I was recently asked what I thought was really the difference between paying for a full body massage and for someone to give you an orgasm manually, assuming that they both involve one human touching another and resulting in deep pleasure on behalf of the receiver.

Although the services may seem similar, I would gladly pay for the one but not the other and I think there are several reasons for my unease. There is the problem with buying other people’s personal services and there are gender issues which probably are important, but leaving that for another post let’s just talk about this specific question.

I think part of the reason for my thinking that buying sex is not OK, is intimacy. We usually don’t deal with other people’s body fluids. Cleaning snot, sweat, urine/feces and throw ups from another is perhaps OK if the producer is a small baby (preferably your own), getting gradually more gross depending on the age, physical ableness and emotional closeness to the person you’re dealing with. I wouldn’t say semen or vaginal juices are much different from the bodily fluids mentioned above.

Unless you’re sexually attracted to the other person.

But there’s more to intimacy than body fluids. It is also about personal space and boundaries, security and feeling close to someone. Going into orgasm is (in my experience) a state when we’re not quite ourselves, for a short while the mind is left behind and the body takes over. Like falling asleep or going unconscious, this is a state that might be embarrassing to share with a stranger, because you let go of your mask. More importantly, it’s also a security issue, you need to know that no one will take advantage of your temporal loss of control. This is probably why men seem to be less disturbed by the thought of buying sex; at least heterosexual men assume the sex worker will be a woman they can easily control, but I said I’d leave the gender issues for another post, so I won’t go into this.

The person selling a massage most likely do not expect body fluids, nor for the buyer to become someone else, not even for a short time. My experience with professional masseurs is also that I keep my underwear on, thus indicating some sort of privacy on my part and distance on theirs.

The intimacy issue is not about what the buyer thinks. Obviously if you find it ok to buy sex, your own intimacy is not a problem. The problem is that you are asking someone else to be intimate with you. Because you pay them.

In theory like paying someone to come with you to the toilet and to clean your butt after you’re done, not because you can’t do it yourself, but because you don’t want to. Sure, you could probably find someone desperate enough to do it, but should you?