Last weekend, I saw this fascinating Austrian film called Paradise: Love. It follows a middle-aged woman who goes to Kenya to unwind and ends up paying for the services of young male gigolos. Watching this movie was the first time I’d ever really thought about women paying for sex. I’d heard the term “gigolo” of course, so I knew that it happened, but still. In my head, when I thought of paying for sex, I thought of men – particularly, either rich men who did it because they could, a la Chuck Bass, or guys who, for whatever reason, thought they were too off-putting to be sexually attractive to someone without having to exchange money for it. Obviously, however, men don’t have the monopoly on hiring sex workers for their own personal pleasure. Even the most basic Google search turns up plenty of hits about the increasing popularity of gigolos and the reasons women cite for hiring them.
According to this ABC report, some women see an arrangement with gigolos as the ultimate no-strings-attached fantasy come true. I mean, you hire a guy for a certain amount of time, and his job is basically to provide you with satisfaction, whatever that entails. Neither you or the gigolo are likely to form an emotional connection, so there’s virtually no chance of your relationship morphing into something more complicated. Also, hiring someone totally takes all of the luck and the uncertainty out of pursuing hookups the “organic” way.
When you go out to a bar, for example, no matter how on-point you look and feel, there’s always a chance that you won’t end hooking up with the hottie you’ve made eyes at all night. Furthermore, there’s also a certain level of sexual satisfaction guaranteed when you choose to sleep with someone whose job it is to pamper you (and probably has a ton of experience in this department). Moreover, I can’t neglect the fact that a lot of women just aren’t considered attractive – because of their weight, a disability, or any myriad of other reason – and if you’re consistently being rejected, and you’re tired of re-acquainting yourself with your Hitachi, then why not pursue paid avenues?
All that said, I personally can’t see myself ever paying for a gigolo. Even though I’m not a woman who has to beat men off with a stick (in fact, if my boyfriend and I ever break up, I truly cannot imagine anyone else taking any sustained interest in me – oh, the neuroses), I would be so uncomfortable with paying anyone to give me affection. I appreciate having the option of deluding myself into thinking a guy is attracted to me because of what I offer as a person. And, well, there’s definitely a part of me that considers the whole thing sketchball on a visceral level. There’s such a lack of transparency in regards to sex work, due to the legal ramifications in many places, so you never know if that Channing Tatum-esque guy for hire is being pimped out against his will and/or hardly saying any of the fruits of his labor. So there’s definitely an ethical argument to be made against the whole practice of buying sex. So…ultimately, I’m ambivalent, and kind of wishing the procurement of orgasms weren’t so fraught with meaning.
I’m curious, College Candy readers – what are your thoughts on gigolos/prostitutes/sex work in general!
[Lead image via Peter Bernik/Shutterstock]