Nick Kraus. Take Eli Lewis for example. He's a year-old former professional ballet dancer who says he got into escorting a couple years ago to pay off his student loans. Lewis, who attended Sarah Lawrence College before pursuing a career in ballet, says he never expected to become a sex worker.
But spurred on by a need for quick cash after a dance injury and encouraged by how easy it was to get started, he eventually took the plunge. Like many others in the industry, Lewis says he also go-go dances and works in porn to make extra cash. Industry insiders say about 60 percent to 70 percent of porn actors also work as escorts. Other escorts shared similar stories.
Most said about half their escorting sessions don't involve sex. One escort, for instance, told a story of a client who wanted nothing more than to masturbate while watching the rent boy break No. It seems, however, that each escort attracts a very different kind of client. One said his clients included coaches of college sports teams. With such a variety of clients seeking companionship, Daniels -- who recently published a tell-all memoir about his experiences as an escort -- said connecting deeply with the men who hire him and their whims and eccentricities can make the job "exhausting.
E scorts say that establishing and upholding boundaries -- whether physical, sexual or emotional -- is critical for their well-being and success in the industry. But it can sometimes prove difficult. They have no private life," said Lucas, who worked as an escort in Europe in his early 20s. Other than in a handful of rural counties in Nevada, selling sex for money is illegal in the United States.
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The escorts who spoke to HuffPost all said they had never been targeted by law enforcement and that arrests among rent boys seem to be rare. However, most also seemed aware of the risks involved. Some escorts said that leaving the industry or the prospect of doing so and finding other employment can be daunting for this same reason. In , adult entertainment lawyer Michael Fattorosi told Salon. The fears of social alienation and judgment also weigh heavily on the minds of some in the industry. Leo Forte, who served in the military before getting into porn and escorting, said he waffled for years before deciding to pursue sex work.
Several escorts said the lifestyle has strained relationships with family members, and many expressed that dating can be extremely difficult. Despite the drawbacks that come with the job, many escorts maintain the sacrifices have been well worth it. You have to be almost like a healer -- sexually.
The struggle to overcome common misconceptions about working in the business is a different hurdle altogether, however.
Yet, the stereotype lingers. He said few show signs of mental illness or depression. Additionally, some escorts may need help with money management or body image issues, while others need support figuring out an exit plan. Grov and other experts say that to protect the lives and rights of escorts and other sex workers, there needs to be more discussions about the industry -- both in the community and outside it. Murder is obviously bad, but the exchange of sex for money?
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