Whether it’s an hour for a drink or the time of her life, an escort woman will offer more than just her body. She will also offer a different kind of pleasure – the kind that’s not always talked about but often felt. For some women, hiring a woman for sex is a regular part of their lives. Some may have had marriage and kids but found that sexual satisfaction has been missing from their lives. Others are single mothers and find dating difficult to fit in with their busy schedules. Still others have mental health issues or a partner who doesn’t support their sexual needs. For them, an escort might be the perfect way to meet those needs while keeping it safe, discreet and out of the public eye.
While research on escort women has focused on their work environment and the nature of their clientele, few studies have explored both the emotional experiences for service providers and how women represent themselves in advertising. This article uses semi-directed interviews with 16 escort women to examine their representations of themselves as beautiful and feminine, the skills they think are essential for their work performance, and how they feel about the sexual aspects of their jobs.
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Findings suggest that women who market their physical attractiveness, age and nude displays charge higher rates for sexual services than those who don’t. This is in line with research on mating domains where men prefer women whose features are associated with fecundity and youth, as well as their preference for short-term mating strategies that allow them to access sexually available females with minimal investment or commitment (Wade (2000)). This article was edited for length and appeared in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale December 9.