David Henry Sterry

Author, book doctor, raker of muck

David Henry Sterry

Tag: Hos

“I Ain’t No Model”: Interview with a Real Life Male Hustler

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This is an interview I did with a gigolo for a book I’m working on entitled, Working Stiffs, about men who’ve worked in the sex business. I first met Hawk at the Sex Workers Art Show in Olympia Washington. He did an absolutely haunting version of the Bruce Springsteen song, I’m On Fire. Turns out he’s a truly astonishing human being. I’m honored to know Hawk.

DAVID: How do you deal with being naked with various clients?

HAWK: It isn’t that hard. I had clients that were big gymbunnies, jocks, younger than me. They didn’t hire me to be pretty, they hired me to play a part, to make them interesting for a period of time.

Hawk Kincaid was born and grew up in the middle of America’s hinter-heart land: Central Illinois. His was a nomadic childhood, and his parents divorced when he was in the second grade.

HAWK:  I won’t be so trite as to say my mom was the purest woman on the planet, she had great qualities and human flaws. She spent a lot of herself trying to get approval from my grandmother, from everyone. I remember her caught up in the frustrations of fulfilling expectations. I have brought much of that in my own life – as if what I do is never enough. I make myself acutely aware of whether I am following a path that I determined for myself instead of by others. I have memories of her as constricted, and that is what I find myself running away from. My brothers disagree with me, but I think she regretted not being able to explore more diverse interests. I don’t want to regret that for myself.

Hawk’s dad had difficulty finding a passion for anything in life. And apparently had a very hard time being alone.

HAWK:  For me, my father’s a solid, caring family provider who embraced everything from theater to philosophy, but never really making them a life’s passion. He took to ‘Dad’ things, like golf, fishing mowing lawns, and watching TV with beers in hand. Eventually he shacked up with my stepmonster, a failed actress gone alcoholic. Wicked-tongued and passionate, she provided him with alternating pieces of trauma and joy. My father and I never talk about these things or in any detail about HOOK, or my personal life. I still don’t chatter well with my father. My family says I spend too much time thinking about the past, the reasons and impacts of our decisions, but I fear the inevitable reproduction of the life I grew up with, and that’s why it’s important to me.

DAVID: Do you feel like you are a beautiful person?

HAWK: I have good energy.

DAVID: Do you feel like you’re attractive?

HAWK: I ain’t a model.

Hawk was a chubby, unattractive redhead. According to him anyway. Often made fun of and quiet, he yielding to television when he could.

HAWK:  I can’t recall many friends growing up because we kept switching neighborhoods and because my family did not encourage that kind of social behavior. One of the biggest forces to change that was a babysitter named Pauline. She was passionate, loudmouthed and in a world where things seemed so sterile, she was an opposition. Not dirty, but touched: the glasses in her kitchen, her aged beads/curtains that separated rooms, her velvet paintings. Some of my fondest memories of childhood are at Pauline’s, lip-synching to Chicago records, hanging bags of Avon samples on doors in rich neighborhoods, the smells and all. It felt more real than my own family, which was so concerned with appropriateness.

Hawk went to private high school.

HAWK: Public junior high made me understand why kids kill themselves.

He’s always had a hard-on for religion. Literally.

HAWK: I have terrible memories of getting hard-ons in church, and perhaps this is the source of my persistently negative association with the church, religion and formality. When I get a little sleepy sometimes I accidentally get a hard-on. Jesus notwithstanding, the notion of sex and church has never been linked in my head, but my body was uncontrollable. In church I always devised plans. Used to pinch myself. I never understood it. But the body is like that. My mother’s cancer. My constant battle with flab. The body infrequently does what I want it to.”

Hawk is very self-conscious about his body.

HAWK: I gotta fight getting fatter. I think that feeling unattractive is the propulsive force for a lot of guys in the business. Certainly for myself, the flattery of men responding positively to you affects your mood, your sense of self. BUT that tends to be an addictive path. Looking outside to find that validation is a long self-destructive cycle. I’ve seen a lot of people fall into some bad behaviors to maintain that position. To give priority to strangers over their lovers, friends. Gaining pleasure from giving pleasure, or the act of being appreciated is simply human – but needing that in ever increasing amounts will kill ya.

Hawk first had sex with a female. When he was 17.

HAWK: I remember her as baby powder smelling underwear with roses/flowers on it. Pink. Definitely pink.

He now identified himself as queer. He first did sex work with a man. He was in college, staying with some bigoted ignorant distant family members, who accused him of gangbanging, doing drugs, and screwing girls.

HAWK: Eventually they accused me of trying to kill some family members by doing my laundry (I know, it sounds insane – it was). So, I got a housesitting gig and met a guy who introduced me to doing bodywork. As weird as it sounds, because of the long hours I worked, it was ideal. The work was rough, a bit scary, but it just made sense. I mean, I was working 10 hour days for nothing at the internship, and then trying to work for a record store for 3-4 hours and making 20-30 bucks after taxes. I could turn around 100 in a session doing massage, and with tips upwards of 200. Since I was uncertain about housing and scared about being so many miles from my home and my family, it was the right choice.

Hawk was nervous the first time he had sex for money. “But I shortchanged myself. After meeting other guys in the business… I should definitely have asked for more. Never shortchange yourself. I never felt guilt about the money. Just guilt about the sorrow.

When Hawk first started doing body work, he was paid extra money for doing Extras.

HAWK: The Extras sometimes involved sex, sometimes because I liked the client, sometimes for affirmation – hell, I even dated one of my clients and he is still one of my dearest friends. I think that’s the strange part of the sex industry, that even in my most panicky moments, it was often an attempt to connect to people. The money part has always been hard for me. Not just in sexwork, but even now as a freelance designer, I dread the billing aspect, because I like what I do. Charging for it seems the right thing to do, but it doesn’t always feel right. Sometimes, I think the generosity I have stems from feeling awkward about asking for compensation. Leftover deposits of Midwest Protestantism. That being said, having sex for money was never wrong. It wasn’t a moral issue. It was the feeling that these are vulnerable people, and I am cautious about business operations or personal behaviors that leverage people’s weakness. It is the source of guilt for me. Not the morality of prostitution, but the sense that making people feel better about themselves is a paid-for operation. Sex can be an industry – but self-esteem just feels diluted when you commercialize it. It’s why I don’t trust bartenders or psychologists. They make a living off of your sorrows.

Hawk’s specialty was breaking-and-entering, also known as B&E. This involves surprising a client, tying him up, and fucking him.

HAWK: Bondage was definitely my thing. And spanking/paddling/abuse. I preferred bondage though because I could tie them up and leave for a bit, come back and be mean, hit them, and then leave. Low maintenance. It also gave me control with clients and meant I had little contact if I wanted. Kink was where I made most of my money and now, when my partner brings up some kinky ideas, I always resort to cuddling cause kink is what I did with customers and I think it reminds me too much of that. Cuddling is something I do with people I care about… This might be something to deal with in the future, I think… Not to vilify radical sex in general, but I just think that it has taken me a long time to rethink sex and contact in positive, constructive terms that don’t mean fear. I think people are often afraid of contact and now, it is what drives me. Laughing during sex. Joy during sex. Porn doesn’t cover that for me and there is a cool aesthetic to that kind of aggressive image. That was an image I maintained with clients, but it is not what I want to come home to.

Hawk’s ads as a sex worker featured a rough tough persona.

HAWK: My partner says I’m a lot of false advertising since my ad looks so rough, but my real identity is more cuddly and fuzzy. I am softer than I let on, especially when working, but that was the edge. To be in control maintained my safety, my security, and solidity in that market. It gave me the elements I needed to walk in and out of the industry in tact. It was a fun image but definitely a lot of work.

Hawk often found that his clients were turned on by being controlled.

HAWK: It’s what all people want, for the most part. Freedom from responsibility, from having to make choices. Most men seem to equate sex to a freedom from thought. Sex is a way to avoid loneliness most of the time. To forget about it for a short time. People want a psychiatrist that doesn’t make them self-consciously aware they are seeking treatment. We play doctors, and the more you understand that what they need more than sex is care, you are good to go. With a client, it’s all performance. I don’t think it’s about being turned on. That doesn’t matter. It’s like theater and you treat it like theater. They don’t know and they certainly don’t care. They don’t want you to be real. Real people have problems, dramas, credit card bills, etc. They want you to be simple and they will want you to be a separate part of their lives. They want you, most importantly, to leave quietly.

Being in the sex business has never really inhibited Hawk in his relationships, but he had commitment problems anyway.

HAWK: A few guys shied away from me when they found out what I did, but in the gay world, I think that prostitution is hardly news to anyone. I’ve been honest my whole life about being in the sex business. Oftentimes I think guys have sex to make a connection. The quality of the sex is bad, and I know I used it for that, as well. When we get hooked up in a relationship, suddenly you don’t need to have sex so you don’t. Or the thrill of sex was not knowing the other person well, and when you get someone you know, the thrill is gone. I often associated sex with those two elements: work or loneliness.”

Hawk was unattractive as a kid. According to him anyway.

HAWK: I am unique in that I don’t represent normal images seen in magazines and idealized in the gay world. How many of us do? At times, I think that is where I found success. I never pretended to be pretty, I simply was genuine. I found clients interesting, and that was something they liked. Truth is that I am jealous of pretty men. Beautiful people paid to be beautiful have to spend their energy there, and my success in the business was not on being beautiful outside – it was about the conversations, the conviction, the energy and the other attributes I leveraged. It will never be my job to be beautiful.

There are diehards who want to reminisce about the beautiful badass days of streethustling and the hyper-masculinity it conjures.

HAWK: But they have short memories and are probably lonely or bored with the reality of today (and were just as bored in the reality then, but choose to forget). It was a messy, self-destructive lifestyle that was either littered with rape and drug abuse or self-involved ego issues. I made it in and out of the industry with my body and health in tact. I could lay down my own rules, and I was never in a position of being abused. I have been ripped off (my own damn fault – for a check… yes, a CHECK!), but if that’s the worst mistake I made in years of taking clients, then consider me lucky.

After having been in the life for awhile, Hawk decided to start a website for male sex workers. Thus HOOK was born.

HAWK: HOOK was a project that grew from my frustrations with silence around the male sex industry. The only discussions I could find harbored an approach toward victimization or were the self-destructive biographies that the press loves to promote. There were other stories. Not just mine, but many stories. I consider myself unique in this particular industry because as a sex worker, I went in and out again a few times, maintained being sober the entire existence, and then have spoken publicly in all forums about the issue. The idea of HOOK was to pull together true stories and tips from guys in the business. When I was in the business, one thing I did share with others was the lack of connection. The separation from different sides of my life, and often the inability to really find an ear that understood. Where was I to vent? Especially since a lot of guys took up drugs or alcohol to release those feelings (which often made them worse). I wanted to provide a format that would open up that dialogue and help people avoid some of the common mistakes. The point was to say, ‘Hey, this happened to me, and here’s something you can do to prevent it from happening to you.’ In the same vein, a lot of guys are in the business for immediate cash and lose sight of long-term goals or what to actually do with the cash or how to get more cash while making better decisions. Often the fast cash comes with the worst decisions, like more money for barebacking, ie having unprotected sex. And HOOK serves as a publication by, for, and about guys in the business. We don’t push people into the business on a float of ‘Whore Pride’, and we don’t tell people to get out. What we do is simply tell it like it as best we can. Through guides and tips and materials, we attempt to build something that is fun, comfortable, and most of all, helpful. You can find the history of HOOK.

Hawk’s brothers definitely know that he’s worked in the sex business.

HAWK: I have shown them HOOK and we have talked about it in various ways and circumstances. My father should know by now, as I have never hid it. I can’t tell you if that is because I don’t want to talk about it and I avoid him or because his opinion would mean so little. I imagine it more the latter.

Hawk has worked as a host in a restaurant, a shoe and record salesman, a tour guide, and teaching art to kids. He graduated from Drake University, Des Moines Iowa, Summa Cum Laude, Majoring in Broadcast News, Minoring in Russian Studies and Cultural Studies (College Honors in Cultural Studies). He is currently an activist for sex workers, is the founder of HOOK On-line, the world’s premier website for male sex workers, a graphic designer, photographer, and performance artist, living in The Deep South.

 

Sex Worker Literati: Mary Raffaele Does Random 80’s Rock Dude

A Conversation With the Naked Anthropologist About Sex Trafficking

When I first came out as an ex-sex worker, I started getting invited to prostitute and sex worker conferences. There are two distinct groups who inhabit this world: decriminalizationists and abolitionists. Decriminalizationist conferences are populated by academics, policy wonks and activists, plus a few current and former hos, hookers, call girls and rent boys. Abolitionist conferences are populated by much the same, plus politicians and law-enforcement. Both groups are evangelical, rhetorical and theoretical. Statistics are bandied about, dogma is flung and resolutions are passed. The decriminalizationists keep screaming “Decriminalize sex work!” The abolitionists keep screaming “Sex work is slavery!” and want human traffickers to be hunted down like dogs.

I first met Laura Agustín at a conference in Brussels and was immediately struck by how different she was from all the people I met on either side of the decriminalization/abolitionist divide. First of all, she had a sense of humor. This alone was shocking in either world. But she also had a calm reasonableness about her. She wanted to hear what other people have to say, basically unheard of in either camp. On top of that, the things she had to say were so smart and counter-intuitive. And they all made sense. What she had to say explained so much about why so much money is so foolishly wasted when it comes to actually pursuing traffickers. And why human beings with very few resources continuously get the short end of the stick when it comes to choosing where they live and work, and determining their own destiny. At these conferences, there are certain people you connect with in deep meaningful ways. Laura and I made just such a connection, and it has remained fertile. I read her book, Sex at the Margins, which challenged all the conventional ideas continuously trotted out about migration, sex work and trafficking. She’s one of the few people talking about this subject who will acknowledge the mind-boggling complexity of these issues, which everyone else seems to want to simplify to suit their own needs and grind their own axes. This book led to Laura Agustín — now known as The Naked Anthropologist — becoming an international expert in this emotionally charged arena. Her blog is now one of the go-to resources for well-researched, well-reasoned, sane debate about selling sex for money, crossing borders to work and the reality of what is and is not trafficking.

When she told me she had been invited by the BBC to participate in a debate at the EndHumanTrafficking event in Egypt, I just knew that the fur was going to fly. Sure enough, with her patented calm, unflappable, intellectual yet accessible style, she managed to invoke the wrath of many present and become the target of the wrath of an Academy Award winner in high hooker heels.

DHS: So, Laura, how did you come to be invited to this event?

LAURA: BBC Television was holding one of their World Debates there and invited me. The event itself was limited to particular UN agencies, business leaders and guests of the Egyptian president’s wife – plus several movie actors. It was the kind of event to which you only invite those who agree with you. But the BBC wanted to do a debate, which means they had to get in at least one person who would disagree.

DHS: Yes, those British have some crazy ideas about presenting different sides of an issue don’t they? Haven’t they learned anything from Fox News?

LAURA: Apparently not.

DHS: I saw who the other panelists were: the head of Interpol, an ex-victim of trafficking and a guy who personally saves sex slaves. Didn’t they all see trafficking as it’s traditionally and hysterically presented by the media?

LAURA: It was an incredibly stacked deck, four against one, so it was never going to be a real debate. But I went for the chance to reach the television audience. The BBC World Service is a 24-hour international news channel watched all over the planet, so in my head I was reaching people interested in trafficking issues anywhere who might have doubts about the way trafficking is usually talked about.

DHS: Doubts about what? Don’t we know human trafficking is the greatest scourge of the 21st century? Aren’t millions of people being trafficked as we speak?

LAURA: I try to break down these huge generalisations. Some people are working in conditions that look like traditional slavery, but a lot are undocumented migrants with debts to pay, workers under the age of 18 and people who would rather sell sex than do any of the other jobs open to them. People who say there are 30 million slaves in the world are including all those and many more.

DHS: Wait a minute, I thought we were talking about trafficking. Where does slavery come in?

LAURA: Originally the term trafficking referred to certain kinds of illegal moving of people across borders, but that has changed. Anti-prostitutionists have defined prostitution as violence, rape and now trafficking, but the new word is slavery. I realise some think this is a way to raise consciousness about injustice, but it is confusing to call everyone slaves and erases whatever ability to maneuver lots of people have.

DHS: The setting sounds unbelievable — the Temple of Luxor — how did you feel getting up on that stage?

LAURA: It felt surreal. Not long ago I was an NGO worker in Latin America – I didn’t seek out this kind of gig! But something about Sex at the Margins has struck a chord, I have been invited to talk all over the place to different kinds of audiences and I just finished three months as Visiting Professor in Gender and Migration in Switzerland. I had certainly never been in a situation where every single other person in the room was hostile, however. And I have never been attacked by a film actress before.

DHS: Okay, let’s talk about Mira Sorvino, now Goodwill Ambassador for Trafficking for the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Was she wearing those hooker heels she loves?

LAURA: She was, but I am not sure she understands that she’s allied with abolitionists. I had only spoken a few times when she began waving her hand to get the moderator’s attention. She demanded to know what I was doing there, why I was being allowed to speak. She seemed to think she could over-ride the BBC. I don’t mind people having different ideas from mine but implying I don’t have the right to speak?

DHS: You mean she tried to stop you from talking? What did the BBC moderator do?

LAURA: She asked me if I wanted to respond, so I said in the British tradition debate means dissent, and the BBC invited me because I have a different point of view. Sorvino came across as wanting to censor me, which is shocking in a ‘goodwill ambassador’, isn’t it? I don’t know quite what they are supposed to do, but acting outraged every time I spoke, keeping up a running commentary to people near her (including Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore), is certainly not ambassadorial.

DHS: Was there any consequence for her breach of etiquette?

LAURA: People applauded, as though attacking me were a heroic act. Someone heard her use the term ‘holocaust denier’, too.

DHS: Wow, comparing trafficking to the holocaust! What do you think was going on?

LAURA: I think the event participants did not understand what the BBC was doing there and thought the panel should be just stating conclusions. Maybe they thought the BBC was there to cover the event! But that would be weird, since such go on all the time — they are hardly newsworthy. Someone had not explained, and they took it out on me just because I questioned some of the statements made.

DHS: What was the take-away for you, from the event?

LAURA: Beware movie stars who see themselves as crusaders.

DHS: I think lots of people misunderstand this whole issue and want to know what they can do to help. Do you agree?

LAURA: Anti-trafficking campaigns are now a popular form of social action, but many don’t know what kinds of abuses take place in the name of saving people. That information doesn’t get discussed at events like the Egyptian one — if it were, maybe things could improve.

DHS: Thanks, Laura, I’m glad you survived your attack from Hollywood.

Visit the Naked Anthropologist at http://www.lauraagustin.com/ to learn more about Laura Agustín’s views on migration, trafficking and commercial sex.

Sam Benjamin, Ivy League Pornographer, on Porn, Sex, Love & Failure

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Sex Worker Literati on Black Book Thanks Good Night Mr Lewis Sun Dec 19, 9PM

“They Walk Among Us” is something from a ‘50’s space invaders movie, a tag line from the McCarthy era, and an accurate description of sex workers in clubs. The oldest profession thrives in late night venues, where liquored-up potential Johns with about as much chance of scoring as the New York Jets are easy marks. Tables filled with big spenders invariably attract ladies of the evening, especially when they’ve already been agitated by waitresses who in some quarters have been described as “half-hookers.” The man who just laid out $5,000 on sticky liquids probably isn’t going to get laid after all, and there lies an opportunity.
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There are plenty of people looking for opportunity in this big city. After all that Beau Joie champagne, opportunities seem to present themselves. The girls, and sometimes the guys, walk among us. They are the models or actors who never get up early for a casting, are between agents. They are the beauties with no visible means of support other than the ones provided by Victoria’s Secret. It’s done with a whisper and a touch. It’s advertised by word of mouth. It’s everywhere. Some are actual escorts looking for one last score to top off the night. These working girls slip past door people with a wink and an air kiss. The door people wink back and watch them slip back into the night a half hour later with their prey in tow. There are unspoken and spoken rules of behavior, but the pros know how to handle business and the people working in clubs understand how things work.

In Vegas it’s all around, as obvious as the neon, but here you have to squint a little, ignore the lights and sound to see it. The clubs are filled with the unemployed, who wear nice shoes, live in apartments, and stay out late every night. Some actually have parental support or have their own money, but many depend on the kindness of strangers.

With that in mind, it’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas everywhere I ho. This Friday at 9pm at the Bowery Poetry Club, my pal Zoe Hanson will host her Sex Worker Literati Ho-Ho-Ho-Holiday Party. It’s readings from ho’s, hookers, call girls, and rent boys—with help from friends and allies. It is an xxxmas xtravaganza, with stories from Raff from Cycle Sluts from Hell, Michael Alago & Keith Caputo, and many more perverts or reformed perverts. Speaking of which, our favorite rabbit, Heather Litteer, is dancing. Zoe told me, “These monthly readings have picked up a rather nice following, and I enjoy hosting. I have a Sonny & Cher thing going with David Sterry, it’s rather amusing to take the piss out of him, which my audience finds hilarious! Of course done with kindness & just a touch of Zoe domination!” From the press release:

“Sex Worker Literati is the slutty child of the groundbreaking and internationally acclaimed anthology Hos, Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys, which shocked America by rocketing onto the front page of the Sunday New York Times Book Review, and gave voice to PhDs and high school dropouts, soccer moms and jailbirds, $5,000 a night call girls, $10 crack hos and hard-working rent boys. David Henry Sterry and Zoe Hansen will ride herd over an all-star lineup of the finest ho writer/performers money can buy.”

There will be a sex worker quiz and giveaway, and there’s no cover – the first time this crew hasn’t charged in decades. The press release comes with a tag line that sounds rather clever: “In the exchange of sex for money a window opens into the soul.” I will ask one of my ex-wives to explain it to me, they should know.

Besides David Henry Sterry, who is described as “Ex-teen manchild ho, ex-sitcom actor, Huffington Post muckraker, and author,” and Zoe “Ex-madame, ex-junky, ex-hooker, and memoirist,” readers will include Mary Raffaele, a former metal queen singer in Cycle Sluts From Hell, who wrote a memoir chronicling misadventures of a Midwestern girl who moved to New York to seek glamour in the lowest of places; Christina Cicchelli, a AVN nominee and Feminist Porn Award winner; Matthew Lawrence, a writer and curator who will tell tales of why he wasn’t a very good escort; Keith Caputo, ex-Life Of Agony front man who once worked with Flea & Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Björk, David Bowie, and the Pixies; and Michael Alago, who is famous for discovering Metallica. Michael is a talent scout, producer and writer who worked with Nina Simone, Johnny Rotten, Rob Zombie and Cyndi Lauper. He also turned to photography and put out the book “Rough Gods.” This event will of course attract all the unusual suspects including sweet, innocent me. http://www.blackbookmag.com/article/ho-ho-hos-sex-at-the-holiday-party/23976

Rosabelle Selavy- Wild Thing Dirty Dances

The sultry sensual wild thing animal Rosabelle Selavy dirty dances at Sex Worker Literati.

Aimee DeLong: The Girls

Aimee DeLong loves the girls at Sex Worker Literati
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Hawk Kincaid, ex-Rent Boy, Spits Fierce @ Sex Worker Literati

Toni Bentley & the Fine Art of Surrender @ Sex Worker Literati

Bizarre (but nice) New Review of Chicken

from a website that helps treat psoriasis naturally. don’t quite see the connection between itchy skin condition & being a teen rent boy, but so it goes.

http://psoriasisnaturaltreatment.wordpress.com/2010/05/19/review-of-chicken-self-portrait-of-a-young-man-for-rent-paperback/

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