Madison James’s clients are busy professionals who crave companionship and no-strings sex. Here, he talks to Kathryn Knight about why business is booming
‘My date for last Tuesday evening had pulled out all the stops. A 42-year-old banker, she turned up straight from work wearing a Roland Mouret dress paired with a classic red Hermès handbag, and a cloud of Alexander McQueen perfume surrounded her as she approached me.
‘Anyone who watched us chatting away over dirty martinis in the Soho hotel bar where we met – or later, at the theatre where we spent the rest of the evening – would have thought we were on a first date. A successful one, too, given the rapport we struck up and the hours I spent in her room overnight talking about her past relationships and upcoming promotion at work – and exploring every inch of her body. But for me, this was a regular midweek night at work. Not that “work” always feels like the right word.
‘Every encounter I have as an escort begins like this – not in the bedroom, but over drinks or dinner. It’s important to spend time learning what makes each of my clients tick. One woman might be coming to me for some S&M experimentation; another because she’s desperate to feel valued or appreciated. On some occasions, with my regular clients, there’s no sex at all. One 39-year-old – a very pretty woman who holds a senior position in marketing at a media company – contacted me saying that she wanted to get back at her cheating husband. Yet when we met, she spent the hours she was paying for pouring out all her fears and distress about her disintegrating marriage.
‘Talking first gives me an idea of what I’ll try later to give my client the best experience. Once we feel comfortable and it’s clear the “drinks” part is going to progress, we get a hotel room or go back to her home, where I suggest a massage. If that sounds clichéd, there’s a reason – it really is the best way for women to relax into the physical side of the experience and cast aside the stress of the life they’ve left behind for the few hours they spend with me. Once they do, desire can be like a switch being flicked: I’ve seen so many clients go from buttoned up to sexual abandonment. Some of them are tugging at my boxers, begging to give me a blow job. Of course, everyone is different. Some know what they want; some are shy; some want vanilla sex; some are into role play, although that usually doesn’t happen until the third or fourth meeting.
‘After Fifty Shades Of Grey, a lot of women became curious about bondage and sadomasochism. Demand got so high that I made it one of my specialist services. I’ve met women who are very clear it’s what they want, but others embrace it gradually. One thing my job has taught me is that, in general, a woman’s sexuality is like a dial, which you turn up gradually. You don’t rush new things all at once.
‘Most of my clients are between 35 and 45, educated and successful (at £150 an hour or £1,200 for the night, they need money to hire me). They’re lawyers, business owners and city executives, mainly, and many are repeat customers. I’ve been doing this for three years now, and while the money is good, I’m going to be honest: the real pleasure comes from the transformative side of what I do – seeing women unleash their craziest fantasies, which they’ve never felt comfortable displaying with a long-term partner.
‘One regular – married for ten years to a hedge funder – told me, “I just want to feel sexually alive again.” Another, a single, good-looking forty-something (they rarely tell me their age) banker was, I had established from our chats over dinner, a bit of a ball-breaker at work, but she struggled to establish intimate relationships. “I can’t believe that in 2017, men still feel so intimidated by women like me,” she said after a few glasses of champagne. “Is it that hard to find a 40-year-old man who is kind, funny and also has his shit together?”
‘Some women are just looking for unashamed adventure. I had one client who got her kicks from sex in public – we had one session under a tree in a London park, and another in a nightclub. Then there’s the regular client who wanted to try tantric sex. She contacted me because she liked the spiritual, sensual vibe of my website. Before we met, we talked for an hour on the phone about everything from Buddhism to meditation. One of her frustrations was that a lot of the guys she met weren’t into spirituality, but she wanted to share that with someone. For our first meeting, we just had drinks. For our second, we went back to her apartment and had sex for hours, focusing on tuning into our sexual energy.
‘Often, the job is as emotional as it is physical. I saw one married client in her thirties several times while she was preparing to get divorced. She hadn’t had sex for years, and I think she hired me to ease her into a new stage of life. I provided an environment where she could de-stress.
‘Of course, being a male escort isn’t something you aspire to as a young guy, and it’s certainly not something that I expected to do. I’ve always been curious about other people, and quite open-minded, but my background is actually very traditional. I was raised in a strict, church-going family and, for years, I led a pretty conventional life. I left school with good grades and went on to study graphic design and fine art at university, then used my creative flair to set up a number of successful small businesses. I often think that in another world, I’d be married with kids by now. But I’m just not ready for all that yet.
‘As the years have gone by (I’m 37 now), I’ve realised there’s a link between many of the women I meet: whether married or single, their interactions with men often leave them wanting. They feel overlooked, not fully appreciated. Some of them have never met a man who’s genuinely dedicated to pleasing them during sex. Modern dating trends aren’t helping either, with many women feeling casual sex apps are geared towards quick liaisons for men, rather than satisfying the needs of women.
‘I love my job, but there is the odd occupational hazard. When sharing a connection, it’s easy for lines to get blurred, and occasionally I’ve sensed that a regular is developing deeper feelings for me. Drunk clients can be a problem, too. Then there are times when I’m going through the motions – if I’m tired, for example. I’ve also had situations where because the woman is paying, she thinks she owns me.
‘Luckily, I’m naturally attracted to many different kinds of women but, on a couple of occasions, I have felt that I might struggle to perform at all. The solution to that dilemma is to gently suggest another escort might have a better rapport. It’s rare, though.
‘I feel lucky. I haven’t had my own relationship for a long time, but this is a sacrifice I’m comfortable with. I see two or three women a week on average, many of them regulars. I could see more, but I have to balance it with my general maintenance. My clients aren’t just paying for my body, but a whole package. I hit the gym five times a week, but I also make sure that I’m up on current affairs, and I read self-improvement books. I won’t do this job forever, but I don’t feel I have a sell-by date yet. The women I meet don’t want a toy boy, but rather a man with experience and sensitivity, who listens to their needs. You wouldn’t believe how few of them feel they get this.’