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Courtesan | The Escort Magazine

What is the difference between an escort, an elite escort and a courtesan?

Getting to grips with definitions can help give a more comprehensive understanding of the different types of escort work. Are you an escort who fancies climbing the career ladder?

Courtesan, part of a contract with one individual

The terms escort, elite escort and courtesan all fall under the same umbrella of escort work. While each profession interlinks in many ways, the three have distinct differences that set them apart. As an escort, you may wish to reach a higher position in your career, much like working towards a promotion. Having an awareness of the intricacies of each branch of escorting is essential in understanding how to climb the career ladder.

What does escorting look like in 2021?

As is often said, sex work is one of the world’s oldest professions. Humans have been exchanging sex in return for goods and money for thousands of years, and the profession has developed accordingly throughout our time. These days, the term “sex work” now covers an array of professions, including but not limited to; escorting, phone sex, camming, pornography, and selling explicit content online. Sex workers are not only prostitutes.

As we evolve, language and terminology evolve with us. Though the profession we now class as escorting may seem fresh and modern, this is not the case. Many aspects of an escort’s job are very similar to those of a courtesan, who, historically, would attend the royal court and offer entertainment and companionship.

Nowadays, escorting as a career is incredibly accessible and can attract all manner of clients, unlike the traditional courtesan whose clients would be vastly wealthy. Whether you decide to work freelance or for an agency, escorting offers a legal alternative to people who want to engage in sex work but not prostitution.


Escorting as a career does not cover just one role. This article will cover three types of escorting and how they differ in expectations, expertise, clientele, pay grade and perks.


Escorts are people who offer companionship in return for financial compensation. The term “companionship” can cover an array of services provided by an escort, such as accompaniment to social events, emotional support, dinner dates, and sexual services. Though the standard escort is at a lower pay grade than the elite escort or courtesan, they are not confused with prostitutes.

Elite escort

An elite escort falls somewhere in between the definitions of escorts and courtesans. They provide the same services that a standard escort does, but they do so for a much wealthier clientele. Their clients might be successful business people who struggle to find time for romantic relationships or fancy a boost of social status by having a beautiful guest on their arm at an event.

Elite escorts are more likely to be presented with opportunities for long-term contracts. A similarity shared with the courtesan profession. Such long-term contracts may include accompanying them on a romantic getaway or providing companionship during business trips.

Courtesan | The Escort Magazine

Much of our understanding of traditional courtesans is based on history. Courtesans would accompany members of the court, often royal, high-status individuals. Since many royals lived separate lives from their spouses, they would seek companionship from courtesans, both sexually and emotionally.

Historically, courtesans would-be entertainers, singers and dancers, and intellectuals with excellent communication skills. They were well-presented, attractive and sometimes gained substantial wealth and power as a result of their profession. Such an arrangement would be treated as a business deal, both parties benefiting; the benefactor receiving companionship, the courtesan receiving financial compensation and a higher social status.

When looking at sex work in a more modern sense, the courtesan profession bears many similarities to what may be considered an elite escort. However, the main difference between the two is that a courtesan is part of a contract with one individual, while an escort can have many clients at one time.

Payscale and expectations

Like with all freelance work, salary varies from month-to-month, and person to person. Since escorts tend to keep the details of their profession reasonably subtle, it is difficult to determine the average earnings of a full-time escort, elite escort or courtesan. What can be determined, however, is the hierarchy of pay grades within the escorting career.

Standard escorts (as in non-elite escorts) are at the lower end of this hierarchy. However, this does not mean that they are not able to make a substantial income. Their clients could be average, working to middle-class people, who are willing to pay a reasonable amount for their escort’s time. Standard escorts may have standing dates with clients but are more likely to have a wider variety of clients than an elite escort since their rate of pay is more affordable.

One step up on this hierarchy is the elite escort. Elite escorts will likely have started as standard escorts and gained experience in the field. They have proved to be well-versed professionals who are outstanding at their job, meaning they can charge premium rates for their services. As their rates increase, so does the wealth of their clientele. This new standard of work attracts higher-income clients who can pay handsomely for their escort’s companionship and are likely to do so on multiple occasions and for more extended periods of time, especially if they build a solid client-escort relationship.

On the highest pay grade is the courtesan. A courtesan is just above an elite escort, with the highest expertise and premium rates of pay. Their clients are incredibly wealthy people who will have no problem paying such rates. Similar to the understanding of a historical courtesan’s job role, a modern courtesan will stick to doing business with one long-term client, or at most very few clients.

Since they offer the full experience of what would otherwise constitute a relationship, they generally spend long periods with their clients and are therefore heavily compensated for their work. The long working hours and varied skill set put the courtesan at the top of the pay hierarchy for escorts.

If you’re thinking of expanding your abilities and gaining more experience to become an elite escort, this magazine exists to help you do just that. Have a browse of our other articles and see what you can learn to further your career.


Clients love being their escort’s favourite, so on top of the payment for their service, escorts often receive gifts from their clients. Gifts are a prevalent part of all types of escorting jobs, not just the elite or courtesans. If clients are particularly taken with their escort, they may wish to show their appreciation for their services with a gift. Gift-giving is especially common for clients paying for girlfriend experience since they feel a particularly close connection to their escort, and want to shower them with gifts, just like they would for an actual romantic partner.

Though all types of escorts can receive gifts, what sets them apart are the types of gifts received by a standard escort, elite escort and a courtesan. As a standard escort, you may be looking at lower-priced items such as flowers, champagne or chocolates, since their clientele may not be highly wealthy. However, an elite escort or courtesan whose clients will have a lot more money to spend may receive more luxurious items such as jewellery, designer clothing, shoes or cosmetics.

An advantage that elite escorts and courtesans have over the standard escort in the gift department is that they spend a lot more time with their clients. The more time the client has with them, the more they can learn about what their escort likes. Gifts might become more personalised and less generic. The escort may even discuss the kinds of gifts they would like to receive from their client to get it just right.

Potential downsides

A career as an elite escort or courtesan may not always be as glamorous as it sounds. The hours in this job are long, particularly if a client pays for accompaniment on a holiday or business trip. Free time to see family and friends during this arrangement can be limited, which can take a toll on mental health.

Perhaps you’re not so keen on a particular client but have been offered a lot of money for the job. Spending such a long period of time with a client, you don’t feel completely comfortable with can be difficult, and you may not want to take it, or if you have taken the job and changed your mind, you may wish to leave. Long-term contracts such as these can be challenging to get out of and may cause worry that the financial support from this client will be lost if the contract is broken.

Like with any job, there are things that you will not want to do but feel you have to do anyway to stay employed. Are you willing to make these difficult decisions in your career and potentially put your mental health at risk?

If you are thinking of becoming an escort, “What to Consider Before Starting a Career as an Escort” has a more in-depth summary of the pros and cons of standard escorting.


Some escorts are perfectly happy as they are in their career. But nobody can deny that a lavish lifestyle of extraordinary wealth and luxury gifts is appealing. Proving your expertise and gaining significant experience in the escorting field will get you that step up the ladder to becoming an elite escort or courtesan.

Sources: – What is the Difference Between High Class Escort and Courtesan? – Elite Escort VS Courtesan Regular Escort VS: The Difference

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