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Present day, somewhere in Sydney

I wrote this part of my story a year ago.  I sit in this bed, watching this sleeping man beside me, and I begin to read.  As I read it now, I smile to myself in appreciation of how much I have grown and how far I have come……

A year ago, somewhere in Australia

….” I have just returned from a trip to Sydney.  Whatever professional success I achieved on this trip paled in comparison to my personal growth.

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered’

Nelson Mandela said that. I had read these words many times.  I understood them off course; or so I thought. It was a superficial understanding that only personal experience can enlighten.  In recent days, I have gained a new understanding of these words.  I am now acutely aware of the hypocrisy of my own life.  The hypocrisy of those around me.  And how very much I had been missing by doing  my ‘duty’ and staying in a life which did not feed my soul.  And all this came from one decision, one experience; a courageous, two hour experience I had consciously chosen for myself which has changed my view of everything I once believed to be true.

Ryan is young.  He is beautiful and muscular and well dressed; He lives in Sydney and he has the most infectious smile.  He is clearly intelligent, obviously educated, and very very sexy.  Ryan made me feel….passion.  Ryan made me feel alive.  He was sweet and romantic and kind; he was wild and sexy and skilled.  And no, I am not dating Ryan, nor am I in love with him.  And I have no plans to be.  Because Ryan James is a Sydney based escort, and a porn star.  And I paid him to have sex with me.

I am the conventional idea of successful.  A highly qualified specialist in a health care field, I have been married to a man in a similar field for 18 years, and have three beautiful, healthy, and secure children.  We are driven, we are ambitious, and we are focused.  We are also religious, and live among an equally driven, equally focused, and equally religious community.  With our strict moral compass (or so we pretend), and high achieving children (this is actually true), to the outside world, in our modern overpriced acreages, we are living the dream.

How the universe laughs.

So why Ryan, you may wonder?  That is a long story. A story I will share, just so the kind unhappy souls who can empathise with me and understand my actions, AND those out there who need a clearer view from their pedestals before they start to tear me to shreds, can both gain a better understanding.

When speaking about women, there is this pervasive trend; especially amongst certain cultures in general, and my own culture in particular. I am from a very religious, very conservative, and very unbending migrant community. The main quality that is celebrated in a woman is her ability to “sacrifice”. That the only quality that allows a woman to be praised and earns her the highest regard from her people is her ability to  stay quiet and accepting even when her needs and wants are consistently unmet. When she is being mistreated, abused or oppressed. Her ability to constantly put her own needs and wants aside for the sake others is what makes her worthy.

If she succeeds, only then is she considered  the amazing mother or wife or daughter. In many communities, this is what earns a woman the right to be celebrated. I have never been celebrated for my brains; I am usually smarter and quicker witted than any man in the room.  I graduated cum laude in my field with the highest ever aggregate in the history of the school I attended.  I did so again years later with a masters in journalism and creative writing, something I did simply to pass the time while I was bored on maternity leave; and then yet again in my speciality years later.  Apart from my parents, no one else seemed to find that worthy of praise.

Rebecca West once said ‘ People call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat …’

In these cultures, you hardly ever hear a woman celebrated for her ability to stand up for herself and others, or her ability to fight for what’s right. To have a voice. To be heard. This makes her manly; unattractive and masculine; the dreaded ‘feminist’. Rather it is her ability to stay quiet, through pain or even injustice.  Her ability to hide her tears. These are the qualities  which are celebrated and hailed, making a woman worthy of praise.

I have been such a woman.  Every day I smile at my husband and laugh at his jokes. Every day I pretend that sharing a bed with him doesn’t kill a piece of my soul each time I do it.  I cook and I clean.  I send my kids off to school with cuddles and I treat my patients with a smile that never fails to put them at ease. In the afternoons I lecture to undergraduate students at university; I guide them and praise them and encourage them.  And every night, for as long as I can remember, I tuck my kids into bed, read them their favourite stories, and tell them how much I love them.  And then finally, when everyone has gone and I’m alone in the darkness, I cry myself to sleep.  And then somehow, I find a perseverance that makes me get up the next day and do it all over again..

I have never had a problem with self esteem. Finding Ryan had nothing to do with not feeling wanted.  Men have always wanted me.  I was raised by loving, kind and financially secure parents who gave me everything and every opportunity.  I have been pursued by the popular boys in high school, the handsome guys at University, and till today, in spite of a  bit of excess weight I now carry,  I am sure to still get appreciative looks and smiles of interest.

I didn’t go looking for Ryan because I needed a confidence boost.  I didn’t go looking for Ryan in retaliation to a cheating partner.  To my knowledge my husband has never been unfaithful, and shows no interest in other women. No.  I went looking for him because I was unable to breathe in my life anymore.  I was being suffocated and Ryan was my breath of fresh air.  The slow death of me as a person has eroded my spirit; a longing for a freedom to just be true to myself and be accepted for who I  am.  To not be criticized for being too much; too spirited, too happy, too affectionate, too sexy.  A husband who makes it clear he prefers a woman who is ‘seen and not heard’. One who instead of feeling pride in his partner, rather resents the fact that despite his own professional success and high earning capacity, I am still more successful and I still make more money.  One who gets angry if I attract any attention in company; be that in something witty I may have ‘unwittngly’ let slip, or just the odd compliment on the colour of my eyes or my ability to carry a conversation.  So more and more as the years have gone by, to avoid conflict and keep the peace, I have been changing who I am until I truly do not recognise myself anymore.  I have much practise in being dull; I do not partake in conversation. In fact, I do not say much at all.  I look politely interested, and I smile at anything I may find funny.  Just in case my sometimes-infectious laughter earns a comment, which may get me into trouble.

I have stopped reading fiction novels, and writing short stories; because my partner is very passionate in his disapproval; it is time spent being idle, and fiction is for the weak. That romance writing is a temptation; that my own life should be sufficient enough for me that I don’t need to daydream and live in ‘some fantasy world’.

I have stopped listening to music; yes, my love of music is  a sin, a thing which has the power to turn my heart and any such thing should be rejected.

I have stopped playing the piano; an instrument I had played all my life until I married, for more of the same reasoning.  It is pointless, a thing of temptation taking away constructive time from much more worthy pursuits. Like devotion to God and my family, and the passionate pursuit of these godly duties.

I have found myself anxious all the time in company ; so much so that I have started to prefer just staying at home.  Old friends who know me as an extrovert could not believe how much I have changed and how quiet and introverted I appear to have become.  The truth is though, my husband is usually described as a good man; he is kind and generous and a really great father.  He is however very insecure and very very possessive.  He is also conservative and traditional, and in his case, his subcontinental background makes him completely unbending; and he has always expected me to be the same.  It is only in the last couple of years that I have realised that I am indeed a victim of abuse.  Emotional abuse is a very real, very harmful thing.  And it has taken over every aspect of my life.

Brian Tracey wrote ‘you can make excuses, or you can make progress’.

So I chose Ryan.  And choosing Ryan, I now see, was me choosing progress.

Having only ever had one sexual partner, I have not had much sexual experience. I never had wild nights at university. I never partied; partying is not easy to do with fellow students if you don’t drink. Or smoke. Or experiment with drugs. Or if you are a twenty year old Muslim virgin with no plans to have sex until your wedding night.

I did everything right, always.  I studied, I volunteered at soup kitchens and hospitals and orphanages.  And I married my first love.  I had always found the thought of sex for money morally repugnant.  Yes, I was covered in my false cloak of piety; a false veil of religious devotion can very easily obscure your vision, and I sat in judgement of those in this field I considered repulsive.

Eighteen years later, a burning need for love and passion and romance sees me face down on a luxurious king bed in a Sydney hotel;  my long dark hair  pulled back and a beautiful skillful tongue artfully darting into my mouth from behind me as I groan in pleasure.

Ryan is very thoughtful; he goes slowly at first, his movements purposeful and deliberate.  He waits to see how much I can handle.  I assume he senses my inexperience and does not want to overwhelm me with what I presume is his huge repertoire of experiences and skills.  So he waits for a sign from me that I can indeed handle more; more strength, more passion.  More Ryan. And when I give it to him he gives me so much more.

Pain and suffering makes you humble.  And humility makes you a better person.  Misery builds character; I had been indulged my entire adolescent life, and I had felt no empathy. Not for women who complained about abusive and unbending husbands, or people in what I considered a disgusting line of work.  Yes, humility is indeed a character builder.

But I digress.

So I decided a few months ago that I needed to have more passion in my life. More poetry and music and literature.  I pulled out all my beautiful old leather bound copies of the classics; Wuthering Heights, Sense and Sensibility, Jane Eyre. I read them  and I cried. I visited the local westfield at Christmas time where a beautiful baby grand had been set up for public use and I played my favourite piece; Pachelbel’s Canon in D. And slowly I started awakening again.  I started wanting more.  And doing more.  And writing more.  And that’s when I decided that I needed something else.   But I also did not want to risk my family or my children’s security; I did not want to find someone whom I could fall in love with, or someone who would fall in love with me.  And above all, I needed ultimate discretion.

And so my search began.  It took months before I decided on Ryan.  And I was pretty thorough in my search.  But Ryan’s kind eyes and playful smile never failed to appeal to me. I fed greedily off his pictures on his website; one picture more beautiful than the next.  This gorgeous man with deep blue eyes to match an equally gorgeous perfectly tailored blue suit. I found myself going back to his beautiful face at every opportunity; approval of his taste in suits only served to further encourage me. He sounded kind yet sexy, playful yet intelligent.  And so I put my big girl pants on and finally emailed him.  I was contacted by his lovely and helpful assistant Rose, who was very patient as I navigated this new world of fear and guilt and excitement.

On the day, when Ryan texted me from the lobby, I replied that I would be right down.  As I did so, my heart would not stop pounding.  Would I like him?  Would he like me?  Would he be unattractive, misrepresenting himself in his pictures?  Would he think I was unattractive, or boring, or both?  And why did I even care?

I waited for the lift doors to open and I walked out calmly, scanning the lobby.   I found him almost immediately; he was by far the most beautiful creature in the entire room.  He wore snug sandy coloured chinos which fitted him perfectly.  He wore a smart black shirt and tasteful shoes.  An expensive watch, very neat haircut and a killer smile all completed the tempting package. I took all this in pretty much immediately, as Ryan’s eyes met mine, and he smiled at me.  He kissed my cheek and said hello, and I was smitten.

When we got up to the room, I was nervous and anxious; Ryan immediately put me at ease. He quickly got the housekeeping out of the way; I was prepared with an envelope full of cash. When that was done, I felt the awkwardness set in. That lasted all of 5 seconds.  Ryan took my hand and pulled me to the bed.  We sat down and he started to ask me questions about myself and my trip, immediately putting me at ease. He looked at me like he actually found me attractive.  I do not kid myself that I am any different or any more special to him than any other client; but in the time I was with Ryan, he made me feel like there was no where else he would rather be.  And that, I believe, is the reason Ryan is so successful at being a male escort.

Without oversharing I will say that Ryan is skilled, and sensitive and intuitive. He practises safe sex, and as a health care professional this had been one of my main concerns.  He seemed to know instinctively when I wanted more, and when I wanted less.  He knew just when I wanted him to hold me and talk to me, and when I wanted him to pull my hair back and make me squirm.  He sensed when I needed a break, and a drink of water.  And most of all, he ignited my soul again.  With Ryan I felt the freedom to be my truest self; it was authentic and real and I felt passion and love and laughter.

I returned home a changed person; to my surprise I was not at all wracked with guilt.  I felt renewed, and rejuvenated, and I realised that I had waited too long to take care of me.  I had waited too long to love me, and encourage me, and BE me.  Being with Ryan has taught me that I can do my duty and give myself some happiness too.  That allowing myself the luxury to be exactly who I want to be in the hours I spend with him does not make me a bad person.  It makes me human.  Flawed maybe. Crazy, definitely.  Passionate hopefully. And just human.

I returned home and I wrote the first bit of poetry I’ve written in years.  I also decided to share this experience so other women like myself can also realise that they have the right to be happy too.

Many of you will judge me.  Call me a liar and a cheat and a coward for living this double life. And I understand why you would.  There was a time I would have done the same.  But I don’t see it that way anymore.  I still make the sacrifices for the greater good. But I am happier and as a result I take better care of my family.  I have more backbone now too, to stand up for the things that matter to me.

I am slowly finding me again, and my next date with Ryan James is already booked…..”

Present day, somewhere in Sydney

I wrote that story a year ago.  And reading it now, I smile to myself in appreciation of how much I have grown and how far I have come.

I continued to see Ryan consistently in this last year.  On average twice a month, sometimes more if he had a trip to the city I live in. Ryan is now my only sexual relationship.  Outside of my  husband who I have not slept with in over a year, Ryan is the only other man I have been with.  And that makes him very special to me.

Its odd, this thing I share with him.  My mind although it struggles sometimes, still tries hard to maintain perspective, at least most of the time.  But sometimes, just sometimes, I allow myself the luxury to imagine  a little.  That maybe I am a little more special to him than all the others; that maybe when I ask him how to please him and he says ‘you already do, and I’m not just saying that’, that he actually means it.

‘Do I bore you ?’ I ask.

I ask this because I know how much he is exposed to.  How much he has done. How many different sexual appetites and desires he must cater to. How many porn films he’s made.  I used to follow him on social media; I’ve seen all the kinky sex posts and the women and the lifestyle. I don’t follow him anymore, but that’s more …self preservation, I would call it.  As much as I try to maintain perspective, following the lifestyle he portrays on social media has become increasingly difficult. In comparison I am simple; my tastes and desires are simple.  I love being with him; elaborate sexual antics are not necessary for me.  I am passionate and I have a healthy sexual appetite; and in my mind I feel like Ryan and I have gotten to know each other’s bodies and become comfortable with each other’s needs. I am ravenous for him; I take him into my mouth and I hear him moan. I used to wonder if his moans were just pretense, but I don’t wonder that anymore.  I know his body well, I know what he likes. When  I look down and see his face between my thighs, I have never felt more desire. And these simple pleasures are more than enough for me.  Ryan assures me he is content too, and I believe him…most of the time. But is that not what I pay him for, I remind myself.  To pretend and make me feel that way?  I find myself needing to know what he’s thinking and I ask him often.  He holds me close and laughs at me. It’s a routine we have.

‘You always need to know what I’m thinking’ he says.

‘Teach me how to please you’ I say for the umpteenth time.

‘You already do, and I’m not just saying that’ he replies yet again.

‘Is that true?’ I ask

‘Its true’ He nods his confirmation.

‘Would you tell me if it wasn’t?’  the routine reaches its end.

‘I would tell you’ he promises, and kisses me.

And I forget until next time.

I write this as Ryan sleeps beside me.  I am in Sydney again, but being a last minute trip he already had plans for all the nights I’m here.  Yet he knows.  He understands that I want to see him, he doesn’t need me to say it.

We decide that he will come to me after his plans and dates are over for the night.  I leave a key for him at reception and he comes in sometime during the night when I am asleep. I don’t hear him come in, but I had made him promise to wake me when he did.

He wakes me gently, and I smile the instant my eyes open and I look at him.  This man makes my heart lighter. I go into his open arms and take in his scent; my eyes close and I smile against his chest. I worry about him being tired and hungry after such a long night, and offer to order him a cheese platter from room service.  The man has an uncontrolled and astounding attachment to cheese, and I love watching him eat.

He assures me he’s not hungry but he looks very tired. I open my arms to him, and he undresses and gets into bed beside me, holding me close.  I hear him sigh, and I know he’s as comfortable as I am.

‘After some time in silence, I ask if he wants his arm back. I am laying on it, and  I know Ryan has trouble getting to sleep under the best of circumstances.  He assures me he’s comfortable, and with this man I now consider my friend closely behind me, I fall asleep contented.

I am an early riser, always have been.  I am well aware that Ryan is not.  I try to be quiet, making tea, getting showered, and finishing my trashy romance novel I bought at the airport.  Ryan shares my love of books, and my fascination with weird and whacky titles.  More than once we have either coincidentally purchased the same book, or I have given him one I have just finished because I know he would love it. He’s a nerd at heart this beautiful man, and it makes him more endearing to me.

I look down at him; he looks so peaceful. He struggles with sleep; finding it hard to get to sleep and then equally difficult to wake up. My heart aches a little watching him, because I am slowly coming to a realisation I have been denying for many months.  It is ironic, this realisation. It is the very reason I decided to choose an escort rather than say yes to any one of the many men who had made advances towards me in the last year.  As I look at him, I can feel it. I can feel this tightness grip my entire body.  I stroke his cheek, his face is cold. The room is cold, the air-conditioning turned up high in the summer heat. I pull the covers up and tuck him in warmly, he is blissfully unaware. I kiss his cheek, and his eyes, and stroke his hair. I can feel this warmth rushing through me, I don’t recognise it instantly. For a moment I wonder if I am aroused, but I know instinctively that’s not it.  I feel this tightness in my chest, and my entire body is warm now from these emotions running rampant against my skin. It dawns on me like a whisper and a sledgehammer. I know, and as much as I tried to maintain perspective, in this moment I know .

Its unfamiliar to me, which is why it took so long to recognise. He moans a little in his sleep, reaching out to me mindlessly and pulling me in closer.

This is my happy place.  A quiet darkened room, a reading light and a good book.  A steaming cup of English breakfast tea, a Byron Bay cookie company white chocolate and macadamia cookie, and the man I love asleep beside me.

I know its not ideal, and I will have to find a way to now deal with this  new complication.  But it can wait until tomorrow.

Today I have temporarily found my hearts home, and I just want to stay here for a moment. I sigh and start to type, knowing this feeling is something I don’t ever want to forget.

Knowing that finally, after all these years of emptiness, that this is what love feels like.  And that despite all my careful planning, the joke is indeed, on me.

Bella Hilton – Bella Hilton is a professional and a businesswoman. An author and a poet, a pianist and a mother, she is a strong advocate of ‘do what makes you happy’. She lives in Melbourne

Ryan James is a gentleman of negotiable affections. A highly successful Australian male sex worker.

Sex workers are still taboo in the world today, but why is this?
They offer an extraordinary service that provides comfort and support where many feel loneliness, fear or lack self esteem. They spice up relationships and offer another perspective on companionship. We invite you to delve deeper and discover the man behind the job in a relaxed and positive setting.

Check out The Ryan James Project here:

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Bella Hilton is a professional and a businesswoman. An author and a poet, a pianist and a mother, she is a strong advocate of ‘do what makes you happy’. She lives in Melbourne.


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