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.







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,