Can sex workers and clients stay afloat in a recession?

A Dutch pinnace in a rough sea (1625) By Cornelis Verbeeck License: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

So the recession is due, suddenly, or maybe gradually, paying for sex will be a struggle for some. Some will settle in with some popcorn and porn and let Mrs Palmer and her five daughters take care of things. For others, the loss of body contact, ‘skin hunger’, can lead to real issues.

On the other side of the coin, ladies I know are bracing for less frequent visits from regular clients, quiet phones or callers asking for cheekily low prices. There is a fear of an inability to cope with bills or a reduced income when having become tied in to larger than normal expenses and rents (because sometimes it is hard to imagine this easy money will ever get hard). Some caring clients are advising their favourite ladies to stockpile money as best they can because this lifestyle will end soon, (around October has been predicted, or just after the New Zealand elections).  So, welcome to the real world?  Maybe.

In the real world, people are losing their jobs.  And those people may be our clients.  (Or the partners of our clients, impacting the household purse and therefore discretionary spend of our clients).  As a result, there is less money to spend on that punting hobby – or essential mental health fix, depending on how you see it.  Or is there?

Loyalty systems

If you are a client who has a favourite lady, maybe you could put to her that she could reduce her prices for you if you commit to visiting regularly – how regularly is up for negotiation, particularly if she is a higher-priced lady who you have really spoiled with gifts and tips in the past.  Chances are that the ladies with the upper to highest end prices are the ones whose phones will stop ringing first.  (Not the very top end with exceptional services, who are probably likely to not even need to advertise, and whose wealthy clients will always be cushioned from austerity measures). The ladies I am referring to may be quite high maintenance and be quite willing to take extra care of their clients who can help them to maintain what to them is a basic standard of existence, essentially by innovating with pricing offers.  It takes some give and take, and the right approach so as not to hurt anyone, but a sensible lady can see it makes good fiscal sense to make the most of current clients.

Our regular clients are the ones who have invested a lot of coin in us, so maybe they deserve a reward every now and then, (and loyalty rewards are good psychology).  A brothel in Wellington has used a loyalty system in the past, with a VIP club which clients pay to join and every tenth visit is free. An enticement to join a loyalty programme is to use endowed progress effect such as having the first two stamps on a loyalty card pre-stamped, to make it quicker to reach the end goal of the free booking, or extended booking or whatever the service provider decides to offer.

Another Auckland lady (since retired) offered a kind of subscription service where clients paid a certain discounted amount, then they were able to book and arrive without money changing hands at the time of the visit, feeling like a very sexy actual girlfriend experience.  Clever psychology there.

A note to clients though, this kind of thing, essentially a loan, can be misused, so beware.  I know of two ladies who offered “pay in advance” systems which failed (that is, failed from the clients’ point of view).  One very reputable lady (not the one I have just referred to) skipped the country, leaving a few men hundreds of dollars out of pocket, and the other simply became unavailable for bookings whenever her client attempted to make one, until things turned nasty between them and he chose to write the debt off lest his wife become informed of the situation.

And a note to service providers, sometimes with this kind of arrangement, clients expect more emotional labour than the service provider is willing or able to provide, which can turn into a painful and strained booking, where the client arriving is dreaded. Keep clear boundaries, like normal escorting, not an invasive “sugar daddy” kind of set-up.


Consumers can always be on the lookout for widening their experience with sex work services, they may just find a new favourite activity.  For example, sensual massage is usually cheaper than full service, full service is usually cheaper than GFE, GFE is usually cheaper than PSE.  The difference between these services are: PSE (Porn Star Experience) is usually high energy with a bit of kink and fantasy, GFE is more of an intimate experience which usually includes kissing and mutual oral, and full service usually excludes kissing (and oral on her).  Massage usually excludes all services except hand jobs (hand relief) but can include extras with an extra charge.

The other option for clients is to diversify with service providers whose service costs are closer to their budget.  Sometimes advertisers’ photos don’t do them justice, they may be selfies or not professionally taken, but it turns out they are a wee gem in real life, or the service provider charges less because her costs are lower, for example, with cheaper or free advertising options, working from home rather than hiring a room at a brothel or motel.

Service providers may have extra personae, one may run a low-cost secondary ad, another may offer a less-expensive service (for example, I also cheerfully offer nude massage with a few extras but no full service).

During the coronavirus lockdown, many service providers in New Zealand had already established non-contact distance services via social media such as avn stars and for the more organised, clips4sale.  Clips4sale is a fantastic way to make passive income from material you already have produced, I personally came across clips4sale several years ago when I dabbled in cam work, which seems to be a common method of generating income online which sex workers use in countries where prostitution itself has not been decriminalised. As I found out for myself, it takes a lot of commitment, including of time and space to film.  Some of us (including myself) also offer live phone and video sex services. These services are relatively convenient, but of course, require the consumer to adopt a DIY approach and the service is priced accordingly.

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