I've been seeing the same escort for two years, but occasionally I will see another provider that requires references, so I use my regular escort. My question is, do providers (or their assistants) get annoyed if you keep using them as a reference? I continue to see my 'regular' but occasionally I like to experience someone else.
The situation: You have a regular worker, but also enjoy seeing other providers. And when you approach someone new, you’re asked to give a reference - the name of a sex worker you’ve seen before, who can vouch for you.
What’s the etiquette around this? And how many times can you ask your regular worker to act as a referee without inconveniencing them? As with all things, the answer to these questions varies depending on the person. But I can share how I feel about it, and hopefully, that will help you gain some perspective.
What is a reference?
In the sex industry, a ‘reference’ generally refers to a verbal or written recommendation that’s given to a provider you’d like to see, by a provider you’ve seen in the past. Often, it’s as simple as something like, “Yes, I’ve seen Chris, and he’s a good client.”
References are often included as part of the screening process for in-person bookings with sex workers, especially full-service sessions. Screening helps a worker ensure you’re a safe person to spend time with. It’s a process that most of us take very seriously. If you aren’t able to provide references, some sex workers will refuse your booking request.
Provider reference etiquette
How does it work? And what’s the etiquette? Here’s a step-by-step process for a typical booking and screening process with an escort:
- You contact a new provider to request a session. (Hopefully, you’ve read all my tips about writing a great booking request.)
- The provider requests screening information such as your phone number, identification, references, or anything else they feel is required. They may also request a deposit, which is a percentage of the booking fees paid up-front.
- You provide the necessary information. If the worker has requested a reference, you supply them with the working name and contact number/email of a provider you’ve seen in the past.
- The new worker will reach out to your past provider to see what they have to say about you. If your past provider tells them you’re legit, then you’ve passed the ‘reference check’.
There’s some etiquette to keep in mind when providing reference details:
Don’t take it personally. Safety checks aren’t about whether the provider thinks you’re trustworthy! It’s a security measure we apply to all new clients. If you act hurt or offended that your new provider wants to check up on you, you're going to make a bad impression.
Ask your referee beforehand. Like the referees you might use when applying for a job, sex workers who provide references must be asked beforehand. It’s considered rude to hand out their details and expect them to respond to unexpected questions from other workers! Asking can be as simple as sending an email or text message saying, “Hey, hope you’re well! Would you mind if I named you as a reference for other providers?”
Only use referees that you’ve actually had a booking with. It’s not useful to provide the details of a worker you’ve never actually booked. If you’ve only interacted with that person online, on the phone, or on social media, they won’t be able to reassure your new provider that you’re safe to meet in person.
Only use referees that you’ve seen recently. That escort from two states away who saw you two or three years ago probably won’t remember enough details of your encounter to be able to properly reassure your new provider. Make sure you supply the name and contact details of someone you’ve sessioned with recently.
“Will my worker be upset I’m seeing someone else?”
Many regular clients worry that their worker will become upset or jealous if they discover that their customers are seeing other workers. I can’t speak for everyone, but I feel that, as service providers, it’s totally fine when our clients book other workers. After all, this is a service we’re providing as a one-off experience - it’s not a lock-in contract!
Providing references is something many workers are happy to do because we care about the safety of our peers. Screening (and safety in general) is very important for all sex workers, and we all need to be free to do as we see fit to ensure we’re comfortable at work. So even providers who don’t ask for references themselves will often provide them to others.
If you spend a lot of time with someone, they may worry that their income is going to be affected by your visiting other providers. It might be helpful to reassure them by saying something such as: “I really enjoy our sessions and that’s not changing, but I do also occasionally see other workers. Would you mind if I named you as a reference?”
“How often can I ask without annoying my regular provider?”
Worried that your regular worker will be annoyed by constant reference requests from other providers? It's a possibility. After all, the life of a sex worker is very busy! Admin work - maintaining our websites, managing social media, and replying to emails - is time-consuming work. Spamming your provider with dozens of reference requests will be an inconvenience.
How many is too many? A good rule of thumb is ‘one reference per booking’. So, for every booking you have with your regular provider, it's reasonable to ask for one reference request.
If you’re approaching a lot of other workers and worry you’re going to exceed this number, it’s polite to offer a tip or payment to your regular provider. Ask them how much they’d like: “I’ve approached a few other workers lately, so you’ll probably get a few reference requests - how much can I tip you per request, to compensate you for your time?" If your worker doesn’t accept bank transfers or cash app payments, you could offer to email a gift voucher for their favorite store instead.
The safest way to be sure you’re not wearing the friendship thin is to ask. “How many reference requests would you be comfortable doing for me, and would you like any compensation?”
Communication is key…
I hope this answer has given you some insight into how references work, and how to avoid a strained relationship with your regular provider.
This advice can only go so far because every sex worker runs their business their own way. To be one hundred percent sure that you’re getting it right, you’ll need to contact your worker and ask directly.
As long as you phrase it as a request, and offer compensation for their time if your needs are excessive, I think there’s a good chance your provider will be happy to act as a reference for you.
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