Loving relationships: can a sex worker have it all?

“I loved you since I knew ya, I wouldn’t talk down to ya”…*

I’ve known sex workers since I began working as a teenager who have been in long term relationships with people since before they were sex workers, as well as relationships which started while they were sex workers with their clients and with men who were not their clients, and obviously relationships which began after they stopped being sex workers.  Relationships and searching for love is what some of us do or attempt to do.  Some work out, some don’t.  Some men don’t even realize their partners are or once were sex workers.

It’s complicated.

Regarding relationships, I can only be objective (or can I?) about the ones I’ve had.  And I’ve had to conclude that it’s not a good idea for me to attempt one as a working girl without laying all my cards on the table about who I am and what I do.

Generally it starts off positively. A man is suddenly in the seeming reality of his sexual fantasies: a sexually awake woman whose boudoir behavior screams “yes yes yes!” when in the past his sex life had been reduced to “no, no, no” from his partner whenever an attempt was made to get intimate.  Ever wanted to try this?  The sky is the limit, he is with an open-minded professional now as opposed to an unenthusiastic amateur.  It’s amazing how the mind can transform someone ordinary into someone scintillating because the lady is supposed to know what she is doing due to having done it so much before, and professionally.

A recent attempt at a relationship had the dude at the start saying that he found it a real turn on that other men paid to fuck me when he could get it for free.  At the end he was saying things like “I wish I could afford to free you from sex work!” But how did he get the idea that sex work is something I need to be freed from? As our differences in perception of sex work became apparent it caused a lot of difficulty.

I do actually enjoy what I do and I’m not ready to give it up yet. An issue with my last partner was that I admitted I really like the variety of fucking lots of men for money.  Obviously I am going to do my best to find men who pay me for sex as attractive as I can so I can get the most fun out of my job, and believe me, it isn’t that difficult with my clients.  It is rare that I get someone where I can’t find something rather hot about them, men are such beguiling creatures when they are naked and horny I find, particularly when they are in the mood to please.  It seems that sex workers enjoying fucking other men can become a dealbreaker in relationships. I wonder if this is an issue for partners of gynecologists?  Do they mind that their partners rather like to look at other women’s vaginas?

It’s the nature of relationships that as the rose-tinted glasses lose their pink pigmentation, fault is found with ones partner. The sexy mouth painted in cock-sucking red (my personal shade is Ruby, a matt lipstick by the brand MAC for anyone passing through duty-free who wishes to collect a small gift for me) soon becomes a tiresomely trashy shade of unnatural lip. The sensual sex-partner becomes a whore to be embarrassed about, even when no one else is necessarily aware of how she occupies herself occasionally.  It’s as if being “just a sex worker” makes a person less than nice.  And probably any loving feelings she may or may not profess to have are not worth anything either.

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When you’re all gooey in the treacle of the early stages of a new relationship, sex work can seem a bit like a perverse infidelity before one gets ones head around it, so one way to counter this impression and lessen the eminence and responsibility of whorishness while letting the partner enter into the sindustry as a co-conspirator is to demonise the clients in conversation with ones partner, but to do that means convincing oneself of same and thereby risking less job-satisfaction – the sword is surely double-edged at this point, which is why I hate to be around moaners, nit-pickers and those who simply can’t keep secrets about their clients. These attitudes are contagious, but maybe there is this belief: it surely isn’t so bad to be in love with a sex worker if she doesn’t actually enjoy interacting intimately with other naked men. Therefore occasionally I wonder how partners and husbands of sex workers feel when they read particularly graphic reviews of said sex worker’s performances and pleasure with her clients? Does it cause jealousy if they suspect there is any truth to it?  Or has their sex-worker partner convinced them it was all just fake, fake, fake with every client in order to spare the feelings of the sex-worker’s lover?  Is there a happy middle ground?

It is a big ask for a man to graciously accept that his partner is willingly being intimate with other men as a conscious career choice at this point in her life story, and full credit to those amazing partners of sex workers who remain supportive of and loving towards their sex working partners without ever throwing it in their faces as the ultimate insult during arguments.  I think it takes an extraordinary person to truly be ok with or even offer practical help (ever tried to erect a flat-packed bed?) to his sex working significant other so she can make her living by doing something which couples jealously guard as something to be kept for them alone.  To make matters more stressful, partners have to deal with ignorant attitudes, by some who consider that men who love sex workers are there for one reason only: to be “living off her,” or worse, “pimping” his loved one.  Surely those who hold this belief have no understanding of what it is like to truly accept a woman for who she is.

A fantastic Australian partner of a sex worker produced a great resource for anyone who is in that position.  (I found out about this through the excellent Australian radio show for sex workers and clients, The Vixen Hour).  Another great resource called Ho Lover, which contains amazing information for friends and lovers of sex workers, has also been produced by “a white queer trans-guy of mongrel class background” (with “amazing feedback and contributions from Juliet November, Lusty Day, Scarlet Alliance, Vanessa Lash, MVT and various anonymous others”).  Another resource I would recommend for anyone interested in being supportive of sex workers is “Every Ho I Know Says So.”

As for me I’ve decided to keep things simple and avoid entangling myself emotionally for now, and I certainly don’t believe in Cinderella sex work stories anyway. Never say never though, who knows what is around the corner? I’m just enjoying this life for the ride, and at the moment the ride has the exciting kind of ups and downs.

* For a lovelier version of the song Roxanne featuring the sexiest of the Marsallis brothers (Branford, in my opinion) on a saxophone which slightly resembles a clarinet, click here and also recommended is another more mellow version, which was recorded live in Tuscany on the evening of 11 September, 2011 with a rather poignant comment at the end of the song in light of the events in New York of earlier in that day (9/11).

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