How I Became a Sex Worker
By Rob Yaeger
I remember the first time I saw a client. It was a bleak day in March 2010. It had never been my intention to be a sex worker. Yet there I was welcoming an entirely average-looking 50-something guy into a tenement apartment in the Flower District for a little compensated “companionship.”
I wasn’t alone. Although many paths led me to sex work, the immediate impetus came from a friend. We went to the same gym together and we got friendly. We hooked up a couple times. He took quite a sexual liking to me and he told me that he hustled a little extra money in between jobs by hooking. He said we could do well together if we joined forces.
This idea intrigued me. I needed money and I had very little time. It was a dark time in my life. For the two years leading up to that day in March 2010, life had been a maelstrom of care. My partner of 10 years–Steve–had been severely injured in a freak accident. After a terrifying week near death, he had recovered. Now he was disabled. I gave up my job in the law to be his full-time caregiver. It was an open-ended, 24/7 commitment. And I still had six figures in student loans I had piled up before his accident.
Plus I needed to have sex: Steve’s injury put the brakes on a formerly wonderful, non-monogamous sex life. Overnight, I had gone from a steady diet of new sex partners to none. By the time I saw my first client, I had been almost celibate.
After my friend broached sex work as a way to reconcile my burning need for both a flexible job and for sex, I approached Steve. We were at the Chelsea Square Diner on 23rd Street. “Pop, let’s face it: I need to make money. I’ve been caring for you nonstop for two years. And we don’t have sex anymore.” I paused. “Would you be opposed to me escorting?”
He smiled. “I wouldn’t mind at all. You’re still young and you still need to have sex. And if you can make some money at it, then go for it.”
I was no stranger to performance sex. While Steve and I were sexually active, we shared hundreds of sex partners, both at home and at sex clubs. I knew how to separate sex from emotion: Our whole open relationship had been premised on it. So I had the “technical skills” for the job, if you will.
So with Steve’s blessing I told my friend I’d love to work with him. We took out a duo ad on rentboy.com and within a day we had a call. I remember I bought one of those old, shitty Tracfones to take client calls; I didn’t want people calling my real number.
Our first client was straightforward. He came in and said he wanted a naked four-handed massage, then asked if he could watch my friend and me have sex. He was awkward and shy; he said he was in town from Long Island. I supposed he was married and closeted. They often are.
I was actually really excited. I was semi-hard when I got undressed: Not only did I suddenly have a sexual outlet again, but I was getting paid for it!
My friend was less enthused. I remember he had a downcast look on his face as we went about the call. Still, we brought an erotic touch to the experience. From what I could tell, the client was most satisfied. My friend and I made out and he sucked my dick. At the end, we jerked off on the client and he got off.
My friend brought towels and we all got cleaned up. I kept up a steady, soothing banter in these post-coital moments. The client seemed pleased. We moved from the bedroom back to the living room. At this point, he took out five hundred dollar bills and put them on my friend’s desk.
My friend was less ingratiating than I was. He thanked the client for coming and rather quickly showed him the door. He snapped the bolt shut and we were alone. He took the money and we divided it up. “So that’s how it’s done,” he said. He wasn’t smiling. I soon learned that he was less excited about sex work than I was. He didn’t want to do it forever. It was just a bridge, he said.
I couldn’t have been happier, though. I went home with $250 in my pocket and I had gotten off with another person for the first time in quite a while. This was something I could do long term, and it would help our family a lot.
Within a week I took an ad out on rentboy.com and started regularly seeing clients.
I never did another call with my friend. He didn’t like sex work. But he was the force that got me started in it. Strange how things begin.
Rob Yaeger is a sex worker who splits time between NYC and Las Vegas. He cares for his disabled partner at home and makes independent, ethical, gender-inclusive porn. You can follow him on Twitter @yaegerman