Elite Prostitution & the Art of Listening

In a very good article on prostitution in NYC and other global cities, Sudhir Venkatesh writes:
What high-end clients pay for may surprise you. For example, according to my ongoing interviews of several hundred sex workers, approximately 40 percent of trades in New York's sex economy fail to include a physical act beyond light petting or kissing. No intercourse, no oral stimulation, etc. That's one helluva conversation. But it's what many clients want. Flush with cash, these elite men routinely turn their prostitute into a second partner or spouse. Over the course of a year, they will sometimes persuade the woman to take on a new identity, replete with a fake name, a fake job, a fake life history, and so on. They may want to have sex or they may simply want to be treated like King for a Day.
The writer quotes figures north of $10K a month for these sex workers. And it's not for flesh but to listen to what the guy has to say. I guess the terribly busy workforce womenfolk in the cities don't have as much time or patience or willingness or tolerance or empathy or a combination of these to listen to what their husband has to say when they hit the bed. Now, isn't it usually an accusation on men that they never listen?

Thinking about it seriously, I think these men treat these women not as sex workers but as a tool to relieve their stress. I guess it makes a man in his 40s or 50s feel good (say a top executive in a Manhattan office) to have a young beautiful woman listen to what he has to say with fake compassion. He would very well know that the woman might be least interested in the topic he brings to the table; but the point is that he carries home an image of a good looking girl who has also been a good listener which makes him feel good. Now, for someone who makes top dollars, that's better than sex.


Varaha said...

When I read "Elite prostitution" I thought for a moment that this was about Spitzer and Kristen.


Prasad Venkat said...

Well, the Spitzer episode got this going.