker you need to give very specific information,” explains Wolf.

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2.Give sex workers the info they need upfront!

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What information do sex workers need to feel safe and comfortable booking?

Shane shares Love’s annoyance. “The worst thing is that people will send messages that are totally worthless. No relevant info. Nothing about who they are, when they want to meet, how long they want to meet for,” she comments.

To get the process off the ground, we need to know who you are, where and when you’d like to meet, what sort of service you are looking for, and for how long. In other words, you need to schedule your service like you would schedule a teeth cleaning, a car repair, or a haircut.

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3.Do your research upfront, and have an idea of what you want.

"I want big dirty hot love" — conceptual image for sex, relationships, online dating and sex addiction

If you are emailing or texting a sex worker for the first time, this means that you have found their contact information on their website or ad. Along with that contact information, you will also find their rates and screening procedures. That is to say, you should have most of the information you need to understand the process.

“Many escorts have a web presence,” says Love. The problem, however, is that “clients don’t read ads; they don’t read our websites.” Just as sex workers don’t want to drag simple information out of you — like your name and when you want to meet — we also don’t want to waste a bunch of time spoon-feeding you information that is readily accessible.

Not knowing this information when you reach out also makes it clear that you haven’t put much time or energy into the interaction, which is not a great way to start an intimate encounter. A common mistake clients make, according to Wolf, is “not knowing where they would like to meet up or not knowing how much I charge; it shows that they haven’t looked at my ad.”

Moreover, we don’t want to discuss rates with you over text message. Love comments, “Clients have to remember that asking for sex for money is illegal. It doesn’t matter if you are using code words. It doesn’t matter if you are using acronyms. It doesn’t matter if you say you’re a virgin.”

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4.Don't send explicit messages right off the bat.

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While we need very specific information about where and when you want to meet, what we don’t want to have are explicit conversations about sex or money (particularly combined). While there is more leeway for this where Wolf works in Australia, the criminalization of sex work makes this dangerous in a US context. Wolf says, “I have talked to some US escorts, and they have said that if someone mentions sex in the first message there is no way they can see that person — it’s too dangerous.”

Shane recalls not responding to a potential client after he sent her a long message waxing poetic about his love of oral. “I can’t see you after you go on and on about eating pussy,” she says. “It is a legal issue for you too; you don’t want that in your email.”

Explicit messages also make us feel like you aren’t taking our safety seriously. Shane comments in frustration at some of the messages she’s received: “I get it — we are going to have sex. But is there no point at which you second-guess making this so explicit?”

Wolf agrees, adding, “There is no need to mention your dick. Escorts don’t care about the size of your dick.” She goes on, “What we want from a client is respect, professionalism, and good hygiene. You get a free pass on age, body size, work history, all the superficial things.”

Ultimately, one of the things that is nice about booking a sex worker is that it is a more straightforward interaction than dating is. It is a way to treat yourself to the pleasure and connection that you are looking for in your life, and sex workers are more than happy to help you have those experiences — it is our job to create them! But you can help us help you by following these simple guidelines. It will get you much further than a middle-of-the-night “You avail????”

What questions do you have about approaching sex workers in the best manner? Let us know in the comments.