Curious about paid sex
May 10, 2010 7:04 AM   Subscribe

Curious about using paid sex as a temporary respite for my current situation...multiple questions within

This is more or less a follow-up to an earlier question I started about handling loneliness/inexperience and lack of intimacy. Sorry for the complexity, but this seemed the easiest way to follow up.

So first off, the move I was anticipating happened and I ended up relocating very recently to Asia (South Korea to be more precise). Now that I'm getting settled in, I would like to get back to trying to fix things, but had some further questions.

The general consenus (which I agree with wholeheartedly) seems to be that:
1) Therapy might be a good idea
2) I need to make more friends and expand my social circle
3) I need to get my first experiences out of the way ASAP, so I can stop obsessing about when it'll happen, if I'm any good, etc

I'm working on 1) - I have numbers for English-language therapists in town, I just haven't been able to get in for an appointment yet. I guess 2) could take a while, as is usually the case when people move to a new town. I know integrating yourself into a new social fabric takes time...

3) however is the main reason I posted this. I've been giving it a lot of thought and am starting to think that going the, ah..."paid services" route might not be such a bad idea after all. While having to pay for my first time isn't something I'm crazy about, I wondering if the temporary relief of finally getting laid and past that first-time virgin awkwardness might be worth it. Of course I could be wrong, particularly given the stigma our society has unfortunately attached to this sort of thing. Therefore I'm open to any thoughts/insight on whether or not this is a good idea...

Last but not least: how exactly do I go about doing this? Is there like a website or something you can consult? My understanding is that prostitution in this part of the world is a bit of a paradox: very much in existence (probably more so than in the U.S.), but also an underground phenomenon off-limits to most foreigners like me. I know there are also a few areas in Asia that might be more accessible/legal (Hong Kong for one?) but that's about all I know. Maybe someone else can offer insight? I should have a week of vacation coming up later this summer, so local travel within Asia is an option.

If you'd like to contact me direct, my e-mail is:
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (45 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

While it would mean you might feel less nervous in a non-paying situation as you would have the experience, would it make you nervous if someone you wanted to be with asked you if you'd ever paid for sex? Or asked about your first time? Something to consider...
posted by Chrysalis at 7:10 AM on May 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

I think that going the paid route is fine -- there is a reason that it has been used on and off for centuries (if not millennia) as a traditional way for a guy to get devirginized.

That said, there's a ton of stigma against it (except for stories like "I was 18, in the Navy, and at our first port of call) -- you are guaranteed to hear some of that stigma in answers here, I expect. So you might be in the awkward position a year from now of having a "tell me about your history" chat with a nice girl, and having to either lie or come clean about something she might well see as a dealbreaker.

And be realistic about risk -- heterosexual contact, using condoms, is super low-risk for hiv. But, sex with sex workers automatically puts you in a higher risk category, just like male-male sex. Again, the biggest issue may be when you are later dating a woman and she asks about these things, as she might -- you are going to have to think ahead about how to answer these questions in ways that are both ethical and don't let her later feel lied to and put at risk.
posted by Forktine at 7:13 AM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

I think that you would end up regretting that.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 7:13 AM on May 10, 2010 [4 favorites]

FWIW, a shy guy I was vaguely interested in during college took this route on a trip to Amsterdam, and it definitely eliminated any interest I had in him. I think the worst part was that he felt like it was an experience to brag about, like he could counteract of all those years of feeling sexually inexperienced by touting the fact that he had now done it with a prostitute. If you do go forward with this, please don't think it's going to impress anyone. All I could think about was what diseases he might have picked up, not to mention what unrealistic expectations about sex he might have formed after being with a professional instead of a normal girl.

Related points: Hiring someone for your first time is not probably going to make you feel very confident in bed. Nobody's a pro at sex after doing it once, or even through one whole night, so it's not like you can hire one person and then be "good at" sex. Also, a prostitute's job is generally to make YOU feel good, rather than to teach you to be a good lover to her, so the things you do pick up probably wouldn't be that useful to a relationship-worthy woman in your future. Finally, most people are awkward the first time they're together even if they have plenty of experience, because everyone does things a little differently. Not being a virgin isn't going to save you from the awkwardness of first-time sex with someone you care about. So in the end, visiting a paid worker isn't likely to help with any of the issues you're worried about. See a therapist to help deal with your anxiety instead. It's like having someone heal your gaping emotional wound, whereas the hired option is more like a crummy bandage that won't stick very well anyway.

In the end, I really think you should hold out for a girl to have a relationship with. It will be a lot easier to find a girl who doesn't care that you're a virgin, than a girl who doesn't care that you've visited a prostitute.
posted by vytae at 7:23 AM on May 10, 2010 [33 favorites]

Casual sex is a way of life for some; a constant stream of sexual partners with no real connection to any of them. This is, of course, very risky, in terms of sexually transmitted disease or many other risks that accompany sex (sex can become extremely expensive for those who hire prostitutes, some people unexpectedly become insanely jealous, violent, or otherwise troublesome; you might wind up accidentally procreating and having enormous legal and financial obligations as a result, etc.). If you are just planning a single sex act, you will find that it is over very rapidly, and that is a problem. Once it is over, you have to start figuring out how to have sex again. It's never enough to have sex just once. It's habit forming. The nice thing about relationships is that they are a continuing part of your life, not a brief episode. Even when you are not actually engaged in a sexual act, you are with someone to whom you are sexually attracted; it gives a feeling that your life is going well. So rather than getting the sex out of the way and then seeking a real relationship, I would say that you would accomplish more by exploring your options for a real relationship, and have sex when the relationship reaches that point.
posted by grizzled at 7:26 AM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

In your other post you mentioned that you'd been on a "handful" of dates - how many is a "handful?" Because you usually have to go on a shitload of dates before you find someone you can click with.

If you're worried about the stigmatism of hiring someone for sex, I would suggest signing up for one or more dating sites and contacting people as if it was a part-time job. There should be plenty of women on there who will go through the dating dance but really only want sex.

Ultimately you'd get the same result, but when you do decide to date for something other than sex you don't have to worry about what the gal will think about the fact that you've paid for it before.
posted by biochemist at 7:36 AM on May 10, 2010

Oh you gotta ask yourself some questions. I would echo Forktine's comments about considering how this might play out in a conversation with a future partner. Would you be okay with lying about it to, say, a woman you want to marry?

Consider also the possibility that you might find paid sex so easy and physically satisfying that it's be hard to stop, especially if other (non-commercial) prospects aren't panning out - you're in a strange country after all, and just like you might pay a therapist to hear you out, you could pay for physical intimacy as well. Would that be okay with you? Considering, especially, that this would be your first time with a woman - and, yeah, the foreign thing - are you sure finding yourself in this situation would be worth the relief of finally having done it? Would having easy access to sex in this way make it easier or harder for you to relate with other women?

I don't have much personal experience to offer in this regard. A friend of mine in college considered it very seriously though - he was from a fairly repressed culture (his words not mine) and was finding his virginity very hard to handle, especially since our college was fairly come as you are and all his friends had done it. The fact that he was so inexperienced made him feel very awkward around college women. He was only in his early 20s, but it weighed very heavily on his mind.

Finally he decided not to do it - and a year or so later he just got very drunk at a party and went home with a fairly random girl. Well, after that he always felt that he'd done the right thing by not going the paid way - it may be all relative but he realized that for him, the fact that it was all him (and not the money) was a fairly important part of 'scoring'. So I'd ask another question: would this help your self-esteem or not?

There really is no absolute answer, I'm sure you know that. You just have to decide based on what you feel you would be happiest with. Contrary to what you wrote, I'm fairly certain it would be very easy for you to find a service.

Either way - and here's my only solid advice - wait! Give your new situation a serious try; at the very least get fully settled before actively exploring this option.
posted by mondaygreens at 7:38 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I am not a guy and have never been to a prostitute, but I can't imagine they would be useful in teaching you how to please a woman, since they're there to please you. (I know vytae made this point; I'm pulling it out for emphasis.) What prostitute is going to jeopardize her income by telling you you're doing it wrong?

I also agree with vytae that it will be a dealbreaker for most women. I would be horrified to find out that my husband had slept with a prostitute (whether it was his first time or his 20th, and he was in the Navy).

There's almost nothing to be gained from this aside from momentary release, which you can do yourself, and there's a lot to lose.
posted by desjardins at 7:40 AM on May 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

Anonymous, after reading your question and the previous, related one, I've been writing and rewriting responses for a while now. I definitely identify with you.

Let me just mention a few things:

1) Having sex for the first time is not going to change anything. In fact, I can almost guarantee it will be uncomfortable and bad. Don't pay for sex.

2) You're in South Korea teaching English. You are in the perfect place doing the perfect thing. Do you know how many great South Korean girls want you to talk to them? You can teach them English. Do you realize what a great ex-pat community SK has? There are so many kinds of people who want to meet interesting people like you. That's why they came.

3) You say you're having issues and considering therapy, and I wouldn't warn you away from that, but don't expect it to solve all your problems. You sound lonely to me. Go out and meet some people. If you feel horribly awkward, get drunk with them.

4) If you do decided to pay for sex, it's no great sin. The hooker will probably be glad not to have a grunting businessman sweating on top of her. Just be safe, and when you decide to reveal this info to a future partner, do it delicately.

Good luck to you. The way I see it, you should use this new setting as an opportunity to re-enter the correct orbit of your life. You were born to enjoy life. You were born to fuck, make art, and do good for the world, and maybe do some drugs. Go forth!
posted by boghead at 7:51 AM on May 10, 2010 [8 favorites]

Sex is a numbers game. If you only go on five dates in a year, it's no wonder you didn't get any! If you go on three dates a week for the next six months, it's a good bet you will get laid sometime before the year is out.
And a side note, if you go on dates only looking for sex, both you (and she) will probably end up disappointed. Go on dates so that you can enjoy the people you are out with and eventually you will find someone that you will click with.
posted by MsKim at 8:21 AM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

Honestly, if you were someone I was in love with, and you explained that you felt you were trapped in aloneness in part because you felt awkward about your virginity, so to break the cycle you went to a high-end, caring sex worker (like the ones I saw on some evening TV newshour who are partially in the job because they care, who filter clients carefully, and who typically spend the entire weekend with the person), I would respect that you took care of your psychological / physical needs and be glad that you did what it took for us to end up together. Maybe it's being 30-something and over the idea of counting partners or the desire for everything to be storybook. I would want to know that the experience was classy and caring, not nasty or degrading for either of you, and that you had tested clean for STIs since.

I also want to reiterate my earlier massage or massage-as-therapy suggestions. A lower-stakes place to start?
posted by salvia at 8:25 AM on May 10, 2010 [6 favorites]

You might be surprised to know there was a previous Ask Me that was very similar to this question. It was quite a while ago but the Asker followed up with how it went, his thoughts on the experience, etc. Can anyone help me track it down? It was NOT asked anonymously.
posted by Justinian at 8:46 AM on May 10, 2010

Okay. Here's what you need to do: stop trying to have sex. Seriously. Instead, relax. Relax, and try and have fun, try and make friends. From the sounds of things, you are nowhere near ready to have sex. Sex is honest, it is a distillation of everything that makes you you. Having sex with a prostitute is going to tell you something about yourself that, if you have the ears to listen, I'm not sure you're going to want to hear.

Your first-time may feel like it's the most important thing ever, but it isn't. Sex is something that grows with you. I strongly recommend that you relax, and let it happen when it happens. You don't need to have sex tomorrow. Even if you do, you'll wake up the next day and start freaking out about whether you're ever going to have sex again - you can eat yourself into a nasty hole this way.

I did use to obsess about it, but once I did have my first time, I realised that it wasn't the be-all-and-end-all. It doesn't solve all your problems, it doesn't fix your self-esteem - and it doesn't mean you've 'cracked' the sex-game either. Sex continues to be a challenge, your issues continue to be issues...

I for one am really glad that my first time went the way it did. I was with someone I really liked, who really liked me. It was her first time too, and it was really good to be with someone who I cared about, respected, and felt comfortable with (and likewise). But sex is a learning process. Every time I've had sex since I've learnt something. It took me about six times with my first girlfriend to realise how to realise what it meant to be giving and passionate. And it continued to evolve throughout that relationship, and that was part of the beauty - that it changed as we changed.

But since then, I've had sex with different girls, and often it's been pretty casual stuff - getting drunk and winding up in bed with someone. And it's often been awkward, it's often left me feeling a little unhappy in the morning. Sex is complex. Don't make the mistake of pinning it all on the mythical first time.
posted by schmichael at 8:47 AM on May 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

I suggest you get that therapist lined up first and then talk to the therapist about your intimacy issues and see if that person thinks paid sex is a good idea for you.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 8:47 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Having sex with a prostitute would most likely make your loneliness and lack of intimacy worse.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:51 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mod note: This is a response from an anonymous answerer.
I was once the woman in your equation. No, I wasn't a prostitute. But I was the best friend of a man in this late 20s who had never dated, kissed, or had sex with a woman. He talked often about paying for sex, and I didn't think that was a good idea. So after years of hearing him despair that he'd die a virgin, I decided to help him out. I hoped that if I could give him this one small piece of what he considered a normal life, if I could take away this big, terrible secret that distanced him from his peers, that it might jump-start his social life.

So one night, we were out at a bar, and I kissed him. I told him that I wanted him to come back to my place and spend the night. He was overjoyed about it. He knew that I didn't love him romantically or want a relationship with him, but he was elated at the idea that he'd no longer be a virgin. It was exactly the reaction I was hoping for.

We had sex. It was awkward and fumbling and pretty awful. He kept losing his erection, getting embarrassed, and apologizing. I did everything I could to make him feel better. I faked an orgasm so that he wouldn't think he was terrible in bed, even though he was. But afterward, he was really, really happy. He had a sense of accomplishment about having done this thing that was so important to him, this thing that he was convinced separated him from all of his peers.

The problem was that, in the longer term, it didn't actually propel his self-esteem up or his social life forward. Because I propositioned him, he didn't actually overcome his shyness and talk to a girl he liked. He knew that the sex wasn't good, but because it wasn't in the context of a loving, long-term relationship, he didn't actually get the chance to practice and get better with someone patient who cared about him. He became terribly depressed, and he dropped our friendship for almost a year because he said he was ashamed.

It's been almost a decade since all this happened, and my friend has never slept with another woman. He's never asked a woman out, or flirted with someone he liked, or told a woman he likes her. He tells me that he wishes it had never happened, because at least when he was a virgin, he could imagine that some girl would find him so attractive that it would overcome his lack of experience. Now, he says, he has hard data that the only people willing to be with him do so out of pity. He's even more convinced that he'll never be able to find love. And given the way he lives his life, he's probably right.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because I think it's important to realize that the fact that you've never had sex isn't the problem here. Of course you could go out and have sex, and you wouldn't be a virgin anymore. But you'd still be a guy who doesn't think very highly of himself, who hasn't figured out how to relate to people and form bonds with them, who is afraid to be vulnerable and open his heart and tell people how he feels. That's what's really making you sad. If you have sex with a prostitute, you might feel better momentarily, but it won't help you, because you won't have improved the areas of your life that really matter: your connections with other people. And you may come to feel even worse than you do now, because you may come to believe that your sexual and romantic life is defined by one night with someone who had sex with you but will never love you.

I believe that you can find what you're looking for. I still believe that my best friend can, too, and he's a lot older than you are. But having sex with someone you don't love without going through all of the steps of building a relationship isn't the way to break through the barriers you've set up for yourself. I'm sorry, but it's not that easy. You need to do the real work of sorting out your issues and learning to like yourself and putting yourself out into the world to connect with people. Until you do that, even if you pay a woman to let you put your penis inside her, you won't feel any better.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:03 AM on May 10, 2010 [207 favorites]

I just want to say that the anonymous comment above took my breath away. The most beautiful and poignant thing I have read in a long time. Thank you to whoever was willing to share that.
posted by schmichael at 9:25 AM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

Sex with a prostitute is not the same as sex with a non-pro. You get this in the BDSM community too, where professional dominatrices are a controversial bridging measure for the legion of sub men who feel they can't get the girl of their kinky dreams, but I'm not sure it's a healthy approach. I'm not against prostitution, but there's a certain amount inequality and objectification going on, where the woman becomes an outlet for desire where you're interacting with her not as a person, but as a service provider. Sex with a prostitute with definitely teach you it's possible to get a penis into a vagina, but I don't think she'll be able to provide you with free, unadulterated feedback.

I also don't think it's good for the self esteem to believe the reason why a woman might want to sleep with you is a rent check- not that it makes her very happy to do so. Plus your female partners in future may have baggage about disease of feeling that you see them as low budget pros.
posted by Phalene at 9:30 AM on May 10, 2010

OP: mailed you something you might find helpful to I dunno what you should do here as I don't have relevant experience but I don't think it's entirely accurate to say that something like this wouldn't make you feel better, would make you feel worse, etc. There are definitely a bunch of reasons why this might not be a good idea but I don't think those responses are necessarily correct based on evidence.
posted by Justinian at 9:34 AM on May 10, 2010

Why not go for a one night stand. Go into a bar, get drunk, wait until last call, look around and see what women are still hanging around. I can almost guarantee you that anyone left at last call is looking for the same thing you are. You eliminate 2 issues brought up above by doing this- you have actually made the first move and are starting along the road of getting over your shyness, and you don't have to pay for it, though if you don't double bag it, you very well could be paying for it later.

Your gonna be awkward until you find someone and are intimate with them multiple times- it always is, there's no denying this because we are all special unique snowflakes (especially in bed).
posted by TheBones at 10:12 AM on May 10, 2010

I'll echo what boghead said and say that it is comparatively easier to meet women in Korea. They tend be drawn to foreign teachers initially as a way to practice English and I've seen it progress in good (emotionally rewarding relationship) way before.

If you are interested in easy ways to meet people in Korea there are a few groups on that meet regularly and seem to have a good mix of foreigners and English speaking Koreans.

I think if you approach things with the goal of making friends the sex may come on its own. I can't comment with much confidence on the effects of paying for sex, but if it were me I feel like it would be one of those things that I would feel obligated to reveal to future partners and would cause further anxiety.
posted by kinakomochi at 10:13 AM on May 10, 2010

Sex with a good prostitute is certainly fun. (But there are definitely prostitutes who aren't very good at their jobs, also. In the U. S. there are web sites with ratings and reviews; I don't know about SK.)

I would say that if you want to have sex with prostitutes and that's how you want to spend your money and you're okay with the various downsides mentioned by others in this thread, go ahead and have sex with prostitutes. However I don't think that doing so will fix any of your other problems, nor should you expect it to be relevatory or a replacement for therapy.

And reflecting on my own experience, even having had good sex with a prostitute on occasion in the past, I would think that overall a first-time experience is more likely to be fun and memorable with someone you're friends with or in a relationship with and you shouldn't stress out about it or worry about it so much. (My first time, in a relationship, was pretty fun and memorable.)
posted by XMLicious at 10:45 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't think 'hire a hooker' or 'don't hire a hooker' is as big of a deal as some others here. It won't make you feel that different than you currently do either way.

If you do have sex once with a hooker it's possible that you may well feel that trying to form a relationship, or even just seduce, non-prostitutes is 'too much hassle' compared to a trip to the ATM and a taxi to your local red light district. So in that sense it might not be a great idea if you would ideally like a relationship.
posted by selton at 10:55 AM on May 10, 2010

(Sorry, sidebar: just wanted you to not have a misperception in your decision making tree. Above, in reference to HIV: "sex with sex workers automatically puts you in a higher risk category, just like male-male sex." That is not at all true. Not to say you shouldn't practice safe sex with whatever partners you find yourself in bed with, nor that sex workers may be more likely to have STDs or HIV, but please don't become falsely panicked about the idea that putting your penis somewhere is anywhere near as likely for HIV transmission as being on the, uh, receiving end of a penis.)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 11:12 AM on May 10, 2010

i don't really see how "go pick up a girl in a bar" is functionally different than "hire a prostitute" except for with the second everyone's expectations are tabled up front. i've had former partners who have seen prostitutes before and it changed my opinion of them not at all. with all my partners i demand a clean bill of health, but i think random chick in a bar is more likely to pass things on than a prostitute.

a lot of people will say that losing your virginity is no big deal, but i wonder if you had asked them the day after or the week after they actually lost their virginity. you'll have to weigh which is a tougher sell, "i'm a virgin" or "i've had sex with a prostitute". both have stigmas attached and both will be deal breakers to certain women.

i will agree that a) you probably won't be any good your first, 10th, or even 20th time - and even if you find omg bliss with a future girlfriend, you might go back to being "bad" with a new partner after that. sex is a learning experience that you never master - b) seeing a prostitute (or picking up a chick in a bar) probably won't remove any "am i any good" fears.

i still come down on the side of "hire a pro" if you think it will help. i also agree with the person upthread who suggested finding a therapist first and discussing intimacy and sex. they will have the benefit of your non-verbal cues and longer conversations to really suss out what potential good or harm could come from your plan.
posted by nadawi at 12:33 PM on May 10, 2010 [4 favorites]

Justinian - the email the OP posted was (note spelling) I think you sent yr email elsewhere.

Want to second the thanks to the anonymous answerer for that eloquent and sad story.

posted by CunningLinguist at 12:48 PM on May 10, 2010

Luckily I cut and pasted the email address from the question so I think it went to the right place. It was just when I typed it by hand that I "fixed" it.
posted by Justinian at 1:09 PM on May 10, 2010

An ex of mine did just this for the same reasons. I believe he went to a massage parlour or something similar, as he was getting older and began to feel freakish and frustrated by it all. When we got together, and he told me, I really wanted to be all sex-positive and accepting, but honestly i was very young and it was difficult for me to get my head round. You shouldn't be ashamed of the choices you make but if you are in your early twenties or younger it might seem strange when you're in a position when you need to tell others. Incidentally, he thought no sex was the problem, but it wasn't (and I can understand completely if it is - I wanted to lose my virginity before I left home so I could know what IT was like before adulthood)- it was more about wanting a relationship but not knowing how to relate to women - don't believe that women are the only gender who want to make it a meaningful experience. He's now very settled and happy, but it took a while to get there. What i mean is, it depends on your reasons for wanting to get your virginity gone, and depending on these it may not be the magic bullet you're looking for.

On the other hand, I also know people who lost theirs during a one-night stand, too drunk to remember the next day. As a poster says above, try and relax about it. Casual dating could be a start, and this often goes hand in hand with hooking up.
posted by mippy at 1:41 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Also, if you do go the paid route, please try and do it responsibly. Use protection. Don't sleep with anyone who looks like they aren't doing it out of choice. Above all, remember they're a professional, and will be as likely to run away with you as the girl who serves your coffee or hoovers your floor.
posted by mippy at 1:43 PM on May 10, 2010

I don't have any specific advice for you, but have u seen this . I read it on the blue yesterday.
posted by VickyR at 1:52 PM on May 10, 2010

as an addendum - i very much support prostitution, but south korea seems to be rife with sex trafficking. pay more money and spend more time finding a prostitute so you can be as sure as you can be that you're escort is someone who chose this life, not someone who is trapped without a passport.
posted by nadawi at 2:01 PM on May 10, 2010

I wanted to second heavily what boghead said above: you are in a really unique position right now, living in a country where
- a lot of the local girls are interested in dating foreign guys, qt least for a while
- as a corollary, a lot of the other single expat girls are very, very single
If you go out and just be friendly with girls there, things will start to happen.

(And what everyone else said about the disadvantages of the paid route.)
posted by whatzit at 2:20 PM on May 10, 2010

Don't do it. It is a dealbreaker for a lot of women (if I ever met a guy, no matter how great, who said he'd been with a prostitute, game over), so if you want to either have to lie/make serious omissions, or narrow your dating pool, then go for it. Otherwise, it's a bad idea.

If you have dated at all before, I'm sure you can find someone to hook up with. ESPECIALLY in your situation. All of my American dude friends who went to live in S. Korea or Japan, no matter how attractive or unattractive or how well they did with the ladies in the US had a lot of interest from girls, both Korean/Japanese and ex-pats.

Keep in mind that you have a clean slate abroad. None of the girls know that you're inexperienced, none of them know that you have a hard time getting girls, etc. You can be as outgoing as you want to be without any issue of it conflicting with the persona people know of you at home.

You haven't been there long at all, keep trying to find a girl to date legitimately. It will happen.
posted by ishotjr at 2:47 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

A couple more thoughts: I would 200000x prefer a virgin than a dude who'd paid for sex. I think a lot of girls are like this. Women don't judge virgins as harshly as you might imagine, in fact many would find it endearing or almost a unique opportunity.
Also, the fact that there is a bit of a language barrier can work in your favor because you don't have to worry about being super witty and amazing at conversation since there will be a bit of a wall no matter what, even with English-speakers because jokes and all those sorts of things don't always translate across culture.
posted by ishotjr at 2:49 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Women don't judge virgins as harshly as you might imagine, in fact many would find it endearing or almost a unique opportunity.

women are not an monolithic group. i would not sleep with a virgin - i would worry that our attitudes towards sex aren't compatible as he or she can't really know their attitudes towards something they've never done before. this isn't said to discourage the OP, but to point out that no one here, myself included, can speak for "women". as i said before - "seen a prostitute" and "virgin" can both be deal breakers.
posted by nadawi at 3:01 PM on May 10, 2010 [4 favorites]

Other interesting threads: the majority of mefites here say "see a hooker!"
Another male 30-yr old virgin

You might also find these two columns interesting:
“I thought long and hard about going to a sex worker to end this curiosity, but I somehow think it might be a bad idea. Going to a pro might get me off, but it won’t teach me anything and it won’t give me any clues as to how to relate to a partner who wants to be there and has her own desires.” And the
follow-up column. (By the way, Sasha is an awesome sex advice columnist. She had a column at until October 2009 and switched to I wish there was a searchable archive of her columns.)

So we've seen a bit of stigma here already to having first-time sex with a sex worker and I won't add to that, because really, if that's what you want to do, do it. If I may, I just want to question your whole thought process, attitudes and feelings around never having had partnered sex. (I'm not crazy about the terms virgin and virginity - I never felt like they fit me even when obviously, there was a time where I hadn't had sex.)

I need to get my first experiences out of the way ASAP, so I can stop obsessing about when it'll happen, if I'm any good
Why do you think you need to get your first experiences out of the way ASAP? Why are you obsessing about this anyway? Why do you want to find out if you're any good? What are you really scared of (e.g. rejection? being laughed at?), and what would you do/feel if it happened?

You say you're obsessing. Having sex with a pro isn't necessarily going to fix that; you may just shift your obsessing to something else. Like others have said, sex is awkward in the beginning. We grow up not knowing a bunch of things, like how to eat with a fork or speak. We have to learn all those things. Yet somehow we all expect sex to be "natural" as if we're supposed to just be good at it right off the bat. Awkwardness is natural. Being good at something takes practice.

Similarly, I wondering if the temporary relief of finally getting laid and past that first-time virgin awkwardness might be worth it.
You say it yourself: it will be temporary relief. So once that relief is gone, then what? You have to be really honest about what you're expecting out of a first partnered-sex experience with a service provider. People have said so far that yes, maybe you'll get yourself off, but you won't learn anything about how to respond to a person's needs.

As for actually finding a sex worker to do this with, I imagine it's like finding any other kind of service provider. In this case, you'll ask them if they've had clients that wanted to get their first experiences "over with" and how they've treated those clients. You tell them what you want, which is… what? To show you a little bit how to have sex? To be patient with you? Keep in mind the monetary cost of the service. Can you afford it? Basically, when you go to a sex worker, you're both treating sex as a commodity, which is fine if that's what you want and she's being fairly compensated for her work (like any other kind of work). But are you capable of having that kind of emotional detachment going into this? Or does this ring true from the anon commenter: "Of course you could go out and have sex, and you wouldn't be a virgin* anymore. But you'd still be a guy who doesn't think very highly of himself, who hasn't figured out how to relate to people and form bonds with them, who is afraid to be vulnerable and open his heart and tell people how he feels. That's what's really making you sad." Like I said, be clear about what your expectations are from going to a sex worker. And why not just post an ad to good ol' Craigslist? That way you can be totally upfront about where you're at and what you want, talk to a few sex workers to see who you like, and then decide who to hire.

Honestly, I think if you do this right, you could get a good experience out of this. If you found a sex worker who was willing to work with you and understand your emotional needs (not just physical/sexual) for this particular transaction, you could walk away from it and say, "hey, now I've got some sexual experience." But the task ahead of you is to still learn to like yourself, value yourself, and learn relationship and communication skills. Therefore, in the grand scheme of things, having first-time partnered sex/losing your virginity is actually quite small. Yet at the same time, you will get people who will judge you for never having had sex (I wouldn't). I got around that by not telling the guy (I'm female) because I didn't think it was a big deal, but I'd also had non-PIV sexual experiences, so I didn't see PIV sex as the "real" sex that I MUST have. As such, I didn't "think" of myself as a virgin, and I think that helped me have a positive first PIV sexual experience (when before I dreaded and was scared of the idea and felt like a freak for doing so). Believe me, I had a whole bunch of hang-ups (hate that word) about sex and I worked through them by trying to learn about sex, cultural expectations of sex. E.g. why is virginity such a big deal? Why is there this expectation to have sex by a certain age? etc. etc. I didn't date in high school. By 4th year university, my thinking changed about myself and relationships, and as a result, I had a 4-month relationship that ended gut-wrenchingly, but the whole thing was a good experience (except for how it ended!) and I can laugh at it now. My point is, you have to change how you think. Here's another of Sasha's columns alluding to this.

*This is what I don't like about the virgin/virginity concept: there's a clear before-and-after state and a clear goal to "getting rid" of your virginity like it's some kind of disease. Too much focus on this concept takes away from getting at the real issues (sense of self-worth, developing relationships and relationship skills, etc. etc. etc.) and therefore lays out (pun unintended) getting rid of the virginity as the solution, when it really isn't.
posted by foxjacket at 8:49 PM on May 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

I haven't read all of the above answers, so maybe somebody beat me to this already... but...

The idea that your First Time is a big deal is total crap. Your first time is going to be awkward because you won't know what you're doing, and that's fine.

And. That's. Fine.

What definitely can be a very big deal is the First Person you have sex with. Maybe I just got lucky (pardon the pun), but the first woman I had sex with was someone I dated for over two years. Was our first time weird? Yup! And the second? Kinda. And the third...? Well... Let's just say that with each time, we got better at it - mostly because we got better at knowing our bodies and knowing each others' bodies.

Paying for sex would be a waste of your money because you won't know what you're doing. Maybe you're thinking "yeah, but she'll show me." It doesn't work that way. I've never paid for sex, so I have no clue how THAT works, but even with a girlfriend... even if she says she's going to teach you... it doesn't really work the way you think it would, and that's because You Don't Know Your Body Yet. Not sexually, anyway.

I'm not saying to wait for the woman you'll marry, but definitely do wait for a woman you'll want to date. You have a lot to learn, and part of that learning should involve the giddy cutesy fun of doing it with someone you're really into who is also into you.
posted by 2oh1 at 9:36 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mod note: Nixed link to old deleted thread from foxjacket's comment. Please don't go linking to things people understandably wanted deleted inthe first place.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:29 PM on May 10, 2010

Let me just say that yes, you can have a meaningful and helpful relationship with a sex worker.

The trick is finding someone caring and honest.

A good idea is talking to them openly, say, on the phone or via email, about your situation. Do they respond thoughtfully? Are they like "yeah whatever" or do they address your concerns gently? To some extent a personality match is important, too.

I would suggest going to an independent person with a good reputation and perhaps a website or advertisement that appeals to you--not just looks but personality, too. Unfortunately, I don't know where to look in your particular location. has some listings internationally, I think.

As far as STD prevention, I am sure you can find someone willing to use protection, and read up on protection yourself. Many sex workers care about STDs and take precautions! It's not like anyone wants to get HIV or syphilis from a customer.

I would be hesitant to take the advice of people who have no experience with sex workers about what will and won't happen, what she will do, whether she will teach you things, etc. Sex workers, like everyone else, are individuals, they have different personalities, skills, and offer a wide variety of services. Sure, some will have no interest in what you want, but to say anything about ALL escorts as though it were gospel truth when they've never even met an escort--oy.

The point about your future partners is a decent one, although I wouldn't worry about someone who would worry about you having STDs. That's what STD testing is for. There's no secret escort STD that you'll get and have forever and that doesn't show up on tests!

As far as skills go--Tristan Taormino has made some educational videos. Some of her DVDs (maybe all?) have information on safer sex. Educate yourself!

Best of luck.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:01 PM on May 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

heck, i lost my virginity to a streetwalker in paris when i was 16. for me, it did indeed help me feel less awkward and worried about sex, and when/if i was ever going to have it. it's not something i bring up at dinner conversation, but when losing-your-virginity stories start being swapped, i tell mine proudly. i can't think of a time when it's overly upset a girlfriend, but then i'm kinda a wild and crazy guy, and i make no bones about it.

that said, i think boghead's on the right track, really. teaching english in asia is tailor made for you and your uncomfortable situation - if you stick it out, you might find that you don't really need to bring in the professionals. *but* if you really want to get this virginity thing out of the way, i can sympathize. i know my dating life improved immensely after i lost my virginity, it was one less (huge) thing for me to worry about. internet fraud's advice above is quite well considered if you choose to go that route.
posted by messiahwannabe at 7:41 AM on May 11, 2010

A single data point doesn't count for much I realise, but I don't think i've seen this viewpoint held by any other (self-identified) women here, which might give you the impression it's of a unicorn-like rarity.

Specifically, I wouldn't have any negativity towards a man who'd seen an escort for his first time. On the obvious proviso that he was careful and intelligent about it, emotional and physical healthwise.

I can definitely see the benefits of it, especially if you went about it as foxjacket and internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 suggest - researching carefully to find someone who can work with you towards your goals, not just perform on you. Perhaps having someone teach you some basics will take care of that particular anxiety, and you can simultaneously take steps to work on the emotional barriers that're holding you back from forming connections and learning these skills on your own.

A psychologist/therapist + sex worker team could be a pretty potent combination to helping you help yourself.
posted by pseudonymph at 8:16 AM on May 11, 2010

psst - pseudonymph - i'm a self identified woman.
posted by nadawi at 12:26 PM on May 11, 2010

As a data point I would not think less of a man who went to an escort as long as he was and is respectful of her, and other sex workers. Hypocricy, cruelty, being judgmental or negative towards escorts, talking about them in a degrading way, criticizing their bodies, would really ick me out, though.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:44 PM on May 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

psst - pseudonymph - i'm a self identified woman.

Likewise. To expand on what I said above, my questions as a future partner would be whether the person was not okay with degrading women, whether he had come to a negative view of sex through some bad experience, whether he would now expect to be served, and whether he would never think I was as good as some professional sex worker. So, if you made clear that it was a unique situation unlike a real relationship, and if you'd been examining the situation with an eye toward both your safety and self-worth and hers, that would help.
posted by salvia at 12:57 AM on May 12, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sorry, nadawi! I saw your response above, but managed to miss that you followed it up by mentioning you were female in your next comment.

And I strongly agree again with everything internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 says here. Those things would be far more important to me than the mere fact of seeing a sex worker.
posted by pseudonymph at 1:08 AM on May 12, 2010

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