The girlfriend experience (GFE) is a commercial experience that blurs the boundaries between a financial transaction and a romantic relationship. Within the sex industry, GFE is a common term for a sexual encounter in which both the escort and the client are willing to engage in reciprocal sexual pleasure and some degree of emotional intimacy. The "girlfriend experience" generally involves more personal interaction than a traditional call girl or escort offers; it varies widely from person to person, however. There is a focus on not just having sex, but also having more of a comprehensive experience. Within this particular realm of sex work, prostitutes embody a sense of authenticity in order to make the experience more pleasurable for their customer, as well as to make a more lucrative outcome for themselves. If the sex worker is male, the service is called the boyfriend experience.
Girlfriend experience and prostitution
In some instances a person who provides a Girlfriend Experience is also recognized and titled an "indoor prostitute". As the definition of what that type of service entitles, unlike a "street prostitute" an "indoor prostitute" provides a type of interaction that involves conversation, affection and mutual sexual pleasure. "Indoor prostitution" also includes: massage parlors and saunas, brothels, strip clubs, and escort prostitution. No matter the differences, this type of interaction still lasts between the limits of the transaction. Contrary to “street prostitution” indoor prostitution is less likely to receive complaints from bystanders because from the outside this experience seems to be a traditional relationship. Because this level of prostitution is considered to be high class, most relationships are made online as opposed to the traditional idea of prostitution where the client would meet the prostitute on the streets. The cost of these services depends on the prostitute as well as the acts that are performed. The GFE typically starts with dinner at a nice restaurant followed by making out on the sofa back at the prostitute’s home and ends with cuddling and consensual sex which gives the feeling of a relationship. While it used to be the norm for legal prostitutes to never kiss on the mouth, the popularity of the GFE has changed the business with brothels like Dennis Hof's Love Ranch South and Sheri's Ranch advertising themselves as "GFE" Establishments.
Clients or hobbyists
The term "client" is defined as being a prostitute's customer. Because most of the beginning interaction between the client and the prostitute is done online, client call themselves "hobbyists" who are looking for "a nice girl", in order to not seem suspicious over the internet. In a GFE situation the client would pay for time spent with the call girl meaning: social interaction, dating, or sexual acts. Clients could come from all different backgrounds (white-collar, blue collar, different races, different ages) therefore there is not a "typical" type of client using the GFE service. Many clients emerge through the need for a feeling of closeness without the commitment of a relationship. To a certain extent it eliminates the feeling of guilt or fear of "addiction" to a relationship.
Legality in the United States
Regardless of the type of service, including GFE, paying for any sexual act is still considered to be a form of prostitution and because of this the legality of it varies from place to place. In the United States, wherever a red-light district exists, any form of prostitution is legal as long as the individual provides proper identification. The Department of Health Control is interested only in controlling sexually transmitted diseases and protecting the health of sex workers and the general population. In the United States, any form of prostitution is illegal under federal law when crossing state lines under the Federal Mann Act, however; in certain counties in Nevada, within the county borders, prostitution is legal.
- Belk, Russell W. (1 January 2011). Research in Consumer Behavior. Emerald Group Publishing. ISBN 9781780521169.
- "The real-life girlfriend experience". GQ. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- Bernstein, Elizabeth (2010-06-08). Temporarily Yours: Intimacy, Authenticity, and the Commerce of Sex. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 9780226044620.
- Weitzer, Ronald (2007). Prostitution: Facts and Fictions. George Washington University - Department of Sociology.
- Farley, Melissa (2005). Violence Against Women. Sage Publication.
- Albert, Alexa, "Brothel. Mustang Ranch and its Women". Random House 2001. ISBN 0-375-50331-5
- "Menu - Love Ranch Vegas". loveranch.net. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
- "Sheri's Ranch Sex Menu". sherisranch.com. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
- "Dictionary.com - The world's favorite online English dictionary!". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
- "US Federal and State Prostitution Laws and Related Punishments - Legal Prostitution - ProCon.org". prostitution.procon.org. Retrieved 1 December 2015.