There are many misconceptions around sex work, and men and women who work as escorts often face great prejudice.
But a Reddit thread is dispelling many of these myths, by asking users to detail their experiences of their first day of work.
The vast majority on the thread describe their experiences as positive, despite being nervous or having misgivings in the beginning. Some began working in "massage parlours" while others advertised themselves in newspapers or on the internet.
1) Male partner
One user, who went under the name Taffod, said he had worked as a male counterpart with a female escort, for when clients requested a couple. "I fell into it," he wrote. "Me and my ex wife were swingers/wife swoppers and when we broke up I stayed in touch with people we played with. One of the girls… called on me for jobs that required a male counterpart."
Another, using the name runner64, said their first day was an "interview".
"I was a nude 'masseuse' so the interview basically consisted of giving the owner a rubdown," they wrote.
"He came out with a towel around his hips and I wasn't really sure what to do. I was like 95 per cent sure that I was supposed to give him a handjob, but pulling someone's towel off and grabbing their c**k is something which really requires 100 per cent.
So I did a basic massage for about twenty minutes before he says "this is a full massage." So he got his happy ending and I passed the interview. He showed me some massage 'moves' but honestly, I was better at it than he was and never really used them."
"It_aint_the_whisky" said that their first experience was “getting driven out into the suburbs of a [sic] affluent desert town.
"A guy who owned a limo company paid me $200 to spank me while nude and walk me on a dog leash around a hotel room," they said.
"I hadn’t [sic] eaten in almost a week prior, so I went to the grocery store with a friend, got the fixings for stew and a six pack of Guinness. I still to this day don't feel guilty about it nor do I feel ashamed of anything I did afterwards. I had a full stomach and cash until I found another job."
4) Male escort
"ItsMoyesh" wrote on behalf of their friend "Sean", who was a male escort “for about 7 months a few years back”.
"He said the opportunity kind of fell into his hands and he took it. His first day on the job was with a married couple. Basically he just did oral with the wife while the husband watched and joined in here and there, with a little bit of foreplay with the husband as well as he joined. Pretty tame first day compared to some but he said it was the most nervous he'd ever been.
"The couple gave him lunch afterwards and something crazy like $800."
5) Online advertisement
"Sshhreddit" said they [it was unclear as to whether they were a man or a woman] put an advertisement up on a website.
"I was so nervous," they wrote. "I imagined being arrested for prostitution, my picture in the paper. What would my family say? I imagined being choked to death, unable to scream. So many horrible thoughts. I regretted this. I shouldn't be doing this. This is horrible, karma is going to get me.
"When he opened the door, he had this welcoming, warm smile. We began making out. And really all that happened after that was 45 minutes of being eaten out and less than one minute of sex at the end that I wished would have lasted longer. He offered extra money at the end.
"I absolutely was expecting to feel degraded and used at the end of this. Instead, I felt like I had just been worshiped. We kept in touch for three years afterward. On the drive home, I said to myself, "and to think I've been doing this for free all this time."
6) Older women
"VeryMutchDutch101", who identified himself as male, was working in a "popular bar" and used to have "a lot of sex".
"There was this older women, probably about 45," he said. "We talked a bit (treat everybody the same), had a few laughs and eventually she offered me 600 euros for the night. I was about 20, so I had a lot of wishes and not enough money to cover… so I happily accepted.
"I told her I liked it, and also made clear that I appreciated the money. And, if she had any friends to do the same, I would like to "help" them as well. And they came... some married with guys who wouldnt touch them anymore, some younger, some older...
"…after about 1 year I stopped because I wanted a serious relationship. And that is the goal from there on."
The Independent could not independently verify the identities of people commenting on the threadReuse content