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A Sex Worker Explains How to Make the Most of Dating Apps

"Be direct about what your intentions are."
Image by Guille Faingold via Stocksy

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

Dear Lydia,

I suck at Tinder. I'm a bisexual girl who recently changed my Tinder preference from men to women after having zero luck with any men. I went on a few dates, but they didn't pan out. And everyone else has just been a total dud. So recently I switched to women and updated my profile to be more "female friendly", or whatever that means. So far, no one has matched with me. Do you have any tips for making the most out of these fucking apps? Because I am losing my God damn mind.


Ah yes, been there. Dating women that I met online was far more challenging than what I'd come to expect from men. I once spent hours with a woman on a first date before she placed a hand on my thigh and indicated any type of physical interest. At her request, we saw each other several times before having sex. Our leisurely pace was unfamiliar and drained me of my enthusiasm. Fucking on the first date had always been my modus operandi, and it's a concept I still firmly believe in. Suffice it to say, our acquaintance was brief. I've encountered women of equal directness, but I've found them to be rare.

I preferred OkCupid to Tinder. OkCupid users write an actual bio and profiles list important details like sexual orientation, marital status, whether or not you have children, religion, etc. I encountered people of substance, even while just seeking casual sex. Tinder, or that godforsaken Plenty of Fish, felt like a venue for idiots to mask their idiocy. Either way, the pool for queer women is the smallest.

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

Be direct about what your intentions are. If you're not sure, be honest about that. Don't be surprised if lesbians won't take you seriously on dating apps. They field so much bicuriousity and encounter a shitload of "Unicorn Hunters," which is slang for couples in search of unattached bisexual women to join them. I didn't mind couples who were upfront about it, but some "bisexual" women would treacherously spring that little tidbit on me the night we planned to meet. If you're planning to avoid couples, I suggest plainly stating that in your profile.


You may have better luck frequenting gay establishments. Tell your queer friends that you're on the prowl. If you meet a woman and find her attractive, be brave and say so. Find a way to mention that you're interested in dating women and she'll pick up what you're laying down.

Dear Lydia,

When I was younger I worked for a few years as a sex worker. I moved away from that life, and no one in my family knows about it, except for my now husband. We have a little girl who is now five. I've been thinking a lot recently about telling her, when she's older, about my past. I also fear that someday either she, or her friends, or parents of her friends will find out and she will end up paying for it. Do you recommend sharing this with her one day? How do I protect my daughter from any of the stigma that I've come to fear?

Carrying a secret that you're unashamed of is a heavy burden. I came out as a sex worker to my mother on Christmas because I couldn't maintain another day of silence. For months, I'd offered her half truths and lied by omission. We've never been traditionally close, and the wedge between us had grown larger as I avoided her calls to prevent further deception. I wasn't ashamed of my career choice, but deeply concerned that she'd see a television interview I'd done and feel justifiably betrayed and excluded.

The guilt was searing, and I knew I had to call and come clean before I lost my nerve. I paced around my room at the brothel and chain-smoked out the window as snow fell outside. The moment the words left my mouth, I felt absolved and immediately realized that I'd not given my mother enough credit. This was the conservative woman who supported my protesting of our high school when it chose to remain open on MLK day. The same Christian woman who respects my atheism and has vowed not to give me a religious funeral if I should die before her. On the phone that day, after I'd explained brothel safety and state regulations, her first question was, "Are you happy?" I was. I am.


I came to understand that it's not my place to decide what others are strong enough to handle.

Shame—it's a slow death. Sucking strange dick for money wasn't my regret. It was the secrecy surrounding it. My alcoholism was similar in that I wasn't angry with myself for being sick. The fear was that admitting that I needed help would traumatize my family, who had already been ravaged by addiction. When I got real with myself, I came to understand that it's not my place to decide what others are strong enough to handle. We owe loved ones the opportunity to truly know us and our demons.

I'm glad that your husband knows of your sex work past, but it can be difficult to speak candidly about such things with a partner who loves you. I encourage you to find other confidants, or even a therapist, with whom you can be frank. Sex work requires great sacrifice and takes an unavoidable emotional toll. You owe it to yourself not to suffer in silence. The time will come when it's appropriate for you to share your truth with you daughter. Prepare her now by raising her not to judge the marginalized, and eventually, she will have the opportunity to reflect those virtues you've impressed upon her.

Dear Lydia,

I had sex with my roommate. We still have an eight month lease and another roommate who has no idea. What the hell do I do now?

I completely understand the temptation to fuck someone you see every day. Although I'm betting if you'd waited a few more months, observation of this person's living habits might have deterred you from acting upon it. Familiarity breeds contempt, especially in cohabitation. I'm cringing at the recollection of a former roommate drunkenly shitting herself at our housewarming party. Trust, there was no danger of our ever blurring the line after that event.

You two have created an unfortunate atmosphere where it will now feel awkward to bring home a date. Not just uncomfortable for you, but certainly for prospective dates who will undoubtedly wonder about the nature of your relationship with said roommate anyway. Oy vey. If this was an impulsive mistake, I strongly advise that you communicate that to this person. Request a fresh start and politely set boundaries whenever necessary. Your other roommate will likely figure this out and may have opinions, but you're under no obligation to disclose information or justify your actions.

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Have either of you caught feelings? This will sound puritanical, but if you're considering pursuing a relationship with this person, I propose you find a way to break your lease and move out. Lest you bypass the early stages of romance for instant domestic partnership. Mark my words, no good will come of your dating and living together so quickly. I say this as a romantic idiot who's replaced her furniture six times in the last decade. Remember, nothing is permanent. Not even us.