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Sex Shop Customer Highs & Lows: Secret Diary of a Call Girl

This past summer I finally watched Secret Diary of a Call Girl, starring Billie Piper. I had been meaning to watch it for a long time as I’ve always been pro-sex work and fascinated by the experiences of women who live it.

billie-piper-hairThe series is based on the blog of a British, high-end escort who went by the name of Belle de Jour, as she documented her experiences balancing family, friends and romantic relationships with her job. What I liked most about the show is that it wasn’t a sex-negative or infantilizing take on sex work. Belle makes it clear that she enjoys her job, a lot in fact, and takes pride in her work. She is genuinely fascinated by people’s kinks and is often willing to do whatever it takes to help her clients explore their desires and fetishes. She doesn’t judge them, no matter how little she understands them, and she’s open and willing to try out everything from role play to age-play, sploshing, BDSM, etc.

billie-piper-diving-into-bedBut there are definitely some flaws in the show, one major one being that in the beginning of the series her character doesn’t believe that she can sustain a real romantic relationship as a sex worker. Her attitude further propagates this anti-sex work myth in today’s culture, which idealizes monogamy, judges women for having a higher number of sexual partners, and for enjoying or owning their sexual autonomy.

But Belle’s character, with all of her flaws and doubts, seems real, even if some of her experiences come across as glamorized. We see the tedious preparations she makes to groom herself for clients, clean up her apartment after a session, research fetishes, and screen clients to ensure her comfort and safety. Because Belle breaks the fourth wall to talk directly to the audience we get to learn more about her motives, her fears and her reasoning behind making certain decisions. She isn’t a one-dimensional character or a sex object. She’s an autonomous woman who is fully aware of her actions. Belle defends her profession and doesn’t apologize for enjoying it, standing up against anti-sex work stereotypes.

billie-piper-makeup1Last week at my shop I had the pleasure of meeting an escort, who introduced herself as such in straightforward, casual way. She was young, friendly and super adorable. She was new to sex work and asked for my help to find her a new toy to up her game with clients. She wanted something powerful and small but not too intimidating.

I was happy to help her. Inside I was dying to ask her questions about her job but didn’t want to come across as too eager, weird, or disrespectful of her privacy. So I went straight into sales person mode and hooked her up with the We-Vibe Touch, a strong little mouse-shaped rechargeable toy with a scoop molded perfectly to cradle and vibrate around the clit.

While looking over the lube samples she admitted that she used a bit of favoured lube to trick clients into thinking she tasted sweet. I brought up that I had seen something similar on Secret Diary of a Call Girl and we both talked about our love for the series. She thought it was a pretty accurate depiction of sex work as a Las Vegas call girl, although I would argue that the series only speaks to the experiences of some privileged, white, cisgender women with wealthy clients, who have the benefit of agency representation and can choose to work in safe spaces (not public).

billie-piper-poshShe brought up that she had a client later that evening. An older gentleman who liked to jerk off while watching her as she watched porn and masturbated. “Sounds pretty low maintenance”, I joked. She laughed and replied that about 75% of her clients don’t have penetrative sex with her. Sometimes they just want to eat her out, other times they just take her out to a restaurant or a club, like a payed date.

She seemed to really enjoy her job and I admired her candour. I would have loved to have had more time to pick her brain but I didn’t want to be intrusive by badgering her with endless questions. She mentioned that she would be back to collect more supplies and I assured her that I would hook her up. As she left I wished her luck. I hope I see her again.

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