Whore is a bad word
Ex-prostitute Ilan Stephani: "Men leave more frustrated than they came"
She is very different from what you imagine a whore: a girl next door from a good family and with the best grades, who never had anything to do with drugs. Nevertheless, Ilan Stephani worked in a Berlin brothel for two years. Voluntarily because she didn't want to be a boring student. Now she has written a book about it. In an interview with Barbara.de, she talks about why she feels sorry for men, why she never found sex with strangers disgusting and why at some point she no longer wanted to be a whore.
BARBARA: How did it come about that you worked in the brothel?
Ilan Stephani: I was a feminist at school and I am very sure that prostitution is patriarchal violence, bought rape. That's why I was against it. During this time I also read several of Alice Schwarzer's writings from the whore organization Hydra. When I moved to Berlin I was curious to get to know the "enemy". I was surprised there: at first I thought there weren't any prostitutes there, but I just didn't recognize them because everyone was just like me.
Why did you want to try it out yourself?
I just enjoy being in contact with people. As a daughter from a good family, I was tempted to blow the cage, I wanted to break out. I had good grades, I studied philosophy and cultural studies, but I didn't want this pre-established path for me. I didn't want to be a boring student. For me, the pouf was an opportunity to get to know other facets of myself. I accept a lot for my curiosity.
But why did it have to be paid sex to break out? There would have been other options ...
I think a lot of people want to rebel. For example, I've never had anything to do with drugs, that didn't interest me. I, on the other hand, have been around a lot with women who have considered what they can do to shock. My friends weren't that surprised either, they were more interested when I told them about it.
"I never saw myself as a fallen girl"
Didn't you ever find it strange to sleep with complete strangers?
no, I'm sorry (she laughs), I get asked that a lot, but I never found it strange or disgusting. I never felt like a fallen girl either. I chose it myself.
You write in your book that most of the men were very nice to you?
Yes, that was the case and it is important for me to say that. The stereotype is that suitors are monsters. But I really didn't experience that. Men who go to the brothel don't all want to pull off something cruel, they just seek contact, just as they are outside.
You write that one can really only feel sorry for men. Why?
In our society, men and women generally do not learn what good sex is. You are very tense. I also experienced that in the brothel, that men don't dare to make loud noises, that they can't relax, that you can laugh too. Sex is a secret and very serious matter. Men suffer very much from the fact that women are suspicious because there has been violence against women since patriarchy existed. I believe that men really want to make women happy with their penis. It is a misunderstanding: in essence, women and men are a good match, and it is precisely this confirmation that men seek in prostitutes.
"Prostitution is a dead end"
But the prostitute is just pretending ...
Yes, of course that is not a solution, but a dead end because the prostitute only confirms it because she is paid for it. That's why men leave more frustrated than they came. You're just a little immobilized after orgasm. They are less aware of how perplexed, helpless and unhappy they are.
Are German men more unhappy than others?
No, that is a western cultural phenomenon. All societies that think that you can buy the things in life, learn on a weekend or get them in the brothel, are generally rather unhappy. All affluent societies are naive on this point. All peoples who are more in harmony with nature have better cards. You need patience for love and good sex. We need more humility and practice for a few years. I also criticize the consumerism, that you have to go somewhere fast for someone to jerk you off. It's all about money.
Speaking of money, do men really often pay just to talk?
I've talked to everyone, everyone, everyone, conversation and social interaction have been an integral part of me. Not many people want to talk, but they also want to talk. It doesn't always have to be penetration. Much happened differently than one imagines. It's not just about the suitor screwing the whore.
"I've only worked with women who were whores of their own free will"
How did your parents react when you told them about your job?
They were amazed and concerned, they had many questions. I explained a lot to them so that they could calm down after they found out. But they quickly made it clear that I am and will remain their daughter - and that I can live as I want.
You could choose yourself. Not all women do it ...
Of course there is also forced prostitution. I find the idea terrible that women who are forced to do so have contact with ten or fifteen men a day who could look closely and help. Who could go to the police and save women's lives, but who are cowardly and prefer to look the other way. However, these are two different things for me. I myself have only worked with women who were whores of their own free will. I have never had any contact with women who are being forced into prostitution. The housekeepers in our brothel paid great attention to this and also protected us.
For the most part, your experiences have been positive. But not only. What bad experiences did you have?
Yes, there have been several negative encounters. One was particularly bad because the man was just an asshole and took advantage of it to take women off guard. He touched me brutally. The problem was that I didn't say stop in time either, because I didn't learn it as a child. We have to teach our daughters to say 'no'. Before we teach him to look good and be sexy. It is important that women can set limits sexually. We all have to rethink. Women should decouple their self-esteem from how they appear to men. Men are fixated on sex instead of loving it. They are much more tearful than women, they are more easily intimidated and overwhelmed. You want to be confirmed by sex, not questioned. Women are braver. They just have to learn that they are equal to men when they fight back. Physically too.
You never felt like a victim?
No. The man was only accompanied by women in our brothel. We could always decline if we didn't like someone. The man had to let the women take the lead in our brothel, he tended to follow me as a whore. Of course, there were also moments of uncertainty just before I saw a new customer for the first time - it could have been my neighbor. But I was never really worried.
Why did you finally stop?
Because I had a sexual awakening experience at a women's workshop where we explored the G-spot. After that I knew that I couldn't go back to the brothel. I then stopped very quickly. Today I am a body therapist and I work especially with women.
Ilan Stephani was born in Berlin in 1986 and grew up in Lower Saxony. During her studies, through the prostitute organization Hydra, she discovered the opportunity to gain sexual experiences outside of her bourgeois origin. Today she works as a body therapist and author. Her book “Dear and dear. What I learned about life in the brothel " has been published by Ecowin Verlag and costs 20 euros.
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