Lyle Muns (25) is a political science student and sexworker. When he is working, he has to change his mindset to have sex with guys he normally would never have sex with.
Text by Ronny Taferner, Illustration by Jonas Armbruster
It’s Wednesday, 19.23 and suddenly Lyle Muns’ phone rings – an unknown number. It’s a man who wants sex. A couple of minutes later, Lyle jumps on a train to go meet him. Lyle’s clients are very different: in general older and wealthy, but also younger or disabled guys. They find his number and pictures on websites like boys4you.nl or kinky.nl. Before meeting, Lyle discusses the conditions and desires on the phone and communicates his boundaries: “No BDSM, no fisting, no extreme role play and always using condoms.”
Lyle Muns studies political science in Amsterdam. He started working as a sexworker before he started studying: seven years ago. For him, sexwork is a job like any other. His aim is to give his clients a good time and make them feel comfortable. In order to do that, Lyle must change himself and forget about private problems and feelings. “A separation between work and pleasure is necessary. When I have sex with a client, it’s not for my personal pleasure. Most of them I wouldn’t have sex with privately.” Because of his professional attitude, he never wants pictures of his clients before meeting them. “It doesn’t matter what he looks like, if he has a handicap or how old he is – I will offer my service to anyone, as long as he treats me with respect.” And the price is always the same: € 100 an hour.
We are taught in media and in school that sex is intimate…
For the young sexworker, it’s easy to draw a line between sex and intimacy. He is sure that sex has other functions as well. “We are taught in media and in school that it’s intimate. But people have paid sex, drunk sex or just plain sex because they’re horny.”
Lyle grew up in the countryside in Belgium and didn’t know many gay teenagers when he came out. In order to meet gays, he went to a chatbox where he saw boys offering sex for money. From that moment on, he thought about doing the same. Lyle earned his first money as a sexworker at 18, but it wasn’t easy for him in the beginning. “I was afraid of getting HIV, being kidnapped or hurt,” Lyle says. Doing this business from his childhood bedroom was hard to hide from his parents. Six month later, he told them: “My mother accepted it and said she would always love me. She was curious and wanted to understand it better. My father was very disappointed, but later he accepted it more and more”.
Many of Lyle’s clients have sexual problems or are struggling with their sexuality. He has met many gay and bisexual men who are married to women. Guys who hadn’t come out and guys who live in social isolation. “Sexwork is more than having sex – it also has a therapeutic function. I get to know some of my clients by meeting them several times, and sometimes we have long, intimate conversations. They confide their personal struggles with me.”
Sexwork is more than having sex – it also has a therapeutic function.
Lyle has experienced how much his service can mean for his clients. Once, he had a client called Paul, in his early 50s, who suffered from Multiple Sclerosis. The first hours, they were just talking and Paul told him, how his life changed when he was diagnosed – how he lost his friends one by one, his job and how eventually hadn’t had sex for years. The hours went by, and it was so late that there were no trains back home. So Lyle stayed over night. The next day, Paul texted him that he had actually prepared pills to end his life, intimate sex was the last thing he wanted. However, this night showed him how beautiful life can be and gave him motivation to live. They became friends, went on trips together and Lyle’s parents met him. “This experience made me ask myself ‘why should I hide being a sexworker?’” Half a year later, he came out on a blog.
Homosexuality, HIV and sexwork will never go away.
Three years ago, Lyle got the diagnosed with HIV. He doesn’t know how he got it, but probably from having casual, unprotected sex. Currently he is treated and cannot even transfer HIV to others. Every three months, he is checked at the prostitution health centre. Lyle speaks about HIV and sexwork at conferences and in interviews to focus attention on the issue. “Homosexuality, HIV and sexwork won’t go away, no matter what the laws are or if people ignore it.” Lyle is a member of the green party GroenLinks and participates in protests for the rights of sexworkers.
Sexwork is seen as something bad and harmful to your body.
“Sexwork is seen as something bad and harmful to your body. But it should be more tolerated in society. Every job has its pros and cons, a construction worker can harm his body and a teacher can get a burn out. I learn a lot about humans and sexuality, meet all kinds of people and have my own working hours.”
Lyle doesn’t plan being a sexworker his whole life. After his studies, he wants to become a politician or work in an NGO. But on the way to his goal, the student will still earn money by having sex on demand.