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5 Lies People Who Pay For Sex Tell Themselves

This guest article from YourTango was written by Teresa Maples.

A recent study published by Christine Milrod and co-author Ronald Weitzer analyzes 2,442 postings written by people who pay for sex on an online discussion board that reviews sex providers and their services. Approximately one-third of the posts discussed emotional intimacy between sex workers and their clients.

Many of the people who paid for sex expressed a desire to grow their relationships beyond the sex act and develop feelings and mutual love with the person. So what kinds of things do people who pay for sex tell themselves?

5 Ways People Who Pay For Sex Lie To Themselves

1. “I’m not doing anything wrong.” 

The responders make excuses and do not obey the law. These comments were posted by people who are paying for sex. These people are a sub group of the population who are engaging in illegal activity. From a societal view, those who act outside the norms and rules of the society are not the norm for the culture.

Those who engage in paying for sex are breaking the law. Many of the people who engage in prostitution are also involved in a primary relationship like marriage or are living together. Usually, there is a social contract between the two people to be there for each other. In paying for sex, they are breaking this contract as well. In many ways, they are committing relational violence in their primary relationship.

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2. “This could turn into a real relationship.” 

The responders think they are getting a real relationshipbut they are really seeking instant gratification. In one survey, 32% of customers arrested for soliciting a prostitute said they bought sex because they “didn’t have time” for a conventional relationship. 28% did not want “the responsibilities” of a relationship, and 18% said they would “rather have sex with a prostitute than have a conventional relationship with a woman.”

In other words, 78% of the people paying for sex did not want to bother with a “real” relationship and would rather pay for sex.  An unspoken message here is that the transaction between the sex worker and the client is about money and control. The client is paying to have sex acts done to him, which help feed his fantasies. He gets to call the shots. The sex worker is providing a service to get paid.

3. “I just do it for the thrill.” 

The responders say they are seeking the thrill, but they may be setting themselves up for a full blown sexual addiction. Biologically, people who seek intensity and thrill by engaging in a sex acts are programming their brains to seek greater and greater thrills to get the same effect. The engagement of risky behavior leads to more risky behavior. Many of the responders might experience anxiety and withdrawal symptoms if they chose to stop paying for sex.

4. “I think I might love them.” 

But really, the responders could be acting out their fantasies. They could be imagining they have a “feelings of love” for the sex worker. Even in “real” relationships there is an aspect of projecting what you want onto the other person. It makes sense that someone who pays a “repeat” sex worker could imagine he has a “real relationship” with her. I wonder what would happen if he stopped paying?

5. “I derserve it.” 

The responders have a sense of entitlement. In other words they are saying, “I want sex a certain way and I deserve to get it.” While we are pre-programmed by design as humans to propagate the earth, similar to animals. We also have the ability to think and feel. Yes someone can pay for sex and feel momentarily satisfied; however, in my opinion they are depriving themselves the joy of true authentic emotional connection with a real person based on mutuality for the long term.

If you have paid sex workers and have tried to stop and keep going back to it, seek professional help. You can overcome this behavior. There is a way out. You can click on any of the links to contact Sex Addicts Anonymous(SAA), Sexaholics Anonymous(SA), Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous(SLAA), Prodigals, Inc., PureDesire, or myself for help.

How do you get love and emotional intimacy?

It all begins with a commitment to being the healthiest you can be, from the inside out. Learn to love all the parts of yourself even the places that hurt or feel shameful. Healthy sexuality between two people, involves vulnerability and safety in the relationship. Both partners are attached to one another physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

This model of relationship mutually benefits each partner. It takes work and time to develop emotional intimacy, and it also requires delayed gratification. By learning how to be a safe person emotionally with a chosen safe person, you can develop a more complex positive response system that is stable and sustainable over time. Choose wisely.

Teresa Maples MS is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Washington State. Connect with me for more information about healing from those things that get in the way of living life to its fullest.  


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5 Lies People Who Pay For Sex Tell Themselves

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APA Reference
Experts, Y. (2018). 5 Lies People Who Pay For Sex Tell Themselves. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 2, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 13 Oct 2012)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.