Why Are Dominatrixes So Expensive? ProDomme Twitter Weighs In

Comments

1

If he's complaining about the price, he wouldn't have a good time anyway. Charge away ladies! But maybe can offer reward discounts or "punch" cards.

2

This might be a case where male doms would charge less, so why not try that? If he wants free he needs to try to find a girlfriend who will do it for free. But like most things in life, you get what you pay for.

4

Many of the pro Dommes focused on their expenses, but as a Dominant man who has engaged in non-sexual BDSM with women, I would focus on the work aspect of these sessions, including the intellectual effort that can go into make a fun scene for a submissive.

I have had women ask for very complex scenes, for instance a psychotherapy scene with very specific content and rules around our play, that required reading through long messages about what she did and did not want, as well as my intellectual effort thinking through how to lead her through this psycho-sexual interrogation. After 90 minute session in her hotel room, I came to the conclusion that I would have to get paid to do that for her or someone else outside a relationship.

Similarly, I enjoyed a fun flogging scene at a party with a new acquaintance. But quickly she expected to be able to come over to my apartment one a week for a long flogging scene and then a very intimate aftercare. Once or twice is fun, but doing this for someone you are not romantically and/or sexually involved (or attracted to) becomes work very quickly.

Guys like DOMINATE may complain, and deserve to be set straight, but submissive men outside a relationship seeking competent domination expect to pay. But even women who want you to digest long essays about their ideal scene expect to get dominated for free. And at bottom, good domination involves a lot of work, and work requires compensation.

5

Yes, $250/hour is expensive and for DOMINATE most dominatrices won't be worth that kind of money. But complaining about that fact is useless, they ask for those amounts "because they fucking can", and good for them. He should find one who is worth the price to him, enjoy her domination and forget about the others.

6

I wonder if professional male doms do charge less. Do they? I wouldn't know. Seems like you could find a guy for free to do just about anything, but if you want the same quality/safety/personal touch of the experience you'd still be paying quite a bit. As Sublime’s post indicates, it seems it would not be something a sub woman could rely on receiving regularly or at any consistent quality for free outside of a relationship even though they might find dom guys to give it a whirl once or twice right? My guess is that the difference is there are more dom men willing to enter into a relationship with sub women than there are the other way around, right? So a sub woman who wants this as a regular experience will have more luck finding a relationship to provide it for free, though that also means that it’s going to be a greater aspect of her overall life rather than just something she can step into from time to time outside of her own life. Men who seek ProDommes are often not looking for a relationship (many already have one) but rather a release from real life.

In any case, back to the question at hand…

Basically, Daddy explained it succinctly. The fascinating Twitter responses from people in the field explained it in specific regard to their own particulars. Since the question combines two of my favorite topics, I'd like to try my hand it explaining it pedantically.

So starting with Daddy’s supply and demand… Theoretically, if there is high demand for something in low supply, then it's going to cost more. And there are more qualities to demand than simply the number of consumers who’d like to have the experience, for example a small number might be willing to pay a whole lot because they want it so badly, some might want it specifically because it’s a luxury, etc, but let’s move on from all those specifics for now.

If the ProDommes were charging above the demand, then they would not find clients, hence Daddy's "because I fucking can". Since they do have clients who will pay this much, you can't start with the assumption that the price is too high. That would only make sense if we lived in a world in which there were ProDommes running about looking for clients which is the opposite of what's going on right?

So the better question isn't why the supply is so expensive but rather why the demand is higher than the supply in the first place. If this service is in higher demand than the supply currently meets, then theoretically more people will become ProDommes to meet that supply. And theoretically, as this happens, the price would settle at its natural price. That's the whole theory behind free markets.

7

Consider, then, that a bunch of people become ProDommes. There are two possibilities:

A) 

If the price is currently high because demand is so much greater than supply, then the price would go down if more people become Pro Dommes.

B) If, on the other hand, the price is already at the lowest price to make the endeavor worthwhile for the ProDommes themselves, then the baseline price would stay the same, only it would better meet the demand. 

Then there are other things to think about. Would a greater supply of Pro Dommes just create more tiers in this luxury service? Would many ProDommes offer cheaper services that are not of the same quality? Because, as RMF says, you get what you pay for- I'm pretty sure that if you can find someone who will spank you and order you around for 50 bucks, but that's not what you are looking for.

Alternately, could the costs of providing that service be consolidated in some way to make the supply more cheaply provided? Sex work, like anything else, can be mass produced (porn does it, so do topless bars, brothels/pimps, etc) and usually this results in individual sex workers making less money overall so that it’s better for the consumers but not the workers. But let the ethics aside.

Niche sex work that is personal by definition would be a lot harder to mass produce, but I have been to countries that have red light districts that offer niche sexual experiences en mass to clients, so why doesn't that happen here? My guess is that the answer is practical- legal / insurance / labor considerations.

So regardless of what might happen elsewhere or in theory, in reality you need to compare it to other work that is provided by independent contractors in our legal system.

The closest analogy I can think of is therapists. They almost never charge less than 100/hr for similar reasons (that's low end). The price goes way up if you want some a specialist either in practice or one who uses special (expensive) equipment to perform their job.

As the Tweets show, when you pay someone for one hours' worth of sex work, you are not just paying for that one hour. You are paying for all the labor (research, practice, getting dressed in a certain way, buying gear, setting up a space, considerations to you as a client) that the sex worker put into making that one hour possible for you to experience.

If this LW is asking himself this question about niche sex workers and not about professionals or skilled laborers, he might want to consider that his horniness is obscuring his thought process. We'd all like an easier and more steady supply of our sexual demands, buddy I hear you. But the way you handle that problem is by figuring out how you can deal with your sexual frustrations, not by asking why others aren't dealing with your sexual desires at less incentive for themselves.

8

Or as the old electricians story has it, "You aren't paying me $250 to flip a switch. You're paying me to know which switch to flip in the first place."

9

Honestly, OP does sound like an idjit. He deserves not spanking.

10

Rolling my eyes at the LW. I have no interest in that sort of play, but even I know that something like that is an exclusive, non-essential service and therefore more expensive, //just like any other type of exclusive, non-essential service//. You're paying for quality, professionalism, and the training it took for the person to reach that point. Pay for a cheap haircut and you get a cheap haircut. Pay for a cheap Dom and you might come away with (at least) a frustrating sexual experience or possibly even serious injuries.

11

The LW is correct in that most Dommes could probably make more money by lowering rates slightly, which is what you'd do if you ran a domming brothel - but for individual practitioners, they'd be chasing the bottom of the barrel customers rather than the best. I'd rather work 5 hours for $1000 than work 10 hours for $1750 - but that's just me. My goal is to work as little as possible as long as I can meet my wants/needs.

12

Interesting SA. We live in a capitalist society, there must be competitive priced Dommes out there. The true professions, sure, they charge more. Like some male sex workers here, they can charge big money. Supply and demand, also relevant.

13

I had a Plummer come to the house, unblock the toilet, a toy stuck down there. Charged $250, he included travel time. So you know. Look around and see what other professionals charge.

14

Plumber

15

I do like how Dommes can be compared to everything from plumbers and electricians to therapists. I never thought about what all these very different fields have in common, but it's true. Highly skilled work/labor is always going to cost more.

16

Everything mentioned by pros and commenters alike.
And yes, “because I can” should have appeared way sooner as Dadddy @ 3 rightfully points out.

With that in mind, EL’s@ 6, “If this service is in higher demand than the supply currently meets, then theoretically more people will become ProDommes to meet that supply” should not be viewed exclusively from an economic perspective. It is also about deviation from the norm, an interest in and willingness to engage in activities that often carry stigmas and potential repercussions.

17

Jesus fucking Christ, Dan, when did you turn into a Libertarian? Not everybody is living in a tank full of money. (Privilege, indeed.) How can the Average Joe fulfill his erotic needs without filing for bankruptcy? Of COURSE the average Joe and Jane needs to get his/her needs fulfilled within his/her budget. Why should dominants be available only for the upper class? Or have you forgotten what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck while still maintaining normal, human, kinky desires? Food for thought.

18

I love it when Dan runs these giggle letters. I know nothing about the dominatrix business. (I learn from reading the column.) I know a little about basic economics. The first thing that ran through my head was: Has this guy been talking to dominatrices who have been complaining about their lack of business? If so, I imagine they can figure out for themselves to lower their prices. But, but, they're NOT complaining about not having enough business.

The Walmart idea of lowering prices to rock bottom but making a profit on bulk sales works when you're selling products that everyone reasonably wants to buy, but for things with a specialty market, it doesn't apply. I and a lot of people wouldn't use a dominatrix's services if they were free. How would lowering prices bring in more business if most people don't want the product no matter what.

There's the old joke about the prostitute who lowers her price and says she'll do anything the client wants for $5/hour. Add a bit of wink wink here for all the amazing sex acts he can get. It takes only a moment for him to decide that for that price, what he really wants her to do is clean his house. I've also heard the joke with the sexes reversed. Point is that if a dominatrix lowered her prices enough, I'd hire her to cook, clean, maybe provide nursing care.

19

Other than finding the Twitter responses hilarious and cool...

I wonder if the ""tributes"" DOMINATE mentions are optional findom. The whole business presentation of a pro Dom would, I think, blur that line and call for a little common sense.

@17 TwitterEgg
"should dominants be available only for the upper class"

I never thought I'd find one of TwitterEgg's points interesting. It reminds me that some European countries subsidize sex worker use by disabled people. I recall comments after an article I learned this in outraged about taxpayers paying for other people to have sex lives. The attitude being that disabled people should be grateful that society doesn't just let them die and how dare they ask for a penny to make their lives worth living. Nice that there are countries, unlike the USA, where this isn't the consensus position.

But the responsibility for a country's citizens does not lay on the backs of people who provide services, it lays upon the backs of voters to elect leaders to make it so. To make it so that the economy works for the benefit of the people, not the other way around.

20

You can't hire a bagpiper to perform at a funeral or wedding for less than about $200. They have to dress up in a funny outfit, they have to practice their craft to meet the expectations of the audience, and they have to behave with the appropriate demeanor at these events. A dominatrix's performance is at least as demanding. $250 an hour sounds pretty reasonable!

21

Putting this into context, I have never hired a pro domme but other professionals I ahve hired recently include an employment lawyer at $400 an hour; clergy to preside over a funeral, $500 for 90 minute service, computer tech for $150 an hour. So yeah, pro dommes at $250 an hour sound like a bargain. When you need professional services do you really want the lowest bidder? Really?

22

Fichu @ 18
“How would lowering prices bring in more business if most people don't want the product no matter what.”

I think the idea is that since Dommes have such a devoted clientele they can attract them more often by lowering the price, maybe offer specials for newcomers and so on.

23

I was a client few times throughout my life as this was one of the very few venues where one could be accepted as a crossdresser/transwoman/nonbinarian/etc. It was also a way to map out limits and comfort zones, figuring out what I want and how to implement any of this with willing partner/s. Sex per se was not on the menu with the pros, and it is my understanding that this is usually the case.
I can certainly identify with them regarding the time and effort they put into a session. Having one with people you meet in person or online can be a production, let alone with a total stranger coming to your place..

Wondering if any of the pros reading this can comment about the possibly changing market conditions now that there’s supposedly more awareness and information can be easily accessed. Do they get more clientele as a result or losing it to curiosity and GGGness? Do they get more couples interested to learn how to do it at home?

24

Wow, SublimeAfterglow, I am impressed at the amount of time and effort you put into making someone else's dreams come true. I hope you get something more than gratitude out of it--though I hope these women are grateful.

@Dadddy: "Because I can"--brilliant: succinct, pithy, and true.

Bagpipers, plumbers, clergy, etc. What CAN'T a pro-Dom (or Domme) do?

@CMDWannabe: I hope you have found more places in which to be yourself since then.

25

Yup. Pro Dommes charge a lot so that entitled jerks like DOMINATE can't afford them.* If he wants domination without the cost (of supplies and emotional labour), he should try adjusting his attitude and finding a girlfriend who is dominant, or patiently encouraging a vanilla one, purchasing all the equipment and hiring dungeon space himself, then he may see that $250 is a reasonable price to satisfy his unusual desires on demand. These Dommes clearly would be charging less if they weren't getting any customers at $250/hour. "Because I can" is a good answer, but would not enlighten anyone as clueless as DOMINATE. Glad Twitter has given him a collective smack with the clue stick.

Not that there aren't wealthy entitled jerks -- it's logical that the wealthier the man, the more entitled he is likely to be. But at least the Domme has been fairly compensated for having to put up with him.

26

Sublime @4, agree. Regular domination even with someone you ARE sexually involved with is a lot of work. It's the time spent, it's the emotional labour, it's investing hours into activities that bring physical pleasure only to the other person, it's anticipating their desires and limits, it is work. If it is a partner, one may find oneself desperately desiring a vanilla quickie for a change. And you're correct that subs, once they find someone to fulfill their desires, often get greedy and request that you service them again and again and again, whether YOU'RE in the mood or not. The well of submission can be endless. For all these reasons, people who are willing to provide these services are more than entitled to charge over the odds.

EmmaLiz @6, credit where due: It was dominatrix Kalee D who answered the question "Why are dominatrixes so fucking expensive?" with "Because I fucking can."
Re your supply and demand analysis -- pro domming is harder to get into than vanilla sex work because of the initial outlay for equipment. In theory one could set up as a Domme with only a few whips and restraints -- which is already going to come to several hundred dollars -- or ask clients to bring their own, but her clients may well ask for something she doesn't have, which is going to result in a bad review and no repeat business. A pro Domme who offers sex services is often frowned upon, as well, which suggests further difficulty in moving laterally and bringing existing clients with you. In short, yes, the reason this work is priced high is scarcity and the barriers to entry into this field.

TwitterEgg @17, laughing. Not even health care is considered a human right in the US, and you're arguing that everyone is entitled to have even their kinkiest desires satisfied for cheap. Impoverished kinksters are indeed unfortunate, like impoverished people who like champagne and sports cars. Impoverished kinksters have access to free porn and Fetlife memberships, where they can seek to meet people with compatible kinks and form romantic or FWB relationships with them.

Curious @19: I interpreted the "tributes" as essentially being non-refundable deposits, see Maya Midnight's post. I have a sex worker friend who complains about the hours of work she puts in exchanging e-mails with prospective clients who then ghost her; the "tributes" seem a reasonable way for a pro Domme to get paid for this time, even if a session does not result from the exchange.

27

‘Because I fucking can.. and I’m worth it.’
What a hide to write to Dan about this.
Sexist twerp.

28

CMDwannabe-22-- Makes sense. Thanks.

29

I find the Dommes' economic rationales for their rates, especially Princess Kelley May's re the possible reverse price elasticity of an exclusive luxury good, on average better than that of the commenters.

I wouldn't want to have sex with someone who had just quibbled with my usage of 'non-essential,' in the manner of the LA-based Pro-Domme. 'Non-essential' in economic terms means non-basic, not something taken broadly as requisite to life like water, heating or clothing. She takes it to mean not essential psychologically, not high-stakes or intensely cathected as a fantasy, not something that might readily be swapped out for something else (eg something vanilla). All the other sex workers were working with an economic definition of 'non-essential'. Speaking personally, I'd want anyone about to have sex with me to be so into me, or just so up for the sex, that they overlooked (or just didn't see) what's irritating about me--to have the bandwidth, or tolerance, to put aside their testiness or habitual pride or feelings of righteousness. But I guess this is a fine line to tread for Dommes...? Many subs like being shown up and put in their place.... A lot of the expertise in Domming, I'm guessing, will have to do with knowing how to combine a high standard of professional solicitude with a realistic impersonation of personal indifference, even vindictiveness.

30

@18 "you're arguing that everyone is entitled to have even their kinkiest desires satisfied for cheap."

Wrong. Straw man argument.

I'm not even arguing anything, really. What I'm doing is expressing sympathy for people who are kinky and have no way to get their needs met. "Tough shit" is a reasonable response, but one that's surprising to hear coming from Dan.

31

@31 Upon further reflection, I can see why people would think I was saying that, but my intention was to provide food for thought, hence the last three words of my original comment.

I continue to take issue with everyone's dismissive attitude toward the original letter writter, who had a shitty attitude himself but was asking a legitimate question.

32

Twitter @30-@31, Dan doesn't say "tough shit." In fact Dan doesn't say anything, he merely turns the question over to pro Dommes, some of whom have given patient explanations, and some of whom have replied "tough shit." Something tells me DOMINATE would have received fewer "tough shit" responses if it were not, as you say, for their shitty attitude. I think they'd have received far more sympathy with a letter asking something like, "I have this unusual kink, I've been unable to find partners to indulge me and I can't afford a pro Domme, what can I do?" In other words, it's DOMINATE's attitude, not their needs (which they never actually expressed), that most of us are reacting to dismissively.

33

@32 It's possible I was being unfair to Dan and was projecting other people's attitudes onto him. It's fine for him to ask the opinions of other professionals. I'd like him to weigh in on this, too.

I disagree that people are reacting only to the LW's attitude, though of course that's part of it. It's the overall "Let them eat cake" attitude that surprises me.

Shouldn't somebody be expressing sympathy for the average Joe and Jane? I guess that's what I'm doing.

Sexual needs are different from material needs, by the way. Comparing it to wanting a Porsche or whatever is a bit odd.

34

@32 You're correct that he never details his specific needs but I don't think they would be relevant anyway.

For what it's worth, if BDSM were more widely accepted, that would change the market considerably, for better and for worse.

35

Twitter @33, oh, I have a lot of problems with capitalism. But "kinky people can't afford pro domination" is not where I'd start. In order to express sympathy for the average Joe and Jane, you have to express opposition to the entirety of capitalism, which is beyond the remit of this column. I think most people's take is that in a capitalist system, these Dommes are charging a fair price for services that require a lot of equipment, training and expertise, which carry risk of physical harm and legal consequences, and which they themselves may find psychologically challenging to provide. That's the reality that DOMINATE is missing with his waa-waa-why can't these hard working women work for cheap attitude.

36

@35 FWIW, I agree with every single word of this comment.

37

Twitter @36, wow! It's worth a lot. Hurrah for having a civil discussion online.

The only thing I'd add is, from the way the letter is phrased, it's not clear whether DOMINATE is in fact a cash-strapped kinkster. They might be, I dunno, a hard working sanitation officer who sees pro Dommes as raking in the cash and is upset by that particular injustice. If you read the letter in the voice of a working stiff who begrudges dominatrixes' high hourly rates, does the let-them-eat-cake reaction make more sense to you?

38

“ We live in a capitalist society, there must be competitive priced Dommes out there. ”

No doubt. We need a domm tax on big business, right now.

39

@23 CMDwannabe
"It was also a way to map out limits and comfort zones, figuring out what I want and how to implement any of this with willing partner/s."

Super smart!

@26 BiDanFan
""tributes""

Ah, cool. So it's basically a sexy name for services so a customer gets a service from the very name of the service.

@32 BiDanFan
Yes, and "tough shit" is exactly what they should say when (as I went on about @19) /they/ are asked to rectify inequalities that a whole society is responsible for. As I enjoyed seeing you articulate @35.

40

@38 Kshama Sawant’s whipping boy
"We need a domm tax on big business, right now."

Absolutely. Particularly since they make their money by domming us.

41

@ 38, 40
Trollism aside, we need to legalize sex work and other related services. It will be safer for all involved, generate tax money like all other businesses, and may even drive the price down.

42

Twitter Egg has raised a very interesting line of thought. Sexual needs are indeed needs. Do they need to be subsidized?

There are so many aspects to this. On one hand (pun intended, given what I'm going to talk about next), assuming the person has the ability to touch their own genitals, they can address those needs through masturbation. This might not be the most ideal solution, but it's what millions, probably hundreds of millions, of people have done from the beginning of time.

Then there are people who don't have the ability to masturbate. They still need some sort of sexual release.

Then there are those whose sexual needs are more unusual, or who can't satisfy those needs by themselves.

And there's the fact that humans need touch--non-sexual and sexual touch. Skin-to-skin contact. It's a real need.

But there are people in this world who aren't going to get that unless they pay for it. There are people who are too isolated, or too unpleasant, or too unattractive, or too difficult, or simply too outside the bounds of ordinary human behavior or appearance to be able to get human touch without buying it. And they need it.

Sex workers have needs, too. And they provide a valuable service which is denigrated and which is illegal--and for which they risk jail time and fines and the constant threat of abuse, assault, and robbery with no recourse. As others have pointed out, dominatrices have to invest in equipment, costumes, and some sort of training. The work can be physically or emotionally draining. They need to provide a space--which means they need to rent or buy one--to set up that equipment, to provide privacy for their clients. This isn't a job that just anyone can do or do on a whim. These people are professionals. They deserve payment commensurate with their specialized skill set. This is fair.

But not everyone can afford to buy companionship, or sex, or a provider of a specialized kink. And the more unusual or difficult the need is to fulfill, or the more the person has conditions that make it unlikely that they can get someone to fulfill those needs without payment, the greater the problem.

So it's at the intersection of "needs can't be fulfilled without paying for them" and "can't afford to purchase the fulfillment of those needs" that we address the issue of subsidized sex work.
We occasionally have that, in the form of sex surrogates, whose services are sometimes covered by insurance, but those are very rare, and most people don't qualify for the assistance.

If we agree that everyone is owed or deserves sexual release and human touch, what do we do for those individuals whose needs are not straightforward, which may include specialized equipment and trained practitioners, who simply can't meet their needs without the assistance of a professional, and who can't afford to pay such professionals?

It's an interesting question. Given that we don't do enough to ensure that everyone has a safe place to live, enough to eat, basic medical care, and education, it's hardly surprising that something as unacknowledged as sexual needs goes unaddressed. And it's not as much a priority as those needs for food and shelter are.

43

@25 of course, pro dommes will work for any asshole if they have money. Just look at our president.

44

@42 [and to a lesser extent BDF]: No, needs are not rights.

The thing about the Bill of Rights is that it defines what people can't do: they can't search your shit without a warrant from a judge; they can't punish you for speech that you haven't yet made; etc, etc.

Meeting sexual needs - or providing health care - are the opposite of "rights" as we understand them: They're mandates that someone will perform work for you; they demand someone provide you health care, or a home. The thing I think about when I see those proposals is: Will I provide this work, when called upon? I generally dislike asking some generic unknown person to make a sacrifice I would be unwilling to make myself.

45

@33 "Shouldn't somebody be expressing sympathy for the average Joe and Jane?"

Are you under the impression that most of us commenting here are not the average Joe and Jane? I can't afford healthcare much less the services of a professional sex worker (should I want to hire one). Some services are beyond the means of some people; that's life.

Also, let's not act like the average person is completely beyond access to getting their sexual needs met if they need to be dominated. There is Fetlife, there are munches, there are other groups and events. These things are out there. It's not "hire a pro or go without." If a person wants a certain experience, then yes, perhaps a pro might be the most suited, but it's not the only way for such a person to find gratification in that area.

46

@44: Exactly, Sportlandia: needs aren't rights.
My question is, should our society treat needs as rights? We currently do not (and I'm not speaking of sexual needs).

47

I love these women. I appreciate their being strong and unapologetic for who they are, what they do, and what they charge. And I feel more educated about what it takes to be a successful business owner in this area now.

48

"some European countries subsidize sex worker use"

Government funded dommes to abuse us?

Why not just go to the DMV like normal people?

49

Yeah fuck that. Once all people have child care, elder care, housing, health care, education, etc, then I'll start to worry that there are men out there who can't get their exact sexual fantasies played out the way they want.

Sex is available for free for most people. Some people can't seem to get it, and that sucks. But they are not entitled to other people's bodies. There are many ways to have an orgasm.

I happen to believe that a healthy sex life is necessary to good mental health. But so is a good diet, time outdoors, healthy relationships, a sense of purpose and belonging, engagement in meaningful activities, exercise, love, a feeling of safety, etc.

It's not a basic need. And it's not something that can be measured in quality/quantity to define it's need in the same way that food, housing, etc can be. Like, you don't fuck someone once a month and then say "My needs are provided for!" Is there some ministry of sexual distribution that is going to register everyone's "needs"? What about the diaper lover? What about the dude with the PVC fetish? What about the woman who wants candles and rose petals and wooing sweet nothings and foot massages?

Masturbate and fantasize and go online and work on your social skills and also deal with the fact that you are not ever going to have all your desires.

As for this "in Europe they do this", all I can find (albeit after a short googling) is that in the Netherlands the government gives money to disabled people and since sex work is legal (as it should be in the US as CMD points out) those disabled people are allowed to choose to use their funds to pay sex workers. They could also use them to go to the zoo or go eat sushi or buy their niece a balloon. And it's becoming a controversy because a lot of people are pissed off in the same way that Americans get mad when people use their food stamps to buy junk food.

If there are more programs actually subsidizing sex work directly or providing sex work for citizens, I'd like to read about them. Quick googling turns up nothing.

50

NoCuteName,

I agree that all of that is super important, but I also think it muddies the issue.

If disabled people (and people in general but since your post focused a lot on people who would need specialized care) had more autonomy in their lives- financially, physically, etc- then they could choose to spend their money in a way that directs care for their needs, whatever they might be.

If sex work were legal and destigmatized, then there would be more sex workers who could provide those services and even specialize in those aspects.

The problem is that we live in a society that does not provide for the baseline needs of individuals. Without a larger foundation of welfare, people are going to continue to not be able to provide for their own needs and desires. And without legalization of sex work, it's not going to become an industry that can provide for diverse or specialized needs/desires.

So it's wrong-headed in my opinion to talk about what the state should provide in terms of individualized special needs. We should think of it from the point of view of increasing everyone's own autonomy in their lives (to use a cliche, based on their own abilities and needs) and then once that framework is in place, people can choose how to spend their money accordingly.

For example, a lot of people are lonely. Are we going to say the government should provide companionship? It's a basic human need as well.

I start with the point of view that if you increase people's autonomy, they can provide for themselves. It's financial precarity and the breakdown of traditional structures of mutual aid that have left people with no way of doing that. It's not a matter of trying to individually supplement each need/desire that a human lacks, but rather with rebuilding that framework in a way that people have more ability to direct their own lives.

51

@EmmaLiz: I agree absolutely. I was simply following a thought.

52

Sex is not a given, that’s why god gave us a mind and hands.

53

@42 nocutename
Right on.
I think I've mentioned before that for decades I've done all kinds of advocacy on behalf of disabled people, and it's nice to see people in the country being thoughtful about this.

I agree with EL that specifically paying for sexual needs would be an odd approach, since the problem is that society doesn't only not pay for those, it doesn't pay for much of anything beyond (as I mentioned @19) protecting them from dying. Raise the total and people will in practice have discretionary funds to make choices with.

So sexual needs only bear mentioning as part of a wider discussion of quality-of-life concerns which call for providing people with more than mere subsistence.

And then there's the wider question of vast swathes of society whose mere subsistence is not even guaranteed. The accelerating mechanization of the last century and a half will at some point demand a basic living allowance if nothing else to provide consumers to a mostly-automated manufacturing machine. (I wish I could remember the interesting book I read a couple years ago on this topic.)

This of course rankles plenty of people. Conservatives, selfish, bitter, etc.

@49 EmmaLiz
"If there are more programs actually subsidizing sex work directly or providing sex work for citizens, I'd like to read about them."

It's been a few years since I read the article I mentioned; IIRC it was in the UK. In the article a mom was very grateful that her paralyzed son could make use of it.

@50 EmmaLiz
"For example, a lot of people are lonely. Are we going to say the government should provide companionship?"

I think there may already be limited programs in the US that provide some minimal companionship for elderly people confined to their homes. Maybe with their meals on wheels? I forget.

@50 LavaGirl
"Sex is not a given, that’s why god gave us a mind and hands."

Gave then to us, but not to everyone LG.

54

What curious?
You should try an estate Solicitor LW. Shop around, like with any commercial transaction. Do you go into fancy restaurants complaining about food prices? No, bet you don’t. And as the Dommes said thru their tweets, they don’t want more clients, because the work they do is so intense, for them. Being a Domme for the likes of you. Entitled men.

55

@54 LavaGirl
"What curious?"

You said @50 "gave us a mind and hands"; my @53 meant that not everyone has (much of) a mind or (much use of their) hands. It's relevant to the sub-thread some of us are engaged in WRT the needs of disabled people; I realize now you might not have been following that sub-thread, and I apologize for crossing the streams.

56

Mizz Liz - Your list of requirements for good mental health make me think both of Mr Darcy's list of requirements for an Accomplished Woman (which caused Miss Bennet, E to change her expression of astonishment from being due to his knowing only six accomplished women to being surprised that he knew any) and of Mrs Clay's sucking up to Sir Walter Elliot by running through the hazards to health attached to each of the professions and concluding that only those men not obliged to take up any profession could preserve their health and looks.

But I am curious, though, given the lengthy list, do you know anyone you'd consider to have good mental health?

57

Ms Cute - Well, if we recall the letter from the wife who okayed outsourcing her husband's kinks to a sex worker but then complained about the price, Mr Savage took a hard line with her about prioritizing the health of the marriage (which seemed a bit hard on Mrs, but one could see that Mr Savage seemed to consider the fulfillment of a partner's kink as on a par with a health need of similar expence, at least in relation to marital well-being). So where does that get us?

It does seem as if, given the more pressing concerns outlined by Mizz Liz with which I shall not disagree, this is, even if a legitimate concern, about as low priority as nonheterosexual concerns are to most straight left-of-centre voters, if memory serves that we tend to rank about ninth out of ten in priority surveys, while our enemies put us in the top three, hence our losing so often at the ballot box.

Now I'm thinking of Sandy's reflections on her double life, and problems which even millionaires couldn't solve, and I'm getting an idea for a sort of Brodie midquel. You'll recall Miss Brodie's and Sandy's playing golf when Miss Brodie asks if Sandy doesn't think Jenny has become insipid, and how that was a clever shot, as Sandy had been bored by Jenny for most of the previous few months. But we never are shown Jenny's actually boring Sandy. It might be fascinating to go into that properly.

58

Mr Curious - It was certainly chilling a few years back, directing a chess tournament in the cafeteria of an insurance company, to see that the cafeteria had become entirely automated, with self-scanning payment stations. Woe is we.

59

I love the way some clients think sex workers are desperate for work and that they’re in a position to haggle.

Last month I had two weeks off with food poisoning and then five days off while I refurbished my hall and dining room, and at the end of that 2.5 weeks I had 50+ messages (from different people) on my work phone, looking for appointments. And I’m a part-timer who only advertises on 2-3 sites, AND mostly vanilla stuff, so not as in-demand as someone who’s specifically a ProDomme.

I had a potential client bugging me yesterday about why I wouldn’t lower my prices by a third for him, because girls in Manchester only charge X amount. Normally I block straight away, but I was waiting to get my nails done and had already read the one magazine article that looked interesting, so I talked to him for about 40 minutes, hoping to understand why he thought I should lower my prices. I asked him to look at it from my perspective - I have more clients than I can physically handle, who pay full rate and don’t haggle. Why should I see you, who wants me to knock a third off my rate? What about you makes it worth lowering my prices? He said I should lower my rate because he really wanted me and couldn’t find another girl with (a particular physical feature) within 200 miles of him. I said, that’s a YOU reason, I’m asking what you think makes it worth it to ME? And all he could come up with was, Z minus 1/3 is better than nothing, isn’t it? If you lower your prices you get a new client! Somehow, despite the fact that he had to look almost to the other end of the country to find me and was willing to travel from Manchester to London (about a 4-hour drive each way), he thinks that if I turn him down I’ll just sit around watching mindless TV because I don’t have any work.

(Truth, when I don’t have work booked in the evenings I often lie around watching One Piece. But it’s a choice, dammit!)

He messaged me last night asking if I do outcalls, and I ignored it because I thought he was joking. An Uber from here to Manchester would be (at a conservative estimate) around £300 each way, plus waiting time, plus my hourly rate. Then he got pissy today because I didn’t reply.

He’s far from the first. Critical thinking skills appear to be...not strong, with a lot of potential clients.

60

@Sati: if you did an outcall, would you charge the client for the transportation cost?

61

I agree with most of what has been said so far (esp. since I am late to posting), but the only thing I would agree with is that there is an upcharging that happens with some sex workers: they won't talk on the phone because of law enforcement, which makes sense, but then there's no clue what is happening and for how much. Not everyone does this, but some do. LW should skip those and stick with a dominatrix with a set price for clearly defined sessions. Beyond that if he's got a problem then he should find a GF/BF who fits what he wants and he also better be GGG.

62

Yes curious, I see what you mean.
I wasn’t following that thread closely, so I see where my comment was inappropriate. A thought bubble. It was more a response to even thinking the state owes anyone sexual congress. Isn’t that what The Hand Maiden is about.
With people who have disabilities and can’t satisfy themselves, yes, this could be seen as necessary medical aid. We have disability insurance scheme going on here, govt distributes money to pay for support workers etc, not sure paying a sex worker would pass muster though. Great to hear some of Europe subsidises it.

63

Thanks for commenting Sati. By the sound of that guy and his persistent stupidity, you more than earn your money.

64

Since many people in the US, and the cancer is spreading over here to the UK now too, balk at the idea of contributing towards their neighbour's insulin, I doubt we would have many people willing to contribute towards their neighbour's adult baby fetish. Sex surrogates for the disabled are a different issue and I would hope people might be able to see this as a kindness, as therapeutic, which indeed it is.

Sati @59, thanks for sharing your story. I have heard similar howlers from my sex worker friends, which more than explain the higher hourly rates they have to charge to recoup all this wasted time.

65

This would also include danger money, LW. Dealing with some men, for sex workers, includes not really knowing which way the client might jump.
Here are these women, offering their intimate energies to satisfy a client’s wishes, your wishes LW, and all you can think is they’d get more clients if their prices was lower? Can’t you see how insulting your rational is. Show some respect for those who make themselves available to assist you with your kink and yes your part of this bargain is you pay cash, and the sum will be what the Domme says she is worth.

66

There are debates over whether professional codes of conduct should proscribe sexual relationships between carers and the severely disabled (both physically and mentally). These people are disabled to the degree that their autonomy is anyway restricted--for instance, in their being unable to breathe without mechanical assistance and needing a carer present at all times. Realistically, if these disabled people are going to have any person-to-person sexual experience, it's going to be either with their carer or with their carers in close proximity. In talking about increasing the autonomy of the disabled, including by taking society-wide measures boosting this, EmmaLiz is talking about most people, but not all people--and some of those not accounted for will have genuine sexual needs.

On balance and coarsely generalising, I would come down on the side of allowing these carer-charge relationships.

I think my utopia would have an 'NHS' offering rationed sex for all. And not just vanilla--kinky sex, too. But obviously there are so many basic goods that need to be delivered universally as more urgent priorities.

67

@60. nocute. And charge for the traveling time too?

68

Lava @65, indeed. How can it be better for the dominatrix to work 40 hours a week at $50 per hour than to work eight hours a week at $250 per hour? It's not fun -for her-, so surely it's better for her to work fewer hours at a higher rate. Sometimes "more clients" is the last thing one needs, just ask any accountant in April.

Harriet @67, yes, she should charge her standard hourly rate for the travel time. That's guaranteed to get rid of this cheapskate client.

69

Harriet @66, who's going to be providing all these sexual services in your utopia? I think my utopia would include a holodeck, so that everyone can enjoy all their fantasies without putting the responsibility for fulfilling them on anyone who doesn't want to.

69

@59 Sati
"I said, that’s a YOU reason, I’m asking what you think makes it worth it to ME?...Critical thinking skills appear to be...not strong"

You are very smart: may you have smarter clients.

@58 vennominon
Yes, exactly!
Self-checkout is again growing here in stores. Even though studies say it's slower and people don't like it. Though I wonder if acceptance is growing because younger people seem to prefer online to in-person social interaction.

70

Wait. How did BiDanFan and I just share a 69?

71

@12: That market segment doesn't significantly exist because it's displaced by free labor - play parties, kinky couples, etc. There are enough people who get off on being dominant, or who are willing to fake it for reciprocity from another submissive partner, that the lower end of the potential market is displaced by people being sexually dominant for fun rather than pay. This is exacerbated by risk - forget legal risk for a moment and just consider the perceived risk women face in sexual situations with men, which don't vanish just because the woman is putatively occupying a dominant role. The minimum hourly rate has to be enough for the worker to consider the task worth the risk it poses (add in that many people invest sexual behavior with a lot of social significance, so in general people's bar for doing sex work is pretty high - consider that Indecent Proposal is an actual movie that was actually made, with A-list actors, even), which is high enough for many people that most people don't do sex work, and some think sexual labor is invaluable and therefore should never be commodified (no price is high enough).

@TwitterEgg: The average Jan gets zir sexual needs met through reciprocal exchange of sexual labor, not by hiring a contractor. Your concern, as described (though it appears not as intended) is not for the average, relatively poor person but for a tiny sliver of people who are both poor and off-putting to those around them. And they have options, like getting better at social skills that they can then use to find people interested in being their sex partners for free/a mutual exchange of labor. (I suspect that another part of the problem is that the complainers are automatically discounting everyone they don't find "hot," per a very narrow range of possible human bodies; normatively attractive people will have more people competing for their limited time and sexual attention, whether that's paid time/attention or not.) People who want everything handed to them for cheap, with no other effort on their part, are just entitled assholes deserving of scorn.

@44: You're delineating what are formally known as positive and negative rights (using the same meaning of those words as the mathematical definition - positive means something is added, negative means something is removed; people get confused because the words have mutated to be used as synonyms for "good" and "bad"). Positive rights are an entitlement TO something - say, a right to food, housing, or medical care - while negative rights are an entitlement to be FREE OF something - say, police interference without cause or restrictions on speech in the public square.

Part of the reason that socialism is viewed as inherently authoritarian is that it is (this gets into TwitterEgg's discussion), because it guarantees positive rights in a way that more-inherently-libertarian social models do not, and those goods and services have to be provided by SOMEONE. The good news (for socialists who also hold liberal or libertarian ideals) is that the INHERENT degree of authoritarianism only depends on the NECESSARY amount of human labor to produce and deliver the goods and services guaranteed, which is pertty close to zero (averaged across a population) for many things we presently consider basic necessities (food, housing) with our present levels of automation. We actually have removed much of the human labor from a lot of sex work, thanks to cheap, near-infinite replication and distribution of pornography, and the state could cretainly guarantee access to porn (including niche porn). In-person sex work is a different story, because there's no way to automate it - the time, attention, and physical presence of another human person is a necessary component. So I expect that would be a bridge too far for many socialists, even those who do consider food and housing to be positive rights we should guarantee (I'm in this camp), and even those who also think sexual contact is closer to a need than a want (I'm not in this camp).

As you (Sporty) note, the US constitution mostly guarantees negative rights (positive rights include citizenship for all people born or naturalized in the US, the selection of representatives to govern by citizen voting, and equal protection of the laws of the USA), though that's an accident of history rather than something inherent to the concept of legal/natural rights, and other countries do guarantee more and different positive rights than we do.

72

@ Curious2 69 -- video or it didn't happen!

73

@69. Bi. Yes--on reflection, we as a society are more likely to invent plugged-in VR than we are to deliver basic goods universally as a new kind of social settlement--a New New Deal. The problem with people's unaffordable kinks is maybe just of technology lagging our imaginations.

The more serious point--though it's a bit otiose to make it--is that the therapeutic provision of sex work through state healthcare systems would destigmatise sex workers. No one looks askance at the people who worked for the British and US TeachFirst programs, or who played pro sports in their 20s--as they most certainly do at 'hookers', 'escorts' etc. emerging from their 20s.

74

Curious2, I am honoured to share a 69 with you!

John @71 re TwitterEgg, I agree with your point but you seem to be addressing the incel argument rather than Twitter's argument. In Twitter's question the average Jan is not unappealing, they have niche kinks which even an attractive person would find it difficult to find partners to engage in. Average Jans can find average sex for free; kinky Jans are less well positioned. One of many reasons pro domination has a higher price tag than paid blowjobs. A non-ugly Jan can find someone to give them blowjobs, but 99 out of 100 of these willing blowjob givers won't change Jan's diapers.

Harriet @73, see John's post @71: "In general people's bar for doing sex work is pretty high ... high enough for many people that most people don't do sex work." This bar may be lowered if sex work were destigmatised, but even so, the overwhelming majority of people would prefer to be doing work that does not involve sex. So, saying that the government should ensure we can all be johns if we want, means that large numbers of people who are currently not doing sex work must be recruited. Given that it's not a popular choice, this would seem to necessarily involve exploitation of people who have few other choices -- for instance, people currently unemployed and on benefits. I agree sex work should be destigmatised, but I disagree that it should be encouraged.

75

@74 BIDanFan
I agree. While sex work should be destigmatized, and while Harriet may be right that healthcare system provision of sex work would serve to do so, sex workers shouldn't have to carry that water.

And I find it repulsive that people do sex work because they have no better option; choosing between death or abject poverty and sex work is not a real choice.

I'd like a world where everyone could have not just a holodeck, but sex with real people. Real people whose choice is not economically coerced. I'm skeptical that destigmatizing sex work would sufficiently increase the availability of sex workers. So as long as I'm wishing for what seems impossible, I'll go a step further and wish for a world where everyone can have sex with real people who want to have sex with them, instead of as a business transaction. But it sure seems like we're need a magic wand for that.

76

Maybe he could find a wealthy benefactor to set up a dominatrix-training academy that offers scholarships, thereby increasing the number of pro-dommes in the market and lowering prices.

Or he could get involved sex worker activism, because reducing legal/criminal issues for sex workers, and societal stigma, would reduce the risks and costs of engaging in sex work, which could both increase supply (due to more people willing to engage in it) and reduce their expenses and thereby their fees.

This is my advice for how to lower the price for his whip-boners.