If you asked me how to define mature women who are confident in their sexualities and who choose to perform mutually satisfying acts of indescribably erotic pleasure for men in exchange for lavish gifts of jewels or money, I guess I'd call 'em, well, wives and girlfriends. 'Cause I think all women deserve the goods from the men who love them, from respect and consideration to the best little trinkets a guy can afford.
But maybe I live in a fantasy world. Apparently, some chicks have the idea that what I take for granted as a woman's due - both in terms of her sexual power and her right to respect and bling - are part/parcel of fantasy; many women dream about being so hot and talented sexually that guys would clamor to spend time with them, and reward them extravagantly, should they choose to sleep with the men.
And I was kind of shocked when I learned this, because the idea of having a "hooker" fantasy seemed outrageous even to me, who's long gone on record as advocating a woman's right to any fantasy she can dream up, and to Hell with anyone else's opinion. I think it's the idea of trying to equate power with a profession in which so many women are abused and taken advantage of that makes it hard to understand.
I can imagine how ridiculously tricky it would be to create an erotic romance that embraces the girl-for-hire scenario in the way erom taps into and celebrates women's desires. Yet Jasmine Haynes does so successfully and beautifully in her deliciously arousing "Yours for the Night," a fabulously erotic twist on the Cinderella happily ever after. In "Yours," Haynes creates an escort service in which "courtesans" are trained to be charming companions, to understand men's fantasies, and to fulfill those sexual pleasures if the women choose to do so. In return, the clients give courtesans gifts which show their esteem; clients are captains of industry and the world's wealthiest guys who understand the level of appreciation expected.
The courtesans' reasons for becoming paid companions differ, and in each of three short stories with strong romance that leads to intimacy and well-defined commitment, Haynes introduces us to a different slightly older heroing - even one gorgeous, but slightly insecure 45-year old -- who enjoys her work, but needs something more that doesn't necessarily mean a new job. The clients whose lives the women change - and who alter the women's in return - are dynamic and multidimensional.
So if you're looking to jump all "men who'd hire hookers are pigs, women who hook are downtrodden, and authors who'd glorify prostitution will single-handedly take down the Sisterhood," well, first, you probably should get over yourself because there are lots of ways to skin a cat in this discussion. And, second, you might want to give this thought provoking and thoroughly modern love-story collection a gander. For my two cents, these kinds of storytelling and fantasizing are what feminism is all about.
Writing about the subject of eroticizing prostitution could become a pretty hot topic, especially online, where discussions sometimes can get out of hand quickly. If you'd like to know a bit about how to navigate the sometimes murky waters of cyberspace, please join me today at RomanceUniversity.org, where I'm a "visiting prof" discussing, "Staying Out of Hot Water: Developing an Appropriate Online Presence."
What novels have you enjoyed that have prostitutes as heroines? What the stories work? With whom did the power lie in the relationships and why?
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