Dear Lily Allen...
When it come to hiring sex workers, you aren't alone.
In anticipation of being outed by newspapers, pop star Lily Allen came forth to admit that she hired prostitutes while she was on tour in 2014.
According to Metro, the reason she did it, she says, is "[i]t was more about a period of time that I was feeling incredibly lonely and sort of at my wits end. I was looking for anything. Looking for an outlet....It’s not really a salacious sex story, it’s more about hotel rooms and being on my own and being very far away from my kids and my husband."
The fact that she has revealed that she did this is something that I see as positive, helpful and exciting. In her explanation of why she called escorts, she summed up the reason that so many around the world do exactly the same thing... loneliness. People get lonely. And people are social animals. Being lonely is not exactly fun.
The only questionable part of this whole story is the fact that she did it while she was married. But, that is just one of those moral judgments that aren't necessarily anyone else's to make. She seems to feel some guilt for that, saying, "I’m a big advocate for having no shame. In retrospect, I know what was going on. I think I had postnatal depression and my marriage was deteriorating and I found outlets to deal with all of that."
But, it is also understandable that she took this route. When the marriage isn't going well, you are feeling lonely, and you need an outlet, sometimes you make decisions that some may find questionable, including to yourself.
Regardless, what IS important here is the fact that a big international star has openly admitted that she used to hire sex workers. Will this help to kill some of the stigma around the practice? Here is a woman who has entertained millions around the world, who comes across as a very genuine, down to earth kind of person. And she is saying that she hired women to spend time with because she was lonely and stressed out.
And there is NOTHING wrong with that. She harmed no one (other than possibly hurting her husband). She made a business transaction with another human in order to fulfill a deep need that she had. Many, many people do this, and feel that they must do it in the shadows because they feel embarrassed, scared or believe that what they are doing is wrong even though it feels so right in so many ways. Even Lily Allen didn't come forward too willingly. An expose was about to be written about this revelation, so she beat them to the punch. Once again, that's understandable.
The practice of hiring sex workers, especially when it is men hiring women, is too often seen as perverted, gross and exploitative. Seldom is the fact that humans have feelings, and men, just as much as women, get lonely and want a human connection even considered in the equation. These are people who may be shy, they may be socially awkward, they may just want the convenience of a no strings attached affair. Whatever the reason, it need not be seen as morally wrong to do this and hopefully, Lilly Allen's experience makes it a little more respectable, and people have a better understanding of why people hire sex workers.
So, thank you Lilly Allen, for being open and honest about paying sex workers to alleviate your loneliness. It is very much appreciated and hopefully it will start a greater conversation about sex workers and the role they play in our society. Hopefully, it will help to tear down some of the stigma attached to what should be seen as a normal practice.