Antonia Crane has been doing a series of interviews with sex workers for The Rumpus. Now she’s trying to find johns (the customers of prostitutes and other sex workers) to share their stories. Here’s a bit of the first one:
The negative experiences were usually when I found myself in a situation where I felt I was doing something wrong, dangerous or exploitative. I think my situation is not uncommon, and I think most of us do not want to hurt anybody. Not wanting to participate in anything that’s harmful, that’s wrong, that’s cruel. But like a lot of other industries, both black-market ones like drugs or gambling and legit industries like food processing or farming, there are abuses. And so you go into it navigating through the abuses.
You’re in this for a connection. Physical—but also emotional. And a shadow of the dark side of sex work kind of hovers around in the background.
It’s like with drug use. You just smoke pot once in a while, and then one day you find yourself buying a little more weight, from a guy who’s got a gun in his car, and you realize there is this whole other big scary reality behind the little bit that you can see.
The Rumpus: Paying to Play: Interview with a John
See also: “Do-Me” Feminism and the Rise of Raunch