Prostitution is more than sex

by Amber Vuylsteke

Lucy has been a sex worker and coach for 25 years. She explains why her job has a social side to it, and why we need more professional sex workers.

Prostitution is often regarded as a taboo or disgrace as many think it’s only about fast sex in exchange of money. People often forget that prostitution is a real profession. Sex workers are professionals helping people in acting out their sexuality. Besides the physical part, it’s also about psychological aspects. ‘I find it hard to understand why prostitution is considered a taboo. Everyone has been born out of sex. It’s something all people and all animals do. Things probably went wrong when the church got involved,’ says Lucy. That’s not her real name, but these are her real words. In the heart of Amsterdam’s Red Light District, she talks about what prostitution means to her. Lucy is an experienced sex worker and coach, specialized in treating people with disabilities.

‘I visit people who are physically disabled. A lot happens to their bodies, but none of that is connected to sexuality. They lie in bed, are washed and dressed and some have to undergo different operations. When I visit people with severe disabilities, I notice that they feel like complete human beings again. They aren’t only limited physical bodies with a character anymore. It feels as if they form a unity with body and soul.’ For Lucy, sex includes much more than just the physical aspect. ‘Sex is also something spiritual; something you can’t rationalize.’

79 and still virgin
Lucy’s customers range from people with fetishes or doubts about their sexual interests to clients suffering from insecurity or loneliness. ‘There are customers who just feel like having sex. You are hungry and eat something. A lot of people have a fetish, things excite them that they don’t dare to share openly. Some miss something in their relationship. Others do it for the kick or the experience. Some just want to feel alive, perhaps to compensate for a boring job. Other customers are lonely and seek attention.’

Especially male late bloomers regularly seek Lucy’s advice: ‘For them, having to admit that they never had sex before marks a big threshold. They come at all ages. They are often around 30, but my oldest one was 79.’ For them, a sex worker is the perfect person to put aside their doubts and uncertainties with. ‘I do a lot of explaining but also let them see and feel physically. The big advantage of visiting a sex worker is that you don’t have to make an impression since it’s not a date. It’s a safe environment for practise.’

God’s gift to women
Women like Lucy help many men to overcome their sexual doubts or problems. They are mostly grateful for what she does and the help and advice she offers. ‘Sometimes I get an email from a client saying they met a nice partner and now dare to try out much more in bed. I am so happy for them in these moments. I really am God’s gift to women. I teach men how to have more enjoyable sex and how to treat women in a good way.’

Lucy loves to build a connection. Most of her customers return regularly. ‘That’s just my personality. I certainly won’t start snooping in their private lives but I am curious about other people’s lives. Especially their sex lives, since that represents an interesting aspect of every human being to me. All the fantasies in your head put your body in action or your body works and then you experience something sensational in your head. I love that cooperation. I think sex and cuddling equal nourishing and healing.’

If there is one tip the experienced sex coach would want people to know, it would be the importance of communication. ‘What you should never do is ask whether your partner ‘likes it’ or if you are ‘doing the right thing’. That’s a real no-no. Just ask how you could improve or what the other person likes and dislikes. If you learn to ask better questions, you’ll also get better answers. Many people talk flatly about sex or laugh about it. Talking about our sexual needs openly is something we don’t learn at school. I think we have to catch up a lot in that area.’