escort musings

On Being My Own Muse

I talk frequently about how my creative self enhances my relationships with clients, hence the title "Your Erotic Muse." However I have lately been ruminating on how companionship has grown and nourished my own creative endeavors. 

Before Ava was born I studied English Literature and Creative Writing at a wonderful liberal arts college. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but after school ended I drifted for a couple years due to my uncertainty in how to get where I wanted to go. Something that helped during this time was Neil Gaiman's "Make Good Art" speech. He talks about his goal of becoming a writer as a mountain, and making choices that would bring him closer to the mountain. As I was seeing friends go to grad school and start entry level 9-5 jobs I felt conflicted: neither option felt like it would draw me closer to my mountain. And so I began thinking outside the box (a realm I've always preferred) and eventually decided to try independent sex work. I've discussed the emotional fulfillment being Ava gives me before, but haven't really touched on how it's grown me as a person. 

Becoming Ava has grown and challenged me in ways I could never have fathomed. Meeting people of all ages and from so many different walks of life has enriched my worldview more than any grad program or corporate job ever could. I have learned so much creatively from working for myself and managing every part of my business. I actually learned I have a decent head for business, something I would never have discovered had I not taken this path. I've seen my writing touch and influence people. Another thing I want to add is how much more comfortable I am going outside my comfort zone. In my creative, professional, and personal life I am much more willing to take risks, assert my needs, and follow my bliss. I write more, I read more. I am more careful about who I choose to invest my time and love into and nurture the relationships that matter most to me more than I ever have. 

I was told growing up "to whom much is given, much is expected." Sex work has given me so much, more than I could have imagined. It has expanded and altered the shape of my dreams and what I expect of myself. While I enjoy inspiring others, looking at a new year I am amazed at reflecting how much I am inspired by my work and the people I've met and hope to meet. Thank you all.

Xoxo,

Ava

Life After Reviews

It's been 7 months since I delisted myself from The Erotic Review and instituted a no reviews policy. I wanted to take a minute and talk about how that change has affected me, the nature of my business, and the impact delisting is having on the SW community as a whole. 

I delisted first and foremost because it is what felt right to me personally. Reviews have never sat well with me as a concept, the idea of breaking a holistic intimate experience down to a series of actions and acronyms is the anthisis of what I strive to do as Ava. It's not simply the objectifying manner in which (even if a reviewer doesn't wish to) TER stipulates reviews must be written in that's the problem. One of the things about being an independent sex worker I find most empowering is the fact that I am in full control of every aspect of my business. By allowing reviews, I was allowing others to control an aspect of my narrative as Ava, and therefore a part of my business was outside my control. This is the core reason for TER's existence: to be a check on escorts' ability to run their business the way they want. I have had many clients who use (and in more cases, used to use) TER simply as a resource for verifying providers and bypassing awkward questions about what she offers. However, there have always been and always will be a small but harmful minority of clients who use TER to lash out at and control the business of sex workers. 

My chief concern with delisting was financial. TER is one of the most widely viewed advertising platforms in my city, and it's "free." I started on TER because I did not have the necessary funds to buy an ad on Eros at the time. Many providers have similar stories and concerns. I am pleased to say that delisting has had no negative impact on my business, quite the contrary. I feel that by not accepting reviews and relying on my own marketing and narrative, the clientele I attract is the kind of clientele I have strong rapport with. Above all, I desire clients who want to see me, not just someone. I'm sure not having reviews has caused me to lose out on a few good clients, but I have to say the clients who have taken the plunge are some of the most interesting and compassionate people I have ever met. 

I have noticed a happy trend in delisting: more ladies are doing it! While still outside the norm, as more do it it becomes easier for others to do. I have been blown away by the kind messages I've received from other SWs who ask me about delisting or have been inspired to delist themselves. I was far from the first to delist, but it feels good to know in my own small way my choices are having a positive impact on the SW community. And that's how change should be enacted: by sex workers for sex workers. The gentlemen who are attracted to ladies who write their own stories are out there. Thanks again to everyone who has offered their support of my choices, I hope you get the same support in yours.

Warmly,

Ava

 

 

 

 

Are You Available Now? The Benefits of Prebooking

Life is hard to predict and I understand unexpected windows pop up in schedules on occasion. These windows often lead to some version of the "Can I see you today/tonight/right now?" email. The vast majority of these messages ( "r u aval?" is a seminal favorite) go straight in the trash folder, but I do get the occasional genuine and detailed same day request that ends up becoming a same day date. However the stars need to align in 3 ways:

1. I need to be able to complete screening quickly. This can be especially challenging if you are using references. I require 2 references in most cases, if you email me at 3pm requesting an 8pm date both your references need to respond to me no later than 5pm to confirm the date. 2 hours is a short amount of time to expect someone else to respond to an email. Employment verifaction can usually be done much faster and if you are seeking a last minute booking I recommend being prepared to go that route.

2. You need to give me enough notice. I need 2 hours to get ready, that doesn't include travel time. Assume you send me a sweet, detailed email at 3pm with employment verification. It takes us 30 minutes of emailing to complete screening and scheduling. The absolute soonest I can leave my house to go see you is 5:30, and that's rush hour. More importantly, it also requires that...

3. I am chilling at my house with no other plans. I'll admit, I'm kind of a homebody. My idea of a good time is usually relaxing at home with a cup of tea and a good book or trashy TV. But sometimes I have Plans. These Plans can be but are not limited to: hanging out with friends, calling family. another date, or any other number of social engagements. While I've had on the fly dates work seamlessly, be prepared to be flexible or be disappointed. 

That's quite a few things that need to be in place huh? This is probably why these days over 90% of my dates are booked in advance. My schedule is often set the week before, but I've had dates booked 3 months out. My clients prefer to prebook not just because they know they can guarantee my availability, but that I will be totally prepared and at ease. Getting called into work last minute is a bit stressful, can't we all agree? For me to give you my 100% best, I work much better with proper planning. The nature of our time together is emotional invigorating but intense, I need ample time to prepare and recharge. So whether I'm the next lady you plan to see or not, give as much notice as you can. I promise, the favor will be returned. 

On giving and kindness

As a general rule my clients are amazing individuals: they are professionally accomplished yes, but more importantly they are introspective, passionate, funny and kind. I want to take a moment to reflect on the powerful role simple kindness has played in my journey as Ava. 

People often say they are drawn to my openness and compassionate nature. I enjoy my work partially because I feel I create spaces for others to be themselves in a way they are perhaps unable to in any other context. Or to put it bluntly, casual relationships do not have to be clinical. Many people for a myriad of reasons need or desire an intimate connection without the emotional responsibility seeking one out (even a platonic friendship) in the "real world" entails. Sometimes to meet certain needs, we must be a little selfish. 

Wait a minute, the theme of this post is supposed to be kindness right? Selfishness is a dirty word in our culture these days, but truth be told sometimes you have to put your needs first, especially to give to others. Self care is important for all, including yours truly. One of the reasons I'm an escort instead of having a 9 to 5 is because having the autonomy over my time escorting provides allows me to practice self care to a greater extent than I would be able to in a more traditional job. Having the time and resources to meet my needs grants me the time and emotional energy to meet the needs of my clients. It also allows me to enjoy meeting them.

One of the most important facets of the relationships I have as Ava is vulnerability. It might sound strange to those who have never seen a sex worker, but often something about the complexities and constraints under which people meet me allows them to open up in a way I can only compare to seeing a good therapist. It's not that everyone tells me their deepest secrets, but that the time they spend with me meets needs that are hard to satisfy under the complexities and constraints of "real life." It's a powerful thing to be able to give someone and I'm grateful to the kind souls that permit me not only to give it, but be given it in return. 

-AVA

 

If the CEO of Backpage Can Be Arrested for Pimping, Will the CEO of Craigslist Be Arrested for Murder?

I was appalled to hear of THE ARREST OF BACKPAGE'S CEO this week for pimping. My question is: will the CEO of Craigslist be arrested for murder? The CEO of Angie's List arrested for explotation of labor? MacDonald's for childhood obesity? If these claims sound ridiculous, the Backpage situation should trouble you. 

Backpage is a neutral advertising venue used all over the world, both in places where sex work is decriminalized and not. Because of its reach and reasonable cost compared to other sites it is a popular choice for independent providers of all stripes (I've used BP and have friends who swear by it), but most importantly those who are most marginalized and at highest risk of experiencing violence on the job.  BP can be the difference between allowing a sex worker to work indoors and screen and having to work outdoors with much greater risk of experiencing violence as well as police harassment and arrest. Here is what was found in A STUDY OF 30 NYC STREET BASED SEX WORKERS:

  •  All were 19 or older and engaging in work consensually
  • 26 reported unstable housing situations
  • 17 would prefer to work indoors entirely
  • 9 reported threats of violence by police
  • 5 reported sexual harassment/assault by police
  • All 30 had been arrested at some point for both prostitution and non prostitution offenses

Sounds like criminalizing sex work has had a real positive impact on these people's lives huh? And  clearly these people were lying about engaging in work consensually so as not to anger their pimps/traffickers. Let's get the facts straight: shutting down Backpage is not going to stop sex trafficking any more than shutting down Craigslist will stop murder and rape. But it will do these two things that concern me deeply:

1. It will make it harder for marginalized sex workers to work safely and independently, and potentially force them into unsafe situations or ironically into the arms of shady pimps and agencies. Isn't that what we are trying to prevent here?

2. Rather than making trafficking go away, it will make it harder to track. We don't blame credit card companies and banks for tax evasion and embezzlement, but they make those crimes much easier to track and persecute.

So what would I like to see come from this? Ideally I'd like all charges against Carl Ferrer dropped and BP allowed to remain up and running. From there we need to start having a national conversation about sex work and sex trafficking, the difference between the two, and how to help both populations. This conversation should have SWs at the forefront, as we are the ones directly affected and who actually know how Backpage operates. However in a world where the head of a site that provides many women, minorities and transfolks their livelihood gets arrested for crimes he did not commit, I am not optimistic these reasonable goals will be achieved anytime soon. Which is exactly why we must continue to have these conversations anyway. 

Battle of the Bush

 

Escorting is a fantasy.

That is to say, buying time with an escort is buying time with someone that for whatever reason, would be hard to access otherwise. Maybe you have a crush on the 22 year old tattooed barista who always asks about the book you're reading as she hands you your coffee, but you've been married for 20 years. Perhaps you have desires you feel you can't express, or you have but your partner is not willing or not able to fulfill them. No matter the reason, all who come to see me are looking for connection moreso than a perfectly packaged model. Though I know this there is a cosmetic aspect of myself I've struggled with. 

Having come of age in the era of low rise jeans and string bikinis, I knew pubic hair was socially unacceptable for women long before viewing my first porn clip. Yet as my hair came in it made me feel truly womanly. I liked the softness and the mystery of it and it enhanced my sense or eroticism. 

I've only gone totally bare once. It was actually a couple years before I lost my virginity, I did it purely for curiosity. Well curiosity definitely killed the kitty in this case :P All I achieved was angry, rough black stubble and angrier and itchier red bumps. Turns out my skin is quite sensitive and removing pubic hair actually makes you more susceptible to STIs. I never had total hard wood floors again, though I have waxed a few times since starting as Ava. Every time even with a total professional and aftercare I get razor burn and ingrown hairs. My vag is supposed to look better dammit not less cute! I am officially done waxing and while I've trimmed on occasion it turns out many agree with me on the sexiness of the bush. So I'm pleased to announce it's here to stay! I might trim if I'm bored/feel like it but the soft fluff is not going anywhere. I want to thank everyone who has expressed their enthusiasm for the bush and hope if you wish to see me you aren't deterred by a bit of fluff. For the record I'm certainly not :D

Pulling Off the Tape: Why I No Longer Accept Reviews

On June 1st I wrote the following on my Twitter:

 

"If you think reviews are a better way to get to know me than my site, blog, and Twitter, you aren't really interested in getting to know me."

 

As of this posting, the tweet has been liked by 80 people and retweeted 21 times. Clients and providers responded with comments such as "Reviews are the opinions of others. A site, blog, and Twitter are where a lady's personality shine through and reel me in." and "My reviews are same old same old. At least my website, blog, twitter feed offer a personalized way to get to know me." Clearly the sentiment I expressed is felt deeper in the community than 140 characters would suggest. 

 

I have just delisted myself from The Erotic Review, and am no longer accepting reviews of any kind. This decision was a long time coming and deeply personal. First of all, the concept of reviews makes me uncomfortable. I'm a pretty private person, especially when it comes to details of my intimate life. I imagine many of you are as well. My work is about connection and fostering relationships, and the manner and extent to which those connections are broadcast in the review system distorts meaningful private interaction into erotica for public consumption. If you wrote a Yelp review for your therapist, would you want to disclose the intimate details of your sessions with the Internet? Many of my wonderful clients share this view (it's their experience being publizced too) and I have no doubt anyone who feels a desire to meet me will be deterred by my position, even if they normally write reviews themselves. 

 

Another reason I have made this policy is so I can speak more freely. Frankly I was feeling increasingly stifled by the dynamics of review culture and found myself participating less often on the discussion boards. I am an opinionated person and have always enjoyed sharing my opinions unequivocally with others to help facilitate disscussion and debate. Yet, I felt that TER was not a place where my opinion was welcome if one of dissent, and so got in the habit of only saying things I deemed would not be considered "controversial." Though onsensibly a place for discussion and ergo conflicting viewpoints, I find TER more of an echo chamber. There is a whole other side to the conversion and I look forward to contributing to it in ways I hope will be helpful and productive for the escort community. 

 

Love to all,

Ava

The True Reason for Screening

Screening: the most important part of the pre-date process, and an oft discussed topic. However I don't see much discussion on a certain aspect of screening, and would thus like to touch upon it today. Most people seem to think screening is to verify two things:

 

1. You aren't a cop

2. You aren't an axe murder/time waster/blacklisted

 

And yes, ascertaining you aren't a legal or physical threat is critically important, but most people who contact me that do not pass screening do not fall into either of the above categories. Why do they not get a date? Allow me to introduce Reason Three:

 

3. You aren't going to push my boundaries. 

 

This is the chief reason for screening, and the reason most would be clients do not get dates. A lady's process, whatever it might be, is chiefly designed to determine if you will respect her person and boundaries in an intimate setting. This is why I ask all first time friends to show me legal identification when meeting: yes I want to know you are you you say you are, but I also want to know you care enough about making me feel comfortable and safe to comply with the process I have determined makes me feel that way. If you are unwilling or reluctant to show me something you have to show to buy alcohol why in the world should I trust you with something as precious as my body? I understand discretion/fear of angry SOs/fear of professional reputation but guess what trumps all that? My life. You know what outranks the oft quoted most dangerous job in America of fisherman? Hooker. Number 2 doesn't not weed out everyone who would do me harm, simply not having been to jail is not enough. The thing is, no matter how thorough a screening process is, consenting to be alone in an intimate setting with a stranger is a high risk endeavor. The wonderful people who see me understand this implicitly and from the first email, make my comfort their priority. If you remember anything about screening, let it be this: it's about making her feel safe and respected, and if you are uncomfortable with any part of her process she is likely going to be uncomfortable seeing you. Whatever doubts you have about the risks to you, you should deal with and set them aside before contacting her. If you cannot work through them then professional companionship is not for you, do not ask a lady to "bend" her requirements for you. You are not an exception and no amount of money is worth my life. I hope this post helps those new to companionship and sheds light on the importance of and reasons for screening.

 

Warmly,

Ava

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