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Let's talk about loneliness

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Recently, I received a message that made me feel sad.

I encourage my followers to send me their questions about escorts. The questions are submitted on my website via an anonymous form - I never know the name of the sender, not their location. Over the past few months I've written answers on every conceivable escort topic, from 'How much should I tip?' to 'Should I lose my virginity with a sex worker?'

When a new question arrived in my inbox last week, I was eager to read it. But the contents took me by surprise. It said:

"How do I stop getting emotionally attached? I'm a lonely guy and will die alone and unloved, which makes me desperate for an attachment. A friend convinced me to hire an escort so at least I wouldn't die a virgin, but not only did that not work out (my issue, not hers) but I ended up getting emotionally attached with effectively a professional offering a service.”

Loneliness is a universal human experience. We all know what it's like to feel alone, and in fact we are alone - we're born alone, and we die alone, right? But what happens when someone doesn't experience even the slightest human contact? This can happen for all sort of reasons - disability, trouble with social skills, illness, geographic isolation. It can happen when they don't have support networks available, such as family and friends. It can happen when they struggle with mental illness. When someone is isolated, we often feel as though there's something wrong with us.... whereas often, it's due to circumstances that are completely undeserved.

Escorts - along with many other types of sex workers - are the front-line troops when it comes to assuaging loneliness. Guys are often taught that it's not okay to talk about their feelings, unless it's with someone with whom they have been sexually intimate. So in my career I've heard many a personal story, simply because a client felt safe enough to tell me.

In this way, escorts provide an essential service. We can offer touch, intimacy, and sex to those who might not have the chance to experience it often outside of a paid encounter. Now, I'm not saying that all clients are in this situation; there are as many reasons for seeing escorts as there are people. But the work I do with those who are lonely is particularly satisfying, as I know I'm making a really big difference to someone's life.

It's not all smooth sailing, however. Escorts are people too...and sometimes clients bring us problems that are bigger than our ability to solve them.

I've done a little bit of training in crisis counselling, which means I've learned how to handle personal crises, mental illness, all that sort of stuff. But part of the skills of being a good carer is knowing when to call in a professional who is better equipped to help with the problem. If a client is so lonely that he or she is depressed, it's beyond my ability to help - and this is saying a lot, because I reckon my sex skills are top notch! But sex doesn't solve everything, and when it comes to loneliness, sex professionals aren't always the best people for the job.

Loneliness isn't cured by sex, but by establishing ongoing relationships of all kinds. Friends, family, co-workers, local community ... all of these are at least as important (if not more) than whether you're getting laid.  Again, guys are often told that as long as they're having sex, they should be happy. But the truth is that touch, company and intimacy need to come from a variety of sources. 

If you're hoping that your escort will cure your loneliness, you may just find yourself left wanting. And that can lead to attachment issues, as your worker might seem like your only hope of getting the contact you need to feel better. The more you try to make this happen, the more pressured and inadequate your escort is going to feel....and that leads to some awkward encounters. It can even result in you losing that professional relationship.

What's the alternative? If you're lonely and worry about getting attached, how can the situation be managed?

First things first - have you had a mental tune-up lately? I'm a big fan of counsellors and psychologists. Sometimes it's helpful to talk the situation over with someone professional, when the solution is unclear. It may even be that your issues are strictly medical (depression and other kinds of mental illness are super common, and often treatable.)  People get a bit weird when I talk about getting a brain tune-up. But if we do it for our cars, why not do it for our heads? A good counselling session is a great way to unpack your troubles and look at possible solutions. And therapists are much safer to talk to than escorts, because no matter your issues, you're not going to freak your them out. If loneliness is really getting you down and you're living in Australia it may be possible to access government-funded counselling by seeing your GP. Other services such as Lifeline (13 11 14) are available in a pinch, for those times when you're in crisis.

By getting help from the right places, you're taking pressure off your escort and allowing us to do what we do best - provide sexy services that add to your existing supports. And if you can find ways to manage your loneliness first, you're much less likely to get attached.

It's not easy, but it's worth it.

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