Originally published in the Pittsburgh City Paper.
Do you have any advice for a 29-year-old virgin with Asperger’s syndrome and not a lot of money? I have never had a romantic relationship with a woman, and it is a little hard. I have thought about saving up and seeing a sex worker, though I am worried that it might be a little traumatic. I thought that you might know someone who can give advice even if you cannot yourself.
With warm regards,
Thank you for reaching out. In order to better answer your question, I reached out to Secondhand Rose, a retired escort, current phone sex operator, and founder of the Peck and Call Girls, a virtual courtesan collective.
In her work, Rose has provided both services and coaching to folks on the autism spectrum, including those with Asperger’s syndrome, and believes that seeing a sex worker can be really beneficial to you. However, given your limited budget, she has offered the following advice to make the most of your experience.
“When it comes to sex workers, you need to be really clear what kind of experience you want to have,” says Rose. Are you seeking a pleasurable sexual experience where you don’t have to think about social interactions? Or are you seeking coaching that will allow you to have more positive romantic and sexual relationships outside of sex work?
The right person may be able to provide both of these services, but not at the same time. “Coaching,” Rose says, “cannot be done in the moment.” Non-coached sexual experiences offer refuge and acceptance outside of social expectation and pressures (which can often feel overwhelming to folks on the spectrum), and coaching requires corrections that can disrupt the intimacy you seek.
Rose suggests that while these are entirely different types of services and should be approached as such, they can also work in tandem. “While pure sexual satisfaction itself may not solve the underlying issue of loneliness,” she says, “it can make you less anxious.” And being less anxious can lead you to be able to be coached through sexual and romantic encounters effectively.
Moreover, knowing what you want out of the experience will give you a better sense of what sort of sex worker you should seek. Private sessions with phone sex operators or cam models would cost less per hour than sessions with escorts but could provide much of what you are looking for. But again, you have to consider your needs. For example, if you need practice maintaining eye contact during sexual intimacy, a cam model may be a better fit than a phone sex operator.
It is also important to consider that while many sex workers, like Rose or myself, are very happy to provide coaching or practice with sexual communication — which is often difficult for folks on the spectrum, some do not prefer to do this sort of work. Being able to clearly articulate what you’re looking for when reaching out to a new sex worker will make it easier to find someone who can meet those needs.
I also think it may be comforting for you to know that within the sex work community, there are a lot of folks who either are neurodivergent themselves or who have extensive experience with clients who are. In the right sex worker, you will be able to find acceptance and understanding that will give you space to express your sexual needs. “The great thing about sex workers is that we are here to help,” says Rose. “Most of us realize that we have gifts and information that we are willing to share.”