What is an escort really selling?

Back in 2012 — a long time ago in today’s tech climate — I wrote that we’d have realistic sexbots by around 2017. These robostitutes won’t necessarily have human-level intelligence (that’s still another 10+ years away I think), but they’ll look, move, and feel a lot like real humans. In short, they’ll probably be good enough to satisfy most sexual urges … a lot of sex workers will probably lose their jobs.

By 2025, ‘sexbots will be commonplace’ – which is just fine, as we’ll all be unemployed and bored thanks to robots stealing our jobs


The idea of sexbots is not new. In Blade Runner, made in 1982, Daryl Hannah played Pris a “basic pleasure model” android. The film was based on the 1968 science fiction novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick.

by Hannah Jay

The projected rise of the sexbots might mean “a lot of sex workers will probably lose their jobs”, but the intelligent escort need not be particularly worried. While many of her dates do end up in the bedroom, she makes her money by creating a ambience and a mystery.

There are, of course, service providers who see their job as being no more than “good enough to satisfy most sexual urges” and these girls may lose a lot of their business as soon as even a slightly realistic sexbot makes its appearance.

The service providers most under threat from sexbots – not to mention cut price immigrants, legal and illegal – are selling what economists refer to as a commodity good. One lump of coal is very much like another, all cats are grey at night: how can you tell one service provider apart from another if all that she is offering is sex?

Sexbots are not yet a reality because they are not particularly good facsimiles of real girls at the physical level and, to date, do not have any sort of even basic intelligence. But, if you think about Siri and other advances in near intelligence, it is not going to be long before there are sex dolls which talk. From there it is not a long way to basic motion.

While this is still science fiction, the inevitable arrival of sexbots should be a bit of a wakeup call to the escort business. The soon to be fact that a machine may be able to satisfy most sexual urges underscores what escorts actually provide.

The androids in Blade Runner could be detected because they were missing a critical human trait: empathy. While they could, for the most part, pass as human they were unable to identify with the feelings, thoughts or attitudes of another person.

So what escorts are really selling if it isn’t sex? At every price level, an escort brings empathy to her companionship encounters. Often that empathy extends to the bedroom but long before the bedroom an escort looks to find connections to her client.

Really savvy escorts also bring something which is a long way off in the robot world, agency. The escort, while she is certainly aware of what her client wants, is also capable of suggesting things which he might not even know he wants. While there is a subset of escort clients who just want a girl to do what she’s told, there are many more who are looking for an escort who brings more than just compliance to her dates.

An Escort is not a Sexbot

One of the great irritations of the escorting profession is the perception an escort is selling sex for money and that this is all she is selling. That particular transaction is illegal everywhere in the US except a few counties in Nevada, and it also misses most of the point of escorting.

Realistically, if a man wants to have sexual release he can masturbate. A lot cheaper than an escort, completely safe and hassle free. But escort clients do not take that alternative, or, more accurately, they see a value in an escort which is not present when they masturbate. What is that value?

Equally realistically, many, if not most, of an escort’s clientele are married. They could have sex with their wives. Very safe and usually easy to arrange, but there they are at the escort’s door. She is offering them something which their wife, apparently, does not. Why are these escort clients willing to pay for an escort’s company when they have a wife at home?

At a very basic level an escort is addressing something which is missing from either a solitary or a marital encounter. Thinking hard about what that “something” is gives the smart escort the information she needs to satisfy her clients, create ads to bring more clients and build the relationships which create regular escort clients.

Begin with the fact that an escort encounter is a break in the day to day existence of both new clients and regulars. For an hour or an evening, an escorts clients have the opportunity to be comfortable in an environment which is disconnected from the stress and complexity of their daily lives.

Whether an incall or an outcall, part of what the client is buying is the escort’s ability to keep his world at bay for a few hours. Something which he cannot do on his own and, rather obviously, cannot do with his wife.

The next thing which an escort brings with her is confidentiality. This implicit promise to keep the secrets of her clients allows her clients to be much more open than they might be with a wife or a girlfriend. They can play with their fantasies, tell tall tales or really unload on their boss or a feckless client secure in the knowledge that what they say or do will go no further.

Having a safe, confidential, escape from the cares of day to day life is deeply appealing to many escort clients. Were this all that an escort offered it might well be enough for many of her clients. However, escorts can and often do provide much more than this.

Agency and Empathy

Talented escorts do more than keep secrets and offer escape; they engage with their clients at a personal, intimate level and they bring their own personalities to their encounters. This is why escort clients are willing to pay hundreds, even thousands, of dollars for a relatively short bit of time with an escort.

In an escort encounter the client is naturally the focus of attention. The escort’s attention. For an hour or two the escort’s client is given the sensation of an attractive woman who wants nothing more than to cater to his desires, listen to his stories, respond to his jokes and engage with his interests and peccadilloes.

The really talented escort is a good enough actress that she can provide this sensation seamlessly. The client thinks the escort really is interested in his political views, his outstanding round of golf and his desire to see her in a transparent blouse sans bra while she serves him sandwiches with the crusts cut off.

While there are certainly some dates where the escort simply does what she is told, in most situations the escort takes her cues from her client but brings her own personality to the mix. If her client says something she disagrees with a talented escort will respond genuinely; there is little more boring for a man than having someone simply parrot back what he is saying.

Whether it is in conversation at the beginning of the date or in the bedroom for the delights of consenting adult activity, the escort brings her own personality, desire, quirks and individuality to her encounters. Because once an escort client has gone past the pure service provider model, attributes like sincerity, authenticity, a sense of humour and an actual attitude towards intimacy begin to shape the escort experience.

To give an example: when it comes to intimacy, while an escort needs, to a degree, to develop a “game face” the fact is that every woman has a slightly different approach. Some girls are very “gung-ho” in the bedroom getting right to business with verve and gusto and projecting a sense of really wanting to get to the consenting adult stage of the encounter. But that is hardly the only approach. Other girls are naturally shy. They exhibit a beguiling modesty undressing and may appear quite innocent of the mechanics of intimate encounters. Both extremes are choices and may come directly from the escort’s choice of how to present her sexuality. And, of course, to some degree, the performance will reflect what the client seems to want.

At root, an escort’s approach to the intimate end of the encounter is all about her own agency. She makes her decisions based upon who she is. (And, of course, an exquisitely shy girl might well adopt a gung-ho persona simply to deal with the reality of intimacy with a comparative stranger: but it is still her choice.)

An escort’s clients usually see only the performance of the escort’s decisions and rarely look very much deeper, especially in first encounters. But if the agency is absent it will show. Escorts who wonder why reviewers have described them as “just going through the motions” are very likely providing a personality free experience.

Empathy, the ability to identify with another person’s emotions and needs, can often be lost in an escort encounter. A girl whose dates all follow much the same pattern never actually engages with any of her clients as individuals. It can show and can mean that very few clients ever become regulars or even call the girl again.

In Blade Runner androids were detected because they entirely lacked empathy. An escort who provides a largely mechanical encounter will trigger much the same reaction from her clients. They might not be able to put their finger on it, but they will realize that their escort was a million miles away.

A really successful escort is “present” as our New Age friends would put it, through out her encounters. While she may well be deeply in her escort persona, that persona will include listening to and reacting to what her clients are saying and doing.

Cynically, one can do no better than to quote Hippolyte Jean Giraudoux on acting, “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.”

There is more than a grain of truth in Giraudoux’s observation for the escort. The fact is that most escorts are not terrifically interested in most of their clients; but the clients want to believe that the girl they are with is deeply interested in who they are and what they say. (They often also want a good deal of sexual reassurance or encouragement.)

What the skilled escort is able to do is convince her client that she understands what he is saying and can see his point of view. She encourages him and supports him by listening and asking the leading questions which let him expand on the things he wants to say. As the date evolves she uses much the same technique to find out what will give him the most pleasure and, most to the point, she makes it her business to have him believe that his pleasure give her a great deal of pleasure as well.

The ability to empathize, to be seen as sympathetic and attentive to another person’s point of view and needs, is what separates the gifted escort from the girl doing a job, much less a sexbot.

What is actually sold

At its most basic the escort transaction is a girl selling her time with the implied possibility of activities between consenting adults.

In fact, the escort experience can be a rich, complex, mysterious and great fun. It all comes down to how the escort approaches her work.

One of the most popular date types is the GFE, the Girl Friend Experience. Now, there is no question that men will want to have sex with their girlfriends. But that is a tiny part of the range of the experience.

Simply being with a woman whose focus is on them is a source of huge pleasure and gratification for many men. In some cases it is a matter of recapturing the moment of their youth when they, perhaps awkwardly, spent time with a girl hoping to coax her into bed. In other cases, the escort evokes a sense of satisfaction, of celebration, when they have done well in business or won their golf tournament. In still other cases, a client has a particular sexual or even non-sexual kink or fetish he wants to explore.

But, in every case, the escort’s client wants to have his experience with the active participation of a real, live, girl. Men are deeply social creatures – though with some it is hard to reach the social interior – and many men are profoundly lonely, isolated and ill-understood. When many men hire an escort they see the encounter in profoundly sexual terms – the law be damned they are hiring a girl to have sex with. Savvy escorts know that but also know that this is the surface reason for the encounter. The deeper, hidden, reasons will become apparent if the girl is looking and listening for them.

Ultimately, what an escort is selling is a few hours away from that loneliness, isolation and lack of understanding. Her clients may be attracted by the implication of sex but they stay for something much more subtle – a human connection to a woman who they learn to trust and, in some cases, rely upon.

Smart escorts who realize that they are providing is a broad experience which includes everything from environment, conversation, style, empathy, attitude and, if the chemistry is there, activities between consenting adult, can command premium rates and loyal regulars.

Clever as sexbots may become, there is a huge difference between a pretty girl laughing because she gets her client’s joke and a machine which giggles metallically at random. The wonderfully inventive sexbot designers might be able to get the skin close and the eyes realistic, but they are years away from all but the phoniest of conversations. And, even when they manage to get the conversation to sound faintly natural, it will be decades before sexbots will be sufficiently self aware to understand and relate to their “clients” experiences.

The savvy escort is completely self aware and, with a little effort, gives her clients the connection, safety and understanding they need. If she does, her escorting clients will become her escorting regulars.