When speaking to men who post sex-for-rent ads on Craigslist, I also discovered a niche market of those who offer to clean homes naked in London.
If you're unfamiliar with Craigslist, this classifieds site offers everything from storage space to second hand skateboards. In the Household section, under Services, I found a spate of ads offering commando cleaning. "I offer a thorough and spotless cleaning service for private residential households in the NUDE!!!!" says one. "Loves being naked, cleaning, serving and doing all manner of household chores," says another.
While up to 90% of the UK's domestic industry is female, most of the ads offering naked cleaning were placed by men. I decided to speak to three of these men to find out what it was all about.
Matt is a well-spoken 18 year-old who describes himself online as a "broke student living in London saving up for a laptop." Is that really true, we wonder? "I really am, I’m absolutely broke!" Matt says. His dad, he tells us, is a single parent in a difficult financial situation. "It's complicated", says Matt, "but I'm not receiving student finances this year.
"He has to support me and he doesn't have the funds. I thought I'd do this to take the load off him."
Matt saw his first client just a few days ago. "This guy in south London booked me for two hours of cleaning. He wanted me to do some ironing — naked of course. He only had eight items, so I took my time and stretched it out to 45 minutes, then there was nothing to do." Was the guy expected anything more? "He was quite handsy. He had the ironing basket behind him, so every time I finished a piece, I put it in the ironing basket, and when I bent over, he'd fondle my dick and arse."
Matt says he asked the client not to touch him, but when he'd finished ironing, the client asked Matt to sit on his lap. "He was fully clothed. He cuddled me a bit, then he was more aggressive, and I told him to calm it down. When he started trying to kiss me, I pulled away and told him no.
"He got very embarrassed. That's when he told me to leave."
Did Matt feel he could say no? "It was very awkward, but I didn't feel like I was being forced. I know you hear these sob stories from 18 year-old girls from broken homes who go on the streets to put themselves through college — it's not like that. I'm doing it of my own will."
Matt's client, who was in his late 30s, had paid him £60 for two hours' cleaning up front. Had Matt told anyone where he was going? "I don't have any friends who'd be sympathetic," he says, "They wouldn't understand why I'm doing this — they'd say get a job in a newsagent."
Matt says he'll continue cleaning naked until he's saved up for a laptop, then, "I might do it a bit more for spending money." But considering the experience he's had, what makes him willing to do it again?
"I understand why it might seem I'm in a vulnerable situation but I don't mind," he says, "I enjoy the exhibitionist aspect of it. I enjoy being naked in situations where it's not socially acceptable to be naked, but it's technically allowed."
Matt describes himself as straight, but says his naked cleaning service is aimed at men. Why's that? "I wouldn't mind cleaning for a woman but I thought there was 0% chance of a woman replying. Men are more open — I tell them I’m bisexual."
So his client did really book him for the ironing? "I think he wanted company and to have a naked boy around. He's probably too embarrassed to admit it."
Ricki is 38 and lives in north London. He started modelling naked for art classes 15 years ago, then, he says, it 'progressed into something more adventurous.' He's now been doing naked cleaning for five years and has regular clients.
"There's a rapport," he says, "they know they can trust me and I get the work done. It's not rocket science, it's a bit of titillation." Like Matt, Ricki describes himself as bisexual. He also has a few female clients, but says he's predominantly booked by men over 40.
Ricki explains the dynamic known as CMNM, (clothed male, naked male). "It's a fetishism for people to be clothed in the company of naked people," he says, "and people like me are comfortable being naked in the company of clothed people."
So whose itch is being scratched when Ricki cleans naked — his own or his client's? "It can be both," he admits.
Ricki says the men who book him aren't necessarily gay, but some may be in denial. "In adolescence," he explains, "I think most guys have feelings they don't know what to make of. They're not sure if the emotions they have for other guys are romantic or sexual. As adults, these guys are using my naked cleaning as a premise to explore those feelings in a safe environment where they're in control."
I'm comfortable with it progressing to something sexual, but that's not what I'm selling. The service I'm selling is my time.
Sometimes the naked cleaning progresses into something more. Says Ricki, "There's eye contact that's more than friendly and body language that indicates what they're looking for, but are too afraid to ask." Other times the client will ask if they can touch, or if they can take Ricki's clothes off themselves. "I'm comfortable with it progressing to something sexual, but that's not what I'm selling — the service I'm selling is my time."
Ricki charges £50 for up to two hours, and £10 for every additional hour. He tells me only one in 20 bookings turn into something sexual, and if it does, "it's not going to cost extra." According to Ricki, it's all about the anticipation: "They enjoy fantasising about actions progressing. They're happier when it doesn't happen, but know it could."
The question is, with all this going on, is he actually doing a proper cleaning job? "Yes, but nothing heavy — I haven't got my head in the oven! It's ironing and hoovering mainly."
Ricki's clients tend to be working from home, "glancing at me in the periphery — it's very voyeuristic.
"I’ll be scrubbing the floor on all fours, so they can get a good look and they'll say things like 'rub it harder.' I take longer doing those tasks, knowing they're enjoying it. They pride themselves on looking and not touching."
The customers tend to be friends of friends and Ricki says he's never had a bad experience. "I'm in a vulnerable state perhaps, but I never feel vulnerable. I'm not a tough guy, but I'm secure in myself and that puts clients at ease. I'm there to be objectified, I'm there to be submissive, but deep within, I am assertive and I wouldn't put up with anything that would make me feel unsafe."
Jay, 36, works full time in accountancy. Like Ricki, Jay started out life modelling for art classes. "I was shy when I was younger, and not confident in myself. I don't know why, but I decided to do life modelling. I liked it and it’s all spun on from there."
It's nice to be appreciated, and desired. It's an ego boost, if you like me enough to pay me to do something naked.
His confidence has increased since he started getting his kit off: "It's nice to be appreciated, and desired. It's an ego boost, if you like me enough to pay me to do something naked."
Jay is straight, but accepts bookings from men as well as women. He's been doing this for a year, and has a handful of clients, most in their 40s. Jays says his clients claim to live alone, "which is strange because some of the places they live in are big family houses and I think, why do you need so many rooms if you live by yourself?
"But there's no sign of any family pictures."
So are the men who book him gay? "Probably bi, or they might just be voyeuristic."
Increased confidence isn't the only reason Jay cleans houses naked. He charges £50 an hour for a minimum of two hours, explaining, "living in London’s expensive, even if you have a full time job. Anything that supplements that is a bonus."
He also enjoys it: "I've got OCD so I like cleaning. People find that weird, but for me, it's therapeutic."
What does Jay think his clients get out of it? "Maybe it’s a power thing — they're dressed and you're not, so in a way you're vulnerable. You're exposed and they're not, so you’re on a different level."
I've got OCD so I like cleaning. People find that weird, but for me, it's therapeutic.
Jay has experienced sexual come-ons from both male and female clients. The men, he says, "will grope me or give me a pat on the bottom. It's a bit weird, but it doesn't bother me. If it went further, I might have to say something."
But he has a different track record with female clients: "If they’re attractive, I do give in — I think, 'well, I am single!'" So does he hope for bookings with attractive women who'll want to take it further? "I don’t expect it, or I'd be going in with a different frame of mind — but I do hope!"
For Jay, the naked cleaning is almost an act of rebellion. "I was brought up in a strict Asian household, it was very reserved. It's only recently that I've come out of my shell and found there’s another side to me. It's like, 'OK, this feels exciting!'"
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