He’s worked as a callboy, stripper, bodyworker, street hustler and porn
crissie6869: How long have you been in the sex business? And why did you get into it?
matt_sycamore: I’ve been in the business for six years now. Basically, I started so I could find a way to support myself financially and try to exist outside of a mainstream consumerist identity.
nerve: Do you still have clients, or are you just in the business of talking about it and educating people about it?
matt_sycamore: I have clients almost every day that’s how I’ve paid for my book tour.
pjanson: How much do you charge and how do you get your business?
matt_sycamore: Usually $200/hour business comes from ads and from the Internet, of course.
toby: How are rates determined?
matt_sycamore: I wish I knew.
toby: Do you charge less for hot guys?
matt_sycamore: No, some guys will ask that over the phone. There’s no way to know if they’re gonna be hot to me.
nerve: Are they all male clients or do you have any female customers?
matt_sycamore: All male clients, basically. I’ve had the rare woman caller, but never an actual trick.
pjanson: Do you know of anyone who just serves women?
nerve: And can you give us their number? (bu-dum-ching!)
matt_sycamore: Anyone who says they just serve women is either making no money or lying.
pjanson: Why wouldn’t you make money with only women?
matt_sycamore: Women generally don’t call whores.
derek67: They just date them.
corbel7: Female prostitutes can service more clients per day. How many can you satisfactorily serve?
matt_sycamore: I can serve as many as will call me.
mykookoo: Do you ever find yourself wanting to laugh at customers?
matt_sycamore: I almost always want to laugh at my clients.
waffleboy: Do you find that this line of work desensitizes you to the real love interests in your life?
matt_sycamore: I feel that sex work makes the real love interests in my life more clearly identifiable.
corbel7: Do you ever fall in love with your clients?
matt_sycamore: I haven’t yet but I’m waiting.
crissie6869: Do you have a love interest in your life?
matt_sycamore: Yes I have a close circle of friends who I’m in love with. Most of us are whores and we support each other.
nerve: How do the real love interests in your life react to your line of work?
matt_sycamore: Most of the love interests in my life are whores also . . . but, in terms of guys I’ve slept with, some won’t see me once they find out I’m a whore.
vegasgirl: Is it hard to separate yourself emotionally from your clients?
matt_sycamore: I have no problem separating myself emotionally. Actually the hard part sometimes is staying present. I focus on something that turns me on to stay present.
corbel7: I feel sorry for you and hope that you use your body to celebrate life, not as an object that would be sold to any bidder.
matt_sycamore: Can’t I celebrate life by renting my body?
toby: Sales aren’t exclusive of celebration.
corbel7: I strongly believe in the sanctity of life, in the joy of love. Our bodies should not be for sale. We should celebrate love with the beloved.
toby: Corbel, love is relative, and so is morality.
matt_sycamore: Nina Hartley has a great piece in my book about being a sacred whore, helping her clients come to terms with their desire, nourishing through sex work . . . Love is relative and morality is absurd.
mykookoo: Do you think it’s safer for a guy to be for hire than it is for a woman?
matt_sycamore: In a sexist, misogynist culture, male escorts might often seem more in control, but I think the main safety differential is between off-street and on-street.
nerve: Do you think men have an easier time turning tricks than women because they can separate sex from love more easily than women?
toby: I don’t know that I agree with that generalization.
nerve: I’m not saying I do either just wondering what Matt thinks.
matt_sycamore: I think that, socially, women are supposed to conflate sex with love and there’s definitely a gay norm that separates the two, but I think gender is not so simple. People of all genders and non-genders perform all different sexual roles.
shabu: What’s a non-gender?
matt_sycamore: I’m just trying to convey that some people struggle against the male/female gender binary . . . and create all sorts of options . . . in sex work and outside of it. Some people argue that sex workers are a gender.
nerve: Do your parents/siblings know you are a sex worker?
matt_sycamore: My parents know I’m a whore they think it’s a “death sentence,” but then they think that about being gay too.
pjanson: How old was your oldest customer?
matt_sycamore: My oldest customer was probably in his nineties.
nerve: What did you do with Grandpa?! What could you do? Or rather, what could he do?
matt_sycamore: I sucked his dick and stroked his body, though I was worried he’d have a heart attack if he climaxed (he’d had heart surgery a few days before). He didn’t get hard or come, but he did have an orgasm.
nerve: Good for him!
tugger: What’s the kinkiest thing you’ve done during a trick?
matt_sycamore: Kinky is hard to define . . . Once I made out with a guy for an hour.
nerve: That’s what you’d call kinky?
matt_sycamore: Once I tried to shit in a guy’s mouth but that was difficult.
nerve: Okay, that’s more like it. Why was it difficult? Not enough fiber in your diet?
matt_sycamore: It’s hard to shit with a tongue up your asshole.
toby: I read in some book about a female submissive that she would blow on the asshole of guys who tried to shit in her mouth and they couldn’t do it!
zorro_69: Does that sort of fetish turn you on . . . or is it all about the other person’s pleasure?
matt_sycamore: Which fetish, the shit? That was to please him, but actually his desire made it kinda hot.
crissie6869: Do you have and pardon the term quickies? Or do you like to be with your clients for long periods of time?
matt_sycamore: The shorter the time period, the better, usually.
nerve: Why’s that?
corbel7: Is it hard physical labor?
toby: Is that a pun, corbel?
matt_sycamore: Sometimes the labor is draining, sometimes it’s energizing it depends on the dynamic.
tugger: What do you consider your favorite part of your job and the least favorite?
matt_sycamore: The best part is not having a draining 9 to 5 job and making quick money.
toby: Hallelujah! Sign me up.
matt_sycamore: The worst part is when there’s no work . . . and being on call all the time.
nerve: When is there no work? Isn’t there always a demand?
matt_sycamore: It’s crazy sometimes the phone rings non-stop and sometimes it’s dead. It’s the whore’s lifestyle up and down.
tugger: On average, how many tricks do you turn in a week?
matt_sycamore: On average, I turn one to ten tricks per week.
mykookoo: What if you can’t get it up? Ever happen?
matt_sycamore: If I can’t get it up, I say, “Let’s try something else.”
shabu: What’s your most common frustration with customers besides cash/tipping issues?
matt_sycamore: My most common frustration with tricks is when they don’t know what they want it makes it more difficult for both of us, more of a struggle.
toby: Wasting your time?
tugger: Wasting your time at $200 an hour? Matt, what are your future aspirations? Where do you see yourself in, say, five years?
matt_sycamore: I’m working on a collection of short stories and also another anthology titled Dangerous Families: Queer Writing on Surviving Abuse.
nerve: How has the tour been?
matt_sycamore: Generally people have been very excited about the book. They like that it shifts the direction of scrutiny, putting tricks under the microscope for a change, connecting male, female and transgendered sex workers from all different backgrounds: callboys and callgirls, escorts, strippers, dominatrixes, phone sex operators, a video store clerk, a sperm donor . . .
nerve: Love the sperm donor addition to the category “sex worker.”
matt_sycamore: Yeah, the sperm donor even expanded my definitions of sex work.
toby: Haven’t you gotten a good academic response, though? Most Queer/Gender studies books are non-academic texts like yours.
matt_sycamore: Definitely academics are some of the people most excited by the book . . . because it’s not theory.
toby: But it can be studied, so it’s not competition for the academics good primary source material without their having to get their hands dirty.
tugger: Matt, what is your educational background?
matt_sycamore: I went to college for a year, but that was enough. Mostly, I’ve learned from direct action street activism and radical queers.
nerve: Do you think the book disempowers the tricks in any way?
matt_sycamore: I think the book is an honest exploration of tricks, the sex industry and society as a whole . . . all different viewpoints . . . tricks who are loved and tricks who are hated.
nerve: What makes a trick loved? Hated?
matt_sycamore: Tricks who respect sex workers and tricks who try to kill us. If a trick respects and loves you then you love and respect them or at least it’s more likely . . . I’ve never fallen in love with a trick, but I do have moments of love . . .
mykookoo: Matt, are you ever scared?
matt_sycamore: Once in a while I’m scared, but usually they’re more scared of me.
isabellar: What was the most dangerous situation you’ve found yourself in with a customer?
matt_sycamore: I had a customer who’d been up for a few days on crystal. He was looking under the bed for cops, trying desperately to get hard, didn’t know who I was or who he was. He threatened to chase me down and had me removed by his “bodyguard.”
nerve: Describe the scene you’d walk into with a client that would make you say, “Oh no, not this again.”
matt_sycamore: The guy asks me to “do whatever I want” usually I want to get paid and leave when someone says that.
vegasgirl: Describe your fantasy session with a client.
matt_sycamore: My fantasy session is ten thousand dollars on the table and a note that says, “Sorry I couldn’t make it.”
tugger: What about the legal aspects? Have you ever been arrested or anything?
matt_sycamore: I’ve never been arrested. Of course, I would never do anything illegal, right?
nerve: Is there anything you won’t do?
matt_sycamore: There are plenty of things I won’t do. It just depends on the situation. Usually I don’t like to come.
toby: What about the problems that come with age? Most of my friends who are sex workers (especially in the queer scene) recognize that after twenty-five you get very little work.
derek67: That’s when you write a book, Toby.
matt_sycamore: Here in San Francisco there are guys working into their fifties. But in a youth-obsessed culture the younger you look, the better, usually.
nerve: How old are you Matt? How old do you look?
matt_sycamore: I’m twenty-six . . . but I can look as young as you want me to.
isabellar: So, for the most part, do you enjoy being a sex worker?
matt_sycamore: It’s the best way I can imagine to live my life.
nerve: Good luck with the book, and your career! Be safe and well . . . And good!
matt_sycamore: Always good, usually amazing.
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