Book Review: Paying for It: A Guide by Sex Workers for Their Clients

Time-wasters, wankers, and flakes are just a few of the non-violent, but nevertheless infuriating clientele that entertainers encounter on a regular basis. While some of these people are intentionally disrespectful of an entertainer’s time and priorities, many of them are merely oblivious. The stigma against entertainers and their clients can make the norms of polite interaction can get called into question.

What do you say to a pro-domme when you first meet? How do you get an escort to appreciate your company? If these questions sound familiar, Greta Christina’s Paying for It: A Guide by Sex Workers for Their Clients may be for you.

Paying for It is a collection of essays from all different kinds of sex workers offering advice and outlining a basic standard of protocol for interacting with them as a client. The essays span the sex worker spectrum, including advice from phone sex operators, escorts, fetish professionals, and more.

The introduction immediately deconstructs the dynamic between sex workers and their clients, addressing the inherent mistrust and hostility that stems from the stigmatization of sex work. Christina calls it “a relationship that is assumed to be adversarial by both sides,” calling out the assumption that the financial exchange serves as evidence that sex workers don’t care about their customers, and that “they hold their customers in contempt for being pathetic losers who have to pay for it.”

She quickly points out that sex work does not warrant that assumption any more than any other customer service position, arguing that paying a doctor or a car mechanic doesn’t usually lead to the assumption that they have disdain for those that they work with.

“I have been transformed by my clients because of their vulnerability and honesty: my life is richer because of them, and my heart is fuller. Vulnerability, honesty, integrity: they look different on each individual. But it is always a special thing.”

-Veronica Monet, “Some of the Best Clients,” Paying for It

Although being an entertainer is not always (or even often) regarded as a typical customer service position, there are elements of the job that parallel working in the service industry. While clients are not universally and immediately scorned, there are still clients who draw ire far and wide from the providers who have seen them. Like any customer service representative, every entertainer has a handful of horror stories about unpleasant clients. The obvious terrible client is a violent one, but the vast majority of annoying clients are utterly innocuous.

Although the book is about ten years old now, most of the advice is still extremely apt. Some of the Amazon reviews complain about the hygiene advice that came from most of the essayists, claiming that it was far too repetitive and obvious. I mean, who doesn’t know to shower, brush their teeth, and show up presentable? While it may seem like common sense, the redundant elements of the book in its entirety make the argument that maybe “common sense” is much less common than you’d assume.

“If you want enthusiasm, you need to give enthusiasm. Come on guys, don’t be a dead fuck! If you contribute nothing to the conversation, you aren’t going to get a quality experience.”

-Delicious Dawn, “Phone Sex Basics,” Paying for It

While Paying for It may not be a useful how-to guide for seasoned hobbyists, it is definitely worth the ten dollar investment for those who have limited experience with sex workers. Even if you’ve seen a few people, I would recommend giving it a read just to make sure that you aren’t doing anything egregious to alienate your favorite provider.

If you put it down thinking, “That was way too obvious,” then you are probably doing something right, and the people you are working with already think you are a fine, fine fellow.  I strongly encourage you to give it a read anyway; it is quick, painless, and entertaining.  You may find yourself surprised at what you learn from this diverse collection of seasoned sex veterans.  It could not only improve your provider experience, but your sensual experiences collectively.

Disclaimer: I bought this book myself and reviewed it because I wanted to! These are my true and honest opinions.

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