David is telling me about his work. He speaks with an effusive, even reverent tone. He talks about having sex with men—for money.
“You have sex with men, you make love to men, sure,” he says. “But what you’re really doing is whatever it takes to make your clients feel like they count—that they’re human for that hour or that weekend. They are touchable. They are lovable.”
A male sex worker on and off since he was 17, David enjoys his work and now advocates for change and acceptance for his profession.
His latest effort has been a collaboration with John Scott and Victor Minichiello, sociologists who have launched a website, aboutmaleescorting.com, to accompany their book, “Male Sex Work and Society.” The website gathers together important resources for male sex workers and offers a platform for experienced male sex workers, like David, to share their insights.
The conversation about sex work has become frank in recent years as mankind’s oldest profession adapts to the digital era. Male sex workers find themselves navigating new terrain when approaching customers and building themselves into a brand.
“If you’re an independent sex worker, likely 95 percent of your work is not about sex,” says Maxime, laughing. “It’s calls, it’s networking, it’s publicity.”
Based in Montreal, Maxime is a male sex worker who services primarily straight and bisexual female clients.
He’s been a sex worker for five years; only after the first three could he do the work full time.
“It took me six months to get my first client,” he says. “Women are virtually unaware as a group that they can have an escort. Men already have that notion in their head because of our history, our culture. Women often need to know that there are other options for them.”
While Maxime and David differ in their clients, they share the same sense of erasure and stigma as male sex workers.
“Male sex workers, whether straight or gay, are not really talked about. They’re blocked from minds of most people,” Maxime says.
This leaves male sex workers with even more of a challenge when trying to access support from law enforcement or health care if an encounter turns dangerous.
“When we walk into a clinic or a police station, if we’ve been robbed or even rapped, we should feel comfortable saying, ‘I am a sex worker,’” David says. “We should be asked, ‘How can we help you?’ Not, ‘Well, what you’re doing was against the law.’”
That’s why the two men joined the website as guest bloggers—to lift the stigma surrounding male sex work and advocate for better support and decriminalization.
“The image people have of male sex workers is totally wrong,” Maxime says. “I’m providing a professional service for my clients. I chose this, and I enjoy it.”
Read more about how advocating for male sex workers at aboutmalesescorting.com.