"Me Too" and Sex Work

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assualt

I try to keep things, if not always light, positive. I enjoy 90% of what being Ava Raleigh entails.

But sometimes the other 10% is enough to make me want to leave Ava behind and never look back.

As a sex worker, I'm harassed on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. Most of this harassment is in the form of poorly written emails from men who lack the intelligence, empathy, and respect to engage with me on my terms. So they try to engage with me on theirs, stealing a moment of my time because they are unwilling or unable to pay for it and think this is my problem. Most of them, the "RU avail???," "I'm staying at The Ritz, can you come now?" and "I want you to come fuck my wife while I watch, how much?" emails are so commonplace they are merely mental wallpaper I ruminate on the ugliness of from time to time. I imagine many sex workers have similarly papered mental walls. But occasionally I get an email that does cut me, because I am human and have feelings and insecurities. I remember a particularly painful one in which I was lambasted for my rates being too high for having a "crippled hand." I posted it to Twitter and got a lot of wonderfully supportive tweets, DMs, and emails in response, but I still had tears in my eyes when I closed them that night.

The quandary of being an independent escort in a time and place where your job is legally grey at best is that everyone who cares about you and knows about your job is so worried about your safety that you have to constantly reassure them how safe you are. You screen. You text your roommate the name, phone number, and address of every first time client and tell them what time you'll be home. You bring condoms. You check IDs. You don't tell them about the client who falsified screening information after you declined to see him and bragged about it at the end of the appointment (you start checking IDs after that). You don't tell them about the guy who aggressively and repeatedly asked for condomless sex. You don't tell them that he threatened to write you a revenge review when you told him his request was not okay. You don't tell them both those clients had good references. You don't tell them that the owner of the screening site BBFS guy contacted you through, one that profits off the notion that it helps keep providers safe, told you "Just because something crosses the line with you, doesn't mean that the next provider has to have the same line drawn in the sand (and I assure you that many don't)" when you detailed the incident in an attempt to get his account suspended. You don't tell them what to do if you don't come home one night (you know they've already spent too much time imagining it).

The sexual assault allegations that have been pouring out of Hollywood and other areas of society run by powerful men over the past six weeks have been both exhausting and elating. Like many (far too many) women on my friends' list, I made a #MeToo post on FaceBook. I have experienced my fair share of sexual harassment and assault as a civilian woman, and it was empowering to be able to talk about a problem that has been allowed to fester because we don't talk about it enough. But sexual assault as a sex worker is even harder to talk about, because it's seen as an occupational reality by people who love you and people who hate you alike. I should have noticed the guy who I explicitly refused to give access to my body to used the same phone number as the guy who had references from women I knew to be reputable 3 months later. It wasn't rape because I agreed to see the second guy (it sure felt like rape once I found they were one and the same). I should have left immediately when he first asked for sex without a condom, it doesn't matter he was on top of me, 100 pounds heavier, and I was undressed. I go meet strange men and give them intimate access to my body, I should expect them to violate it. That's what they're paying for right? 

I want to reiterate that the overwhelming majority of my clients do more than merely refrain from assaulting me: they are incredibly respectful of my body and my humanity. I count a few of them among the finest men I know. But I know sex workers experience sexual violence far too often, and have even fewer avenues of recourse than civilians do. It's time to open more up. Let's start by being willing to listen when we say "Me too."

-Ava

 

Time is Money: Why I'm Requiring Deposits

I used to see a wonderful therapist regularly (every human on the planet can benefit from therapy btw, best investment I've ever made in myself). One day, as I was getting ready to walk out the door to go to my appointment I realized my keys were missing (turns out they were stolen, fun story to ask me about if we meet). Having no way to secure my home, I was forced to tell my therapist I wouldn't be able to make it. She had a cancellation policy, and my credit card on file so she charged me a fee for missing our appointment. It doesn't matter my reason for missing it was totally out of my control, shit happens. However me missing our appointment was a loss of income for her, even with the fee she collected. Think about it: it's totally normal for the professionals in your life, from your doctor to your hairstylist to ask for a cancelation fee/have a CC on file. I paid it happily.

Sadly, the current culture and realities of escorting gives us few options if/when clients choose not to follow through on seeing us, even if we have a cancellation policy in place. Usually the only avenue of recourse we have is blacklisting, which while potentially helpful to the next person he tries to book with, doesn't make up for the loss of income or the lost time. It takes me 2+ hours to get ready for and travel to a date, not including manicures and eyebrow waxes and dog boarding if I'm traveling long distances or have an overnight. There is so much that goes into a date that clients don't see. Which brings me to my next point, aka The Reason Ava Does Anything ;)

At the end of the day, I wish to connect with people on an intimate level. I'm well aware that requiring a deposit, much like my decision to delist from review siteswill likely cause me to lose out on some good clients. It's not the current norm, and there are many choices for companionship. However just because something is the norm doesn't make it the best or only way to go about it. Every provider has to decide her own screening process, rates, boundaries, etc. For me, deciding to require deposits is not just about protecting my income. Even more importantly, it's about insuring the people who I see are those who really want to see ME, and understand the value of my time. I LOVE when I get introduction emails that say you've read my blog or follow me on twitter and something about me resonates. Those make for great dates, and allow me to enjoy being Ava to the fullest. I'm confident this choice will only improve my satisfaction with and quality of my work. Win/win right?

PS: I'd like to give a shoutout to my clients who pay in advance, honor my cancellation policy, tip and make it abundantly clear how much they value me and my time. You rock, and knowing men like you exist is why I'm still here 2 years into this journey. Thank you. 

SUMMER LOVIN: EXPANDED AND UPDATED TRAVEL!

I love travel dates and am fortunate to have had many wonderful suitors whisk me away. However not being able to drive has prevented me from being able to connect with those who live within an easy drive of Atlanta but are in a location difficult to access by bus, A common conundrum in the Southeast. I am ecstatic to announce I have found a trustworthy driver willing to transport me anywhere within a 5 hour radius of Atlanta, longer drive negotiable on a case by case basis. Please see my Patronage page for more details. I have slightly altered my Fly Me to You policies as well.

I have been especially busy with personal things of late and while I’ve enjoyed the break am looking forward to getting back into my Ava groove. I have a few surprises coming up (don’t I always?) and can’t wait to share them with you. Until then my loves (or if you can’t wait, drop me a line and I can drop in on your doorstep)

-Ava

 

An Open Letter of Gratitude

This post is long overdue, but I've never been the best at timely thank you notes :P I want to take the opportunity to reflect upon the wonderful men and women I have had the privilege to meet and know during my journey as Ava. 

First off, my amazing clients. I often tell people that becoming Ava has broadened, challenged, and enriched my worldview in ways I could never have imagined. This has everything to do with the smart, successful and compassionate men I've been lucky to cross paths with. Something about the nature of relationships in this sphere is, in my experience, completely sincere and allows for an incredible amount of vulnerability. I've had clients tell me I've helped them be better partners, fathers, friends and men. I know I've become a better partner, friend, sister and woman by knowing these men. As someone who is blessed with a phenomenal support system where space is held for me, it's incredibly meaningful for me to be able to hold space for others in kind. Plus, I've learned a lot about myself sexually (which merits its own post) and let me just say if everyone on the planet was having the sex I've been having, we'd probably have no wars. Thanks gentlemen ;)

One of the things I love most about sex work is the community. The women I have befriended, virtually and in person are some of the coolest, raddest chicks on the planet. I am in awe of not only their intellect, passion and ambition but how the vast majority I've encountered offer nothing but support and encouragement. Having attended a women's college I'm no stranger to the awesomeness of female communities, but I feel like so many ladies have gone out of their way to help and cheer me on. I really try to give that back in kind. I also have a wonderful friend group of colleagues in Atlanta that has become my second family. When I started in the business I knew no one and felt extremely isolated. 2 years in I have cultivated a garden that blooms beyond measure. 

Lastly I want to take a minute to thank everyone who follows and interacts with me on Twitter, even if we haven't met and never will. Twitter makes this wonderful community accessible and I feel it is a great tool for fostering both community and change. And dog memes. Thanks again everyone, I love you all!

-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. 

High Class Escort Directory Preferred411.com https://www.slixa.com/georgia/atlanta/
Eros Atlanta escorts
Eros Atlanta