Male escorting: What it takes to make it work

Male escorting: What it takes to make it work

A Male Escort’s Perspective

Guest blogger: David-SF, a male sex worker in the USA

Ten years ago, I scoffed at a book I was reading. I felt that most of it was very practiced and sort of generic and clinical. That book was titled, The Male Escort’s Handbook: Your Guide to Getting Rich the Hard Way. It’s now a bit dated, but it still contains loads of  useful information that can help someone getting into the business.

Let me start by telling you about myself. My name is David. I am a male escort based in the United States, though I travel the world for my work. I have been escorting a very long time. I took a few breaks over the years, but I have always been a sex worker for men. I have not explored sex with women as an escort. I am a gay man, and I only see men who engage with men. (Note from website: Another blog will discuss male escorting from the perspective of an escort who provides services to women).

Much about what I write will come from my experience in a place where selling sex is still against the law, so we call it “selling time.” You will notice that many escort sites also use the phrase, “selling time” between consenting adults. Given the stance on prostitution in USA, this is an important context to understand. The first thing I would recommend is for you to find out about the laws on sex work in your country or state (as laws vary).

I have been a sex worker for most of my adult life. When I was very young, I would read about street hustlers and I knew I wanted to sell sex for money. The truth is, I wanted to be wanted, loved, and objectified. I wanted validation and boy did I get it. Sex work was not always just a way to pay the rent. Years into this work, it became a way of life and a way of connecting with other men intimately.

So, everything I write is from my experience. I encourage anyone looking to enter this line of work to find and create your own experience. Sex work is very spirited and exciting, but it can also be exhausting, so take it easy, have fun, do your best, and help others along the way. There is a very long story to be told about my career as a male escort. However, I have been asked to stay focused on a few questions, as this is a blog to help people who may choose to enter this profession.

What do you need to know about male escorting today?
If you are considering this work, you will find out very quickly if it is right for you after your first few appointments. You might ask yourself the following: Do I feel good about what just took place? Am I repulsed by a certain type of body, an age or a client’s personality type? Was I dishonest or unkind in any way? Be honest with yourself and remember that only you can truly answer these questions.

Some important things to keep in mind
If you stay in this business you will encounter men who are older, obese, disabled, fearful, married or closeted, and all of them with a wide variety of needs and desires. It will be your job to find the good in them and make sure they see that.

Chemistry plays a huge part in connecting with various men. We are not all compatible. As a sex worker, some of the men you encounter will not be candidates for love-filled conventional relationships, so it is important for you to remember you are there for them. Trust me, you will discover your clients give far more to you than you give to them. However, that being said, not every escort is a fit for every client. That is perfectly OK. At any time you can end the appointment, be kind and move on. There is a lid for every pot; sometimes you may not be the right lid. Give your client the freedom to keep looking for the right person to meet his needs.

The best advice is to keep it simple at first and go slow. With time, you will develop confidence and a set of skills that will make you feel good about the work you do.

The money is wonderful. But more important than anything else, you will find you are doing something very special. There is a huge population of wonderful fun men out there who just want to have a great time. However, there is also a group of marginalized men who want and need to be touched, cared for and made to feel like they count. As a male sex worker, in some form or another, you will be the person who makes a difference in someone’s life. When you see that happening on a daily basis in your life, the reward will be obvious.

Etiquette: some do’s and don’ts
One of the things I try to do is to be kind to other escorts, especially the new guys. Humans can be competitive and sometimes can create divisive and unwarranted attacks on each other’s character. There will be times when other escorts, clients, or media outlets will try to downplay your viability or skills. This is especially true if you become sought after or popular.

No matter what, try to shine, despite anything anyone else may write or comment about you. Most importantly do not engage. Negativity or a reputation for pettiness can arise out of misunderstandings, envy or ego. You are better than that. Avoid online spats with one another. We need to give each other a break and help each other out. Besides, airing any grievances in public makes you look bad and creates a poor image.

Do not gossip unless it is flattering. Others in the industry will grow to respect you and your intentions if you don’t fall into the trap of gossiping about escorts or clients.

I often refer clients to other escorts when I am not able or available to see them. However, I do so only if I know for certain the escort is well reviewed or that they are professional and offer a good service to their clients.  The client appreciates that I respect him, and the other workers in my profession. Remember, we are contemporaries not competitors.

How do you become more than just another face on an escort site?
If you create a stage name, then you will have to create accounts for that name. I use “DAVID-SF” and I am known everywhere by that name. Taking ownership of your stage name (in a figurative sense) in the public media and all other sex and sex worker venues is very helpful. Use that name as much as possible.

Websites like Rentmen are worldwide, and in Europe there are sites like Planetromeo, Gaydar, and many more. A quick Google search of male escort websites in your area will help.

One thing I strongly recommend, if you jump into the business, is to Promote! Promote! Promote! Like any other business, do not be afraid to spend advertising money. You are in a position to make a good income. I say, make the most of it. Ask any small business owner what they spent their profit on in the first few years of business. Most will tell you they put all their extra money back into the business and especially into advertising. The same applies here: pay your bills; pay your rent; then buy better advertising space; and keep going. I would stick with the pay for play sites that get results. I am very dubious of free sites unless they are just starting out.

Build a website of your own and be sure to use it. Many websites like Rentmen allow you to put your own website in your ad. That is a vital trade off. Keep your site and pictures up to date. Try to avoid over-photoshopping your pictures. If you don’t feel you have the skills to develop your own website, hire someone to build one for you.

When it comes to monthly fee or donation based escort websites such as Rentmen etc., create a profile that describes all of your attributes, including pictures, biography and contact information. The more, the better. But be accurate. You can copy and paste most of your information from one escort site to another and use consistent information across all your media sites. Clients visit many websites, and you do not want them to think “no way” and scroll past you because they read conflicting or confusing information in your biography. Honesty is always the best policy. Feel free to copy the basic format of my website if you like it or adjust to suit your own style and personality.

I used wix.com to build my site, TheMaleAdventure.com, and godaddy.com for my escort site, David-sf.com. Both are pretty easy to navigate. You will discover heaps of creative ways to get your name and brand out there. For example, I post amateur videos on free video sites like Xtube or Gaytube or any free upload adult content site. These sites allow embedding the ability to post videos to your own website; you can find examples on the video section of my website David-SF.com. I get millions of views and contacts because I have offered a taste of who I am on video.

I have also used social media like Twitter, Facebook, and hook up apps like Scruff to show my profession without having to advertise. With these apps, you need to mind your words and make sure you are not promoting your business or doing direct soliciting for clients, because you can be banned for that. Always check the terms of service for each site.

Lastly, ask your regular clients politely if they enjoy your company, and if they might write a review for you. There are a few well known review sites, but none are as popular or more credible than daddysreviews.com. Reviews published from clients are important, and they go a long way to ensure your success.

Discretion
When it comes to clients, there is only one rule no matter what. Never, ever expose them or reveal any information outside of your agreed upon relationship. Discretion is very important to our business.

If you find yourself involved with a married man or a public figure, it is not your place to bring your definition of morality to your shared experience. Men who are torn about their current life situation need your acceptance and care more than ever. In the media, we have seen countless cases of men being exposed for their sex conduct outside of their public life. You are better served to keep your opinion and moral code out of it.

If you find yourself in a personal moral dilemma, end your time with that client politely and respectfully right away. Very, very, very seldom is there an exception to this.

What do you say when people ask about your job?
Everyone will have opinions about what you are doing, and there will always be those who think your work will impact your life in a negative way. A good rule of thumb is to stand firm in the position of being the arbiter of your own conduct. Do not let others dictate what might be best for you, especially if you feel strongly about your work ethic.

In my opinion there are only a few options, though some combination of them might work best for you.

You can be out, loud and proud about being a sex worker. Align yourself with the organizers of sex worker advocacy programs in your area. SWOP is one and there are others (see the resources below to find a world directory of such organisations). Find out which advocacy group fits your personal idea of sex work and lean on the members for resources and information about sex worker rights. If you go this route, you may feel free to show your face in photos and videos. Most escorts who show their faces tend to do well and are trusted by first time clients looking through profiles. If they can see your face, especially your eyes, they are more likely to contact you.

However, and for all sorts of reasons, many escorts cannot be so out. I suggest that those escorts try to be more personable with each client they meet and maintain a long-term repeat relationship. It often takes more effort to connect with clients if you are, for lack of a better term, “in hiding”.

What do I mean by “in hiding”? “In hiding” means you do not show your face in your ads. There are benefits to being in hiding. If you have any qualms about being stigmatized or harmed, then this might be the best route for you. Many escorts have various life situations that require this level of discretion. Most are still very successful.

The most important rule of all is to be you. Do not try to be something you are not. You can’t be an actor in the escort business. Save that for your porn career. You can maintain good boundaries, and in some circumstances, keeping parts of your personal life private is a wise policy.

Be honest about your likes and dislikes. It’s easier to say you are willing to explore than to say “OK, I am into it” and then have to fake it. There is a broad range of fetish likes and dislikes. Imagine being with a client in a highly sensitive role play scene that is his very personal sexual turn on. Your reaction can be healing or hurtful. Be caring and considerate, especially with kink and fetish clients.

You’ve got some money now, what should you do with it?
I believe common sense is your best friend here. Yes, you may work a week and make a large sum of money and it will be mostly in cash. If you do not track your earnings and manage them wisely, as with any profession, you will not feel good about your success. In the beginning I bought stuff like a kid in a candy store.

Thankfully, I also spent a great deal of time, energy, and especially money on promoting my business. I hired other escorts to film videos with me to post online so I could drive more business to my website and my escort profiles on Rentmen and other sites. I frequently boost my ads for premium advertisement placement on escort websites because I know that exposure equals income for the future.

I used to save all my cash in a hole in the wall in my tiny apartment. At one point I had thousands of dollars and no way to declare it for my taxes. Depending on where you live, not declaring income is a huge red flag and can land you in heaps of trouble. I began making deposits into my bank account on a regular basis and declared my income the best I could. Tax laws in every country are different, but being responsible is important.

I won’t say I keep perfect books (probably no one does) but I do my best with what I can. I know guys that log every penny made and take notes about every penny spent. There are apps or programs you can download to help you with your finances. I use Turbo-Tax and it is very automated. The one thing I do not do is make claims or deductions for crazy or uncommon things like travel expenses and clothes. While you want to be exciting and enticing as an escort, you want to be boring and forgettable as a tax payer.

Unless you are a brilliant tax person, I suggest sticking to your country’s tax codes and using a free or fee-based online service.

You make your living with your body, how do you take care of it?
I have no opinion about personal recreational drug use, but I caution you to be very mindful about how tempting it is to get high with clients (chem-sex or partying). My experience has shown me that there are far more long-term clients who do not partake in drug use than there are that do. I believe moderation is the key for most people.

I’ve been clean from all mind altering drugs for 11 years and that has given me a different perspective. These days, I take time for myself. I go out and play. I spend lots of time with my dogs and my partners just hanging out. I scuba dive, free dive, dance at clubs and, yes, I have sex with others for myself.

I have to take care of myself. I give 100% in my work. Naturally, I want to give 100% to my personal life, too. So, I get out there and enjoy life. I feel it is also important to note that free time is not just “me” time. Sometimes, that free time means doing some volunteer work, helping a buddy move, or taking my sister out to dinner.

Many escorts will isolate themselves out of fear that their work stigmatizes them. You will be surprised to learn how accepting and loving people are to sex workers.

If you live in a country with free healthcare, be aware of your standard of care and make sure you engage a healthcare worker you can be honest with. This may not be your family doctor. If you want to remain anonymous and go to clinics that are able to serve you better, then do so.

You must get tested as often as possible. I suggest that after a week or two of hard work, you get yourself to the clinic and take the battery of STD tests. For regular citizens, it is suggested every 3 months. But you are not an everyday person. You may be in contact with numerous men in a week, so be wise and visit more regularly.

Be sure to inquire about PrEP, go to PrEPfacts.org to learn more.  Ask about condoms, and Z-Pacs. The more you have in your toolbox of prevention the better.  If anything comes to light, see a doctor right away.  Most of the STDs are easily treatable.  Stigma and shame are a deadly combination, don’t let it keep you in the dark.  You won’t be thought of poorly when you tell them the ‘bad news’.  As a matter of fact, people will generally appreciate your honesty and realize that you care not just about your pride and yourself but you care about them as well. Nine times out of ten, you will not lose the client over such issues and you will have created a stronger bond.

Play safe and use current methods of science that support safer sex. You might be surprised at the statistics around condom failure and the progress around HIV prevention. GET AND STAY INFORMED by credible sources that are backed by science not hysteria. Your friends do not know better than scientists all over the world who have spent decades in a lab trying to find a cure for life-threatening diseases.

There are lots of stigmatizing slogans and lots of opinions about sexually transmitted diseases. Don’t fall prey to those. Do your research, ask questions and be informed.

A few last thoughts…
Many of the greatest men in my life have helped me live a healthy, prosperous life; by and large, these men were clients. Some have become like family to me. I have met some of the most attractive men on the planet. I still have the best sex with men who are least likely to be seen on the runway in Milan.

I am human. I make mistakes. I can’t be the best at everything. I can kick a trash can over in a fit of rage just like anyone else. Fortunately, I have the capacity to forgive myself and others, and I can move forward and do what I love to do. Wherever the road leads, I feel I am constantly being rewarded with greater and greater challenges and more meaningful experiences.

Last year, I swam with a pod of humpback whales in Tonga for 7 days. I have bathed elephants in Thailand, hiked with gorillas in Rwanda, and I have just hung out with my friends at rock concerts. It all counts, and is all a direct result of the work I do as an escort.

My life as a male escort has been fulfilling and wonderful. It has also sometimes been painful and hurtful. But, all in all, I have figured out one very important thing.

Life is a gift. I have but one job to do every day and that is to do my best.

I hope I have been helpful in some small way by sharing with you what I have learned.

Resource Material
Below please find a list of published resources about male escorting that you may find useful. You can access the material by clicking on the link. Please remember to do your own research. A lot of material is now available about escorting. We list some books written by gay, bi and straight identifying escorts or writers that have interviewed male escorts. The important message is to search for the resources that are available. You may also want to consider attending workshops or training online programs on how to advertise, how to manage your finance, learning about the law and prostitution, self-care and wellness, and interpersonal communication skills.

Book recommendations
http://www.ebay.com.au/p/In-the-Company-of-Men-Inside-the-Lives-of-Male-Prostitutes-by-Christian-Grov-Michael-D-Smith/107694754?_trksid=p2047675.l2644
http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/T/bo13787979.html
http://www.booktopia.com.au/first-floor-room-16-maximo-kovak/prod9780957595309.html
http://www.worldcat.org/title/male-sex-work-a-business-doing-pleasure/oclc/164570712
http://harringtonparkpress.com/male-sex-work-and-society-2014/
https://www.amazon.ca/Male-Prostitution-Donald-West-J/dp/1560230223/191-0711935-5013512?ie=UTF8&*Version*=1&*entries*=0

Male escorting: brief comments & overview
http://www.villagevoice.com/news/the-queer-issue-the-rise-of-rentboys-6391321
http://www.queerty.com/male-sex-workers-reveal-the-truth-about-their-lives-and-clients-20141121
https://au.pinterest.com/murphyburnitt89/how-to-become-a-successful-male-escort-gay-or-stra/
http://blogs.biomedcentral.com/bmcseriesblog/2015/03/25/understanding-male-sex-industry/
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_escort
http://hook-online.com/

Business Tips
http://www.amazon.com/Business-Side-Escorting-II-Intelligently

Setting up your website and advertising
http://www.amazon.com/Escort-Profiles-Photographs-Men-Sell

Male escorting and women
http://www.straightmaleescort.net/literature/
http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/meet-the-man-revolutionizing-the-straight-male-escort-industry-969
http://m.dailylife.com.au/life-and-love/love-sex-and-relationships/the-women-who-hire-male-escorts-20140131-31wtv.html
http://thoughtcatalog.com/anonymous/2014/10/i-was-a-male-escort-for-6-months-this-is-my-story/

Male escorts in the media
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/24/rent-boys-male-escorts-prostitutes-hookers_n_4996212.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/male-sex-work-and-society_n_5766774.html?section=australia
http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/family-relationships-and-sex/world-of-male-sex-workers-explored-in-new-book-20141118-11ot6e.html

List of sex work organisations from around the world
http://www.bayswan.org/orgs.html

Health resources
http://prepfacts.org
http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/prep/
http://www.cdc.gov/std/healthcomm/fact_sheets.htm

Information about decriminalization of sex work and legal status around the world
https://rewire.news/article/2014/08/13/evidence-decriminalizing-sex-work-critical-public-health/
http://prostitution.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000772
https://www.amnesty.org/en/qa-policy-to-protect-the-human-rights-of-sex-workers/

Of Interest
https://www.salon.com/2016/07/02/every_day_were_hustling_why_we_love_hustlers_but_not_whores/

Male escort websites from around the world in an App
Males will soon be releasing this App, so please check the website.

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