Prostitution is hardly a taboo any longer, especially in Germany where ladies of the night can legally ply their trade in broad daylight on the capital’s asphalt, while contributing to their state retirement pensions.
More unmentionable is sex in old age. Elderly men being serviced by prostitutes is a reality that is kept discreet inside the walls of retirement homes. Yet, according to the Bundesverband sexuelle Dienste e.V., an advocacy group for sex workers and brothel keepers, prostitutes regularly visit every second retirement home in Berlin.
One worker say’s
“Every time I go to see him, I have to introduce myself again,” says Nina de Vries , who works as a ‘sexual assistant’ for Josef, an elderly man suffering from dementia. “Then I ask whether he’d like a massage and he says ‘oh yes, that would be nice.’”
De Vries’ time with Josef involves them being naked, touching and holding each other, and it will end with him having an orgasm. A visit costs €120 per hour (€90 if the client comes to her place). Intercourse and oral sex do not usually feature in her arrangements.
De Vries doesn’t feel this sets her apart from other prostitutes, however. “I think differentiating myself from prostitution would be assuming,” says the middle-aged full-bodied brunette leaning back in a chair in her suburban garden, swathed in black, loose-fitting cotton clothes.
“I prefer the term sexual assistant because it doesn’t carry any negative connotations, but I don’t shy away from describing what I do as a sexual service for which I expect to get paid.”
Lisa. An hour with her costs €100 and usually includes tantric massage. “Prostitutes are particularly important in showing people who are a bit older, who haven’t had sex in a long time, that they’re still sexual beings,” she says, going on to diverge from de Vries: “There’s almost a therapeutic aspect to my work.”
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a friend about disabled people in Tirana and I mention one guy with no arms or legs that I usually give money too. Her response: “He is a crook because he has a helper who watches over him and together they DRINK ALCOHOL. It got me thinking about a magazine article that I read years ago which said that a certain old people’s home drives their disabled residents to brothels in an ambulance. Of course the client had to pay for the prostitute but not for the free ambulance ride. After all, just because a guy is old and disabled does not mean that he does not have money or sexual needs.
Which brings to the next point; what about the disabled guy without money and the means to earn it?
Why does it surprise, bother or disappoint us when a disabled beggar fancies a beer or a glass of wine? Is it because we are only prepared to pay for life’s sustenance and not the quality of life? While the disabled need food and water to stay alive, we can’t exactly say that they need alcohol to stay alive and yet after facing a hard day a few people might find a glass of wine not only a welcome relaxation but also as a way to save one’s sanity especially when they discover that it is really illegal to kill their horrible neighbours. My point is that many people consider alcohol as necessary as lunch but yet we are pained when a disabled beggar spends our hard earned 1Euro on alcohol regardless of the fact that we bought the most rounds of drinks last night spending between 20 and 30 Euros or more.
Some would say put your money where your mouth is and I do. The beggar that I always gave money to in Vienna, was a guy who went around saying “I am an alcoholic please give me some money. I need a drink.” I rewarded his honesty every time.
Let’s cut disabled street beggars some slack.
I find these days, that if I give money to a beggar they often assure me they don’t do drugs or alcohol.
While I assure them I don’t care what they do with the money.
I guess they must hear a lot of accusations like that if they feel the need to explain themselves to me.