As a sex worker, I assume you've seen some shit. Is there anything left that people do in the bedroom or ask for that still surprises you?
You're correct, we're pretty unflappable by nature. Particularly in regard to fetish requests. A coworker of mine was paid $10,000 to squat over a man and shit on his face as he made sweet love to himself. I don't care to examine my own predilections too closely, but delight in the psychological motivation of others. In a safe environment, kink can be incredibly healing.
The best surprises are moments of genuine intimacy that happen organically, when someone can make me laugh or I'm charmed by them.
Other taboo requests include castration fetishists who have begged for the removal of their testicles. Enticing as that sounds, I've yet to take anyone up on it. Until a lawyer assures me that I'm legally protected, I will likely steer clear. Men have also pleaded to consume used condoms from my garbage can, but that's another question of personal liability. Though I'm largely unfazed by the filthy taboo requests, I do have hard limits. Roman showers (named for the frequent induction of vomiting at Roman feasts) are not on the menu, for example. I have a healthy relationship with food and intend to keep it that way. I'm also vehemently opposed to foot worship. Or any type of worship from a stranger, for that matter. I find it both cloying and insincere. Sexual terrorism is more my speed.
The best surprises are moments of genuine intimacy that happen organically, when someone can make me laugh or charm me. Lately, I've felt anesthetized and unchallenged in my professional work, and wonder if the personal sacrifices I've made have been worthwhile. Those rare moments of unexpected connection with a client reignite my ambition and remind me to press forward to better days ahead.
What do people get wrong about sex work? I guess people probably get a lot of things wrong, but is there anything that people often say or assume about being a sex worker that is blatantly false?
The stereotype that sex workers are diseased, addicted to drugs, and lack education forces many into vulnerable isolation. Consequently, it's become unpopular to publicly admit that many of us had a shitty childhood. It feels treasonous to contribute to the already poisonous stereotype. I've witnessed countless yuppies roll their eyes and remark that most strippers have been molested, as if those women should be ashamed of having been victimized. So where does that leave us? Unable to honor our truth because the mistreatment we may have suffered in our pasts makes people uncomfortable.
Of course, the flip side would be those who wish to rescue us, the "Captain Save-a-Ho" type, if you will. I've found that rescuers look for exploitation where there is none. At the brothel where I work, it's common for people to tour our facility and show surprise at how clean and lovely it is. Then they'll lean in and whisper with wide-eyed concern, "Do they ever allow you to leave?" When I have the life force, I patiently explain why their question is insulting. The implication being that we're so tragic and ignorant that we'd willingly subject ourselves to the degrading scenario they've envisioned. I would imagine these are people who binge watch To Catch a Predator and Law and Order: SVU. What puzzles me, is that if they're under the impression that we're being mistreated, why have they come to gawk at us?
Stigma prevents us from confiding in those outside of our business. It prevents us from reporting crimes to police, illnesses to doctors, and depression to loved ones and psychiatrists. We know that our credibility is shot the moment full disclosure is given—often making one a prime target for a smooth-talking pimp. It's a vicious circle; rescuers create stigma, which secludes us from society and leaves us susceptible to predators. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, right?
If I wanted to have sex with a sex worker, how do I know someone isn't a cop? Are there signs I should look for? And what about vice versa—what are the methods sex workers use to try to tell if someone is or isn't a police officer?
Cops respond to escort ads on sites like Backpage, Eros, Cityvibe, Humaniplex, etc. They want you to verbalize sexual activity that you're willing to do in exchange for money and typically they request to see you immediately. Many sex workers refuse same-day appointments for that very reason.
Believe it or not, several states offer something called an "escort permit" but I've known several women who've purchased one and have been arrested anyway.
I would encourage anyone of means to operate within the confines of the law and partake in transactional sex where it is legal.
I would encourage anyone of means to operate within the confines of the law and partake in transactional sex where it is legal. The expense is greater, but in addition to sex, you're purchasing the peace of mind that comes with safety and discretion. I recognize that requires a certain amount of disposable income, but it's absolutely the safest bet for both the sex worker and client.