Dear Dan: I’m a straight cis woman in my early 40s and a single mother. I have not dated or hooked up with anyone in years. While I miss dating, the biggest issue right now is that my sex drive is off the charts. While watching porn and masturbating once my child goes to sleep helps, I really want to get well and truly fucked by a guy who knows what he’s doing. I could likely go to a bar or on Tinder and find a man for a one-night stand, but I’m hesitant to do that. To add to my complicated backstory, I have a history of childhood sexual abuse and have had only two partners in my whole life, one of whom was abusive. My past sexual forays have not been particularly satisfying, in part due to my lack of experience and comfort indicating what I do/do not like, as well as some dissociation during the actual act. I keep thinking it would be easier to find a sex worker to “scratch the itch,” as presumably a male sex worker would be more open, sex-positive, and skilled. But I have no idea how I might go about it or what the procedure or etiquette is. And I am fearful that I could get arrested given the illegality of soliciting in my conservative southern state. Getting in trouble could have devastating effects on my life, and I would definitely lose my job. I am trying to weigh the pros and cons, but I feel out of my depth. Any advice for a gal who wants to get fucked but is not sure how to make that happen in a safe-ish space?
—Single Mom Absolutely Stupid Horny
Dear SMASH: “In the recent past, the answer would have been ‘Google,’” said John Oh, a Sydney-based male sex worker for women. “But in a post-SESTA/FOSTA world, that route is now unreliable — especially in the United States, where advertising on the web is far more difficult.”
SESTA/FOSTA — the “Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act/Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” — is a 2018 law that was crafted, backers said (backers lied), to fight sex trafficking. It made it a crime for web platforms to knowingly or unknowingly allow someone to post a sex ad. The law is so vague that platforms like Craigslist, Tumblr, and Facebook purged sexually explicit content in an effort to prevent sex workers from basically being online at all. SESTA/FOSTA’s backers claim they want to protect women — and only women — but in reality, pushing sex workers out of online spaces (where they could more effectively screen clients, share safety tips with each other, and organize politically) made sex work more dangerous, not less, and has led to more sex trafficking, not less.
But one platform — one much pilloried but still popular platform — is bucking the anti-sex-worker/anti-sexually-explicit-content trend.
“Twitter is still a (mostly) safe place for sex workers, and I have not heard of law enforcement using it to entrap potential clients,” said John. “So I believe that it is a reasonably safe place to anonymously research male sex workers. Many of us advertise there.”
Since no one knows how long Twitter will allow sex workers to use its platform, you might want to get started on that search now, SMASH. And while sex work is work, and it’s work many people freely choose to do, not everyone is good at their job. Since your experiences with unpaid sex weren’t that great, I asked John for some tips on increasing your odds of finding a skilled male sex worker.
“Sadly, in places where sex work is criminalized, it’s harder to find a suitable male sex worker,” said John, “especially for someone who needs extra special care due to trauma. I expect that for SMASH, traveling to a place where sex work is not criminalized would not be practical, but that might be an option for others.”
“If traveling to Australia, where John lives and where he’s been doing sex work for nine years (legally, as sex work is decriminalized in his state of New South Wales, and legalized in much of the rest of Australia), is unrealistic, John suggests chatting with sex workers in your area — but not, at least at first, the male ones.
“Her best option may be to talk to female sex workers on Twitter and ask them for a recommendation,” said John. “This has two benefits — the first is that female workers in her general area will have local knowledge. The second is that female workers are generally very careful about endorsing male workers. So if a few female workers suggest a male sex worker, there is a high likelihood that he will be safe, capable, and professional. But if SMASH goes this route, tipping the female workers who help her out would be polite — otherwise this would amount to asking for unpaid labor.”
You can find John Oh on Twitter @JohnOhOfSydney.
Dear Dan: An older guy at my gym tentatively inquired if he could ask me an “inappropriate question.” I told him he could. I’m straight, he’s pretty obviously gay, and I figured he was going to hit on me. Then he said the question was “sexual in nature” and was I sure it was OK? I said yes. He asked if he could buy the shoes I wear to the gym once they’re worn out. I know why someone would want my old shoes — he’s obviously masturbating with them — and that’s fine, everyone’s got their weird thing (myself included). Two quick questions: Isn’t what he did risky? (I could easily see some other guy reacting badly.) And how much should I charge?
—Smelling Nikes Entertains A Kinky Senior
Dear SNEAKS: It was definitely a risky ask, SNEAKS, but you’re probably not the first guy he’s approached. I imagine he has a hard-earned feel for who’s likely to react positively and who’s not (and a few canceled gym memberships along the way to show for it). And I’d say $20 would be fair. It’s not the full cost of replacing the shoes — he’s a shoe perv, not a fin sub — but it’s enough to be worth your while and it reflects the value of your old shoes. Not on the open market, but to him.
Dear Dan: A straight couple I know that “dabbles” in kink recently visited a famous leather/fetish/bondage store with deep ties to San Francisco’s gay community (Mr. S Leather, not that it’s important). They purchased some simple bondage implements that they could just have easily ordered online from any number of stores that aren’t institutions in the gay BDSM subculture. I don’t think straight people should be barging into spaces that aren’t theirs to purchase items that were not created for them. I am not gay myself, but I try to be a good ally, and part of being a good ally is holding other straight people accountable.
—Respect Queer Space
Dear RQS: You’ve got to be kidding me with this shit, RQS. Donald Trump banned trans people from the military, the Trump administration has made it legal for doctors and EMTs to refuse to treat queer people, they’re allowing federally funded adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples, and they just shut down promising research into a cure for HIV (much to the delight of religious conservatives, who have always and still want us dead). And heaping insult on injury, RQS, Donald Fucking Trump “celebrated” Pride Month with a tweet — and you’re not only worried about a straight couple buying a little gear in a gay leather/fetish/bondage shop but you’re coming to me with this shit expecting praise? If a couple of straight people wandering into a gay-owned business that’s legally obligated not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation — a law that protects queer people, too — is what you’re wasting your time on right now, RQS, with everything that’s going on, you’re a shit ally and a worse human being. Just to make sure it was OK with Mr. S, I shared your letter with general manager Jonathan Schroder, who said: “We are owned by gay men and very explicitly market to gay men. But everyone is welcome here. We’re happy there are straight people who feel comfortable shopping here.”
On the Lovecast, Mistress Matisse commands you to listen to the S&M show: savagelovecast.com.
Follow Dan on Twitter @fakedansavage