Originally published at The Well Versed
In the world of pop culture, porn may have gone mainstream, but other forms of sex work certainly have not. Namely, prostitution of the legal or illegal kind. Bethany St. James dabbles in the former and longs to rid the world of the latter. An outspoken advocate for legal brothels, Ms. St. James sat down with The Well Versed to give us her best case on why prostitution should be legalized, what couples can do to bring the sexy back and why porn just might be a dying industry. Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Sex Week 2012.
The Well Versed: I was reading that this was the only line of work you’ve done, how’d you get involved?
Bethany St James: I was raised in the industry. Both of my parents made their living in it. I’ve had other jobs before, they just haven’t lasted. I’ve always enjoyed what I do.
TWV: A lot of people reading may find it unfathomable for people to enjoy this line of work. What do you like about it?
BSJ: I was raised with a very positive attitude about sexuality. Most of my friends lost their virginity before I did. I was raised to think that sex wasn’t bad but that it came with responsibility. I enjoy my clients, getting to know them, their background and what makes them tick. I’m just a student of human sexuality all the way around.
TWV: Also, you talk about the effect that Craig’s List had on the business. Can you elaborate on that and why it was so detrimental?
BSJ: I think it affected every aspect from strip clubs to escorts. It was a huge breakdown in standards. I hate to age myself, but back in the 90s there was an air of class. It wasn’t right in your face, it had a mystique. Once Craig’s List came around, women were literally saying” blow jobs, $50, Sunday Special.” It takes the sensuality out of it. Instead of all these women working at the strip clubs, they were eating Bon Bons on their couch waiting for Mr. Jones to come and give them $50. Why would you experiment with quality when you can pay somebody $50 or $100?
TWV: There’s been a lot of negative attention due to things that have happened on the site, most notably the “Craig’s List Killer,” did that have a negative effect as well
BSJ: Absolutely. Girls that worked in higher end prostitution—and I hate to use that term—got a bad rap. It completely changed everyone’s view of prostitution. If I don’t have any respect for that sort of thing, everyday citizens don’t anymore. If there was a chance of us educating people about what really is, that’s gone by the wayside since the Craig’s List boom.
TWV: Has there been a recovery for girls on the higher end?
BSJ: Absolutely not. I think that’s why people in the business don’t like me. We’ve oversaturated the market. Tacky porn. There are no real porn stars anymore. Anybody can get on web cam and reveal themselves for 100 bucks. I think it’s steadily on the decline. I think the entire industry is headed for bankruptcy with the exception of legal brothels.
It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Dennis Hoff. I hate to give him pub but I think it’s important to mention that’ he’s jumped on the bandwagon of tacky porn and sensationalism when that’s not the reality of the situation. The only sustainable part of the industry is prostitution. I hope that it’s legalized brothels.
TWV: Do you see it literally as a few years or are we maybe a decade away?
BSJ: I think it’s a good five or six .That’s just from my life long adventures in the industry.
TWV: Have we hit the tipping point where it’s too late to get things back to something sustainable
BSJ: Before my Huffington Post blog, I’d have said there was no chance in hell. After I read the comments, I’m now on a different side. I think there’s a way we can save t but people in the industry need to wake up: people are bored. The industry needs to make some major changes.
TWV: I did read your blog, when did you start seeing more of a demand for the girl friend experience with clients?
BSJ: It took my breath away starting the past six or seven months. More people were coming to me for that type of attention and experience. But it’s been going on a while, but six months ago it slapped me in the face.
TWV: Do you have the opportunity to speak to clients before things start to happen?
BSJ: We do have the opportunity to speak to clients and ask them before we get to the negotiation, what are you looking for. We also have the ability to decline. I decline as many appointments as I accept if I don’t think I’m the right person to fulfill that need.
TWV: What are some of the reasons guys give for wanting the girl friend experience?
BSJ: the one that struck me the hardest: There was a guy who lost his wife the year before. He hadn’t been with another woman so he wanted to experiment. He thought he’d forget how it would be to be intimate. Gentleman that love their spouses but she’s not intimate or ill. Couples. Lots of coupes that don’t just want to pick somebody up at a bar. They can be intimate and kiss and cuddle. And wives know that I won’t be texting their husbands tomorrow.
TWV: You wrote that we’ve lost a sense of intimacy and sensuality, can you elaborate on that?
BSJ: I hate to keep referring to porn and I’m not bashing porn. If you look at most Internet porn, it’s all smash and grab. Stick it in and make it happen. I think that’s just blatant sex. There’s no romance. No sexiness about that. Sensuality is more passion; it’s not about the act of sex. There are so many things that go into a really erotic experience. The smell of her hair or his aftershave. Slowly undressing. The tenderness. Those are the things I think are missing. We get so complacent. We have to be here or there. People are just craving attention. Sensuality can be me brushing by you in the kitchen giving you a kiss and telling you I love you.
TWV: Do you have any advice for men and women that have lost that?
BSJ: That goes back to what we were talking about before. Our views of sexuality. Women seem to think you have to dress up as a school girl or slutty nurse to be sexy. That’s not necessarily true. I’d say start slow. Hold his hand when you walk down the street. Play with her hair. Little things like that will spark that interest in a relationship or marriage. If you’re single, take your time. When you’re out on a date, compliment her and be sweet about things not of a sexual nature. I guarantee that will turn her on more than saying she has nice tits [laughs].
TWV: There seems to be a breakdown in communication, why do you think we have such a hard time talking to each other?
BSJ: The media. You see all these Dr. Phil sex advice shows and people don’t realize these are all about ratings. I think we started listening far too much to the media instead of each other.
TWV: You’re an advocate of legal brothels and I understand the case for that living in Vegas, but a lot of people won’t. Give me a quick case for legal brothels.
BSJ: one of the main problems with illegal prostitution is the safety factor. Once you get women in a safe place where people aren’t trying to do them harm, they can be educated and can be functioning members of society. The tax dollars. That’s huge. The tax money generated. These women are now tax payers. Now you have money to pave roads, education. Last but not least, the employment. We’re getting people off the street. And you have office workers, doctors, nurses, landscapers. There are so many other positions—no pun intended—that brothels open up. Huge amount s of money to keep the community afloat.
TWV: Do you think we’ll see legal brothels anywhere?
BSJ: I think if we pass laws quickly without thinking about it, we open doors for pimps or guys like Dennis Hoff to corner the marker. You’re letting any and everybody open a brothel. We need a lot more education so people can see how it can be done responsibly.
TWV: Are people open to education?
BSJ: I get more support from the public than people in the industry. I get 200 or 300 emails but nobody that will say they support it publicly.