The 1980 flick American Gigolo depicted the world of the male sex worker as a seamy, smoke-and-mirrors existence full of deception, perversity, murder and, yes, lots and lots of sex.
The reality? Well, according to a collection of male sex workers who recently took to Reddit to pull back the curtain on their industry, the job is a little less ... cinematic.
One man revealed that his clients were invariably middle-aged women with standard sexual requests: “The clients were usually wealthy, high-end women over 35 years of age. Oldest client I took on must have been around 55.
“The most common requests would either be: dinner at a fancy restaurant, followed by drinks in some VIP Lounge, followed by spending the night at her hotel room. Being her date at an event, her showing you off to her friends, basically acting as her boyfriend for the night. Then spend the night at her hotel room.
“Go directly to her hotel room, have sex, then leave. I didn't have many weird requests, no pervy stuff.”
Not quite the stuff of a dark, Hollywood thriller...
Another man who's been a sex worker and porn performer for the past four-and-a-half years revealed that the standout feature of most of his clients was their normalcy: “I only see female clients. Looks wise, I see everyone. All ages, from 20 up until nearly 70. All body shapes and sizes. If you're working as a sex worker and you're discriminating based on looks you're not going to very successful.
“There's a common misconception that there must be something wrong with clients, that they're not able to go on a date or sleep with someone outside of seeing a sex worker. In my experience that's never the case. The most common type of booking is just one that involves a fair bit of talking and sex. Nothing overly kinky with my clients for the most part.
“Sometimes there'll be a bit of light bondage involved, tying someone up, blindfolding them, using toys and perhaps some light spanking."
It wasn't all dinner, drinks and demure nights in hotel rooms, however. One man revealed that he'd worked as a nude housekeeper and would occasionally have sex with his clients if they offered enough money.
“My best experience was with this guy who lived in what had to be a five million dollar swanky modern looking house on a lake," he wrote. “We ended up eating chef prepared food, crushing around in his boat and swimming naked in his pool and he paid me £3,000 to spend the night and have sex with him.
“Some retired guy who had some business in oil. I didn't clean a thing that day.”