When I first began working independently, I found it peculiar that clients asked which services I offered. To me, the answer is self-evident: sex workers offer intercourse. However, this is not what most clients want to know; instead, most clients want to know what extra services are offered in addition to intercourse. These extras could be more time and/or more services.
With respect to time, clients want an unrushed atmosphere as they do not want to visit sex workers who are “clock-watchers.” As many sex workers privately understand, some clients interpret non-clockwatching as an opportunity to garner free time without tipping. When clients overstay, sex workers have two options: remind the client that his time is up or wait until the client leaves of his own volition.
A friend of mine once opted for the former and told a client who was at double his time that it was time to go. In his review, he labeled her a clock-watcher by stating that he was only “a minute or two overtime” and was surprised because he didn’t think that she was “like that.” As a result, she took a fiscal hit for being unfairly labeled a clock-watcher. To this day, she never suggests that a client leave when his time is up.
The implication is clear: when sex workers suffer a fiscal penalty, they often shift their behavior.
In the sex industry, there is a perception that sex workers list their comfort level through clearly-stated restrictions and that clients make decisions about who to visit based upon that information. However, what happens when a sex worker loses a booking because a client’s deal-breaker service is not included?
Remember: many sex workers need money now; they do not have the luxury of waiting for the best clients. As such, how many bookings does a sex worker need to lose before she reconsiders her restrictions? And, if she reconsiders her restrictions as a consequence of lost bookings, then is it really a free choice?
Because review boards bestow arbitrary power upon clients to decide whether or not sex workers offer “good service”, many deal-breaker clients disparage sex workers who opt for safer sexual services by labeling them as restrictive and/or dispassionate about sex work. Some review boards, most notably The Erotic Review, rigged their ratings structure to pressure sex workers to engage in more services. Recently, The Erotic Review has again upped its review criteria to pressure sex workers to offer anal sex. The implication is clear: upping the criteria for services directly affects the service offerings of many sex workers.
In the sex industry, the effect of review boards cannot be overstated. First, many nascent sex workers learn about the industry by reading review boards. Oftentimes, they are socialized into their service offerings by reading client expectations. Second, many clients are socialized into what to expect from sex workers by reading client reviews. Remember, in review board culture, the overwhelming mentality is that more services mean a better sex worker. As such, review boards create a snowball effect. More sex workers offer higher-risk services and more clients demand them. Even sex workers who are not active on review boards are subject to the effects of review board culture because they change the expectations of many clients.
In the contemporary industry, sex workers are engaging in more services than ever before. Why? Are sex workers more liberal than they were in the past? No. The truth of the sex industry is that many sex workers offer higher-risk services because of the competitive pressure to secure a favorable review by fulfilling the expectations of clients.
So, to answer my original question: do sex workers work within their true comfort level? Some do; but, many others do not.
Perhaps, that is something that clients should reflect upon whenever they ask for deal-breaker services.