Escorts = Consumer polyamory?

I just read this rather fascinating article on escorts in New York City, titled “The Luxury Rental Girlfriend”, and then this response post  in which the writer explains why she doesn’t have a problem with the escort business and thinks that marriage and relationships are also an exchange of assets, just with a longer timeline. I think both make for a rather interesting read, however you feel about prostitution and related trades.

Before I read the response article, my initial reaction was “Huh, that kind of sounds like someone took the idea of polyamory and made a business out of it.” And it makes me wonder what the place of prostitution and escorting would be if the majority of people practiced some form of non-monogamy. One thing emphasized in the article was how the clients appreciated the contrast between their wives and their “rental girlfriends,” but in polyamory and other forms of non-monogamy  you can openly have at least one committed long term partner that you live with, and other partners with varying levels of entanglement and expectations.

And then the response article raised further questions. What is the difference between a stay at home partner (and keep in mind not all of them have children that they’re raising), and an escort that you see regularly? Is it the fact that you live together publicly? Is it because you are (presumably) monogamous together?

The area of sex work isn’t one I think of often. I’ve known people who have done it before (does stripping count? I’ve known ex-escorts too though), but it’s not something I’ve really had conversations with them about. I don’t have an immediate gut reaction to the concept, but I’m in general a very “Live and let live” person, so long as I don’t think much greater harm is happening.

What’s your reaction to these articles?