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22 June 2012

Paying For It

Earlier this year I caught a few episodes of Showtime's Gigolos, a reality show about male prostitutes in Las Vegas. I was fascinated and repelled, and couldn't look away. I was really interested in the women who paid for sex. The women I saw on the first episode all seemed damaged to me. They had been cheated on, abandoned and had low self-esteem. Later on there were women who seemed to be in charge of their own sexuality in a positive way: they were busy working women who traveled and chose to pay for sex rather than have relationships with demands they didn't want.
I tried to imagine a circumstance in which I would pay for sex and couldn't. And then I thought about the various forms of emotional and relational currency exchanged in a relationship and realized that there is more payment that we might be comfortable acknowledging in many if not most relationships.
And I thought about my masseur, whom I'll call Rob. I have thought that there is some irony in that I pay him to touch my (naked) body. Surely I should/could be paid for access to my body. But I'm not and don't want to be a sex-worker. Now while there is something therapeutic about massage - I get deep tissue sports massage, usually after I've been to the gym - there is also a great deal of pleasure. And that pleasure is physical, sensual. Am I paying for it? Yes. But what is it? Is it sex?
What is sex? Sex, especially good sex is so much more than genital contact and/or penetration. Is what makes sex sex the intent to provide orgasm? If so, then I'm not paying for it after all. But what about when I haven't worked out? What is I just want to be touched? Am I paying for it after all?

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