Gigolos, Escorts, and This Is About Me

Showtime: Television Network. Gigolos: American reality television series about the lives of five male escorts in Las Vegas. Vin Armani: one of the stars of Gigolos (Season 1-present); Philosophy major and software engineer. The Good Men Project: online magazine devoted to "enlightened masculinity."

On January 22, 2014, GMP published the piece "I Am a Gigolo" by Armani in which he explains his profession, what he offers women and why women hire him.

At first blush, anyone would connect gigolo to escort to prostitution, that is, sex for money. Is there anything else which is as morally condemned never mind being illegal just about everywhere? However, Mr. Armani states right up front:

The most common misconception about my profession is that it is "all about sex."

What? It's not all about sex? Then what in heaven's name are we talking about? What else could there be? Whether it's a gigolo or an escort, it has to be about sex and why would anybody pay for sex? But he's saying it's not "all about sex". This is confusing.

Booking.com

An escort, at the top of his (or her) profession, provides a service of almost incomparable psychological worth.

Get out of here. Isn't a "happy ending" of incomparable physical worth? But wait, he said it's not "all about sex." Armani's article links to a charming story by a 5'1" woman who was tipping the scales at nearly 300 pounds. Ms. Smith is told by her doctor she needs to turn her life around. It is a question of her health. She does so in a most unusual manner: she dates male escorts. (This entire story is eye-opening. Read it all.)

xojane – Mar 8/2013
It Happened To Me Contest Entry: I Lost 98 Pounds And Fell In Love By Dating Escorts by Heather Smith
I started the formal plan in September 2011 and by April I had fallen completely in love with… myself. They helped me work through my body image issues in a way that no therapist ever could. They helped me find my inner strength and confidence. By rediscovering my sexual self and the power that comes with it, I became an improved woman in all areas of my life.

Going into this, I had no idea how fucked up I was in regards to men/women relations, sex, or what true intimacy was. They taught me so much about myself and relationships that I’m writing a book about it.

The mental, the physical, the emotional — it’s all connected and requires balance. I hate that we live in a culture that de-emphasizes, nay, disapproves of the potential benefits of sex outside of a heavy, committed monogamous relationship.

I’m still a “fat” girl, a respectable size 12-14 depending on the label and cut but I don’t feel nor behave like a fat girl any longer. I’ve arrived at body acceptance. I’m dating “civilians” again, confidently.

What exactly did Ms. Smith get out of her encounters with male escorts? Did she have sexual relations with these men? The answer seems to be yes. However, it would seem Ms. Smith got far more out of this than just an orgasm. She seems to have found her self-confidence; she has found purpose; and most importantly, she has accepted herself. How curious. In our culture, sex is very much vilified but Ms. Smith's story lends weight to the idea that our sexuality is an integral part of the human existence and that sex has therapeutic powers: the power to uplift us, heal us, and make us better people. Is somebody like Mr. Armani a sexual surrogate?

Wikipedia: Sexual surrogate
Typical problems:
* Trouble with intimacy
* Lack of confidence
* Communication problems
* Dating anxiety
* Sexual inhibitions
Since many sexual problems are psychological rather than physical, communication plays a key role in the therapeutic process between a patient and the sex surrogate.

What is the ultimate goal? Mr. Armani:

When we think of our ideal relationship, most of us envision a partner who arouses us with their physical presence, stimulates us with their mental prowess, demonstrates affection and attention to our needs (at times before we know what we need), and accepts us for who we are –- flaws and all -– without passing any judgement.

Without passing any judgement. When was the last time you had that experience?

Time with a talented professional companion creates a space where clients can feel free to lay bare their biggest fears and insecurities, knowing that the escort’s primary goal is that client’s happiness. In terms of therapeutic value, a great escort beats a psychologist any day of the week. Hell, when was the last time your shrink held you in their arms? Would you want them to anyway?

What do women want? What do men want?
This may seem like a men are from Mars, women are from Venus type of thing, but I can't help feeling there are more commonalities to the two sexes than we realise. Our culture has instilled in all of us traditions, morals, and gender-based roles that we do not necessarily understand or are even aware of. We carry on doing what we're doing without ever questioning if what we're doing is valid and if there is another way of doing things.

In my posting "Veronica Monet: Sex Secrets of Escorts: What Men Really Want", I spoke about this former escort and her accumulated wisdom of dealing with nearly two thousand clients over the span of her career.

I learned that when you take his clothes off and provide him with one of the most emotionally moving orgasms of his life, a man will show you that he is not all that different from most women. Men, too, want to be held while they cum and will cry during an internal (prostate) orgasm. There is softness and a desire to be nurtured which I never saw in men until I became a prostitute. I literally went from hating men and the oppression they represented to me at that time, to loving men and feeling regret that we live in a world culture which demands that men sublimate their feminine side in preference of appearing in control.

Final Word
Sex for money: bad, bad, bad. But is it about the sex? Is there more to it than just sex? Is sex itself a bigger part of our lives, our ego, and our confidence? A female commentator responded to the original article by Vin Armani:

I think he makes a lot of sense. If I'd dated more — a lot more– after divorce #1 I wouldn't have had divorce #2.

We can see a psychiatrist and talk. We can visit a massage therapist and take care of some of our physical problems. But who takes care of sex? Who takes care of personal confidence? Sexual confidence? Feeling good about yourself and feeling good about your body? If I want to play golf, I must learn a skill and practice. If I want to ballroom dance, I must learn a skill and practice. If I want to date, have sex, possibly marry, are there skills I must learn and practice? I've said this elsewhere as an observation of an oddity in our culture. Before I am allowed to drive, I must pass a test and get a licence. Before I am allowed to perform brain surgery, I must go to university, medical school, intern, and pass a series of stringent exams. But anybody, absolutely anybody with no instruction, without ever proving via an exam they have the requisite knowledge, is permitted to date, have sex, and get married. Would we all be better people if we learned the skills and practiced? Would we all have better relationships, better sex, and better marriages if we didn't blindly rush forward but took the time to learn the skills and practice?

References

The Good Men Project – Jan 22/2014
I Am a Gigolo by Vin Armani
What’s life like for a guy getting paid to service women? Vin Armani, in his own words.

Wikipedia: Gigolos
Gigolos is an American reality television series about the lives of five male escorts in Las Vegas. The series follows the men, all employees of the same escort agency, through their daily lives and interactions with each other. Cameras also follow the escorts on their appointments with women, including their sexual activity. The series debuted on the premium cable channel Showtime on April 7, 2011.

official web site: Gigolos

YouTube: Vin Armani
Tao Of The Gigolo: Brock Jones hosts an in-depth interview with Vin Armani on the topics of love, sex, and relationships.

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