If Men Pay For Sex, Why Can't Women?

The stigma surrounding this has been blown out of all proportions.

It's no secret that men are willing to pay for sex. You only have to check your local paper to see pages of advertisements on where to go. But if you have a good look, you may also find some ads where men offer their services as male escorts or as massage therapists providing erotic massages for women.

For over a decade now, women looking for sexual experiences have become more willing to pay for them. Most are career women with high disposable incomes, in their thirties and forties, who are too busy for a conventional relationship.

It's not only single women who are looking for male escorts, but also those who are married or in a relationship. Some women who have an almost sexless marriage may not want to leave their husbands or partners because their relationships are not that bad, they may have children or they may be financially unable to leave. Others simply want an exciting experience in a safe environment.

So if men are paying for sex -- always have and probably always will -- why is paying for sex such a stigma for women?

Women who have had a break-up or painful divorce find it easier to have sex without strings attached. The thought of trying to date again and meet somebody new is too difficult for many. They often just miss sex and want to be intimate with somebody. Some women with a disability may choose to pay for sex when they find it difficult to find a partner.

Exclusively heterosexual male escort work is still a niche industry in Australia, but there are several agencies now that cater entirely for women. They provide safe, reputable escorts who are expected to turn up on time, be polite, look good and perform well. The quality of sex on offer is often much of the appeal of hiring an escort.

Some women request an escort to accompany them to an important work dinner or even a wedding, as the 'pretend boyfriend'. Others who have been in a long relationship wonder what sex is like with somebody else, especially a man who specialises in being a good lover.

Most female clients don't just want sex, they like foreplay, conversation and some affection; they want fulfilment on several levels. Some want to try something new they feel they can't ask, or don't want to do with their own partners. Some men find it exciting to see their partner having sex with another male.

However, society overall finds the idea of women paying for sex quite unacceptable.

One of my clients told me she saw an advertisement and contacted 'James', who offered erotic massages. She was very lonely after a relationship break-up, she had gained weight and lost all her confidence.

She didn't really know what to expect but was pleasantly surprised. James is a massage therapist who found some women were desperate to have a massage leading to an orgasm in a setting where they could talk and feel comfortable. He decided to specialise and also offers more if a client asks for it.

My client said he was wonderful and she ended up having sex with him. She felt that he gave her back her confidence and she also gained more knowledge about her body. The reason she came to see me was because she wanted to tell somebody. Deep down, she felt guilty and certainly would not have confided in her girlfriends. Months later she sent me an email saying she'd found a new man and was very happy.

Another related phenomenon of the past few years is the trend towards global female sex tourism, or romance travel. Single women, especially older wealthy ones, travel all over the world now to destinations where they find younger men who are happy to make them feel special, give them attention and excitement.

A favourite destination is Bali, where women from all parts of the world go to find paradise in the arms of the 'Kuta cowboys'. The women lavish local young men with money and gifts, and in turn they are eager to provide sex.

Then we have the 'sugar mummy' phenomenon, where a wealthy woman looks for a younger, good-looking, intelligent companion. She is willing to give him a luxury lifestyle, trips, gifts and money, and expects good conversation, companionship, fun and sex. Which is not much different than older rich and powerful men surrounding themselves with young beautiful women.

So if men are paying for sex -- always have and probably always will -- why is paying for sex such a stigma for women?