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A Sex Worker Explains How to Get Over Your STD Paranoia

Though I don't keep track, I've had hundreds of lovers and have never experienced an STI or a pregnancy scare.
Photo by HOWL via Stocksy

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

Dear Lydia,

I am sure you get a lot of questions about your worst experiences at work. I'm more curious about your best experiences. Can you describe your best client? What makes a customer a good one? Is there a way to know they'll be one of the good ones before the clothes come off?



Dear Xavier,

Regular patrons of Nevada brothels refer to themselves as "mongers." They're a tight-knit online community that hosts an annual awards ceremony, presenting titles such as Courtesan of the Year. Bonding over paid sex might sound crude, but it's surprisingly familial. These loyal clients are our bread and butter.

My most beloved monger is a man called Chicago Bob. He's frequented Nevada brothels for decades and his patronage predates the mandatory condom law of 1988. It's fair to say that Bob has seen some shit. We met over a year ago, and have developed a deep, trusting friendship. I don't "party" (brothel lingo for sex) with Bob, though we did negotiate once when I was a prima-donna rookie. He wanted the girlfriend experience aka GFE, which I abhor and never offer. Our negotiation had a charming, natural banter. After failing to reach an agreement, Bob stomped out of my room in an adorable huff. Our chemistry was palpable enough that I knew it would be the first of many encounters.

Such courtesy costs nothing, but buys an old horn dog everything.

Over time we've developed an unlikely alliance and have been referred to as an odd couple. The steely dominatrix and the "old horn dog" (his words). We're opportunists on either side of the coin. Bob unabashedly seeks the most bang for his buck, and I'd pluck the gold fillings from a dead man's mouth. He's friendly with my monger clients, and I know which ladies in the house will agree to his terms. When holding court at the bar, we quietly advise one another on how to maximize negotiations.


Chicago Bob would caution that sex workers have an asshole tax, so he's flattering toward every woman he encounters, even if she does not interest him sexually. Part of his gratuity after partying is a glowing online review, which generates more business for the lady he's visited. He even does this for women he's frequented over twenty times. Such courtesy costs nothing, but buys an old horn dog everything.

Read More: A Sex Worker Explains How to Be More Confident in Bed

Dear Lydia,

I can't shake the election results. How do my partner and I help each other and soothe each other during this dark as fuck time? We both feel isolated and alone and terrified—what now?


Dear Angela,

I know Election Night felt like a funeral. Take comfort in knowing this will undoubtedly inspire subversion within our cultural landscape. Like anything else, radical social change is born out of necessity.

Consider the French Revolution, before which existed a thousand years of absolute monarchy. During the reign of Louis XIV, French aristocracy were exempt from paying taxes. Unlike peasants, who were required to both pay taxes and mandatory tithes to the church. Eventually poverty prompted the masses to revolt and with that brought the Age of Enlightenment, the cornerstone of liberalism. Feminism, civil rights, and separation of church and state would likely not exist without the French peasants who turned their back on the establishment. Louis XVI, another conservative wig bearing tyrant, was found guilty of high treason and met his fate in the guillotine. He was the only King of France ever to be executed. Imagine what an impossible feat that must have seemed during his 17 year reign of social inequality.


What I'm saying, Angela, is that hope is not lost. Remind your partner of this. Lay in bed together and read about Nuremberg Trials. Remembering the prosecution of Nazi leadership for war crimes always comforts me.

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Dear Lydia,

I am paranoid about STDs. So much so that casual sex terrifies me. I guess I'm not terrified enough to stop it completely, but whenever I have sex with someone new I convince myself I have every STD under the sun despite the fact that I always make my partners use a condom. My train of thought sounds something like this: What about the stuff around the condom? What if stuff sneaks out the sides? Balls?? Precum?? They didn't have a condom on when I gave oral, etc…. Because of my paranoia, I avoid sleeping with someone new until I've been tested after my last sexual encounter. How do you avoid STDs so effectively? Are they a constant worry for you or are you satisfied with the prevention methods that exist?




Your fears are not unfounded. Those of us born in the 1970's and early 1980's experienced a traumatic sexual education, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned us of a new sexually transmitted autoimmune disease. The understanding of reproduction, or god forbid pleasure, was skimmed over in favor of the sentiment that if you didn't use a condom, you could die. Those conversations were somehow more terrifying than duck and cover drills in classrooms.

Though I don't keep track, I've had hundreds of lovers and have never experienced an STI or a pregnancy scare (The latter, I believe to be my crowning achievement). At the risk of appearing smug, I've known very few people who can say the same. I attribute my unblemished record to never allowing men to ejaculate inside of me. Not once. Not while madly in love. Not as a blackout drunk. I know this because lovers would later remark upon my forceful insistence, even though I was completely plastered. As a sex worker, and a woman who once sought pleasure from countless ne'er do wells, this contraceptive rigidity has probably saved my life.

Perhaps your own pack of alcohol soaked baby wipes beside the bed will put your mind at ease.

Before sexually engaging clients at the brothel, we perform something known as a dick check (DC). The DC is a visual scan of the entire genital area in search of sores, warts, signs of itching, etc. We also squeeze the head of the penis to investigate discharge. Only pre-ejaculate, which is clear and colorless, should be released. This is followed by an alcohol soaked baby wipe, which is excruciating for someone with an STI. I consider that a consolation prize for lost wages if he's deemed unsafe. Perhaps your own pack of alcohol soaked baby wipes beside the bed will put your mind at ease.