Buying Obedience, Part 4

Note to family members and others who don’t want to read about my personal sex life: This one you almost certainly want to stay away from. It discusses my sex life in some detail… and discusses aspects of my sex life that you probably don’t want to know about. Really. Here’s a post that you might want to read instead, about how my early science education shaped my adult life, and why I’m grateful for it.

This is Part Four of a four-part post. In Part One, “Thinking About It,” I talked about why I decided to hire a professional submissive in the first place; Part Two, “Planning It,” told what it was like to actually shop for, and make plans with, a pro submissive. Part Three, “Doing It,” told what happened once I actually walked through the dungeon door. And in today’s conclusion, I explain what I think it all means. 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 Four: Analyzing It to Death Afterward

So here’s the big, meaningful conclusion I’ve come to:

Boy, sex work is weird.

I don’t mean that it’s bad. I don’t mean that it’s sinful or exploitative or un-feminist, or any of that. But it’s deeply, deeply weird. And being a customer felt much weirder than I’d ever felt as a provider. It was radically different from unpaid sex, much more so than I’d expected. It was as different from unpaid sex as SM is from vanilla sex, as different as making love with a beloved partner is from fucking a stranger.

Why was it so different? It wasn’t the “playing with a stranger” part so much: I’ve done that before, at sex parties and such. And it wasn’t the “planning and scheduling sex in advance” part, either: I’ve done that before as well, with both long-term lovers and casual personal-ad hookups. But the combination of the two — making a definite, fairly detailed plan to have sex with someone that I’d never even met before — was deeply surreal. Even with strangers at sex parties, I’d known them for at least 30 seconds, had a chance to see if there was immediate physical chemistry, before deciding to boink them. This blend of careful calculation and blind leaping-into-the-abyss adventure was very peculiar indeed.

And of course, I was $300 poorer at the end of it, which isn’t an insignificant difference. The money made me feel entitled to ask for what I wanted and (within reason) to get it. But it also made me feel pressured, like I had to cram as much pleasure as I could into the session to make it worth what I’d spent. And inevitably, it made me compare the experience to other luxuries, trying to judge whether that one hour had really been as good as thirty expensive cocktails, or ten pairs of Merino wool tights, or three fancy dinners out with my lover.

But the biggest difference between playing for money and playing for free turned out to be the clock. Rachel had informed me ahead of time that she rented the dungeon by the hour and we had to be out by 8pm sharp. Even if she hadn’t, I didn’t have the money to extend the session past the hour we’d scheduled. So I was constantly keeping an eye on the clock: winding up the spanking so we could get to the cunt torture, deciding not to use the flogger because we wouldn’t have time to do it right. Now, I’ve certainly had quickies with a casual eye on the clock, have begun play sessions that we had to either cut short or miss our dinner reservations. But I’d never before played with anyone who was going to kick me out after exactly one hour, no matter what was going on or how much fun either of us was having. And this, I think, more than anything else about the session, made it nearly impossible for me to relax and just experience the moment.

I want to say something, though, and I want to say it very clearly: None of this weirdness or anxiety had anything to do with Rachel. Rachel was great. She knew her stuff, and she responded beautifully to my orders, and she was lovely to look at and luscious to fondle and spank. Any stress or distance I felt came from my own brainwaves and neuroses. Rachel did not make this a weird experience — I did.

Would I do it again? Well, if money were no object… but that’s ridiculous. Of course money is an object. Money is the object, the whole point of the exercise, the thing that makes paying for it different from just surfing the personals for no-strings sex. So let me re-phrase that. If I could afford it — if I weren’t working a low-paying hippie-anarchist day job, if I hadn’t recently paid for a big wedding and bought a house (and before you ask: yes, my wife knows about my adventure, and she’s fine with it) — is this a luxury I’d save up for again?

I’m not sure. I had a good time, no question. I walked home after the session with that loose, rumpled, hormone-addled strut people get when they’ve just gotten it good, as high and relaxed on my way back as I’d been freaked-out and high-strung on my way there. But it was a very weird good time, an awkward good time during much of it, and in many ways a deeply unsettling good time. And while I definitely got off, it didn’t shake me to my core. The cool and distant persona I’d been cultivating was as much removed from herself as she was from Rachel, and her core was pretty damn unshakable. Besides, it’s hard for my core to be shaken by someone I barely know.

But I have no idea how much of this unease and disconnect was simply unfamiliarity and first-time nerves. It’s entirely possible that if I did it again, with experience under my belt and without feeling all anxious and ignorant and self-consciously transgressive, I’d have an even better time.

And in fact, I find that I’m still fantasizing about seeing a pro submissive. Not so much about the session I actually had; instead, I’m fantasizing about what I might do next time. I’m imagining what it’d be like if I let go of my fixation on being selfish and asked for more feedback; and I’m imagining what it’d be like if I could quit worrying about her responses and really let myself be selfish and cruel. And I’m wondering how the reality would stack up to the fantasy the second time around. So if money weren’t such an obstacle, then yes. I’d probably do it again.

If only to find out what it was like.

Buying Obedience, Part 4

4 thoughts on “Buying Obedience, Part 4

  1. 1

    I just finished reading this series of posts, and I must say it was really interesting and thought-provoking. I can’t really add anything more than that because it’s so far outside my realm of personal experience: your wife is fine with it; my wife would kill me 20 times over if I did such a thing.
    Btw, I sympathize with the “can’t afford it, just bought a house” thing. We just bought a house, and despite having two normal, relatively well paying professional jobs (not “low-paying hippie-anarchist” jobs), there is literally no money left.
    Congrats on the new place though.

  2. Jan

    Thank you for this series. I found it fascinating. I’ve never really considered paying a pro, not because I think there’s anything wrong with it — some of my friends are or have been sex workers — mostly because I don’t have much disposable cash. But reading this has made it much more tempting.

  3. 3

    Do you really want to let yourself be selfish and cruel, though? It might be in the “Not Going There” category (like the post you wrote about men who don’t want to spank women). Maybe it’s just not in you…and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
    This series turned me on and bothered me at the same time.

  4. 4

    While I have mostly felt comfortable around all kinds of sex, I have never felt comfortable around sex workers working. I love me some pornography, anything where there is not a live person right there while I’m busy objectifying them. I heartily approve of people doing sex work; my first wife was a topless dancer for several years when we were both in college. While some of that was hotness for me mostly it was just her job. A job I never visited while she was working both at her request and by my preference.
    So, thank you for writing this. I wonder what it would be like for you if somebody else paid for your next session? Or if you won it as a prize on the radio?

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