Dr. West 

 

 

Sexual Espionage

 

By Dr. David Weston and Dr. Ronny West

 

Case History: Jennifer

        Women who seek counseling often do so because of self-concept issues.

It is not unusual for these issues to manifest themselves in fantasies

The case of Jennifer was particularly troublesome because of the factors that were working against the change that was indicated.  

        Jennifer was in her mid-30s when I saw her.

In her 20s, when she married Ronald, she had been a bit of a "trophy wife." However 10 years later Jennifer was beginning to feel that her contribution to the marriage was beginning to fade with her beauty.

Added to the mix was the fact that Ronald employed a young secretary who had just completed her Masters in Business. Ronald was apparently beginning to rely heavily on the woman.

On the occasions when Ronald would invite the secretary to their lavish home, Jennifer said she got the distinct impression that the woman would very much like to be the person who was living there with him. "And," according to Jennifer, "Judging from the woman's looks and education, if she set her mind to it, it probably wouldn't be too difficult to achieve."

        Jennifer's husband, Ronald, was in a highly competitive business which, like many, depended on being one step ahead of the competition.

At one point when Ronald mused about what a competitor was up to, Jennifer boldly said that maybe she could get the information he needed. Ronald flippantly dismissed it, as he often did with her ideas: "So who are you going to sleep with?'

I asked him if he wanted me to sleep with someone to get the information. I guess I was kind of desperate to somehow be more than just a housewife, especially since by now we had people doing just about everything around the house.

By the tone of my voice I think he saw that I wasn't just being glib.

That stopped him short and seemed to open the door to something in his mind. He studied me, but didn't say anything. I guess he was thinking about it.

It wasn't until the next day that he asked, "Do you remember [an executive in a major company]?" I said, I thought I remembered him from a convention a couple years back. Ronald then said, "I guess you know the information I need."

I said, "Just to be clear, however I get what you want to know is okay?"

He said, "In business we all use whatever talents we have."

We kept going to parties until this guy finally showed up. I danced with him and really rubbed up against him. It was kind of a kick knowing that it was okay with my husband to do that.

After I knew that he was interested, I gave him my cell phone number. I guess I had made it abundantly clear that I would follow through. I wasn't too subtle back then.

He called the next day and boldly invited me for an afternoon at his weekend place.

I explained it all to Ronald, and asked him if he really wanted me to do it. He looked right at me and said, "Enjoy it, but just don't forget why you are there."

Him saying that sort of added an element of freedom and excitement to my life. Plus, I saw myself as finally being useful to his work and our future.


        I suddenly featured myself as a prostitute working in industrial espionage, and that Ronald was my control. I didn't have a choice; it was simply what I had to do. 

After [the man] wined and dined me, we ended up in bed. It was incredibly easy.

Even though being with him was a real change. I can't say I didn't enjoy it.

I couldn't get much information out of him, but, then again, I wasn't very good at that kind of thing at the beginning. 

However, I did get the name of an employee that actually knew more about what my husband needed to know than he did.

Once Ronald and I adjusted to that first time, things changed and he took charge.

Then he told me to go after this guy [that I was told about], but I had to be better than any women he had been with. Having him put it so clearly sort of sealed my new role....

Fortunately, the guy didn't know who I was married to, and once we started meeting, I eventually got him to tell me most of what Ronald needed to know.

[My husband] got me a face-lift, a tummy tuck, and a boob-job just to make sure guys stay interested.

Jennifer said Ronald (her husband) often picks out her clothes.

...Generally, Ronald just wants me to have sex once or twice with a guy and then he tells me to break it off.... I guess he's scared I'll get involved, or something.... I like the fact that it worries him....by the curb

Jennifer said that some of the guys she slept with knew what she was after, but they considered it a fair trade: sex for information. They were mostly just concerned that no one knew where the information came from.

...Sometimes I'm an out-of- town companion for some corporate honcho attending a convention.  Generally we stay in some ritzy suite and have food delivered. We may spend half the days in bed.

Guys like to brag, so I learned that I can generally get information just by sort of subtly guiding conversations. 

Between you and me...I'm not so sure that now I don't contribute more to my husband's business success by using my body than he does by using his mind.

       

 A few times my husband set me up with a guy just because he had a reputation of wining and dining a woman and my husband thought I would enjoy it.

I think he also just liked setting me up with guys knowing I would be obligated to provide them with sex and he liked to think about that.

After she explained the whole story, I asked Jennifer, "So why did you come to me?"

Well, sometimes it really bothers me -- what I'm doing.

While industrial espionage is illegal, I would think that in a case like this anyone would be reluctant to take this to court.

The bigger issue here is what it's doing to you. Are you unhappy, depressed, feeling guilty?

Maybe some guilt; but then again, wives are supposed to be obedient to their husbands, and it's Ronald who....

[The tape is silent for some time here.  I assume I just held up my hand to stop her, so she would think about her answer.]

When the tape resumes, I ask, "Does it bother you being used in this way?"

There is another pause.

I guess it should; but, in truth -- and I've thought about this a lot -- everybody sort of gets what they want.

...If you think I'm "being used," then I guess that's the way it is. If you want to call me a prostitute, then that's okay too.

...My husband was generally too preoccupied with his stuff to be interested much in me, but that's sure not an issue any more. Plus, it's nice to have guys really want to be with me....

She continued:  Like my husband says, everybody gets used for something. Isn't that how everybody makes a living?

I just happen to be attractive to men, right now and for a while longer at least. And I'm told I'm pretty good in bed, so that's how I make my contribution. So, really, what's the difference?

        If you really are okay with it -- and from what you've said, I'm not convinced that you really believe that -- maybe the difference is in how society views what you are doing.

Then that's society's problem, not mine.

Are you sure?

There was another long pause, which I finally broke with a question. "Jennifer, I've gotten the impression that you've been trying to convince me that you are okay with this.

Did you really come to me hoping that I would say not to worry about it, that what you are doing is okay?"

Maybe; I guess. But you aren't going to do that, I guess.

No, I'm not.

        Many therapists would say that both Jennifer and Ronald need therapy.

 However, after talking to Jennifer, I realized that most areas of their marriage, while evidencing a definite lack of balance, did not evidence discord.

In fact, their plotting together to get information meant that they had to work closely together, which is something that Jennifer had been missing before.

Strangely, that was also the problem. At this point Jennifer wasn't sufficiently motivated to change things.  She had apparently just wanted to tell someone and maybe get their approval.

All moral issues aside, they were each getting what they needed. Since Ronald had his own business and didn't have to face corporate repercussions, the only issue seemed to be what friends and business associated might think of a man who prostituted his wife to get information.

This, of course, discounts what a jealous wife might do if she learned that Jennifer was sleeping with her husband.

But, more important to my job was the fact that in doing this she had gained considerable power within the marriage.

With such a strong "reward system" in place, changing a behavior becomes extremely difficult.

At the same time, it occurred to me that I my intervention could break up a partnership and, with the attractive and business savvy secretary apparently waiting in the wings, maybe even a marriage.

        In our next session I tried to summarize things as I saw them, and then I talked about self-concept and submission issues.

She said she would think about it all and share her thoughts during our next session.

When she came back, it was a short session. She said that she knew that the goal of the therapy would be. "Besides, she said, most of the time, I really don't mind doing this. My husband sees me as a kind of secret weapon and it sort of keeps things exciting for both of us."

Although she hasn't been back to see me, I feel strongly that Jennifer is still experiencing some strong conflicting feelings about what she's doing.

It seems clear that in a few years, when Jennifer's beauty fades, she may have to make some major life adjustments.

Possibly then she'll be back.



Common belief would have us think that all prostitutes are trapped in an ugly and dangerous profession.

Although some women definitely are, others, even those who have "respectable" options available, freely chose to do this work.


 

Do Prostitutes Enjoy Sex?

        Although Jennifer wasn't a prostitute in the traditional sense, this does bring up a question that often arises: do prostitutes enjoy sex?

Common belief would have us think that all prostitutes are trapped in an ugly and dangerous profession.

And while that may be true in many cases, especially among "street walkers," a bit of research will show that there are many exceptions.

One survey among "professional sex workers" -- primarily women who were their own bosses -- showed that many would not change professions, even if they had the opportunity.

        Of course, this type of view is not publicized in the media, because of the fear of viewer response.

The women listed high income and a great amount of free time as the benefits that held them.

Most of the women surveyed had either (1) some college, (2) a college degree, (3) or, in a few cases, even have Masters' Degrees.

 This education would presumably allow them to engage in another profession, although probably for much less pay.

At the same time, prostitution -- both male and female -- can be a dangerous and disagreeable profession. Most who engage in it do so for one reason only -- money.

        Admittedly, I haven't encountered too many prostitutes in my work, so direct knowledge is limited. However, I do remember one former prostitute -- maybe it would be more accurate to call her a high-priced call girl -- telling me that if she saw only one man a day, she could enjoy the sex, even to the point of almost always reaching climax.

But, she had no steady relationship with any other man, and it was her approach to generally spend the entire night with men.

 She frequently accompanied the men to parties and on business trips. Having an intense life of social activities was important to her, and her profession afforded her this opportunity.


Amy: The Story of a Prostitute

        Another woman, we'll call her "Amy" has a story worth recounting because it's all too common.

Amy said she had come from a conservative Catholic home and had married early -- "partly because we wanted to legitimize sex."

Believing effective birth control was a sin, Amy soon became pregnant.

Her husband, who had made it clear from the start that he didn't want children was immediately angry and he disappeared to parts unknown.

Amy had no family members whom she felt she could confide in, or ask for help.

Repeated efforts to find employment were unsuccessful -- especially considering her obvious pregnancy.

In desperation, she finally turned to the owner of a bar who gave her a room and some money.  He saw her through the birth of her child.  amy

After that, he put her in contact with people who could help baby-sit.

The bar owner then started introducing her to men who paid her to sleep with them. He was also responsible for finally convincing her to use "the pill."

Being an attractive and social woman, many of the men wanted her as a date for parties and government functions.


        Amy said it was very difficult, even traumatic, at first -- especially with the major guilt she felt over having unmarried sex and an out of wedlock child.

Amy enjoyed parties and socializing with people. After she played the role of a date for the evening, it was "a given" that she would spend the night with the man.

...During the evening I know we were both were wondering what it was going to be like. If the guy was cute, I could get turned on anticipating it. Fact is, by the end of the evening I probably wanted sex as much as he did.

This suggests that enjoying sex can be a matter of experience and conditioning.

 The next morning Amy would return to her apartment, spend time with her child, and take a nap with him until early afternoon.

Amy worked as a prostitute for more than two years before she met a man outside of her work that married her and adopted her child. Soon they had a child, another boy.

Although Amy's story undoubtedly isn't typical, given how things started out for her, it apparently had a happy ending.

        Since Amy said she had been friends with twenty or thirty prostitutes, I asked her why most of them went into prostitution.

She thought about it and said:

I guess maybe there are four groups. There are those who are forced into it just to survive, like me; there are those who do it for the money, because they can make more money doing that than anything else [that's available to them]; there are those who want to meet men in hopes of getting married; and there are those who just like to party. All this can change over time, of course.

        Did it change with you?

Yes, definitely. Since I came from a very conservative religious family, I started out being full of guilt over what I was doing.  That was all I could think of. I was really miserable.

But, it's not like I had much of a a choice;  I had to do it for my baby and me, so I constantly tried to push that out of my mind.

We were taught to be very modest in my family, so going into bed with a man I had just met was pretty difficult.

...But, I got used to it, and after a few weeks I found that I was enjoying the dates, the sex, and the social life.

And then I felt guilty about that.

Some guys were shy, some were aggressive. Each guy was a different experience; I mean it was all sex, and most of that was the same; still it was different each time.

I remember that I made the comment to another prostitute that it was great to be paid for something that was fun and she looked at me like I was nuts.

But I know that some others admitted that they liked the sex too.

What most worried you about it?

Getting some disease.

What about the police?

I never had any problem with them; but, then again, I wasn't street walking, I was a 'date.'

But you were getting money for the dates.

Yes, but that was hidden and at the end of a long evening. No cop is going to spend a whole evening with a girl for a bust, they've got too many easier women to catch. [I've since been told this is not a safe assumption.]

What didn't you like about it?

Being seen as a prostitute. People don't think much of prostitutes.

Guys view you different once they know what you are or were.

Although most of the guys I met treated me pretty good -- I even got marriage proposals! -- a few thought of me as something less than a respectable human being. There was always that.

Even now, I can't tell people about those times; I know it would really change the way they see me. [Amy now has a responsible job with a large corporation.]

        Looking back on it, do you wish you could have avoided having to use sex for money?

Not really.

You are serious?

Yes, I am. Some girls had some bad experiences, and some felt they were trapped and had to do it, but once I came to terms with it, I had to admit I generally liked what I was doing. 

        Did drugs or alcohol play a part in you life?

I don't drink, and I've never gone near drugs.

It's hard to believe that you want to all those parties and you didn't drink.

Well, the guys I was with almost always drank, but I needed to stay clear-headed so I could take care of myself. You never knew what might happen; you hear about a lot of bad stuff.

        Did you ever have a bad experience?

Amy thought about it. Well, there was time when the guy woke up early and tried to take money out of my purse, but I caught him and made such a fuss that he dropped the money and left.

And that's the only bad thing that happened in two years?

To me it was, but then again, I didn't go out with guys that I got bad vibes from. I guess I kind of have a sixth-sense about that. But I know that some of the other women had some definite problems.



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