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I used to be a Craigslist Call Girl

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I used to sell sexual services through Craigslist. I was 19 and a college student in New York City, far away from my family and friends, when I made the leap into the world of escorting. I can’t claim I was starving or desperate (although I was extremely poor, like most college students), just that I wanted a better standard of living and I was naïve enough to think that I could sell sex without serious repercussions.

Of course, I found out how seriously wrong that was. But not before I made some serious bank.

I would never have gone and stood on a corner or joined an escort service, but posting an ad on Craigslist’s Casual Encounters was easy. I had already used the site for regular dates/hook-ups, so it was a short step to my first post, in which I described myself as a regular girl-next-door and requested donations to my “college fund” in exchange for my most marketable skills.

The responses flooded in, allowing me to be extremely selective about whom I actually wanted to meet with. I tried to avoid those who looked too old, unattractive or stinky in their pictures and exchanged lots of e-mails to get a sense of whom I was corresponding with and what they were looking for. I was nervous when I met the first guy (a middle-aged, harmlessly pretentious teacher who wanted oral sex), but once I saw how obscenely easy and quick it was to make more money that I’d ever had at once before, I was hooked (heh).

When the Odds Caught Up With Me

Because nothing bad ever really happened to me, I kept on thinking that it never would, lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that most of the guys I met were relatively normal and respectful of my boundaries. Just once I broke my own rules and let a guy come to my house (that’s “in-call”), and he showed up sort of tweaked out on some kind of drugs and proceeded to freak me out with his bizarre behavior and repeated insistence that he was going to have sex with me without using a condom, though. He didn’t actually try to do it, though, and I got rid of him without anything serious happening.

I was eventually raped on the job, by a guy who put a belt around my neck and told me to relax and enjoy it. I never reported him, because a part of me felt that if I was working as a prostitute people would think I deserved to have that happen. I still took his money and my behavior stayed pretty reckless.

When and Why I Quit

I never made a career out of it, but I relied on prostitution as a quick way to make extra cash for the next few years – sometimes I had regulars I met with every week and a few times I whittled it down to one “sugar daddy” type who met most of my daily needs in exchange for sex and companionship. Other times, though, I met up with new guys several times a week, and I realize now that I put myself in some really dangerous situations.

I eventually graduated college, met a nice guy and quit my “night job,” but stories like that of Brisman remind me just how lucky I am to have made it through with merely some emotional scars. I will defend any woman’s choice to work in the sex industry, but it’s true that there are people like Markoff who prey on us. And sites like Craigslist make it just too easy for them to do so anonymously. If I had it to do over again, I’d be a lot more careful out there.

Beth Brennan is the collective pseudonym for Lemondrop’s sex and relationship bloggers and their more “sensitive” stories.

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