September 4th, 2007

Those who are forced to listen to me ramble about the awesomeness of sex and games (sorry, Scott) know I’ve been wanting to write a piece about sex workers in Second Life for a while now. Thus, up at the Voice is last week’s Click Me, “Topless and Proud: Peeking Up the Skirt of Online Sex Work.” It combines a couple of SL interviews–with an exotic dancer and an escort club owner–and some general poking around on the subject of gender verification. What happens when a man playing as a woman wants to work as a female escort? Well, what are you waiting for? Go read it and find out…

I’d still like to do a longer feature on SL escorts someday, but 1) it seems Second Life has jumped the media shark and I don’t want to keep harping on something that feels like old news and 2) I’m actually moving to France at the end of this month and going back to being a freelancer for the Voice instead of a full-timer, so I don’t know how far I’d be able to delve. Still, the idea of really talking with the escorts about their experiences and what they think about their jobs–maybe even going undercover and working as an escort for a few nights–that’s a longterm project worth a little time out from the French sunshine.

Tags: Click Me, gender, my articles, sex workers

10 Responses to ““Topless and Proud: Peeking Up the Skirt of Online Sex Work””

  1. Cybersexy Says:

    I’ve done a little work as an escort in SL. It’s fun, but it’s hard to get guys to pay for it when they can get it for free (it’s the old “why buy the cow” syndrome).

  2. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    I’d love to hear more about that, Cybersexy. Did you work for an escort club? What do you mean when you say it’s hard to get guys to pay? Was it hard to find paying customers to start with, or was it hard to get them to pay up afterwards…?

  3. Cybersexy Says:

    I’ve worked for several clubs in SL. It’s just hard to find guys who will pay for it because it’s too easy for them to find free sex.

    Since money is paid up-front, guys who won’t pay afterwards are not an issue.

    Ironically, it’s easier to make money as a stripper/dancer, because getting tips is not as “bank-breaking” to the men (or women for that matter).

  4. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Strange, I would think stripping would work the same way. Since there are plenty of female avatars who are willing to get naked elsewhere, why pay?

    And what about fetishes? For example, is it easier to get business as an escort with a specialty because it’s harder for customers to find in the general pool of sexy users? Then again, there’s a community in SL for just about everyone…

  5. Cybersexy Says:

    The difference with stripping is the cost. For an escort in SL, you’ll end up paying anywhere from L$400 on up, although the typical cost seems to be around L$1000. To tip a stripper is only around L$10-100 (although I’ve gotten tips larger than that). People can be generous with strippers, whereas an escort is more of an investment.

    Fetishes are really the only way to make consistent money as an escort, but you have to be willing to do anything. Even then, there are a lot more escorts than unserved fetishists in SL.

  6. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Hmm, so it seems you’re saying the market is somewhat flooded. I wonder why escort clubs are taking more escorts, then. I guess because they’re not risking any capital…

    So what is it like being an escort and stripping? Any interesting stories?

  7. Cybersexy Says:

    You nailed it with the “capital” comment. Clubs have nothing to lose and everything to gain by hiring more escorts.

    Stories? Well, my very first “john” took me on a tour of a bunch of free sex places in SL. I had only been in SL for a couple of weeks at the time, so I had a blast (and so did he). ;)

    My last customer, who was a woman, had a unique request: She wanted me to impregnate her. So I had this “alien” tail which was fully functional in “that” way, so I gave her what she wanted, in an unorthodox way. I’d say she enjoyed it since we still stay in touch. :)

  8. Cybersexy Says:

    Forgot to talk about stripping. The act of stripping is fairly uneventful, at least for me. While I try to emote as much as possible, there really isn’t much to it. What I enjoy about it is having conversations with the customers. You’d be surprised by the wide range of topics which can be brought up in a strip club.

  9. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    That’s one of the unique perks of stripping in SL, it seems. I’ve never been on the pole end, only the watching end, but I imagine in real life it would be pretty hard to hold a decent conversation while stripping or watching someone strip. In SL you don’t have to worry about volume level :).

    When you escort, do you get paid for your time, or just a flat rate? For example, the customer who took you around SL, did you make more because there was more of a time commitment involved? Also, do you find you get a lot of female customers?

    That impregnation story sounds really interesting. How did you narrate it, if you don’t mind me asking. “And now you’re pregnant” ? Speech acts in virtual spaces. Ah, a linguistics paper for some day…

  10. Cybersexy Says:

    The first place I worked charged something like L$450 for the first 15 minutes, then an extra L$300 for every 15 minutes after that, which I thought was obscene. The second place charged a fee of L$1000 for the first hour, with an extra L$500 for every 30 minutes afterwards. Both places set the rates for their escorts (can’t have them competing with each other under one roof).

    For that first customer, I gave him a break on the price because I was having a good time, but as I recall I think I made about L$1350 on him.

    I’m not sure I’m a good one to ask about number of customers. I really haven’t done a lot of escorting. That one woman is the only female I can recall.

    I don’t remember how I narrated the impregnation, although I suspect I did some kind of “shooting seed deep into her fertile womb”. It’s implied, not specifically stated that the woman is impregnated. It’s actually a fun kind of rp, for which I’ve been on the receiving end before. This may sound crazy, but some of the best sex I’ve ever had in RL was when I got pregnant. Roleplaying impregnation triggers those fond memories for me.

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