Blog Post Written By: Adrie Rose
I am annoyed. Shocker, but it’s true. I was hoping – praying even – that we, as a society, had outgrown the need for dating coaches hawking their pseudo-feminist wares in the form of unformatted e-books and virtual classroom sessions. My fingers and toes were perpetually crossed while I clung to a foolishly optimistic dream of never again seeing, or hearing, someone in an imitation silk, Zara dress extol the virtues of “high value” dating. Because we cannot have anything nice, the dating coaches are back. The social media marketplace is once again flooded with influencer-adjacent “relationship experts” holding the mystical key to heteronormative, matrimonial bliss at a very reasonable $69.99 – and yes, they do accept Klarna. This, by itself, is not especially annoying. Rather, it’s the refusal (or maybe inability) to acknowledge that the hard-won knowledge they’re hawking – the value of prenuptial agreements, contracted arrangements, and an overall mercenary approach to the sociopolitical and ethical minefield of cishet dating – isn’t all that original.
High value dating, dating up, a mutually beneficial relationship – whatever SEO-friendly, discourse (and click generating title) you use, it’s almost exactly what any veteran sex worker would inclue in a how-to guide for newbies looking for a primer on client interaction. (An unfortunate irony because SESTA/FOSTA has made it functionally illegal for sex workers to communicate with each other regarding best practices, safety, and resource sharing.) Despite the inherently temporary nature of a business model, perfected by workers whose main job duty is to manufacture intimacy, these guiding principles are being sold to an unsuspecting populace as a cheat sheet for winning the monogamous dream. It makes sense in a sick sort of roundabout way if the social media discourse is to be believed.
The people are sick of temporary affection! They’ve had enough of “hookup culture.” Despite the decline in sexual interactions between people aged 18-30, there’s a pervasive notion that the value of “real” love and relationships has been lost for an irredeemable sense of immediate gratification. It feels almost…calculated then that what’s being sold as a hack for the happy ever after is a set of rules designed to provide financial benefit where parity is unobtainable and an inherently temporary satisfaction. It adds a particularly sinister sheen to the relationship guru influencer era when that same direct-to-consumer marketing is often book-ended by one “just asking” thread after another seeking to find who could ever truly love a sex worker.
There’s a certain novelty to the idea of a sex worker, especially a full-service one, being in a long-term, loving, and committed relationship. Well, there’s a novelty for other people. For the sex workers I know, being in a relationship is a relatively mundane series of decisions and conversations ranging from what kind of bread to get at the grocery store to the ideal thread count for shared bedding. Knowing this, I can’t help but feel annoyed when I see the same people debating the autonomy, intelligence, lovability, and general worthiness of sex workers snatch up the same business models we perfected in their pursuit of happily ever after. All this at the same time they position us as uniquely responsible for the demise of real relationships.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the blog post above are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SexWorkCEO or MelRose Michaels. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.