Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys

Book Review by Nine | 23 Nov 2009
  • Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys
Book title: Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys: Professionals Writing on Life, Love, Money, and Sex
Author: David Henry Sterry and R.J. Martin, Jr (eds)

Do you see what they did there? Despite the wordy title, the editors have managed to steer clear of the terms ‘sex workers’ and ‘prostitutes’, both of which invariably piss somebody off. This tactic is noteworthy, because here we have an anthology bringing together the broadest range of contributors with experience of the sex industry: from the big screen to the street, phone sex to stripping, and incalls to escorting.

Between them, they’ve experienced sex work as an empowered choice, as a living hell, as a drug-fuelled necessity. They cover migration, burnout, criminalisation, violence, keeping secrets, coming out to family, and interactions with clients and colleagues. As it happens, some of the brief contributions from well-known names seem least worthy of inclusion, having a whole lot of pride but not a lot of substance; the bulk of the book, however, is made up of personal pieces that delve deep and illustrate the complexities of the writers’ experiences. Alternately eye-opening, funny, moving, and devastating, this book should be required reading for those who still think any kind of sex worker is ‘representative’.


Out now. Published by Soft Skull Press. Cover price £11.99.