Hung

HUNG

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A chiseled, good looking man in his early 40s approaches the front door, hands in pockets, nervously looking around him. He rings the doorbell. A woman in her mid-30s, cutting a fine silhouette in a clingy Missoni dress with flowing tresses of red hair opens the door. With a seductive smirk on her face and a dirty look in her eye she leads him into the front room. He stands by the open fire, awkwardly shuffling about in his off- the-rack cheap suit. She takes a seat, looks him up and down in silence, and then sparks up a joint.

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“Do you mind if I smoke some pot? You want some?”

“No, maybe later”

“Do you mind if I do?”

“No, not at all”

“You seem a little nervous, are you alright?… Do you want to dance for me?”

“I don’t really dance…”

“What do you do then?”

“Um… You’re very pretty”

“Who told you to say that (bursts into laughter). Listen, I’m not a romantic, I think like a man. I want to cut the bullshit and get to the fucking. I just need to know your name so I know what to scream when you’re banging me”

“Richard”

“Richard, can I call you… Dick. I hear you’ve got a big one”

This is the first time Ray Drecker, leading character of HBO hit ‘Hung” – gets his first paid date as male escort

‘Richard’. Drecker is a skint divorcée and high school coach based in Detroit who puts his above average size appendage to work with the help of his car-crash-of-a-pimp Tanya, whom he met in a get rich quick class.

The ‘oldest trade’ is of course nothing new, but has been, to date, most visible in the domain of women selling to men. The use of the prostitute in our society is becoming an increasingly normalised behaviour – whilst the media still devotes raging front page coverage on the latest footballer to get caught with his pants down, for the average guy, visiting a prostitute is fast-becoming an acceptable quick stop off, to ‘get off’, on the way home from the pub after just another average night out with mates.

Although data is unreliable, a recent Home Office report suggest that there are now 876, 900 sex workers in the UK, and an estimated 2.4 million men are currently coughing up their dimes to use them. For the male sex worker, however, there are no statistics currently available. But they are out there, and women are using them – now more than ever. One just has to do a quick search on Google and bingo – there’s now a wealth of men on offer, a mere click away from net-a-porter.com. Although sexual equality is still in imbalance, the number of financially independent, successful women is growing – choosing to reject the traditional notions of not just motherhood and marriage, but the expected and accepted sexual behaviour that is driven into them by societal pressures from an early age. “Girls are still being brought up being told not to have sex with too many people, and that if you do, you are a slag, or a whore” states Dr Jacqueline Sanchez Taylor, Professor of Sociology at the University of Leicester. “The concept that women are passive is just untrue, especially when it comes to sex. For a woman to pay for sex gives them control – being able to tell someone what to do and be who they want to be, in the same way as men.”

Cultural indicators of changing trends in sexual behaviours emerge through the obvious mediums. Aside from the multi-billion dollar porn industry, Hollywood has spewed a number of prostitute-inspired movies, from the fairy tale hooker-comes-good Pretty Woman, through to the more gritty Monster, which boasted an Oscar-winning performance by Charlize Theron. But, despite the latter being based on a true story, both women are portrayed as cheap slapper / crazed man-hater, neither of which are deemed particularly credible insights into the world of sex work. But of course there was American Gigolo from 1980, where Richard Gere’s character Julian ‘whose business is pleasure’ earns a lucrative living by servicing wealthy older ladies in and around LA. It’s taken three decades for another male escort character to emerge on the screen, in the form of Hung’s Ray Drecker – the every-man next door who in hard times is taking control of his life with what he’s got, that every viewer, male and female, will end up rooting for, cocoa in hand, from their livings rooms around the globe. This brave new show, when juxtaposed with popular cultural smashes such as Sex And The City plainly underline that women want sex, and are willing to pay for it. But, despite these observational shifts, the discourse at street level that surrounds the issue is still taboo.

Manchester-based escort Simon was in his early 30s when he landed his first paying job, when a middle class primary school teacher from the suburbs of Manchester called in his services. He left, an hour later, with £150 cash in his back pocket. “She wasn’t that unattractive, so it could have been worse” he recalls, sitting in lobby of Manchester’s Hilton Hotel. Simon comfortably sits back on the leather sofa sipping a glass of Pinot Grigio, a fit, above average looking bloke in a grey shirt and blue jeans who could easily be mistaken for a regular 9-5 office worker, but with slightly disturbing sin-filled jet black eyes. Probably a few years past 40 than he would actually admit. ‘To be honest, I was probably more nervous than she was, but I was good at hiding it. We had a few drinks to break the ice, and I set the scene – y’know, tried to build some rapport – then it was purely a case of ‘suck it and see’.” Now, ten years on, he has established himself with a bulging little black book of clients and hasn’t looked back.

Rachel, a well-dressed lawyer in her late 40s, had been divorced for 12 months before she contacted Simon, whom she found by searching online. “I’m a professional so confidentiality is paramount” she whispers, sitting in a bustling cafe in central Manchester, her long dark hair tumbling over her tight pink shirt, tucked neatly into an expensive pair of black trousers. “I looked at a lot of agencies but didn’t want anyone who had their photo on the internet. I also wanted someone I could have an intelligent conversation with, which was why I was drawn to Simon. The first time we had sex we met in a hotel, I was terrified. I hadn’t had sex for years. I was unconfident about my body and was worried the sex might be sordid because I was paying for it. How wrong I was – it was genuinely amazing. I was the focus of someone’s attention without having to consider their needs, which was extremely seductive. I was able to have no-strings sex without the emotional baggage of a relationship. And trust me, Simon really knows his stuff, he satisfies me every time.”

40-year-old Sales Executive and mother-of-three, Hannah, also took the plunge with Simon, with no regrets. “I decided to contact a male escort after my eight year relationship broke down. After having kids sex and intimacy was non-existent. I needed my sexual prowess back” she says quietly on the phone, her children noisily playing with what sounds like saucepan lids in the background. Like Rachel, Hannah found him by searching online. ‘There are a lot of sites out there, it was so easy to find. I felt nervous, excited and naughty. Brought up as nice Catholic girl, we weren’t supposed to do things like this. I wrote the initial email and hovered over the ‘send’ button, then the adrenaline kicked in and I pressed it. Our first meeting was in a hotel and I remember sitting on the bed necking back a large vodka when there was a knock on the door. I wasn’t disappointed. There he was, a smart, handsome man. We chatted and he asked me what I liked, and didn’t like, and then he kissed me. Sex is very important to me – it’s invigorating and makes me feel attractive. The next day I had a real spring in my step, it’s amazing what a good session can do!”.

The cost of booking a male escort is no small change. The average going rate is between £100-150 per hour, £600 for overnight, so it’s no big surprise that the majority of women who indulge are of a certain professional bracket. “I have a stressful job and I work hard – paying for sex is a luxury” continues Rachel. “It’s just cost me £600 to get my car through its MOT, that’s three meetings with Simon. I’d far prefer to have spent it on him.”

Simon first got the idea to be an escort ten years ago after reading an article in lad’s mag about a used car salesmen in his mid-40s who’d got divorced and needed some extra cash. Coming from a working class background with no qualifications, this career path seemed like a no brainer. “I was splitting up from a long term partner and had no money” he confides. “When I first started out there wasn’t much around, so I got someone to build me a website and I had to work on getting the right image and putting myself out there”. After a slow start (“I didn’t get a job for the first 18 months”) the requests began to roll in, which has since not only funded his university degree, but several properties also. Simon believes that any man can be an escort, with the right guidance. After a decade of being in the business he has penned e-book ‘How To Be A Male Escort For Ladies’, which is the ultimate guide for wannabe gigolos everywhere. And all areas are covered – from how to get high ranking spots on Google and making the most of your physique, through to the art of etiquette; how to avoid getting caught by your girlfriend; and overcoming the ‘little pecker problem’.

But Simon isn’t the first escort to spill the beans. Andrew Rosetta, recent winner of the Escort of the Year category at the Erotic Awards, published his memoirs ‘Whatever She Wants’ last year, bagging a whopping advance of £82k, the movie rights of which have just been sold. “It’s an insight into 13 years of being an escort – the highs and lows” he explains on the phone, from his country abode in Sussex, still reeling in a sleepless haze from the birth of his first child. Andrew retired in November 2008 after he reached his goal to be “financially independent, forever”, meeting his wife at the same time. “I told her what I did on our first date, by that point I was sick and tired of hiding it. I was in the process of closing down the business and we had no mutual friends, so I took a chance. She was brilliant about it”.

Andrew’s book is bursting at the seams with tales that would make your mother blush. From his first ever job when he was booked by a married couple so the husband could watch (“I couldn’t get it up, it was so humiliating, did you know if you blush when you’re naked, you blush all over?”); the story of his favourite client who died of cancer (“towards the end, when she hired me for one last sexual experience we ended up praying for each other”); and the woman with cerebral palsy, who was in a wheelchair with leg braces attached above the knee. “we made the fact she was disabled part of the seduction: ‘can I take off your top, your bra, your legs?…'”.

There’s a growing demand of disabled people wishing to connect with escorts, strongly supported by the TLC Trust which helps ‘two stigmatised groups provide each other with triumph: sexually-deprived disabled people get laid, and sex workers gain a renewed pride in their work. “Many disabled people want to find a sex worker who knows what they’re doing to teach them all the erotic possibilities of their bodies” explains TLC founder Tuppy Owens. “Andrew is a wonderful person, and incredibly good-looking. I set up this lovely woman with him as she wanted pain-free sex. She had no money so he let her do his secretarial work in return”. Tuppy, a sexuality campaigner and writer, is currently calling for donations for the trust’s ‘escort fund’. “I know this poor bloke with Parkinsons, and he’s lost the strength to masturbate, I’d really like to send him a £100 to get a girl in.”

The key concern with sex and having multiple partners is of course one’s sexual health.

STDs are throbbing at an all-time high with the growth of new diagnoses in the UK having increased a whopping 40% in the last 10 years. “The general public are far less careful than escorts” says Andrew. “Escorts are extremely cautious, have condoms on them 24/7 and have regular check ups.” So is paying for sex, soon to be safer sex? “Well, I can’t answer that, but I can say that myself and the other escorts I know always have safe sex and go to the clinic every month” concurs Simon. “You’ve got less chance of contracting an STD with me than if you go out on the pull and pick someone up and being careless with a one night stand”.

Sex work gets a negative press, for those providing and those partaking – which is perpetually promoted by the media, religious groups and the police. Society is sent into moral panic which closes down honest and open debate and truthful insights into an industry which for the majority involved enables a path out of poverty and satisfies sexual needs, for women as well as men. Quite rightly, the biggest moral issues around the sex industry lie with trafficking. Although cases do exist, the UK’s biggest investigation of sex trafficking last year, by the UKHTC (United Kingdom Human Trafficking Centre), according to a Guardian investigation, failed to find a single person who had forced anybody into prostitution, and which also suggested ‘the scale of and nature of sex trafficking into the UK has been exaggerated by politicians and media’.

Politics, moral and ethical dilemmas aside, one thing is for certain: we like sex. No, we love sex. Industries have been built around it, procreation depends on it, and it’s a source of fun, escapism and pleasure for a variety of people, more so for women now than ever before.

“My advice to any woman who’s thought about booking an escort, is to give it a go!” giggles Rachel. “It’s a liberating experience and what have you got to lose? But my advice is choose carefully – you want a real professional who takes his role seriously and who has real understanding of the female psyche. It’s more than just sex. It’s mind- blowing!”

2 thoughts on “Hung

  1. Hey Lulu, Terrific very eye-opening and splendidly written. Thank you! Best, Claudine

    Am 28.07.2013 17:43 Uhr schrieb “Lulu Le Vay” unter :

    > lululevay posted: ” HUNG A chiseled, good looking man in his early 40s > approaches the front door, hands in pockets, nervously looking around him. He > rings the doorbell. A woman in her mid-30s, cutting a fine silhouette in a > clingy Missoni dress with flowing tresses of” >

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