sex workers’ relationships

That worshipful look we hope they’re directing towards you.

You’ve met that new person, and boy, are they different! They aren’t an unemployed boyfriend living off of your lap-dance money or a girlfriend making snide remarks about you supporting the patriarchy. They’re different from the partners assuming you’re always down to fuck or the ones constantly asking how much you make. No. This new person is so enlightened. They get it! They’ve got some neoliberal politics, are woke as fuck, and they told you on the first date that they are 100% a sex worker ally.

Clearly, they are perfect.

Until they aren’t. Because as many sex workers can tell you, it’s often the open minded, polyamorous, sex positive folks who will smash your heart the most. It’s harder to see coming from them, though, because unlike the usual whorephobic partner, their red flags tend to be a lot less obvious until hindsight kicks in.

I’m here to share my dating history with you and let you know about some warning signs you should look out for in your new and improved sweetheart.

1) They won’t hear a bad word about Moulin Rouge (or other anti-sex worker media)
I use Moulin Rouge as an example because I have literally been brought to tears by two ex-girlfriends who refused to admit how problematic it was, but this can apply to any tragic hooker media. Do they view everything else they watch through a feminist lens only to tell you to “just enjoy it” when you mention not wanting to see dead sex workers? That’s a problem.

If your SO laughs about having problematic faves but doesn’t see violence against sex workers as a problem, then that person is a problem. They’re not seeing fictional sex workers as people, and if they don’t see the fictional ones as people, I guarantee there’s at least a small part of them that doesn’t see you as a person either.

2) You can only have good days
It’s perfectly fine to be annoyed by your job! It’s total bullshit that our capitalist society forces people to give up years of their lives being unhappy in a workplace that devalues them. Especially when people are just trudging along, trying to make ends meet as cost of living soars!

Except when it comes to you. You’re a healer. Your work is so important. You provide this amazing service that everyone really needs to respect. WHAT DO YOU MEAN A CLIENT CALLED YOU A BITCH?

Does your partner expect you to console them after a long day at the office but act distant when you talk about time wasters? Have they maybe flat-out said, “I prefer to only hear about work when it’s good’?

That’s not support. That’s someone with a glamorized view of sex work who wants to leech cool points out of their association with you. Having a porn star girlfriend is really neat, until you have to hear about unsafe shoots. It’s so cool dating a stripper, until she tells you about a guy smacking her ass so hard she had him kicked out.

See, if you’re on top of everything and always flush with cash and 100% job satisfied, then they are too. They get to live vicariously through all the pros of the job without having to think of any of the cons. Bonus: the partners who only look for the best case scenario in your work are often also the ones who will tell you how much they wish they could be a sex worker. They’re the ones who might even ask you for an in, but who will never take the plunge and actually do it. As long as you keep up their dream job fantasy, they never have to deal with the reality that they’d never cut it as a whore.

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boundaries2Dear Tits and Sass,

I’ve been a worker for around ten years now and have been full time for around the latter half of that. Navigating having a partner while being a worker is nothing new to me. However, I’ve been with my current partner for around a year and over the last few months I’ve started to worry about possible whorephobia and manipulation around my work.

A few of my regulars have become friends over the years, a few of whom I’d see socially (like going for dinner/drinks tagged onto a booking), communicate with socially (off topic chat and not just admin style arranging bookings kinda contact) and when this has happened, it’s been driven by me and stayed well within my comfort zone. But now, these long-term regs are backing off because I’ve created distance due to my partner’s difficulties around it, and I’ve not provided them with a solid reason why. I don’t know what to say to them other than being busy, but with no explanation a few of my crying manbaby clients have taken it personally and I’ve lost their custom!

I lost another client because activities happened during a session which were outside of what my partner and I had agreed (which was down to miscommunications and misunderstandings, rather than me deliberately ignoring anything that we’d agreed). The culmination of this happened when my partner had overheard something while I was seeing my client at my incall space, and didn’t like the sound of it so looked through the air vent to see what was happening.

I felt sick that she had been doing so without my prior consent, but obviously she was angry that I hadn’t respected our rules and it must’ve been a pretty tough way for her to find out. I heard doors slamming and told my client to wait a moment, and paused the booking to go and talk with her. I tried to calm the situation and said I would finish up with him so we could talk properly after. This wasn’t good enough, and she walked in on him, shouted at him, and then stormed out. I didn’t know what to do so I apologised, gave him his money back and then asked him to leave. Another regular lost.

Most of my clients are older gents but one is younger, and as such I adopt a more casual, familiar tone with him. My partner read through my work e-mails  and at first, said “I know it’s work, you’re flirting on the internet for money,” which felt accusatory but at least partially understanding. But later, she said that she didn’t like the way I spoke with him and she didn’t want me to see him anymore.

And then there’s my most frequent regular, who did become emotionally needy and made attempts at boundary pushing—but the situation was manageable and still worthwhile from my point of view. She genuinely felt he was dangerous and even though I wasn’t sure if I agreed or not, I did take her concerns seriously and I did stop seeing him.

Since I’d been working for so long, I’d almost built up enough regs to not need to screen for new clients—something I’d been working towards and hoping for, for quite some time! But now, it looks like my regs—newer and older—are where the issues lurk. I won’t stop being a worker for the sake of my relationship, but at the same time, I do want to respect her boundaries so that we can both feel safer and happier about it.

She considers me to be financially well off, and as such she thinks I’m secure enough to be able to cherry pick only the best or easiest bookings. I’m not doing survival SW, but I do flex my work practices around how much money I need at any given point. She struggles to comprehend why I see certain clients/permit certain activities when I “don’t have to”, and the only reason she can find is that I’m apparently greedy and money-obsessed. In reality, her comfort zone around SW is different to mine and on top of that, I’m far more of a workaholic. But when she is critical/questioning of certain things that I do with clients, it makes me feel like she’s being judgmental and whorephobic.

Ultimately I’m wondering if the issue is with her lack of trust in me, or if it’s to do with me being unreasonable in the way I work, or if it’s her being controlling and critical in ways that are unfair or even emotionally abusive. I do respect her right to tell me how she feels about my work, and I do want to accommodate her as much as possible, but when she gives me ultimatums then I worry that it’s gone too far.

Sincerely,

Overwhelmed

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Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) proposing to his sex worker girlfriend Vanessa Carslyle (Morena Baccarin) in Deadpool.

Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) proposing to his sex worker girlfriend Vanessa Carlysle (Morena Baccarin) in Deadpool.

When I first saw Deadpool on Valentine’s Day with my civilian partner, I remember leaving the theater on cloud nine, sure that my relationship could withstand anything. The movie made me feel like my job was not an obstacle to be overcome by romantic interests but a core part of me that could be embraced. I remember thinking that Morena Baccarin never had to go back to Joss Whedon to play a laterally whorephobic space courtesan because this film had allowed her to play an amazing sex worker.

I rewatched the film for this review and I have to say that this time it hurt. Watching Vanessa and Wade’s relationship unfurl on screen hit me hard.

Not because it was poorly written, though. Quite the opposite.

My partner and I broke up less than two weeks ago and watching this movie only reminded me of better times. Because Baccarin as Vanessa is awesome and her relationship with the titular hero is everything I have ever wanted from a story about a guy dating a sex worker. And it also represented everything that I wanted from being dated as one, with the addition of bad guys, bullets, and the breaking of the fourth wall.

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(image via Flickr user frankieleon)

(image via Flickr user frankieleon)

My BF is a former client. When I first met him I was in my early 30s and really popular. I saw him once or twice… I missed a couple appointments and he stopped seeing me.

Over the years my business slowed down. I operated UTR, mostly relying on regulars…After almost eight years my client who would become my BF contacted me for a date. I didn’t remember him, but he showed me an old review he did about me back then on one of the boards. He started seeing me twice a week. We did some overnighters and we started spending social time together. He was open-minded and generous. At the time, I was barely making it. He started paying for dates in advance. He signed a lease for me and he wanted to move in.

I liked him, but I was still escorting. I wanted him to help me, but I wasn’t willing to give up my freedom. He said he could deal with me not living with him and me continuing to work. He was OK as long as we still saw each other regularly.

[But] after a few months, it was clear that the relationship was really stressing him out. There was tension between us around me not operating securely enough. He tried to give me instructions about running my business. After some arguments, he finally conceded that I had been doing this for a long time and that I knew how to take care of myself.

He never asked me to quit, but I knew every time I told him that I had an appointment it caused him pain. Bottom line, I told him I was retiring. He was so happy. I told him I would go to school and get my education.

So for nearly two years I have been lying to him. I did go to school, but my school closed down. I took down my old contact information, but my review site is still up with all the old information on it. I changed my stage name and I have been operating UTR for nearly two years. He still pays my rent but threatens to cut me off unless we live together. He looks for me occasionally on the boards, but my new name protects me and he wants to believe me.

He loves me. I love him like my generous uncle. His money is not endless and he wants a commitment or he is going to cut me loose. I have mixed feelings. He has been good to me and he has given me a lot. I have a five-year-old. My BF has been generous and kind to her.

I’m getting older, but I think if I was more public I would still have a good five to eight years to make money. Should I give him a break and let him go while he still has some money left?

Sincerely,

A

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(Photo by Flickr user notsogoodphotography)

(Photo by Flickr user notsogoodphotography)

I’m a pro domme who also sometimes does full-service work. My partner of seven years and I are thinking about trying for a kid, but I’m worried about the custody issues that might come up because of what I do for work if he and I were ever to split up, or if I got arrested, or if anything else went wrong. I trust my boyfriend, and I don’t anticipate our stable relationship breaking up anytime soon, but you never know. He’s a white collar professional, while I’ve never held a straight job: I know which one of us would look better in court. What should sex workers with children know about child protective services and how best to keep their kids?

Anxious about the future,

Sarah

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