Can sex work involve real affection or is one or both parties just being played?
I don’t consider whatever feelings I’ve ever had or that have ever been declared to me during sex work ‘true love’, whatever the fuck that is, but I think the euphoria is a blissful experience to be enjoyed while it lasts, made from the chemistry of two people who initially hit it off in the boudoir, and it can grow over time into a friendship. Clients are not really seen by sex workers nowadays as cardboard cutout clients as a whole, and I personally love getting to know them as the individuals they are with their quirks, kinks and sense of humour as we relax into each other’s company. I feel a great deal of fondness for most of the clients which I have a beautiful connection with and often the sentiment is returned. I enjoy it, I think it’s quite natural and I don’t have a problem with it. I’m pretty fickle though, if I get the slightest hint that I am being played, that sweet feeling can instantly dissolve. I consider the suggestion of freebies, (after all I still need to make a living, bills to pay etc), the first sign of this, or asking for favours such as not using protection or whatever.
Some would consider that a sex worker actually feeling affection towards her clients is unprofessional, but sex workers have a right to enjoy their work and one way to do this is to find your clients likable, enjoy their company and naturally in sex work, their sexual desires. In fact, unless you approach sex work completely robotically (“clinically”) it is difficult not to. If you look for the good in people, you will usually find it. It’s no more inappropriate to like ones clients, to a point, as a sex worker, than it is for a counsellor to like his or her clients, or a child care worker to genuinely care for the children in his or her care – in fact for anyone in business to care about and like their clients and want to serve them the best way they can. Obviously these are parallel occupational comparisons, I am not saying that sex workers’ clients necessarily need to have someone to talk to, or to be infantilised, unless that is a particular kink of theirs of course.
I have also heard a couple of clients tell me stories of sex workers they have become attached to over time – everything is rosy, fine and dandy, and then the sex worker will hit a crisis in her life, like a relative will get a health condition and a car will be needed or something like that. I’ve never actually known anyone who has hit up a client for financial help, but when I’ve been told about clients who have helped ladies with “loans”, or been asked to, unsurprisingly it has not worked out well. I do feel that was a bad move, but I was regularly told as a child by a wise elderly lady: “never a lender or a borrower be” so I would be unlikely to do it. It must be really disappointing for a client who thinks they have a nice friend in this understanding, loving sex worker, then she hints she needs some dosh, out of the kindness of his heart he offers to lend it to her, never to be repaid – just to think how I’d feel gives me a sinking feeling – it must hurt. However generally speaking there is no real reason sex workers and clients can’t form honest and affectionate ongoing “friendships,” as defined by themselves, including ones which are mutually beneficial.
When I was a young bimbo, (and my god! What a bimbo I was) I was totally awestruck/lovestruck by a beautiful gay man, without knowing he was gay initially, who was part of an intimidating circle of talented young artists, writers and actors that I happened upon the edge of. They were all brimming with good looks, style and amazingness (they still are) and I felt way out of my comfort zone, not to mention my league. Having been a red-haired dork girl during my childhood, albeit a pretty one, I was unaccustomed to the ways of the cool kids. He and his friends were all so sweet to me despite the fact that I clearly wasn’t his sort and he could have been a total humiliating ass to me as my vulnerable heart dangled on a string before him, just for the laugh of it, but he was far too high-minded for that and we became great friends. I always look back at how graciously he treated my unrequited love and have vowed that should the boot ever be on the other foot, that I would handle the situation with as much magnanimity.
In contrast to the lovely group of people as described above, I also used to know some crims back in the day who actually used to say “kindness is a weakness” and look for any opportunity to rip someone off. I witnessed people being kind enough to welcome them into their houses, where the robbers would be looking around at valuable belongings and casing for weaknesses in the property’s security, in case they decided to come back later and break into the place, that is actually how their thought processes worked and what their conversations would consist of, not that they trusted even each other as far as they could kick them to not rip each other off should they participate in any criminal arrangements together anyway. I think people who misuse the affection other people feel for them are no better really. I have no place for people like that in my life, sex workers who do it, or clients either. My feelings for the moment are genuine, and I would be insulted if anyone was to suggest otherwise, likewise, inspired by my gay friend who I mentioned above, anyone professing such feelings would be treated with the same gentleness and kindness, which I would want to be treated with until the feeling ran its course, as it eventually does. The feelings do not really have real or permanent intentions behind them in a transactional interaction, but they are there as an expression of enjoyment as much as anything.
I don’t see the modern sex worker as just a purveyor of sexual services, but for some clients she is a multi-layered and reliable comfort, like a loving and caring sexual dance partner for now in this part of someone’s life. (That is, if they want it and if they connect. It’s not compulsory either.)