Despite the name - and many assumptions to the contrary - sex work isn’t all about sex. From intimate conversations to hugs and hand-holding, there are so many ways you can interact with a sex worker that don’t involve orgasms. 

One of the most popular ways to spend time with a provider is to book a social date - a session that focuses on companionship. It usually (but not always) takes place in a public setting. There are so many different activities you can get up to - and, just like planning a regular date, it can be a lot of fun considering all the possibilities!

I recently spoke with Lucy de L’amour - a Melbourne-based escort and social date enthusiast - to hear about some of her more interesting and, perhaps, unusual social outings with clients. Whether you’re new to this or you’re hoping for ideas, her suggestions are well worth considering.

Introducing our social date enthusiast, Lucy

Lucy de L’amour is an independent professional companion based in Melbourne, Australia. For Lucy, building connection is one of the most important parts of the job. “My clients are mostly men who have the courage to seek out a stable, uplifting, relaxing relationship with someone who can provide reassurance, guidance, and fun! This of course extends to social dates, where we can learn about each other while having fun together.”

When asked about social sessions, Lucy glows with enthusiasm. “I love that social dates allow time for the first-impressions nerves to melt away!” she says. 

Just like any first date, anxiety is common. She enjoys giving both herself and the client time to adjust before heading to the bedroom later. “It means that we can slow down our physical stress response, we can build connection with eye gazing and learning about each other, and - a personal favourite of mine - we can indulge in romantic gentle touches, like holding hands and sitting shoulder to shoulder, building the sexual connection and anticipation.”

Many of her platonic bookings involve dining out together, which she thoroughly enjoys. “I love it because I get to share some really fantastic and little-known restaurants that I'm passionate about! Melbourne is so blessed with beautiful dining spots that are full of heart.”

If you’re worried that all social dates involve fine dining or other expensive activities, fret not! As it turns out, it can be as simple as sharing an inexpensive but delicious meal, grabbing a coffee, or even taking a walk together. Here are some of Lucy’s favourite platonic outings.

Picnic in the park

Rather than splashing out on fine dining - which can often also feel high-pressure - why not pop some cold drinks and snacks in an esky and walk to a neighbourhood park together? A shared picnic can be a way to enjoy a meal together in a low-pressure, casually intimate setting.

“I think you both have a bit more agency in the picnic,” Lucy says. “Especially if you’re at that point where you want to hang out…just sit outside enjoying the weather.” It’s a lovely way to enjoy someone’s presence, with less distractions.

Putting together a picnic doesn’t need to be complicated. “You can bring something that you've prepared yourself, or you can chuck some store-bought dips, crackers, and drinks in a bag. It's so low-fuss and low-pressure. Sometimes there's so much stress around meeting someone for the first time…it can be helpful to minimise all the other things that might feel difficult.”

Of course, as with all bookings, communication is key! It’s always worth talking to your escort about the kinds of foods they enjoy before packing a tasty lunch. “Part of the booking is the anticipation of the booking, having time to email in advance and throw some ideas around.”

Although the client usually provides the food, Lucy also loves putting together picnics for others. 

“I have a collection of picnic bags and things; I'm very prepared.” 

If you’re an art or history enthusiast, or just enjoy pretty things, visiting a new exhibit or sharing your thoughts on contemporary art can make for lively conversation!  Although it’s not a common date request, Lucy loves to accompany clients to museums and galleries. This kind of date is perfect for those who prefer to keep moving, and keep their minds engaged. 

For Lucy, sharing an experience of art is deeply personal. “I think it can be a beautiful way of showcasing your personality and saying, ‘This is what I'm about’”. One of her favourite institutions in Melbourne is the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and she’s hoping that someone might invite her to the new Angela TiaTia exhibition. “Her work is so mesmerising and so powerful. So I would love to be able to share that with someone.”

Enjoy some light-hearted competition at a gaming arcade

Do you harbour a secret desire for a game of tetris, mini-golf, or giant Jenga? A like-minded escort can be the perfect playmate.

“I think it’s very much about being able to act like a kid again.” Lucy says. Playing games helps ‘switch your brain off’ and relieve stress. “Your mind isn't focused on what's going on at work, or what's happening in the world. You’re looking at the bright lights and seeing if you can throw enough basketballs in the hoop.”

She acknowledges that it can feel a bit weird to imagine visiting these places on your own, especially as an adult. But there are plenty of venues who cater to a more seasoned crowd. She’s accompanied clients to Archie Brothers for bowling, and Holey Moley for minigolf. “It's definitely not all about kids,” she says. “We’re not going to feel out of place.”

Her personal favourite? “I love the giant Connect Four. Yes, there's a big LED Connect Four game. It's my special skill.”

Summertime gelato, sweet perfection

An almost universally-enjoyed indulgence: ice cream and its cousins. Have you considered taking your date to the local gelateria? 

“I love trying different ice cream flavours,” Lucy says. “It’s gotten to the point where I've got a wish list and I've included an item for ice cream.” For her, the main appeal of visiting a new gelato spot is being able to explore a new part of town and enjoy an uncomplicated pleasure, while also supporting local business.

It's the perfect ‘low-commitment’ social date. “You don't need to spend three hours there. There's plenty to talk about, you know, looking at all the different flavours…and, personally, I believe there's no such thing as bad weather for ice cream.”

When it comes to her favourite flavour, she coyly reveals that she likes stuff that’s ‘a little bit questionable’. “A little bit salty. A little bit wacky.” 

Take in an independent show

Visiting the theatre or the ballet is the classic kind of outing that many people imagine of when they think of a social date. But if you’re a little more adventurous - or limited by budget - you might want to consider taking your provider to see a smaller, cooler, indie production.

Live performance venues, such as burlesque and comedy clubs, can be found in almost any large city. In Melbourne we have the Butterfly Club, The Malthouse, and Chapel off Chapel, for example. Visiting festivals such as Fringe or the Melbourne Comedy Festival also offer smaller, more intimate shows than you’d find at the bigger theatres.

Lucy recommends independent shows for those clients who are comfortable with a little uncertainty. “You never know exactly what's going to happen,” she says. Unlike big commercial productions, small shows are often hit-and-miss…which can lead to both disappointments and unexpected rewards.

“I saw this group at the Fringe Festival recently, and it was [a] burlesque circus but it was also a commentary on the adult industry. It's so good to be able to inspire and provoke conversations and thoughts, especially if you're a client who wants to learn more about the adult industry and enjoys experiencing these artistic conversations.”

If you choose this particular adventure, don’t forget to schedule some time afterwards to share a drink and discuss the show! 

Film club for two

Lastly, here’s a fun social date idea for all you beautiful introverts out there! Whether you go to the movies together or stay home and pop something on the telly, watching a favourite film together can be a bonding experience.

Lucy thoroughly enjoys these kinds of sessions. “It starts from a shared appreciation for discussing ideas and political themes, script writing, characters, acting…”. 

It’s important to know that not all providers offer social dates in private settings. If that’s the case for you, you’ll need to plan a date to the local movie theatre. However, if you know a provider who is comfortable with the idea, curling up on the couch to watch a film can feel calming and safe and delightfully intimate. “It’s about having that level of comfort hanging out together - not interacting constantly. Just being in each other's presence,” Lucy says. “Plus, you get to watch awesome films that you love or that you've been wanting to watch!”

If you plan this kind of session, remember to respect your worker’s boundaries around touch and intimacy, just as they’ll respect yours. If you’re on a social date, sex is most likely not on offer. Some provider’s don’t offer touch at all during social dates, especially if it’s your first meeting. So please ensure you have a conversation with your provider, prior to your date, to ensure you both understand each other’s boundaries for the interaction. 

Outings to avoid  

Your provider's comfort and safety are paramount, and this means that some more spicy ideas might be off the table.

“For someone who is new or new to their companion, I would wait until you build a level of rapport and trust before organising adventurous things like hiking or hot air ballooning,” Lucy says. While these expeditions can be beautiful gestures, your worker might not be okay with early starts, long hikes, heights, or potentially dangerous activities such as skydiving, for example. That might be more a third or fourth date idea, and reserved for those providers who express a keen interest in such activities. 

Extravagant out-of-town, interstate, and overseas trips are best enjoyed with someone you already know fairly well, so that you both feel relaxed and understood throughout the time you spend together.

It’s not about grand’s about having fun

Social dates are one of those glorious experiences that can be so many different things to different people! It all just depends on your needs and the size of your comfort zone. From a quiet walk to an evening-long trip to the circus, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination and your provider’s preferences.

The key to having a good social date with a provider is remembering to have fun. For Lucy, that means being open to the opportunity for a laugh. “When we laugh together, we create shared memories and align ourselves culturally. Laughter is so beneficial for our physiological wellbeing…it leads to better sex!”

Are you a sex worker or client with tips or experiences to share? We'd love to hear from you!

The Good Client Guide destigmatizes sex work while providing guidance on how to be a better client and ally. Better experiences for workers mean better experiences for clients! To make this happen, we’re welcoming submissions from both providers and their customers.

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