Buying Obedience

Note to family members and others who don’t want to read about my personal sex life: This one you definitely want to stay away from. Seriously. It discusses my sex life in a whole lot of detail… and discusses aspects of my sex life that you almost certainly don’t want to know about. Here’s a funny piece I wrote recently about atheist plumbing that you might want to read instead.

This piece was originally published in Other Magazine, and was reprinted in Best Sex Writing 2008.

Buying Obedience:
My Visit to a Pro Submissive

Part One: Thinking About It

First of all — no, the book didn’t give me the idea. I’ve thought about hiring a professional submissive for years, long before the book came along. I’ve thought about it idly, fantasized about it intensely, even read the ads in the back of the adult papers with semi-serious intent. But the book is what gave me the courage, or maybe just the excuse, to go ahead and actually do it.

A quick explanation. See, I edited this book, Paying For It: A Guide by Sex Workers for Their Clients, which is pretty much what it sounds like — a collection of writing by sex workers, with advice for customers on how to treat sex pros so they like you and give you a better time. I edited the book (and wrote parts of it myself) very much from the point of view of the worker, and while it was written with sympathy and compassion for the customer, it was written entirely in the workers’ voices.

But as soon as I started working on the book, I started wondering: What would it be like on the other side?

Part of my interest was professional. How easy would it be, I wondered, to follow the advice in my own book? Would having the guidelines make me feel relaxed and confident about hiring a sex pro? Or would they make me even more anxious about whether I was doing it right?

But mostly, I was just curious. Sexually curious, I mean, not just intellectually curious. What would be different about getting off with someone who was doing it for the money, instead of doing it pro bono? I liked the idea of paying someone so I could have the session be about me me me, so I could be sexually selfish without feeling guilty. That’s a big reason I decided to hire a submissive instead of an escort or a dominant — it fit so beautifully into that fantasy. But would it really be like that? Would I really be able to think of her as my servant girl, there for the sole purpose of doing my bidding and getting me off? Or would I be unable to let go of my reflex of wanting her to like me, wanting her to think I was cool, wanting her to have fun too?

And would the very fact of the money get in the way? Would it make me mistrust my own instincts? Would the money be constantly in my mind, a nagging reminder that she probably wouldn’t be there if she didn’t have bills to pay? I knew from the writing in “Paying For It” (and from my own experience as a stripper) that sex workers do sometimes like their customers and sometimes even get off with them. But weirdly, knowing this wasn’t entirely comforting. It made me want to prove myself, made me want to be one of those special ones… which, of course, made it harder to imagine just selfishly letting myself be catered to. Would I be able to forget about the money? And if not, would I be able to let the money be part of the power dynamic, one of the things that made the encounter unique and hot?

There was only one way to find out.

Tomorrow, Part 2: Planning It.

Buying Obedience

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