At 29, my boyfriend of two and a half years turned round one day and told me he didn’t want a long-term relationship. He was living in my house and everything seemed perfect, but he was three years younger and had had an epiphany that he still wanted to travel the world. It was predictable. It was painfully unoriginal. I was crushed.
He moved out to start his new life – drinking the same pints in a hotter climate – and though I wasn’t ready for another boyfriend, after a few weeks, I craved some fun and excitement. I needed sex. I needed skin-to-skin contact and the rush of flirting.
I work a 9-5 office job for a marketing company in Kenya, which did little to get my mind off my loneliness, so I downloaded all the dating apps. But it felt hopeless. Casual dating in your mid-twenties is exhausting enough, but on the cusp of your thirties? Excruciating. There were the men I was stuck in perpetual pen pal status with, who ghosted me as soon as I applied the pressure to actually meet up. (Really, why is this a thing?) There were the men who turned up to dates looking nothing like their profile. There were others I knew I had zero sexual chemistry with from the moment we locked eyes. I felt defeated. These apps only caused me distress and one-night stands were hardly worth the next morning awkwardness on the pleasure front. Was it too much to ask to have a period of time focused on myself, having fun with friends, but also getting laid with a man I fancied, who didn’t want commitment, yet popped over to satisfy me at my every whim? It seemed so.
Four months after the breakup, my friend convinced me to take a look at the escorting site Nairobi Toxic Escorts. She’d worked on it as an escort herself for years and told me to consider ‘ordering’ a guy to get the sexual ball rolling. We were a few margaritas down at a bar and she assured me that people who pay for sex aren’t just losers who can’t get a shag in normal life. ‘I’ve had young clients, even quite hot ones,’ she said, ‘It’s usually about the thrill.’
Later that night, I tucked myself up in bed, vibrator at the ready for another Saturday night of solo masturbation, and paused. I decided have a quick browse of the escorting site instead. Obviously, I was curious. As I scrolled down the never-ending images of men in my local area, there were some guys I wouldn’t go near, but there were some I most definitely would. Photos ranged from mirror selfies in their underpants, to professionally edited photos that spoke of experience. Abs were plentiful.
Could I follow through with this? I’ve always thought of myself as a bit of an awkward prude, but perhaps now was the time to push myself out of my comfort zone. Albeit in the wildest way possible.
There was a commitment to my pleasure and my needs that I’d never experienced before
It was about 1am when I hit send on a message to Reece*. He was 6ft 4inch with abs you could grate a slab of granite on, never mind block of cheese. His face was nice enough and his smile friendly – if it was actually his. ‘What if these photos weren’t of him?’ I thought. ‘What if a killer con turned up at my door, or arguably worse, someone old and hideous?’ He replied the next day asking straightforward questions about time and date logistics. The exchange felt professional, as if I were booking a PT session. I got Reece* to send a selfie holding up a photo of my name and exhaled a sigh of relief. Looking into how the site vets escorts helped me relax further. He asked me about what kind of fantasies I had in mind, but I told him I’d rather we just have a drink and get to know each other as ‘normally’ as we could. Our session was set for Friday night, his rate £160 for two hours – cheaper than I expected.
I was distracted at work that day with more butterflies than your average Friday feeling. As soon as I got home, I gulped a glass of wine and got put on a dress and heels, as if I was going on a proper date. I was shaking with nerves, but mainly over worries that he’d see me and turn away. I’d heard they could do that. What if he thought I wasn’t worth the £160?
By the time he knocked at the door, I was a bottle of wine deep. I answered sheepishly, gripping onto a nearly empty wine glass. He chuckled and entered, letting me know that, ‘It’s everyone’s first time once’ and that there was no need to be nervous. ‘You don’t need to do anything you don’t want to. Let’s have a glass of wine,’ he said.
We chatted about our lives, he asked me about my job and how I’d found him. It felt very similar to an actual date, as if we’d come back to mine after a Tinder meet up – bar me slipping him cash in an envelope, of course. The intimacy happened naturally. It started with a light stroke of my arm and cheeky touch of my bum, there was nothing clinical or forced about it. He didn’t ask me for directions on how to turn me on, I just let him do his thing.
The sex was incredible. It was as if he knew everything my body craved before I did. There was a commitment to my pleasure and my needs that I’d never experienced before. It felt selfless. He wasn’t expecting anything in return and he didn’t allow me to try. It was all about me. As he left, I told him his price was selling him seriously short.
Afterwards, I did feel a little dirty. But only in the way a one-time hook up always makes you feel, in the back of your mind. I still worried that it was embarrassing. Fear struck me at the thought of anyone I knew finding out. My quest for sex had gone to the utmost extreme, but this was wholly more satisfying than any bumbling idiot in a bar would be. By the second time, I felt empowered and liberated. I saw the same guy three times in total, on a monthly basis, my self-care treat as it were. Obviously, I was fully aware that our relationship was strictly business, but it was nice to feel familiar. We kept in contact and had brief chats while arranging our next meetings. It felt almost like a friendship. There was no stress over what any of it meant, I wasn’t bogged down trying to read ‘the signs’.
My fourth experience using the site was far more dramatic. Reece* was on holiday and I was disappointed, but my escort friend convinced me to give someone else ago. I chose a guy for his excellent abs, once again, but this time didn’t ask for a verification photo. I still don’t fully understand why. Partly, I thought it’d add some excitement not knowing who would show up and I think I felt silly seeing asking after how smoothly it’d gone last time. I assumed this time it’d be the same. His body seemed good enough for his face to be, but his face ended up being the biggest problem of them all.
The sex was incredible. It was as if he knew everything my body craved before I did
It was my ex. Our jaws dropped. I asked him what the hell he was doing here and he said, ‘I’m Tom,’ in disbelief. He was using a fake name and though I’d used my real name on the site, it was generic and I’d moved flats since we last saw each other, so he didn’t recognise the address. It couldn’t have been more awkward, but we started hysterically laughing and I told him to come in. I still had a box of his belongings left behind during the break up, so I gave it to him. This made us laugh more. We caught up and he told me about his brief stint around Asia. Then he asked if he was staying or going. ‘Well, you’re here now, aren’t you?’ I replied.
We had sensational sex, one of our best, and he told me not to pay him, but I felt bad about using one of his slots and wanted to keep this strictly business. He was charging £70 an hour so I insisted on giving him £50, deducting money he owed me from our last gas bill, as a joke. The experience was entirely unexpected and hilarious, but afterwards, I was in a blind panic worrying about how easy it’d be for my secret to get out. I swore Tom* to keep this between us, but the fear that it could slip out to any one of our mutual friends still haunts me.
I’ve obviously told my escort friend about these experiences, but no one else close to me. The thought of it getting out to my friends, family or colleagues makes me feel sick. I may feel empowered, but I know what they’d think. I don’t want their pity, questions or judgements. It might change their entire perception of me. I want this to remain my own thrilling secret.
Tom* ended up being the last guy I managed to ‘order’ before Covid-19 hit. Right now, I’m missing any human contact, never mind the best sex of my life. I’m having to trust that my secret will stay safe and that it’ll be old news by the time we’re ‘released’. Still, the inner turmoil has never once made me seriously consider stopping. There have been too many hassle free orgasms for that. I’m counting down the days till I can get my next fix.