I did this interview following the publication of the “Vanya” interview below. Once again, the name “Evan” is not real.
Our exchange was inspired by Vanya’s peculiar (in my opinion) take on marriage.
Natalia: So, you’re married to a sex-worker, right? As I understand it, you guys have been in a committed relationship for a while now, is this correct?
Evan: Yeah, I am. We’ve been togther solidly for 10 years, recently married.
Natalia: How did you two meet?
Evan: I hit on her at a party. I didn’t know what she did for a living.
Natalia: People always seem to think that a relationship with a sex-worker is very, VERY different from a “normal” relationship. Personally, I’m not really sure what is and isn’t normal, but it always strikes me that men who are in these relationships are seen as either “weird” or somehow as not living up to some mythical masculine “standard.” As in, “you don’t own your woman”! Do you encounter this attitude? Do you have any thoughts on it?
Evan: Well yeah, a lot of people do think it’s weird. Both men and women are possesive of their mates. And it is different, I mean, she gets naked and has sex with other people for money. That is not standard. As far as masculinity goes…well, she doesn’t mind me having sex with other people either. We both see intimacy as something that is in the heart and head, not in the groin. In fact, I’d say because of her job, our actual intimacy is a hell of a lot higher than most people. It takes a lot of trust and honesty to have a relationship with a sex worker. I know what she does, she knows what I do. I don’t worry about her cheating, because cheating for us is emotional, and we’re emotionally monogamous, for her, sex is a business and a sport. I see it with other people as a sport too.
But yeah, I hear the whole “I could NEVER let MY woman do that” and my response is – No one “lets” Ren do anything. Have that kind of attitude with her? She’d be a widow. She has a ring I got on her finger, but I sure as hell don’t own her. She’s not my property. I have moments of jealousy, sure, who wouldn’t? She’s amazing….but she comes home to me, by choice, and that’s a big compliment.
Natalia: Do friends and family know about your wife’s work? Are they ever difficult about it?
Evan: Her parents know because some jerk outed her, my parents do not, and it would send them into a tailspin. About half our friends know, and those who know and also really know her, well, they might get it, but they don’t get her. Other friends, they don’t get it, and yeah, she and I both get judged, which sucks. She’s a smart, artistically inclined woman who is beautiful and an amazing athlete, and yeah, it pisses me off that the girls who were partying with her in college now judge her.
Truth is, yeah, it could really affect my job, and it sucks that I have to hedge the issue on it, because in my opinion, she’s not doing anything wrong. But yeah, being married to a sex worker is not easy, and not because of her job, but because of other people’s stereotypes.
It can be hard. I hate that she gets crap from people, I hate that both of us get judged by people for it. The judgment makes it really hard, because it really makes her mad. I want her to be happy. And this makes her happy, except the assumptions people make about us. And sure, from time to time, I wonder if I’m not enough for her, I mean, she’s working with these porn guys, I can’t compete with that physically…but you know, she loves me.
And, just to be an ego-filled guy for a minute…it is nice to have a woman who other men pay to watch/be with and well, yeah, she’s not turned me down in over a decade. With the downside, there is also the ego boost of having a woman with me who other men openly desire, and she’s with me. Plus, well, she knows some things other women don’t, sex wise. It’s her job. She’s good at it. She makes good money. And for me, she pulls out all the stops and it isn’t work.
I love her for the fact that she’s her. I love her independence and no-BS attitude. The problem is other people mixing up virgin/whore with “cool woman” and basing stuff off that. So yeah, it’s not easy because of other people, but I think she’s worth the aggravation.
Natalia: Relationships are usually described in terms such as “monogamous,” “polygamous,” etc. What adjective, if any, applies to you guys?
Evan: Degenerate Perverts? We’re emotionally monogamous. She’s like a mercenary when it comes to sex, except with me. What she is not OK with giving me, she has no problem with me finding elsewhere, but our hearts and heads are with each other. We’re most certainly not polyamorous. I mean, I don’t think either one of us has a problem with sharing our bodies with other people, but anything else? She does not like the idea, and I don’t either.
Natalia: The common refrain in regards to sex-workers seems to be – “when you get old, no one will want you anymore.” There is this very pervasive notion that all sex-workers are going to turn into sad, old women with no one to lean on in this world. What do you think about all this?
Evan: Ren’s 36 and looks amazing. She gets carded for drinks. I honestly expect she’ll be even more stunning at 40. She can be dead asleep with no make up on, or right out of the gym and sweaty as hell, and I think she’s hot. Sexy is not all on the outside by the way, a lot of sexy comes from the inside. It’s an attitude, an aura. Looks and age have little to do with it, but she has those too. And, well, this is going to come off as wrong, considering the interviewer, but, its true. Ren’s family? Eastern European. She’s first generation American, her people are Russian, mostly, and there is an attitude there, which is wholly unique, passionate yet cold depending on her mood, a mix of both worlds, and that is sexy, and attractive to me, no matter what.. Plus, she is smart as shit, she does have things to fall back on And she can lean on me, if needed (I’m not going anywhere), but I doubt she ever will. She’s not the leaning type. In short, I guess I think in some cases this assumption is true, but in others? It’s total BS. In her case? No way.
Natalia: I think it’s also true that sex-workers have to legitimize themselves a whole lot more than other women, especially wherein relationships are concerned. They have to keep proving to the world that they too can be loved. At least, that’s what I’ve seen from my end of things. Do you agree or disagree?
Evan: Well, truth be told, the particular sex worker I am married to doesn’t give a crap if you love her or hate her guts. She really is kind of a jerk, but a go-to-the-gates-of-hell-for-you-if-she-cares-for-you kind of jerk. She doesn’t care if the world hates her, she cares more about being seen as a person, with a brain, and something to say. I am not going to deny that there are a lot of sex workers in the business who are looking for someone to love them, so I think it depends on the individual. I also think it has less to do with sex workers being capable of receiving love, and more to do with society being able to see them as humans worthy of any sort of human consideration.
Natalia: I find that in the States, some people are very threatened by anything other than a “traditional” marriage (hence a lot of the dehumanizing debate vis-a-vis gay marriage). Why do you think this is the case?
Evan: Remember Thanksgiving? Those people were called Puritans for a reason. People fear and hate what they don’t understand. We have a lot of moral baggage.
Natalia: This may sound completely idiotic, but I just have to talk about it – have you seen “Pretty Woman”? I find it funny that it’s pretty much the only mainstream depiction of a sex-worker in love that we have in our modern times (“Moulin Rouge” is one as well, but it doesn’t get brought up nearly as much). Do you have an opinion on the movie?
Evan: Yeah, I actually love that movie. She hates it. Well, she loves the music in “Moulin Rouge,” but “Pretty Woman” she hates. I like it because it’s a happy story. Who cares that Julia Roberts a hooker, they like each other… and she can drive a Lotus. 🙂
Ren hates it because its a Cinderella story that paints sex workers in need of saving by a man. Sex workers get shown in media one of two ways: “The Whore with a Heart of Gold” or the useless “Junkie Victim “- truth is, a lot of them are neither.
Natalia: Finally, where do you guys see yourselves in ten years?
Evan: She’ll still be in sex work, some way or another, I’ll still be doing my job. We’ll probably have a bigger house.
Evan is 38, has a master’s degree, and works in the IT industry.
12 thoughts on ““So, what’s it like being in an ‘unconventional marriage,’ Evan?””
He’s a keeper!
Fantastic interview!! Not many get to here this point of view, and it’s enlightening to say the least… Really love reading about people with guts like these two… Makes me feel the world is a place of infinite possibilities.. Thanks.. i’d like to say keep up the good work.. but i don’t have to.. 🙂
hear… i meant hear… ugh..
Fascinating. I really enjoyed this interview and the last one. Keep up the great journalism, Natalia!
Interesting interview, Nat! It is always facinating to see how other people think and behave. Although I don’t see myself agreeing with Evan it was nice to read how we are all different from each other in our own ways.
Fascinating read. Thanks for sharing Nat.
I really think more people should be awakened to the idea of intimacy being about the head and heart, not the groin.
nice piece, hadn’t seen it before somehow.
Nice interview, he sounds like a really cool man with a lot more shit worked out that the average human. Thankyou for posting it.
Great interview. Good to see another side of the story. Always good to see more sides…
I hadn’t seen this before. What a love story! They seem to truly understand each other in a way that is often absent in some of the relationships of people I’ve known. I wish them all the best!