Like many people seeking a new challenge, Gwyneth Montenegro is undergoing a career change. The 39 year old has trained in neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), an approach to personal development and psychotherapy, and is a budding motivational speaker. There’s one slight twist: her previous career was sex work.
Her first foray into the industry came in form of a traumatic moment. She went clubbing one night and her drink was unfortunately spiked, after which she was gang raped. She doesn’t remember much of the incident but explains how deeply it affected her, particularly because of her religious upbringing.
It kind of changed my opinion about myself. I felt I wasn’t worthy anymore, that I wasn’t good enough. I came from a Christian family and I was saving myself for marriage and then I got raped. So I went the other way… I was very promiscuous. I ended up in the table top dancing industry when I was 19.
She says she did not see the transition from exotic dancing to stripping as a huge leap, and decided to try sex work because she was initially attracted by the possibility of earning up to 1,000 Australian dollars an hour. 21 year old Gwyneth also felt that she could always stop after one client. She didn’t. In a career spanning 12 years, she says she charged between 500 and 1,000 Australian dollars and has slept with over 10,000 men. She has also written a book about this.
Today, Gwyneth doesn’t regret her previous job, but has decided to close that chapter and begin a new one. She now uses her experience to offer advice to others. Reflecting on said experience, she had some pretty interesting opinions about straight men, which might confirm some things you already knew or blow your mind.
1. Most aren’t very “hardcore” in bed.
Gwyneth explained that the number of men who wanted to push boundaries and experiment in bed only made up a small minority of her clients.
“A lot of them don’t want all this hardcore kinky sex — that’s such a small percentage of the men. I was in the industry for 12 years — that’s a long time. But I didn’t see a lot of the men that had these sick fantasies. Most of it was just normal sex.”
2. Many clients wanted a psychological and/or emotional connection.
Surprise, surprise. Straight men have feelings too. Gwyneth believes that sex is not just about sex for many guys, as several clients enjoyed talking and sometimes playing games.
“It’s more than just sex. There’s always a psychological motivation for sex, it’s not just a physical urge. A lot of the clients I would see would be an hour plus and I mean sure, they wanted the sex, but a big part of my job was just talking.
“There was always some sort of psychological game from it. There was always a feeling of … you could sort of tell they felt more validated as a man or some of them felt like ‘I can control you’. They’d walk out with this strut.”
3. They want to feel like “men”. (Whatever that means.)
Gwyneth claims that her clients – many of whom were in relationships – sought her out because they felt “emasculated”.
“[…] They want to feel masculine again. They’re seeking validity for their virility. Virility is very important to men. There’s also a group of men who want to play the game. They get an intense delight out of controlling women. They get more of a kick out of feeling like they control you, than they do off the actual sex. So a lot of it is from a psychological motivation.”
4. They are confused about gender roles.
As the public discourse around gender roles continues, Gwyneth believes that the age-old issue of gender roles has become a murky area which men struggle to navigate.
“I don’t want to be so brazen as to just blame feminism for this. However, I think there is a part to play where men do feel emasculated. They don’t know ‘should I open the door? Will I get yelled at?’
“A lot of the time the grip is they don’t know what it is to be a man anymore. They’ve lost their way. That’s what I’ve seen in my clients.”
5. If you want to understand men, “detach the emotions”.
Gwyneth believes that many women seeking to understand their partners do so while clouded by feelings. She believes it is important to set these aside and take an “outside” perspective in order to fully grasp a man’s mindset.
“Detach the emotions — look at it from the outside. The man will give you all the cues from his behaviour and his relationships. You’ll be able to pick out if this person is going to be a long term thing or not really the right fit for you.”
Gwyneth has met many people in the course of her career, so her reflections are interesting. Needless to say, however, they cannot be used as generalizations for all relationships – not least because she is only discussing men within a hetero-normative paradigm. All the same, as with all advice, take from it from you will.