As I explained to the sexual health nurse at the clinic during my bimonthly STI screening, there is a difference between how I approach professional sex and personal sex. During a professional sex session, I act as a sort of facilitator of erotic exploration. I am focused on the client and on what he or she wants and needs in the moment. While I do not cross lines that put my safety or mental health at risk, I do not need to be thrilled by the experience. While there are times, fairly often, when my erotic tastes and those of my clients match up, they don’t need to for me to feel like a session was successful. There is room for affection, genuine warmth, personal conversation, and caring within a professional sex session. I feel a lot of affection for my clients. It is special to be able to work with someone’s sexuality. It is a very sacred, vulnerable and complicated part of what makes us human.
Personal sex is a bit different. For one, it takes a little longer for me to take a lover to bed than a client. There has to be a connection, a meeting of the minds usually, for me to be interested. During sex with a lover, I am an equal participant. I can help them explore their erotic selves, but I expect them to do the same for me. Since I entered sex work, I have become a lot more selective about who I share my bed with on my own time. No longer driven by a turbocharged libido screaming at me to JUST GET LAID ALREADY WITH THE FIRST WILLING PERSON, I feel more clearheaded.
The funny thing about it is, during my teens and early twenties, the time in my life when I imperfectly practiced serial monogamy, I used to fantasize about having sex with strangers for money, or just because I could. I would dress myself up in elaborate whore costumes and masturbate in front of a full-length mirror imagining myself fucking a client. During the first few months as a sex worker, I found it deeply erotic to walk up to a stranger’s hotel room, knock, and wonder who would answer. Now, I seem to find scenarios with people I know much more erotic than sex with strangers. Although it is still a sexy fantasy, it does not captivate me like it used to. Instead, lately, I fantasize about my regular lovers, and how wonderful it feels to share closeness, pleasure and eroticism with a familiar person.