Haggle at a garage sale. Haggle at a swap meet. Haggle with your mother, your neighbor, your priest. But never, ever haggle with a sex worker.

Independent sex workers are a heterogenous bunch, but we can all agree: haggling is horrible etiquette. It will likely get you blocked. You probably won’t land an appointment with us, but you will land on our permanent Do Not See list.

So why is it so looked down upon to haggle with sex workers? It’s really about psychology, our safety as independent workers, and what it reveals about you as a potential client. Especially during an interaction where we decide whether we will agree to see you.

As sex workers, we want clients who understand boundaries and accept our ground rules. Haggling or arguing about our rates reads to us like you can’t take No for an answer and that you aren’t interested in respecting us and the ground rules for engaging with us. That can be a life-or-death issue for us. It’s a sign of blatant disrespect and boundary-pushing when you haggle or argue with our rates, marking you as a potentially dangerous individual. If you push boundaries now, how much worse will it be when we are in the room with you?

And to take a step back: our rates are posted on our ads and likely repeated on our website if we have one. We don’t post our rates just for fun. Our rates are ground rules. So when you haggle, we question your willingness to read or listen to us at all: a terrible start to what should be a safe, consensual, and mutually respectful encounter.

At a minimum, by haggling, you come across as a goofball, not a serious client. Maybe you’re some lost soul who thinks that negging us will get you somewhere. It won’t. And if it does: why do you go through life treating people like that?. Maybe you’re a predator looking to prey on desperate providers, needless to say, this is disgusting behavior.

Serious and respectful clients read our ads carefully, know our rates before they reach out, accept them without argument, and move on to enjoy a lovely date. To respectful clients, our rates are an opening to tip and pay us more, never less.

Let’s talk through a little scenario, however. Say you lowball a provider, and for whatever reason, they accept it, and you have your date.

How would you expect that date to go?

Would you expect attentive, stellar service from this person when your entire relationship is premised on disrespecting their fee, their time and, by extension, them? Of course not. So, the time to haggle is when you wish to make yourself supremely unlikeable and have a subpar date. Ennnn….joy?

Independent sex workers with hourly rates, like the ones who advertise on Tryst, develop our rates based on how much we can work; how much we want to work; what types of dates and clients we want; our overheads and cost of doing business; as well as other factors. You don’t need to understand our rates. You need to pay them without argument. In this world, respecting our rates means respecting the ground rules of the provider-client relationship. It sets the relationship off on good footing and paves the way for meeting a provider who is excited to meet you.

So, what to do if you can’t afford a particular sex worker’s rates, or they are charging more than you would prefer?

Don’t contact them.

Then find a sex worker whose rates you find agreeable.

And what to do if you think a sex worker should give you a discount because you’re young, old, good-looking, bad-looking, have nice genitalia (congrats!), are named Zane (ugh, such a cool name), were born during a full moon, are a non-traditional client (e.g., a woman), are famous, are not famous but think you are, have a very high-paying job, have a very low-paying job, are disabled, served in the military, etc.?

See above. Forget about it. When you do that, you just come off as arrogant, self-centered, and boundary-pushing, and you will land on our Blocklist.

Suppose a sex worker does have special rates for you – e.g., for women or disabled clients – you will know because those rates will be communicated. No haggling is required.

If haggling is fun for you, find a setting where it is accepted. Go to a garage sale and score a Garfield mug for 25 cents. And then bring the mug as a gift for a Garfield-loving provider while you pay their full rate without argument.

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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