True confessions: A week in the life of a male sex worker from Dublin
A college student in Dublin tried being a sex worker for a week to make a little extra money. Now, he’s opening up about the experience, which wasn’t anything like he had expected it to be.
“It is perfectly legal to sell sex despite what you may have heard, however it is illegal to sell sex on the street or in a public place,” Joshua Collins (not his real name) explains in a new op-ed titled What it’s like to be a gay sex worker in Dublin.
Prostitution was legalized in the Republic of Ireland last year and since then has seen an increase of an estimated 80 percent, Collins claims.
“Staying within the limits of the law I became a part of Ireland’s booming vice scene online,” he writes, “and with the help of gay dating app Grindr I introduced myself to Dublin’s gay sex-trade.”
Collins wasn’t quite sure what to think when he accepted his first client.
“It’s a strange feeling to describe sitting at home and seeing a man you’ve never met before drape himself on your bed waiting for sex,” Collins says, admitting that it took some time to work up the courage to finally follow through with things.
“It was like that old cliche ‘butterflies in your stomach’ but instead it was like my stomach was lined with angry hornets,” he describes.
Most of Collins’ clients were straight fathers and/or husbands looking for a little man-on-man side action, which he was more than happy to provide… for a price. €150 ($160 U.S.) per hour, to be exact.
“I have had clients show me pictures of their newborn children,” Collins recalls, “and while the interaction was supposed to be strictly business only it was hard to see these men suppressing their sexuality, shackled by an intolerant society.”
If you think that sounds at all sexy, Collins says, think again.
“The first client I encountered was a 47 year old Bulgarian man who had a rape fantasy,” he writes. “I stood there overcome with a fear of the unknown. The confidence I had at the start of the night began to dwindle as I stared into the abyss and it stared straight back at me.”
Afterwards, Collins says, “all I felt was a chilling numbness that both terrified and exhilarated me. But, in practical terms, I now had cash to buy food for my fridge and bus money to get to college.”
“Another client, a 67 year old married gentleman, paid for over-the-phone services,” he continues. “He whispered down the phone for the duration of our session because, he claimed, his wife was asleep next to him.”
But the “weirdest” client Collins had during his week was a drug dealer who lived with his parents.
“The guy in question was 5’3 and we had sex in front of his kitten, Cody,” he writes. “After the session had ended he admitted he could not pay me in cash but only with weed, I accepted.”
Collins says the ultimately takeaway from his week as a male sex worker was pretty simple: It ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.
“Voluntary sex work is far from the way it is often glamorized in pop-culture but for some it is a means of living,” he concludes. “With the current economic climate and increasing university tuition it should come as no surprise that more and more young men are opening themselves up for sex.”