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Paris Lees

Dear Slut-Shaming Haters, I Really Don't Need an Excuse to Suck Dick

Many sex workers are adults making their own choices – just like I was.

by Paris Lees
12 February 2014, 10:00am

Last week, I wrote about fucking guys for money and some of you were really uptight about it. This week, I just want to say I couldn’t give a fuck about your pointless sexual taboos. I was tempted to suck it up at first but then I remembered I don’t swallow unless I, like, really like you. So excuse me while I spit out a selection of your comments:

– good excuse vice... being a dirty chav acceptable now?

– Boohoo poor her, stop relying on others or the oldest "profession'' in the world & CREATE income then you eliminate capitalist dependence. Shit, shit, shit article that's all been done before, justifying being a hooker!!

– Yeah paying for uni fee's up front can be pretty hard. The should set up some kind of student loan or something? Don't use that as a excuse for sucking cock you twat.

– Crosby sure, uni's expensive, get a bar job. don't suck dick for cash.

– Whores always dodge hard work to get that overnight cash, that's why their short lived!

– WHAT A SLUT! Don't listen to her, stay positive, work harder if needs be

– lol what a fucking slag.

To be fair, that last one’s spot on. You’ll note though that most of these critiques come from men. Apart from this one:

– Absolute idiot. I went to university a single mother of 2. I quit in my final year because I couldn't afford to live anymore. I've never struggled to get a job, most of the time I have had 2 jobs. Trying to find an excuse to deal with what you have done with your life rather than confront it is ridiculous. If I had gone to university without being a mother I would have been fine and most people I know are without mummy and daddy paying... Vile.

Dear valued reader, it’s outrageous that you couldn’t afford to do your final year. You sacrificed your education for your kids. I sacrificed my purity ring for my education. You think I’m vile. I think it’s vile that our society doesn’t support young single mothers through higher education so that they can go on to contribute more to society without their kids suffering as a result. Our welfare state was originally designed to protect the vulnerable, especially children, and now it's being dismantled. That was kind of the thrust of my article; that, for many, it’s a case of drop your knickers or drop out. Because it's clear that "respectable" work doesn’t always pay. Hence why you needed two jobs.

As for men telling me not to “use that as an excuse for sucking cock” or to “justify being a hooker”, come on now. I don’t need an excuse. Just drop trou and I’m on it. I no more need to "justify" myself than bin collectors do. It was just an example of a shit job. There’s a big difference between me saying, “This job is shit,” and you saying, “People who do that job are shit.” It’s the difference, in fact, between hating sweatshops and hating people who work in sweatshops. Sort it out, fellas. Like us, hate us, but you’ll never change us – we ain't never gonna be respectable.

It's true: Prostitution can be a bit shit. That’s why they give you money. You know, they pay you for something you wouldn’t otherwise do? Also known as "work". All work has its shit bits but one of the shittiest bits about being a prozzy was respectable people telling me how shit it was being a prozzy. It pretty much always went like this:

Concerned New Friend: So Paris, what do you do for a living?
Me: I’m an escort.
Concerned New Friend: An escort? Does that mean what I think it means?
Me: Well, guys pay me for my time.
Concerned New Friend: Oh. So you go for dinner with them and stuff?
Me: Sometimes…
Concerned New Friend: But you don’t actually have to DO anything with them?
Me: Generally, I fuck ’em.
Concerned New Friend: How terrible! Don’t do that to yourself! You’re worth so much more than that! Girl, respect yourself! Think of Baby Jesus!

On the scale of Annoying Things About Being a Prostitute, this is up there with such classics as “client doesn’t show”, “client does show but jizzes in your hair” and “client shows, jizzes in your hair and pays with five pound notes”. Concern or disapproval never helped me; never made my life better. It just annoyed me and made me feel like I was being judged.

Imagine telling someone who works in a poor house that they don’t have self-respect. What good would that do? None of these concern trolls ever offered me a job, they just wanted me to “stop doing it” because they didn’t think it was “right”. They didn’t seem to register that a) I’m a fully-grown woman who is b) intelligent and c) able to make choices about what I do with my own body. And you are right, I didn’t have to suck cock. I could have stayed on benefits and not gone to uni. But, in order to pull myself out of pennilessness and triumph over various teenage struggles, prostitution helped when no one else did. I made a choice based on the options I had. I’m not looking for tears or pats on the back.

That was my experience, but sex trade takes many forms. Trying to ban prostitution because you object to sex trafficking is like banning cleaning because you object to slavery and anyway, making it illegal doesn’t work. With this in mind, Amnesty International is reviewing its policy to decriminalise sex work, “to protect the rights of sex workers and ensure that these individuals receive adequate medical care, legal assistance and police protection”. In other words, people are going to keep doing it, so we may as well make sure they’re doing it as safely as possible.

No surprise, then, that professional concern troll Julie Bindel – who opposes just about anyone doing just about anything with their own bodies – has resumed her trademark scaremongering. I wish we could have a sensible discussion that recognises the difference between forced prostitution and abuse versus adult people making tough choices. There aren’t many sex workers or former sex workers with a voice in public life but if you want to follow someone who actually knows what she’s talking about try Dr Brooke Magnanti. Better known as Belle de Jour. Brooke’s a rare breed, though – the shaming of sex workers means that, as with so many important debates, people with no first-hand knowledge of the issue define the issue.

Sex trafficking is a real and terrible problem. But “forced prostitution” doesn’t mean “prostitution” in the same way that “rape” doesn’t mean “consensual sex”. You might not like it, and you might not like the system that makes the sex trade an increasingly attractive option for an increasing number of people from various walks of life, but if those involved are adult and willing, what right do you have to tell them what to do? My body belongs to me and – so long as I’m not hurting anybody else – I’ll do what I want with it, including letting other people do what they want with it.

It’s up to me if I want to take drugs, cut my hair, get a tattoo, or masturbate. If I get really ill one day, I also believe it’s my right to take my own life. I’m sure you feel just as strongly about doing as you please with your own body but you don’t get to do that while shaming other people over what they do with theirs. My married friend had an irony failure last week when she called me to say I’d gone "too far" with my column. This is the same gal who’s been on the verge of leaving her cheating fella a hundred times but never has because she likes the big house they share. We all make decisions about our sexual relationships based on financial considerations. Some of us are just more honest about it. And that’s what pisses me off the most about this debate – it relies on a heavy load of hypocrisy, tarted up as care. The only difference between a porn star and a prostitute is a camera. So if you’ve ever jacked off to a blue movie, you’re essentially a punter.

As Rupert Everett pointed out last month, the raids on sex workers in Soho before Christmas had very little to do with “protecting women”. Around two hundred police officers kicked in doors, raided women’s flats, humiliated them, seized their earnings and carted them off to the police station, ostensibly to “protect” them. That’s how the state shows its so-called concern. Disapproval of sex work is as old as the game so if you think you can end prostitution with shame, you’re wrong. The only thing you get out of it is making prostitutes feel bad. There will always be people who are willing to cock their leg for a bit of cash, or even just a bag of chips in some cases. We all have our price. So you can tell sex workers how disgusting they are or you could just, you know, accept that they’re people who deserve the same respect as everyone else.

Prostitutes like lots of things. Punctuality. Cleanliness. Tips. Sad, married men that cum instantly. Speaking from personal experience, though, I doubt any sex worker appreciates your disapproval hard-on – so why don’t you just take it, like any decent whore, and shove it up your ass?

Follow Paris (@parislees) and Sam (@SptSam) on Twitter.

Previously – I Couldn't Have Paid for Uni without Having Sex for Money