The Date

We tidied up the house and put fresh sheets on the bed. Then we bought a couple of bottles of finer wine than we typically drink. Next we took a lengthy nap. It was going to be a long evening and we wanted to be fresh and energetic for it. James and I were getting ready to have a date with our regular “pro” gal-pal, Tamara and her colleague, Bebe. This was how my partner said he wanted to celebrate his birthday, and who was I to deny him?

It’s been less than five years since we opened up our relationship. We’d been together a long time and had worked through a lot. In fact, we were at one of our happiest points. It wasn’t that we were bored or looking to fill something that was missing — we were solidly in love and enjoyed great sex and wondered what it would be like to expand the possibilities. As a point of reference, it’s my personal opinion that this is the only way you should open up an existing, previously monogamous relationship. Anything else is just asking for trouble. It’s hard enough to shift gears, or even to do the non-monogamy thing right from the get go, when we’ve all been raised in a highly monogamy-oriented world. One relationship is a lot to keep healthy and vibrant — more than one takes larger bandwidth and more communication and more self-reflection. Not everyone who decides to enter into “the lifestyle” makes the effort to do the necessaries to really be truly ethical or to get to know themselves. And this is the reason that, for the most part, we now play with professionals. There’s no lying, no games, no miscommunicated expectations. Everyone knows the parameters and sticks with them. It works for us really well, especially since we were fortunate enough to find Tamara. She may be an escort, but we genuinely like her and care about her, as more than a sex partner, and she genuinely likes and cares about us too.

The only thing less socially acceptable than non-monogamy in this culture (despite all the cheating and divorce) is hired sex, and yet we’ve found it to be a really positive and satisfying experience — at least with the women we’ve been with. Male escorts who see couples are a pretty rare thing, and we’ve had somewhat mixed results with the few we’ve found, but the women we’ve seen over the years have always been what we were hoping for. They are across the board, confident, intelligent, sensitive women, living life under their own terms. Until 5 years ago, I’d never been with a woman, but that mix of traits is something that I find highly attractive in anyone.

I’ve had the inevitable feminist discussions with friends who don’t know that we do this about the repercussions of the life of an escort but from what I’ve heard first-hand and what I’ve witnessed, I’ve concluded that if you are doing this for the money, you are going to erode your soul. If you happen to be someone for whom this is a form of empowerment and self-expression and you get a lot out of what you do (even if not every gig is ideal) then you are going to be fine. I don’t even need to speak to how awful this is if you are doing it against your will. I have no desire to subject anyone to any coercive act, be it sexual or not. I can’t think of anything that is less of a turn on, but if the people involved are genuinely also having a good time, then it’s just a big fun party, and that is what we had.

We’d booked Tamara and Bebe for 4 hours — it was a birthday celebration after all. We spent the first 30 minutes standing in the kitchen, sipping our wine and catching up with Tamara; getting to know Bebe. We dished about a male escort that we’d tried, who Tamara also knew, but who turned out to be a closet misogynist. We discovered this independently of each other because he’d been mocking women and defending Steve Wynn on social media, and we’d both cut him out of our lives at about the same time, unbeknownst to each other. We all shook our heads about what a dumb career move that was and how disappointing because in person he was really very engaging. Then we made our way to the bedroom. We prefer to get together at home, if we can. Hotel rooms can be more sterile and impersonal, and although this is a contractual arrangement, it’s still a very personal one in many ways.

If you are someone who is adventurous and eager for the opportunity to express openly who you really are, having a community to do that in is important and frankly, vital to sanity and authenticity. But as I said before, we’d had some bad experiences with “lifestyle” folks before and then about a year and a half ago we moved to another state. We haven’t ventured into the lifestyle community here yet, to see if they are any better than where we came from. We’ve been busy and stressed and going the escort route has been “safe” and drama free. At some point we’ll see who else is around here, but in the meanwhile, it’s so fun and freeing to just talk about whatever without any censorship whatsoever. These women we had over enjoy themselves; they enjoy what they do and we all laughed a lot! They were both on Twitter the next day talking about how much fun they’d had. Why are we fun? Because we treat them like real dates and not liked hirelings there to service us. We respect them and care about them and want them to have a great experience also. We don’t have a lot of hang-ups or rules and we aren’t jealous or possessive. I’ve learned the hard way that female escorts who see couples are always on the look out for whether the woman is actually cool with it or just pretending. I’m never pretending. If James is having fun then there is a good chance I’m having fun also, because he does the same for me. At this point, it looks like we’re mostly seeing women and mostly escorts, but this is working pretty well for us all around right now, despite social norms against it, so I think we’re going to go with what works until we are ready to try something new. Good advice for anyone, I’d say.

Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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