It’s been over a decade since I made the decision that would permanently change my working and private life: I entered the commercial BDSM scene as a sex service provider.
At the time I was in my mid-30s. My job as a product developer in marketing was fine and generated cash, but I always knew I wanted something different. Something bigger… something more exciting. Something that would bring more independence and the opportunity to interact with people directly.
On my early morning pilgrimages to the office, I usually didn’t find myself overwhelmed by a tingly, erotic mood or any endorphin release to speak of. But then, it didn’t ever occur to me that this could be different on the way to work.
Wow, I really had no idea.
How I came to earn a living while wearing a full-body leather outfit is a question I’m regularly asked by media people as well as beginners and hopefuls who want to „get into the industry.“ Especially when it comes to male sex work and the possibility of female clients, many people have a rather glorified idea of my everyday work. The idea is to get paid for getting a horny orgasm.
BDSM, Berlin and a shared apartment
„You’re crazy my child, you have to go to Berlin“ – This quote from Franz Suppè fit me like a glove, even though I’m the square guy among the crazy ones here, but that’s all right as well.
A training course brought me to Berlin in 2013. By chance my new roommate had been working for years as a professional dominatrix in the largest studio in Berlin. Because of the openness and naturalness with which we soon talked about her work in particular, but also sexuality in general, things changed for me.
Suddenly my private BDSM activities went from being a secret to a completely respectable topic of conversation. I developed a feeling for what „sex work“ was. I also realized that nothing about my sexual preferences was wildly out of the ordinary or shocking to anyone around.
This unexpected point of contact with the commercial scene made me think about „turning the hobby into a profession“ myself.
First Stop: Sex to go at the railroad station
In the beginning I experimented with working as a classic escort – basically vanilla sex with men for money in all possible price ranges. I remember the very first time I stood around on the street at Bahnhof Zoo – or rather, I took part in the big back-and-forth strolling and running in circles of customers and providers. On the one hand, I found it all incredibly exciting, but on the other, there were also doubts in my mind:
Will everything go well? Will „he“ get hard and stay hard? The performance pressure was real and at the time I sometimes lacked the casualness to deal with it.
The advantage of working in open red light areas was and still is, that everything happens super fast and you don’t have to cater to any sensibilities. Just like cruising anywhere else, no great social interaction is expected when doing business – you either like it or you don’t; once you’re done, you leave.
What can I say – I did get hard and I let a guy suck my dick a little in exchange for 20 €. It was no revelation, neither sexually nor financially, but it was fun and I realized that I felt quite capable of taking this further.
Escort: A whole lot of service for not enough money
Doing appointments in hotels and apartments, the pressure got a lot more intense. Especially when the customer announced in advance how important it was to him that I fuck him and come while doing it.
As a beginner, you tend to see yourself as being „in debt“ to your client, sexual self-determination be damned. He has paid, now I must also deliver. Heavens, the performances I forced out of myself… Only later do you realize that you have usually offered far too much service for far too little money.
I tried to deal with the inner pressure by giving myself an inner way out: „If all else fails, I’ll just give the money back.“ By the way, while the occasional Viagra won’t do much harm when taken in time of need, it’s a different story with the consumption of other substances.
Chemsex is super common in the gay scene, especially in Berlin – but for professional providers during working hours, I would really advise against it.
Not for moral reasons – everyone should do what makes them happy privately – but because as a sex worker I find nothing more important than keeping independent, professional and most importantly: In control.
If drugs come into play, this generally becomes more difficult. Especially inexperienced escorts sometimes let themselves be pushed by clients to participate in some drug escapades, for fear of losing bookings and income if they refuse. The rule to remember is: Boundaries.
Increasing the amount of clients through working hard and smart
Sex work is not limited to having sex for money. A big part of it is checking e-mails and WhatsApp several times a day, regularly updating your offers, profile and pictures and also constantly reinventing oneself. At the same time, social media accounts need maintenance, all your online profiles need to be kept up to date.
The choice of using paid advertisements often includes lengthy, internal „cost-benefit calculations“. The willingness to travel for days at a time and to showup at important industry events is part of the job. I moved into a small apartment of my own and set up some bondage opportunities in my bedroom. The focus of my work shifted to BDSM, because this in my blood – I can do that for hours to this day.
Increasing quality through networking
One of the most significant characteristics of male sex work is the unwillingness to network compared to women. Gay men generally like to be loners. By the way, women are not primarily working together or in a brothel because there is a security guard in front of it, but because they understand that they can save costs in a jointly rented apartment and can profit from marketing synergies because of the many other female colleagues.
I confess that I was not aware of this benefit at the time and sought out a studio for much more pragmatic reasons: In normal apartments the possibilities fpr good and especially loud BDSM sessions are simply limited. I started making more and more appointments in the studio. At that time I worked while paying a daily rent and therefore wanted to earn as much as possible in a day. A Tip for men who are in a similar situation: Try to stay abstinent from sex and masturbation for a few days, so you have enough pressure when going into a day like this.
A hard cock as indicator of your own pleasure?
At that time I thought that I had to present a stiff dick to every customer for hours, even though I had already cum during the previous appointment. It made the whole thing really exhausting at times and as it turns out: unnecessary.
I only really understood about this lack of obligation in the BDSM studio, when one of the most mature women – 78 years old and an extremely experienced dominatrix – took me aside. She sat down in front of me in our shared kitchen, spread her legs and pointed between them: „This is something very special. You can’t let anyone get to it right away. If it happens, it’s an exception and an honor!“ And it „clicked.“
After that, I also realized that I didn’t want to be the classic super stud anyway, the one who fucks his counterpart until they collapse . Especially since those offers are a dime a dozen in the gay scene, my main working ground at the time – but with male-female sex work naturally even more so.
Most of my previous clients had been enarmoured with a different quality of mine anyway – my talent for playing with control and submission, dominance and surrender, which I had already cultivated in private.
I also realized that there are many more ways to show the other person that you are horny other than a hard dick. By the way, this is my crucial (cross-gender) tip for beginners in sex work: I always try to go into a sexual flow and have fun with the job – no matter how the meeting develops. That keeps people coming back, because clients want real feelings – not just actions.
BDSM, Tantra, Quickies, Cuddling, Hard Penetration… What’s right for me?
It’s normal to try out different areas of the industry in the beginning and to get a taste of one or the other before you find what’s right for you personally. What might be one person’s „nightmare“ is another person’s „fun“ or „totally okay“ – that’s completely individual. Don’t fall for what looks „better“ from the outside – I know many a colleague who has given up the high-paying „luxury escorts“ in favor of lower-paying shorter dates. You can also make a lot of money through quantity and less emotionally demanding working styles.
The so-called „emotional work“ is an important factor especially in hetero sex work, generally also in the BDSM area – the emotional engagement and care of customers can cost a lot of energy.
Beginners in particular need to learn as quickly as possible how to properly manage their resources when interacting with clients . Above all, it is important to practice self-protection and learn to set boundaries without coming across as a „cold professional“. Usually, everyone creates their own „sex work persona“ to draw a separation for themselves personally between their private (sex) life and their daily work life.
I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to interact with the „pros“ in the studio, to experience the atmosphere around sex work and to second-hand experience other people’s sessions.
I would therefore clearly advise beginners to also seek the knowledge and emotional support of other, more experienced sex workers. Especially because the stigma in society is huge, it is extremely helpful to be able to talk openly with others in the industry. Network, take part in sexworker only meetings, exchange ideas.
The largest platform in Germany for this is the Professional Association for Erotic and Sexual Services (BesD), where online workshops especially for sex workers take place regularly.
The most important 3 points that beginners should take with them before they plunge professionally into sex work are:
- You can earn very well in sex work if you invest time in your work and your marketing.
- Sex work is not like private sex. Regardless of whether you offer vanilla, dominant or submissive services, you as the professional have to be the leading, controlling part in any situations with the customer. You decide Who, What, How and How long. This even counts for cuddling – it doesn’t work otherwise, or leads to burnout in the long run.
- Self-protection comes first: In sex work, you work with your own body and your own emotions – you should treat both respectfully and lovingly as a resource. Learn in time to set boundaries while still being sexually, authentically warm for your clients.