A few weeks ago, one of my female friends told her friend that I visit escorts.
''But he seems so normal'' was the response.
A classic reply from someone who knows nothing about sex work. And in fairness that's a huge percentage of the population. A few years ago I was the same, with nothing but a few cliches swimming round my brain.
Prostitution was about drugs, pimps, desperate down-trodden women, nasty diseases and creepy kerb crawlers right? Except that pretty much all of that is completely wrong.
The women I've visited have been intelligent, sober, skilled and strong willed. Without exception. They have been friendly, professional and in many cases humorous. Most have been happy to chat for ages, candidly, openly and honestly, often well over the alloted time.
And one reason for this is that sex workers are about much more than sex. One lady estimated that up to a quarter of her clients don't actually have any sexual contact with her. And I understand that. I've had two or three appointments where we just cuddled and talked. Why would anyone pay for that?
Well it depends on your viewpoint. In the last year, I've spent several thousand pounds on escorts. But let's compare that with having a girlfriend. Going out two or three nights a week for a meal, cinema, buying presents, perhaps a two week holiday. It very quickly adds up and there is no guarantee of a lasting relationship. That's assuming you want one.
Many couples effectively lead separate lives. They have jobs with awkward hours, different interests, different friends, a need for their own space. Sex dwindles and becomes stale. It can easily become two people sharing the same premises and little more. And for many, that is absolutely fine.
But for others, their desires may be different. I have been in long term relationships as described above. The sexual element, such a fantastic part of the courtship, disappeared almost immediately we moved in together. How much better is it to retain that excitement, visiting ladies for various adventures, ranging from edge play to simple cuddles and pillow talk? To count some of those ladies as personal friends, caring for and about each other? To retain your independence, yet having human contact, both platonic and sexual, on a regular basis?
Variety as they say, is the spice of life. I'm having the time of mine.