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Ask A Pro: Oral STIs and Throat Swab Protocol

Ask A Pro 1 is a our new column focusing on work and health, intended to share straightforward information about what you can do to keep yourself as safe as possible while on the job. Questions will be answered by sexual health expert Sarah Patterson, M.Ed. (See full bio below.) Questions you’d like to have answered can be sent to sarah.elspeth.patterson (at) gmail (dot) com, or to our info (at) titsandsass address. Full anonymity is guaranteed. 

Dear Ask A Pro,

I’ve been escorting for about six months and I usually don’t require that my clients wear condoms during blowjobs. I’m not having symptoms of anything, but I asked my gynecologist if I could do a test for oral STIs to be safe and she said I didn’t need it. She knows I’ve had some unprotected oral sex, but she doesn’t know about my job. I think she was trying to save me money but should I go back and tell her it’s important to me to get it? How at risk am I from giving bareback blowjobs anyway? I’ve heard that spitting isn’t much safer than swallowing but does that make a difference?

Sincerely,

Swab Seeker

Your 2013 Stripper Horoscope

image via tatguy.com
image via tatguy.com

Even if you’re not a fan of astrology, you have to admit it’s at least an easy way to relate to your 18-year-old coworkers who just graduated high school (besides asking if they like Justin Bieber) or making small talk with an awkward customer while waiting for the next song to start. If you’re into astrology, then you’re in luck. We at Tits and Sass want you to wish you a happy and prosperous new year with some work-centric horoscopes from Miss Kenny

Aries: In 2013, it’s your time to release yourself from the bonds of strict planning and setting rigid goals. Maybe you’ve decided that you’ll do double shifts so you can buy a house (or an alpine white Range Rover). Maybe you’ve decided this is the year your longtime boyfriend BETTER propose to you. Maybe you’ve decided to quit the industry altogether and focus on getting your real estate license so you can be as fabulous as Fredrik Eklund (LOVE HIM!). The point is, I know you’re ambitious, but this year you can ease up just a smidgen—stop to smell the flowers, so to speak. You’ll find that when you take the scenic route you discover more about yourself than you would in the fast lane.

Taurus: This year, let’s try to see the good in all things and people (i.e. douchebag customers). As the bull tends to be a bit misanthropic, I think this is a good time to not allow those guys who wear sunglasses indoors to get on your nerves so much. You lean towards glass half empty, so this year try to alter that damaging mindset. Use your wit and humor to make more money, even if you have to smile through gritted teeth every now and again. To the victor belong the spoils. So in 2013, make yourself the victor in every situation even when face-to-face with the cocky jerk drowning in Axe, bragging about his Camaro.

Being Nice to the Professionally Naughty: Holiday Gifts for Sex Workers

from glukkake’s etsy shop

Having trouble stuffing the sexiest stockings on your Christmas list? We’re here to help by sharing with you items both useful and fanciful on our collective wishlists.

Vagina Dentata Glow-in-the-Dark Underwear: I’d be so thrilled to see someone wear these at the club. How many customers would even notice? These would be perfect to wear while dancing to Lady Gaga’s “Teeth.—Bubbles

James Deen: for a few hours, no cameras allowed. — Charlotte

Spa Services: Even if your favorite sex worker is not a girly girl who keeps regular professional hair/nail appointments, there isn’t anyone among us who wouldn’t like a good massage. Gift certificates to a quality spa are a no-lose gift idea.—Bubbles

The Name Game: Privacy in the Cyber Age

The pseudonym is perhaps one of the most titillating aspects of sex work. Non-sex workers are intrigued by the names we choose to define our personas; there are a million little devices to help them even create their own hypothetical sex worker name. Names can seem insignificant or interchangeable, but over time they become such an intensely personal, integral part of a worker’s identity. Sex work is already taboo, so picking a name has limitless bounds—we can come up with the most absurd, unconventional, socially unacceptable creation. No wonder civilians are so captivated; we get the opportunity to let our freak flag fly high and call it whatever the fuck we want.

It’s a common misconception that sex workers operate under different names because we’re ashamed of our work. The issue comes up even more as sex workers have carved out a space in the world of social media. Since many types of sex work are illegal, sex work (hell, even sex blogging) carries a huge stigma, and most of us would like to create a space where our clients can’t track down our parents or partners. Creating a fantasy is part of our job description; we may be a client’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean we stop having private lives.

Is The Customer Always Right? On Professionalism and Boundaries, Part 1

summer-august-lazy-work-seasonal-ecards-someecardsBelow, four in-person sex working professionals discuss how to maintain boundaries while keeping clients happy, the most common problems that cause conflicts with customers, and what they think professionalism means in the context of a career plagued by stigma and illegality. Part two will be posted tomorrow. The women weighing in are Lori Adorable, Amanda Brooks1, Charlotte Shane, and Tizzy Wall.2

Charlotte: Sex work is very much my primary career, so I tend to think of it as I would any other personal service job, meaning I want a client to “get his money’s worth.” I want him to have the experience he wants to have. But I’ve also developed a pretty strong sense of boundaries over the years, and there are a lot of things I don’t allow and wouldn’t be willing to do no matter how much a client complains or cajoles. Do you think about your work in terms of satisfying the client? How do you negotiate that “the client is always right” mentality (yours or theirs!) with your own boundaries and preferred way of doing things?

Amanda: I’ve never felt I had to do anything the client or strip club customer wanted just because they were paying me. Quite the opposite. (I guess this means I have an “attitude”). However, I do feel they’re paying me to have a good time or have a need met. I consider it my job to give them my full attention and find a way to make them happy. I like making clients happy because it pleases me and offers personal satisfaction in my work. By “happy,” I don’t mean I do everything they’ve ever dreamed of. There’s always a middle ground.

Of course there have been times when I’ve shut off that inner voice and allowed a boundary to be pushed because of the money — but it always snaps back into place naturally, damn the consequences. I’m not someone who responds well to being told what to do or having my sense of privacy invaded. Add my stubborn refusal to fake it and it becomes a real mess, especially when I end up doing something I really don’t want (like have sex) just because I know it’s expected. Not to derail this into issues of consent; this is about personal satisfaction and playing a particular role that doesn’t fit me as well as it used to. As most service-industry workers probably feel, the less happy I am, the more I should be paid.