In SuperFreakonomics, we profiled a high-end escort whose entrepreneurial skills and understanding of economics made her a financial success.

We call her Allie, which is neither her real nor professional name.

There was so much interest in Allie after the book came out that she agreed to field reader questions on the blog.

They are paraphrased below, along with Allie’s answers.

Q. Can you tell us how you became an escort, and what your family thinks — or knows — about your occupation? 

A. My parents don’t know about my work, or anything else about my sex life. I was a programmer when I decided to quit my job and become an escort.

I was single and meeting people through a popular dating website.

Finding someone “special” proved to be difficult, but I did meet many nice men.

I had grown up in a repressive small town and I was, at that time, looking to understand my own sexuality.

I have never attached my self-worth to some idea of virginity or monogamy, but I still had not really explored many of my desires. I was meeting people living alternative lifestyles, and, as I got to know them, the stereotypes that I had built up started to come apart. During this time I was in my mid-twenties, and I had an active sex life.

One day I decided to enter the occupation of “escort” on an online instant messaging profile. Within seconds I had many responses, and after about a week of talking to a few people, I decided to meet a dentist at a hotel. The experience wasn’t glamorous or nearly as sexy as I thought it might be.

However, I came away from the experience thinking, “It wasn’t bad.” I began to think that if I just had one appointment a month, I could pay my car loan with it, and have a little extra money. Eventually, I chose to work as an escort exclusively.

At that time, the reason I gave up my programming job was the free time. I was caring for a family member with a serious illness—the free time and money was a huge benefit.

Q. Do you have any moral problem with what you do?

A. I do not have a moral problem with having sex for money, as long as it’s safe, and between consenting adults. However, I have always been concerned about how the social and legal issues may affect my future and the people that I love.

shoes lipstickFlickr/drowcliffe

Q. What kind of clients do you have?

A. My clients are generally white, married, and professional males, between forty and fifty years old, with incomes over $100,000 a year. They tend to be doctors, lawyers, and businessmen looking to get away for a few hours in the middle of the day.

Q. How many of your clients are married men?

A. Almost all of my clients are married. I would say easily over 90%. I’m not trying to justify this business, but these are men looking for companionship. They are generally not men that couldn’t have an affair [if they wanted to], but men who want this tryst with no strings attached. They’re men who want to keep their lives at home intact.

Q. What do your clients’ wives know or think about them coming to you? 

A. I rarely got the opportunity to find out if the wives were okay with it, but I did see several couples, so I assume they were okay with it.

Q. Do you know the real names of your clients?

A. Yes. Always. I insist that they give me their full names and their place of work so that I can contact them there before we meet. I also check their identification when we meet. I also use verification companies, which assist escorts in verification of clients.

These companies do the verification of the client and put them in a database so that when the client wants to meet with a girl for the first time, he doesn’t have to go through the verification process again. For a fee, I can call in and they will tell me if the client has a history of giving the girls problems, where he works, and his full name.

Q.What are your out-of-pocket costs?

A. $300 to $500 a month for my online basic ads

$100 a year for the website

$100 a month for a phone

$1,500 a year for photography

If I was touring then there were extra expenses such as travel costs, hotels, and more advertising costs.

Q. Do you have any regrets about your chosen profession? 

A. Being an escort provided me with many opportunities that I’m not sure I would have gotten if I had not been an escort. That said, my choice to become an escort had a definite cost associated with it beyond the advertising, photos, and websites.

I believe it is close to impossible to have a healthy relationship while working. So it can be a lonely life. In addition, hiding my job from my friends and family proved to be difficult for many reasons.

Q. How do you think prostitution would change if it were legalized? Would you want your own child to become a prostitute?

A. If the social and legal ramifications were gone, I think that being an escort might be like being a therapist (I have never been a therapist, so my knowledge is obviously limited). Like most escorts, a therapist sells his or her skills by the hour.

A therapist also has to meet people for the first time not knowing who is walking in the door. Many have their own offices and work alone. In addition, the session is generally private and requires discretion. I imagine that many times therapists have patients that they like and some they don’t. A therapist’s revenue, like almost all other occupations, probably increases if the client feels that the therapist likes them.

I don’t mean to imply that I have the skills of a trained therapist, or to in any way demean what they do; I’m just observing some obvious similarities. If I had a child, I would hope that they would feel empowered, and have the opportunity to do whatever they desire to do, and that they would be in charge of their own sexuality.

This job has its downsides, though, and can take a high toll on a person. I know that it’s made many aspects of my life and my relationships more difficult. So, like any parent, I would always want more for my child than I had for myself.

Q. So are you in favor of legalization?

A. I feel that prostitution should be legal. If a couple meets for dinner and a bottle of wine, and have sex, that’s a date. If they meet for dinner and a bottle of wine, and have sex, with money in an envelope left on the dresser, that’s illegal.

I realize that there are women in prostitution who are there because they feel like they have to be. These women work in a different part of the industry than I did. Many have drug or abuse issues, among other problems. I think, instead of spending time and finite resources on arresting and criminalizing these women, we should spend our resources on making sure that these women have other opportunities and a place to go for help.

The women who don’t want to be prostitutes shouldn’t have to be, and they should be able to get the help they need. Women who want to be should be able to.

I feel that no one should have to take a job to make a living that is against his or her own moral judgment.

Q. How would legalization affect your business model?

A. I’m sure it would cause me to lower my rates. I’m sure more people would take up prostitution as a profession, and I am sure more men would partake in the activity. That said, legalization does not remove all the barriers to entry.

The job still would have a huge negative stigma associated with it, both for the escorts and the clients. In countries like Canada, enforcement of prostitution laws is extremely lax, and while rates are lower, they aren’t wildly different. So there would still be men out there afraid of their wives finding out, and I still wouldn’t want to share my job title with my family.

Q. Dubner and Levitt wrote that you have some economics training. Has that informed the way you think about your occupation?

A. Sure, here are some examples:

Dinner with friends = opportunity cost

Perfect information = review sites

Transaction cost = setting up an appointment

Repeated game = reputation

Product differentiation = not a blonde

Seriously, I wish I had known then what I know now.

Excerpted from “When To Rob A Bank…And 131 More Warped Suggestions And Well-Intended Rants” by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. Reprinted with permission from William Morrow, Copyright © 2015 by Steven D. Levitt & Dubner Productions, LLC.