Letters from Johns: I wanted to kill myself

I have friends, black male friends, who have paid for sex several times in their lives. While I've never done so myself, I'm always trying to discuss it with them to better understand it. This goes back to one of my concerns in the Black Male Privilege discussion -- if I alienate my brothers by preaching to them, the options for self-destruction in this society are so vast that they won't have any reason to stick around. And if they flee our friendship, then I've only hurt any chance for healing. I'm not saying everyone needs to do this. If you can't stand to be around someone who practices things you disagree with, fine. But I believe myself strong enough to be among my people, with their everyday problems, and maintain my own health as best I can. At the end of the day, I'd rather risk catching the flu bringing someone soup, than abandon them out of self interest. While the letter posted here is interesting, THIS ONE [i-am-deathly-afraid-of-intimacy.html] is more along the lines of what I've heard from MY friends.

(Letters From Johns) In January of this year, on what amounted to a whim, I created an online project called Letters from Johns. To be perfectly honest, I can't even recall exactly why I did it, but I've been writing about the sex industry for years, and I suppose I was curious about why men pay for sex. Rather than hearing someone else's version of their stories, I was interested in collecting their stories. So, I put out a call on my blog for exactly that, and that's exactly what I got.

Every so often, another letter from a john would show up in my email box. They were state investigators, lonely, single guys, married men, enlisted, world travelers, virgins, and thrill-seekers. When Spitzergate hit, I got more letters than ever. (I wrote about the project here.) Eventually, though, the call girl and john coverage slowed. These days, I get fewer letters than I used to.

Last night, I got a new letter from a john. It was more sad than most, although many of the letters are somewhat sad. More often than not, the emails are testimonies to loneliness, and the lengths people, men, in particular, will go to be anywhere but alone. This letter, though, was particularly sad...

Of course, I don't bring this up to out him. He's a John Doe, and all letters remain anonymous. Sometimes, though, there's a tendency to see stories like his, or those of the others, as belonging to lives that are nothing like ours, to "Other-ize" them, when, in fact, the themes of these letters -- the desire to transcend one's internal abyss -- are not so unlike the stories of most who have experiences that require them to find out what's hidden in their darkest places:

I Wanted To Kill Myself: I have the usual sob story: usual beatings from my dad, his psychological torture, absence of the most beneficial parenting, severe neglect, first generation immigrant experience, raped by my cousin at age 12, social ostracism, extremely repressive Christian environment and the list goes on. Consequently, I grew up being alone, which perpetuates that state, and recently I live with an anxiety disorder that is sometimes debilitating.

By age 29, I became extremely frustrated about my virginity, and decided to finally to visit an SP. I was in Amsterdam. At first, in the oversized Jacuzzi, she caressed my body with hers. This was the first time I touched a woman in a sexual manner. I felt like a human being, and almost cried. We moved on to the bed, but she laughed at me. She positioned her body so that it was difficult for me to have intercourse and eventually she told me to stop when I began to do it with feeling. Another SP had to take over to finish me, but fortunately she was comforting though lacked engagement. After it was over, she counseled me. (She and the other woman were Dutch, and as expected their English was perfect.) One of the advices she gave me was how it does not feel good without love. I wish I could find love, but I know that is not possible for me. That night I felt disgusted, angry and hated myself for seeing an SP. I wanted to kill myself. I went completely against my own moral convictions and support of feminism. The experience was not pleasurable at all, but rather very nerve racking and riddled with guilt throughout the whole act. It was something to simply do it and get it out of the way, so that I would be just like other non-virgin men.

I had two more days left in Amsterdam, so I decided to give it one more try and visited another agency. She was Belgian. She spoke with a French accent, so I had a difficult time comprehending her. Still, she was more comforting and psychologically put me at ease right away. She was affectionate, pretty and even erotic. She gave me a massage, which really put me at ease physically, and when we were doing it she appeared to be enjoying it as well. Of course, she was acting, but I appreciated her effort for a loser like me. I finally felt good, had that “afterglow,” mood of calm and strangely felt free. I ruminated if the moment of orgasm was the only possible authentic state of freedom. She explained something to me that lingered while taking a walk after visiting her, which was that visiting an independent SP or reputable agency was a good and healthy thing, as long as I do not over indulge, because sex is a necessary human experience.

Perhaps, I was becoming a corrupt scum, or I was becoming desensitized to seeing an SP. Unfortunately, this feeling of bliss was temporary as all experiences of authenticity are temporary, and I visited SP’s occasionally since then to seek respite from the severe feeling of loneliness. Having discovered what it feels like to be with someone, even with simulated intimacy, I began to long for it more and more. Still, even though the guilt and self-hate is not to the degree that it was when I first started seeing SPs, it continues and sometimes erupts with weight.

I am now 40 years of age, and I have never been with any woman, other than SP’s, because I have always been rejected. However, I also have not tried to initiate even a conversation with most women because of my debilitating anxiety, so I seek the comfort of intimacy with independent SP's to deal with the misery. I realize now that, as a human being, we all need to be touched to at least survive and live on, but once my mom dies I have no reason to live. I have no close or trust worthy friends, and so the loneliness is intense. I am damaged-goods, so even if someone would want me I can’t allow my baggage to affect her life in a negative manner. Therefore, I am not allowed a conventional relationship.

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