I’m not sure why Allison Schrager wants to know what makes a prostitute worth $5,500 an hour, but she raised the question in a publication called Intelligent Life, which an offshoot of The Economist so it is well worth our attention. Via Instapundit.
Schrager recommends that this issue can help us to better understand the workings of the marketplace. It feels like a legitimate way to look at the flesh trade, that is the free trade in female human flesh.
We all know that some people also trade male flesh, but the market is much smaller and the flesh in question does not command the high valuation granted to the female variety.
To be clear, Schrager is not interested in the lower echelon of the flesh trade, streetwalkers and other cheap whores. She focuses on the higher end call girl, demi-mondaine, or escort.
This makes the question serious and respectable. Even if we have no experience in this market we know intuitively that women do not receive that kind of money for performing sex tricks that they learned in Cosmo.
Hopefully, everyone here is old and wise enough to know that Cosmo is misleading its readers when it suggests that there is some special sex trick, known especially those who trick for a living, that will bring a man to such heights of sexual ecstasy that he will never leave.
True enough, as Schrager notes, there are some sex acts that wives prefer not to do but that prostitutes will do for a price. But the cold hard truth is that if a woman really knows how to make love like a prostitute a man will quickly lose interest in forming any lasting bond with her.
Before examining Schrager’s reasoning, I will offer a couple of observations.
First, if a woman commands $5,500 or more an hour, she is saying that she does not see herself as a prostitute.
The most extravagant offers of cash for female flesh are used to entice fashion models and movie actresses. Some of these women accept the money in exchange for sex, but they still do not consider themselves to be prostitutes.
You might think that this is an empty distinction, but in the minds of the women who perform these acts, it matters. As they see it their exchange, privately contracted, does not stigmatize them as prostitutes.
In the last episode of Mad Men Joan Harris agreed to have sex with a prospective client in exchange for a partnership interest in the firm.
Let’s grant that she prostituted herself. Does that make her a prostitute? A single action does not create a brand.
Also, if the women who command the highest prices are not professionals one would assume that they do not possess the highest level sexual skills.
I hope that no one finds it surprising to discover that men find inexperience more attractive than experience.
Second, the high prices also show the women’s opinion of the men who are paying them.
Often enough, they find the men unappealing, unlovable, old and ugly, obnoxious to the point of being repulsive.
If a woman feels nothing for a man she will consider sex to be work and will assert her value, her self-esteem, but also her unstated contempt for her client by charging an absurdly high fee.
When she first addressed the economics of high end prostitution Schrager suggested that it requires “few skills.”
After readers took exception to her characterization, she decided to revisit the question.
Several men explained to her that inexperience reduces the health hazard.
In Schrager’s words:
Meeting a woman in a clean, well-kept environment signals higher quality and lowers the risk of an infection substantially.
Considerate to a fault, these men pay very high prices because they did not want to contract an infection and bring it home to their wives.
I would add that they are also paying to eliminate their responsibility for conception. A prostitute who gets pregnant will usually not hit up a client for child support.
Second, men explained to Schrager that visiting a prostitute is ultimately cheaper and less of a threat to their marriages than a mistress or an adulterous affair.
They are not just paying for discretion, but they are paying to defend their families. They do not want to be with a woman who will feel overly attached to them and will try to disrupt their lives.
Third, high end prostitutes provide something other than sex. Schrager explains that they provide companionship. I would add that they are also presentable; you can take them out in public without looking like a john.
This contradicts the obscene notion that men are sexual deviants who want nothing more than to exploit and abuse women.
A man will pay serious money for what is now called the girlfriend experience where a woman will convince him that she really cares about him, that she is really attracted to him, and that she is really responding to him.
Since both of them know all too well that they are involved in a business transaction, convincing the man that it is something other than pure business requires serious acting skills. This is more challenging when the prostitutes often hold their clients in contempt, as they often do.
Such skills command a high price.
Last week I posted about how free online porn sites were killing the business for porn stars. As long as women were willing to give it away for free, why would anyone pay to watch porn anymore?
But does the same apply to prostitution?
With so many young women giving it away for free, why would anyone have to pay for sex anymore?
Perhaps men know that you get what you pay for. In the marketplace of female flesh women who give it away for free cannot hold themselves in very high esteem. And why would you want to spend time and money with a woman who thinks so little of herself. Better to pay a prostitute... at least then you get an honest transaction. No prostitute thinks that she is in the business to express her individuality and to feel like she is liberated.