August 21, 2002



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Pros and cons

DEAR ANDREA: My wife has lost nearly all interest in sex (kids, part-time work – she's always "tired"). It's always, "If you want to," and, "Why don't you just finish." It's odd, because when she's in the mood she can have six orgasms, but that happens two to three times a year at most.

I've been eyeing the eminently edible counter person at my local latte lounge, but I'd rather pay a professional for relief than a divorce lawyer. Problem is, I'd like any such person to be pleasant and offer some of the emotional closeness I miss. Any thoughts?

Love, Lookin' for Luv

Dear Luv:

First: Let's just rush ASAP through situation number one, "What's up with my wife?" Any number of conditions or diseases can lead to a lack of interest in sex, but sadly, most causes of marital-bed death (boredom, irritation, distraction, exhaustion) are far more treatment-resistant. Fixing them requires that both partners be willing to put in lots of time and effort. Specifically and universally, it requires lengthy, often uncomfortable conversation, and who wants to have to do that?

Next: The coffee jock. That's cheating.

Finally: The pro. Many would opine that seeking such services also constitutes cheating, although the stakes are a good bit lower, precisely because of the lack of emotional closeness. Not to say that pros can't be warm, pleasant, or fun to hang out with – of course they can. The further you go up the price scale, the more likely you are to run into people like (it sometimes seems) about a quarter of my female acquaintances. These women usually took jobs dancing to pay for school (where they got excellent grades) and gradually moved up to where the real money is: providing high-end "escort" services. Now they're part-time hookers earning master's degrees in psychology, or going to nursing school, or planning careers in astrophysics. OK, maybe not astrophysics, but you get my point. Plenty of call girls are bright, sweet, funny women with varied interests and a flair for lively conversation. They're somebody's girlfriend or even wife, and that's the important point: they don't want to be yours.

Love, Andrea

Dear Andrea:

I'm a college student away from home. Recently my girlfriend told me she found a job "dancing" at a club. I agreed to let her dance as long as she didn't do anything with anyone else, and she said she understood my feelings.

Now she says she will be doing a sex show with another woman. I asked her not to, because it would hurt me too much if she was sexual with anyone else. She told me she's going to do it regardless of what I ask, say, or feel 'cause she always wanted to work in a strip club and isn't going to let anyone stop her. She says that being with another girl is not like being with anyone else, 'cause there's no emotion involved, especially when it's just "business." She also says that it's none of my business.

Love, You Don't Have to Turn on the Red Light

Dear Light:

Sex with strangers for money is still sex, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. Many professionals manage to affect a complete separation of body and soul while working and emerge from a session feeling utterly untouched. They still had sex, though – they just didn't care. Others report making a limited form of emotional connection with the client (or in this case, coworker), which then ends with the event.

Before you can work this out with her, you need to figure out what you're actually afraid of. There may be something you could ask her to do or not to do (no kissing, or work with different partners, or spend more time with you, I dunno) that would make her career choice bearable to you. I wouldn't count on it, but I sincerely suggest that you try.

Nobody likes to admit it, but we'd all like to control our partners' lives in some way, especially if we could do it without getting caught. Nobody likes to feel manipulated. Nobody likes an ultimatum, either, but unless you can talk yourself out of minding, I'm afraid you're going to have to make one. Subtle manipulation just isn't going to work this time. When the woman you love says, "I'm going to do it no matter how you feel," all bets (and gloves) are already off.

Love, Andrea You can reach Andrea at, the Bay Guardian Building, 135 Mississippi St., S.F., CA 94107, or