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Why does a sleazy bastard like me like whores so much? Why pay for it? The problem is that the modern woman is a prostitute who doesn't deliver the goods. Teasers are never pleasers; they greedily accept presents to seal a contract and then break it. At least the whore pays the flesh that's haggled for. The big difference between sex for money and sex for free is that sex for money usually costs a lot less.

But it is more than this. What I want is the sensation of sex without the boredom of its conveyance. Brothels make possible contacts of astounding physical intimacy without the intervention of personality. I love the artificial paradise; the anonymity; using money, the most impersonal instrument of intimacy to buy the most personal act of intimacy. Lust over love, sensation over security, and to fall into a woman's arms without falling into her hands.

Having an instinctive sympathy for those condemned by conventional society, I wanted to cross the line myself. To pay for sex is to strip away the veneer of artifice and civilisation and connect with the true animal nature of man. Some men proudly proclaim that they have never paid for it. Are they saying that money is more sacred than sex?

But one of the main reasons I enjoy prostitutes is because I enjoy breaking the law - another reason I don't want brothels made legal. There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it desirable. When I have dinner every evening in Soho I always think: isn't scampi delicious - what a pity it isn't illegal. I'm sure I am not alone in this. Even Adam himself did not want the apple for the apple's sake; he wanted it only because it was forbidden.

As for the girls, the argument is that making it legal will somehow make it safer, but Soho has one of the lowest crime rates in the country. Anyway, crime and risk are part of the texture of life. Indeed, Freud tells us: 'Life loses interest when the highest stake in the game of living, life itself, may not be risked.' Risk is what separates the good part of life from the tedium.

I decided to ask my Claudia, my favourite prostitute. I first spotted her in the street in Knightsbridge 10 years ago and was so taken by her haunted beauty that I decided to follow her. There was an air of great quality about Claudia. The faces of English girls look as if there is not enough materials to go round. They have thin lips and papery eyelids, box jawbones, prominent Adam's apples and withered hearts. Claudia looks Mediterranean - her lips are full and curly, her nostrils flared, her eyes black and as big as saucers.

She walked and I stalked all the way to Soho and down Brewer Street. No. No way. She couldn't be! She turned, and walked into a brothel. I couldn't believe it. I could fuck Raquel Welch for £25.

When I ask if she wants prostitution legalised, she reacts violently: 'No way! I tried to take a regular job a few months ago. After tax and national insurance I was left with practically nothing. So I came back here. On a good day here I can take £500. I don't have a pimp, so after paying the overheads and the maid I've got more than enough.' There you are. Income tax has made more liars out of the British people than prostitution.

I know a little bit about the business side. Some years ago I became a madam and a male escort. I turned one of the rooms in my flat in Shepherd Market into a knocking shop and joined an escort agency. I went into prostitution looking for love, not money. That said, I always took cash. The women wanted company, someone willing to please at the midnight hour, and straight sex. It was nerve-wracking wondering if I was going to be able to get it up or get on, but at least I had a valid reason for liking my lovers - they paid me. I didn't care if someone called me a whore and a pimp.

So you see, I have always been a prostitute by sympathy. As for the rest of society, prostitution is the mirror of man, and man has never been in danger of becoming bogged down in beauty. So why don't we leave it alone? Or learn to love it, like me? Sex is one of the most wholesome, spiritual and natural things money can buy. And like all games, it becomes more interesting when played for money. And even more so when it is illegal.

Hookers and drunks instinctively understand that common sense is the enemy of romance. Will the bureaucrats and politicians please leave us some unreality. I know what you are thinking. That it's all very well for people like me to idealise whores and thieves; to think that the street is somehow noble

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