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A Sex Worker Explains How She Separates Her Work from Her Sex Life

"I fear I've become the Colonel Kurtz of Nevada brothels," and other fun insights into age-play, limp millennials, and romance.
The Age via Getty Images

Lydia Faithfull is a full-time sex worker at the Alien Cathouse brothel in Nevada. She specializes in domination, humiliation, and good conversation. She refuses to kiss for money.

Dear Lydia,

How do you separate your sex work from your personal, intimate life? Do you have any mental compartmentalizations you adhere to? I imagine that after a while of being in this line of work, you've likely created a mental method of processing your clients and situations, but has there ever been a particularly harrowing or overbearing experience you've had with a client that you felt you just couldn't shake? And if so, what was it?




Dear Nosey,

Sex work is something I've only done while single. My romantic relationships are deeply monogamous, filled with matching tattoos and epic love letters signed in blood. I have never cheated. Nor would I want a partner that was accepting of my fucking strangers for money.

After a particularly torturous breakup, I vowed to have at least one year of emotional celibacy. I would no longer have casual sex or romantic pursuits. Sex was to remain strictly business. Eventually, I quit my square job and left Portland to work in a legal Nevada brothel. As I awaited the doctor's clearance on my first day, I laid by the kidney shaped swimming pool and cried my eyes out. Those rare, happy tears. I'd never felt so unburdened. My entire life was pressure until that point. For months, grief had devoured me by way of burning stomach ulcers and anxiety induced night sweats. That morning by the pool, everything drained from my body. This was my fresh start. Neither my ex nor my family knew of my whereabouts. It was like being in the Witness Protection Program and it was beautiful. I knew I had saved my own life.

Sex work is something I've only done while single. My romantic relationships are deeply monogamous, filled with matching tattoos and epic love letters signed in blood.

Recently (and without judgement), a male friend inquired as to whether sex work continues to be a healthy decision for me. He drew a comparison between my work and that of an MMA fighter enduring repeated blows to the head. The consequence of a quid pro quo relationship with men is misandry (and I don't mean a kitschy mug of male tears). Try as I might, there is no compartmentalizing it. I've known and loved extraordinary men, but my daily interactions are not with those enlightened dudes. In answer of your question, there hasn't been a single isolated experience that shook me. It's more that I'm gazing into a sexual abyss that now gazes back. I fear I've become the Colonel Kurtz of Nevada brothels.


Dear Lydia,

I'm 20 years old and have recently started dating a man 17 years my senior. We've experimented with role-play for a while now—describing loving fantasies as well as less orthodox scenarios, but lately, he's been toying with the idea of age play a little more than I'm used to. I think it's sexy when he calls me "little girl" and I like that he wants me to call him "daddy." I'm too embarrassed to tell any of my friends about this because they are already weirded out by our age difference. But do you think this might be a sign that he's only into me because I'm young and maybe wishes I was even YOUNGER.


Dolores Hayes

Dear Dolores,

I'm going to get flamed for saying so, but I don't love this age gap. Though I completely understand how appealing it must be for you. Many of your twenty year old male peers live at home with mothers who fold their underwear and the ones that don't can be found rolling their own cigarettes and eating ramen in what often resembles a men's hostel. Your sophisticated older boyfriend has a mattress off the floor, probably some bookshelves, and can afford to take you for sushi. Don't get me wrong, you absolutely deserve a man that's got his shit together but I must ask, aside from sex with a woman nearly half his age, what does a 37 year old man stand to gain from this relationship?

At thirty-four, I often feel like a cantankerous dried husk of a woman. I've experienced death, survived addiction, and sought therapy. The universe has leveled my ass tenfold. Therefore, I cannot fathom dating a twenty year old (or anyone that's been sheltered). I have no doubt that you're mature for your age, but your struggles are likely not the hardships of adulthood. I would imagine that your boyfriend wants someone who isn't going to challenge him, as women closer to his age likely would. He probably appreciates your sense of adventure and the lack of obligation in your life, while his female contemporaries are career focused (or are traveling with a covered wagon full of emotional baggage as i am).


Then he actually took out his phone and pulled up a porn video to watch as we got down to business. I felt immense pity for that kid.

The age-play and experimenting with taboos are wonderful and I encourage you to continue to explore your sexuality with people who make you feel safe. I don't believe your boyfriend is predatory because he likes to be referred to as "Daddy". Not being a predator doesn't make him an ideal partner though. I'm not going to suggest you stop seeing this man, but I do urge you to befriend and socialize with men in their mid twenties. I also believe you're doing yourself a disservice by not confiding in your female friends. If you're unable to verbalize what you're doing with this man, perhaps you're in over your head.

Dear Lydia,

I am porn-positive, especially because I watch a lot of it, but lately, I've been beginning to lose the ability to imagine anything but stills from xHamster and Pornhub when I masturbate. I have a boyfriend, too, and sometimes, during sex, images of what I watched that day—or three months ago—will flash through my mind. Is porn decreasing my ability to think about sex in an imaginative way? Should I stop?



Dear Jenna,

Porn is pretty hardcore now, isn't it? We used to feel hot and bothered observing penetration, but we've become desensitized. Choking, slapping, facials, and golden showers have become standard and inevitably once they become old hat, we'll up the ante even further to other extremes.

I don't have a moral objection to porn but too much of anything is obviously a bad idea. Last winter at the brothel, I had sex with a young man that was in his early twenties and probably a Lake Tahoe trust fund baby. After a couple false starts, he admitted that he couldn't stay hard unless he were watching porn and that it was a source of embarrassment in his dating life. Then he actually took out his phone and pulled up a porn video to watch as we got down to business. I felt immense pity for that kid.

My recommendation to you, Jenna, is that you consider the porn images flashing through your mind while you're fucking your boyfriend. What makes them so appealing? For example, if you're imagining a girl on girl scene, maybe that's something you'd enjoy in the flesh and can be incorporated into your sex life. Try using porn educationally by watching it with your partner. Talk about scenarios and sexual acts that appeal to you and bring them off the screen and into your bed.