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Why women do buy sex?

Why women do buy sex?

This Interview was made by Theresa Bäuerlein and got published at "Krautreporter". Krautreporter is a cooperation for independent and qualified journalism in Germany, so you have to pay now for the german version here. Thanks for permission to publish the whole interview in english at my Blog!


Foto: the forever and ever magnificent Maroody Merav.



You once wrote that sexually self-determined women are "scary". What did you mean by that? 


Well, a woman who really explores her physicality and isn't afraid of the enormity and the mass that the unfolding of sexual lust can bring: many are intimidated by that. Men actually think it's great if a woman is self-confident sexually. But then they also experience that a woman can take up quite a lot of space during sex. I see women who have multiple orgasms and ejaculate - for many people, that's totally unfamiliar because they don't know it, they feel disgusted and think something terrible is happening. And: we are conditioned to believe that lust should always look pretty and be hygienic. So even the women themselves often find it difficult to let go of fear and shame.


(Note from Marlen: "When I'm talking about women, by the way, I mean people with a vulva who have been socialized female and identify as women. But trans people who don't identify as a woman also come to see me, or women who don't have a vulva, or not since birth.")



What are they ashamed of?


It's hard to find words for it, because it instantly sounds like a self-discovery seminar. It's about wildness, about not being civilized maybe, which also emerges physically. And which doesn't care about being too much for anyone.



You write about women who come to you and ride around on your arm so fiercely that you need to go to the orthopedist afterwards. That sounds pretty unleashed.


Women learn very quickly and early on that they are too much if they become loud or wild and don't look pretty doing it. I used to be a child who was too wild, for instance, and even had best friends whose mothers didn't want me to play with them anymore because they always came home so dirty after we were romping around in some forest or other. I remember very well the feelings of guilt I had.



Girls and women are still taught to be modest.


I don't like speaking in clichés such as "men and women are like this", because I know so many exceptions and my practice teaches me not to think in clichés but rather to see the person. But I think that part of male socialization is that the female counterpart behaves in a domesticated manner, in a way - that she's pleasing. And in that sense I do think that a woman taking what she wants sexually can lead to surprises. In my practice, I experience that very strongly, but that's also a very specific setting, because I'm there for the woman completely as a service provider. For many, that's also a key experience, because they've never really experienced that it can be about them, on a sexual level.



Most people buying sexual services are men. But many of your clients are women. Who are not necessarily lesbians.


By now, I have about 40 percent female clients, I would say.



How come?


That's a good question. I think they want to discover what else is possible. In particular, when women are mostly used to hetero sex. There's nothing to be said against hetero sex but one has to admit that it's sometimes a little bit boring... I know what it's like myself, when I have sex with men. Then I know after the third time at the latest: if I don't do something now that will give everything a twist - and I have a certain repertoire through my work and private life - then it would always continue in a certain routine. A bit of licking, a bit of blowing, then we fuck.



Is that the reason women rarely buy sex from men?


I think it can be a great feeling for a woman to pay a man. But then she will also just get the sex she already knows, again. I have some male sex worker friends, they're really handsome guys - if a woman wants that, she's in really good hands with them. But the problem for a woman isn't to have sex somewhere. Usually, they're just a little bored by it. They want to know what else is out there.



So what is there?


Even just the situation where there isn't a feeling of foreplay, main course, then we go to sleep. All of my work is about how sexual energy emerges, how I can hold it, I guide it like a dramaturgical thread. How can I include other forms of physicality? A little bit away from the genitals, back to the genitals, a full-body sensuality, but one that doesn't become asexual. Then there are other elements - that can be BDSM, but doesn't need to. And finally, I also just know sexual techniques that I don't think are that well known among straight people.



You're talking about craft.


Yes. I really experience regularly that I touch women and they say to me, "What is that?!" - and then I explain, now my fingers are more or less around your G-area, and then she asks, "Oh my God, what is that?" - and I say, now I'm at your cervix, and if I continue up this way...



Usually you learn that a woman's clitoris is important for their pleasure. But that's it.


And even there, the education is pretty meager. The clitoris isn't just that little spot that you see on the cross-section, but a massive organ with branches that continue deep into the body and with erectile tissue - that isn't depicted in any anatomy book. Female genitals are three-dimensional sensory organs, the entire pelvic floor is also involved and there is sensitivity up to the cervix. Nobody knows that, or it's not known nearly well enough.


Many women don't know their own body that precisely. If they had mostly heterosexual encounters, they know how genital intercourse works, but that isn't necessarily the most functional way for the female genitals to experience pleasure. And how should a woman get to know themselves, if her only sexual practice is intercourse? Figuring that out on one's own is a huge undertaking, that's what it was like for me, too. Sure, I also had great sex in great scenarios that turned me on, like the time I picked up this guy and was fucking on some bus. But I mean that purely physical understanding - how far away is my clit from my vaginal opening, why does one position work for me and the other doesn't...



Well, where are you supposed to learn that, anyway?


Male masturbation is kind of more obvious, like a sport, they have circle jerks and stuff like that. And I don't really know about women or little girls doing anything similar. We learn there's a hole, there's nothing. And then it's also somehow something that might smell funny if you don't wash it. And that feeling stays. So it happens that girls have sexual feelings and don't even perceive them that way, while for men it's clear, what it is and what it's leading to.  There are studies in which pornographic images were shown to men and women and they were asked if they were aroused, while it was also measured on a bodily level (LINK TO STUDY). For the men, the results were pretty congruent: when they say they're aroused, then they are. Many women say nothing is happening for them, while a high level of arousal is being measured simultaneously. I also noticed at some point that I wasn't even aware of the signals of my arousal. There wasn't a proper connection between pussy and brain, so to speak.



Why is that?


It must be acquired by training, it can't be intended biologically. But there are alternatives, I know that. At the beginning of a session, I give the whole body the feeling of being held, of being welcome. It allows the woman to be open mentally to letting herself fall further, and gives space to slower forms of arousal as well. Hetero sex situations don't always allow for slow and deeper forms of arousal which women need, however, to have a deep, pleasurable experience. You can't have that during sex that takes 10 minutes.


I also think, however, that the mere absence of heterosexual dynamics in my sessions is very important for the women.



Heterosexual dynamics…?


Certain patterns of behavior come up as soon as men and women are in a room. Women have well-rehearsed techniques of getting attention, because of that effort towards affirmation by the male gaze. It's a certain kind of automatic behavior - I can't call it anything else. Women have internalized the gaze from the outside. That is sometimes painful to realize, in one's self and in others. I don't want to judge that, I can only say that's how it is. There's also pleasure to be gained in that. I remember myself how it is: when you feel sexy within the ranking system, and beautiful, and admired by everyone, then you wouldn't necessarily name it as a competition of attractiveness, in which you're trying to win points - and just happen to be doing great. But when I look at it from the outside, it sometimes does appear as if I'm not dealing with complete human beings, but rather with people who gain self-worth through affirmation from the outside, namely, when a man notices them and declares them to be attractive. That can also happen independently of education and status. After a certain age, the rules of the game change anyway, and often that is another painful moment for women.

And also: when it's about sex between men and women, penetration often develops a kind of centrifugal force - everything is drawn there. I've thought about that a lot, because I know that marriages also include that sort of dynamic.


I believe, for men, the whore is a forbidden object of desire they can buy. For women, she embodies the worst version of themselves they can be. So if a woman is interested in understanding her own desire better, she is definitely not going to go to a brothel.


In any case, you need to have the idea in the first place to empower yourself to try something like that. Buying sexual services is a taboo for women. But there's also just a lack of offers. There are lots of red-light districts that you're not even allowed to enter as a woman. But I also know many colleagues who say that they have - let's call it a certain respect - towards female clients, because they don't really know what to do with them. Of course, it depends on the sector, there are many branches of sex work. In tantric massage, there has been a strong focus on a certain kind of female sexuality. But they distance themselves from sex work and are selling more of an experience of sensuality or therapy.


I also know women who go to swinger clubs. But doing that alone as a woman is really heavy stuff. There will always be a cluster of ten men jerking off who are roaming around in a group looking at all the scenes. And as a woman, you first need to defend yourself against offers you don't want, before you can concentrate on what you want yourself. That's why woman usually tend to go there with a partner.



Do women also not buy sex because an emotional connection is more important to them?

That's a cliché, and I think it's a lie. Emotion can easily also be labor for women, and they take that on themselves in their personal relationships as well. Women really enjoy not needing to do that for once. The thing many women don't find so attractive about the mainstream offers isn't the lack of emotionality but rather that it's so mechanical. That doesn't mean they need to fall in love every time they go to bed with someone. All genders can be aroused by mainstream porn. But that stimulation is one thing, and another is that step of really taking the plunge and having sex with someone. For women, that's also connected to trust, because being socialized female also means to always be exposed to potential assault.



Marta Meana, a famous researcher in the U.S., put forward the theory that women's lust emerges mainly through being desired by men.


Unfortunately, I would confirm that to some extent. And I believe that the women who come to me are very tired of that. I remember a moment in my life when I was so fed up with that. I could almost feel it on a cellular level, and I thought: I really have no idea what I like. I know how to do yoga and do sports, but I know too little about what turns me on.

That's very common, a client recently described it like this: "I'm not in my body, I'm constantly straining for sexual affirmation. And when I think about my desire, I keep thinking about what I look like and how I am being desired in a certain way."

It also wasn't the case that something was boiling inside me that needed to get out. When I looked inside myself and wondered, "What do I actually need?" - I just didn't see anything. That's a key experience for many women, at some point.



Is that the moment that they come to you?


Many of them have just experienced a moment like that. It's hard to formulate that and not make it into a stereotype right away, like "the whore is always a victim." It would be more like: "There's a blank space where female desire should be."  But I need to verify that sadly that is often the case.



But that doesn't mean that the desire isn't there.


Yes. When we realize that something is true empirically, that doesn't mean that it defines women's sexuality. That's what I meant before: when I speak about female desire and make statements about "women" in general. I mean by that that these are bodies that have a certain history. It isn't women's sexual essence. Any maybe there just has to be a turning point now. We had the sexual revolution, but liberation itself didn't mean the woman has been liberated. Since '68 it's clear that sexual relations aren't detached from economic conditions. If you pull on a thread in this structure, you will eventually come to the gender pay gap. The entire patriarchal order is present.  



You also speak about "female potency".


The term isn't mine, philosopher Svenja Flaspöhler used it. But I identify very strongly with it, because I notice how it is to go through the world as a strong woman. What irritations I encounter and what I need to let go of.  



For instance?


I keep acquiring a deeper understanding the kind of domestication we experience as women almost permanently. I've been reading feminist literature since I'm 14. When I was in my mid-20s, I was lecturing about it without really having understood any of it. But it wasn't until later that I really understood in-depth how we are kept small, and dismissed, because we're supposed to be cute. And then I started not doing that anymore, but to walk around with a sense of self that men are only used to when dealing with other men. I keep noticing again and again that that's not common.