Updated: MARCH 23, 2022
Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire

By definition, an escort is a person who keeps someone company in exchange for payment. The person paying is known as a client. Escorts may accompany their clients to dates or events. They may also see clients without ever leaving their home or hotel room. Clients can hire an escort on a per-day basis or for longer periods.

An escort’s services may or may not include sexual services. However, in many cases, the term escort is a more acceptable and legally vague term referring to a type of sex worker. By calling someone an escort, providers skirt anti-prostitution laws in many states and countries. When escorts provide sexual services, these services may or may not include sexual intercourse.

Even when escorts provide sexual services, they may not face prosecution in places where sex work is illegal. Clients pay escorts for their company, not sex. So they may be able to escape charges on this technicality depending on the facts surrounding their case. However, they should seek legal advice. Escorts don’t usually solicit people in the same manner as sex workers. Clients typically contact escorts or their agencies directly.

An escort can work freelance, through a pimp, or under an escort agency. Generally, working under an agency is the safest option as agencies are bound by laws and regulations. Working freelance or through a pimp may expose escorts to sexual abuse and sexually transmitted diseases.

More About Escort

Even when escorts provide sexual services, they do not typically consider themselves prostitutes, although they may fall under the broader umbrella of sex workers. Prostitutes provide sexual services to clients and little else. However, sexual services are one potential service that some escorts may offer. Many people hire escorts for their company or intellectual stimulation. Prostitutes only receive money for their services. Escorts typically receive money, but may also get other forms of payment including jewelry and vacations. Prostitutes need payment immediately before or after their services, while escorts may give their clients time to pay. Prostitutes have a clear pricing structure. They only provide certain sexual services to clients willing to pay for them. Escorts can usually make choices about the sexual services they will perform, regardless of how much the client pays. Since their services go beyond sex, escorts can often choose whether they will have sexual contact with a client.

While escorts usually do not think of themselves as prostitutes, many people use the two terms interchangeably. This is one of the factors that makes forming real romantic connections difficult for escorts. Many people who have never used their services stigmatize escorts. They do not like the idea of their partner seeing other people or potentially sleeping with them. On the other end of the spectrum, some people fetishize the idea of dating an escort. This can also be problematic as escorts may wonder whether someone is dating them for their job or the person they are.

Clients are often the most accepting of escorts, but dating clients comes with its own problems. Escorts create a fantasy when they work, so it can be difficult to know whether clients really like an escort or the illusion they’ve created. Clients can also become possessive of an escort they’re seeing. They may also become frustrated when escorts turn down their advances. Many escorts never date clients because they feel it’s too messy.


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