Internalized Whorephobia

I have very understanding friends. Ra and his partner have spent a lot of time with me over the last few months (Ra’s time with me goes much farther back, because Anton is a relatively recent addition to the group), and they have listened to my outpourings of angst over my feelings for Josh and my feelings of fear and crippling insecurity.

Ra pointed something out last week that I found very interesting. I was telling him how insecure I feel about Josh, how when I imagine myself telling him how much I love him, this little voice in the back of my head stops me. “Why would someone as wonderful as Josh, why would ANYONE want to be with a hooker?” I struggle with this voice. I imagine myself being seen by others as dirty, diseased, sleazy, lacking self-respect and morality. When I was done going through this list with Ra, he said: “It sounds like you have internalized whorephobia. I understand, I had internalized homophobia for years.”

That stopped me in my tracks. Could I, such a strong woman with healthy self-esteem, one who defends sex worker’s rights and comes out swinging in defense of my fellow whores at the agency when they tell me that their romantic partners don’t treat them with respect because of their profession, have internalized these damaging messages about women in my profession? Even with knowing the good I have done for others since becoming a whore, not to mention how I have grown spiritually since entering the trade, I am at times incapacitated by shame around my choices and innate nature.

In Women of the Light, a book of essays edited by Kenneth Ray Stubbs, Carol Queen writes a brilliant essay about her time as a call girl and how sex work is directly connected to worship of the goddess and a celebration of life. She says that we whores are doing the Goddess’s work in a culture that would brand it the devil’s work. This can take a toll on us.

Somehow, I can claim the right to respect and happiness for any other whore, but I can’t quite claim that for myself. I think of Josh and his life up until his marriage ended. He had a conventional, ‘respectable’ marriage and raised children with a very traditional, conservative woman. A part of me wishes that I could offer him that same respectability, but that is the one thing I do not have to give. I am a sexual outlaw, a deviant, a whore. This causes me both pride and happiness and intense shame and fear. It is hard to go about your life when so many people seem to hate you.

I can imagine taking on stigma and being an outlaw next to someone I love. I have done this in my relationships with my trans lovers, walking next to them and offering support, standing up to transphobic bigots on the street, taking the rage some cis men threw at me for choosing a trans woman as a lover instead of a man… but I cannot seem to imagine anyone being willing to be by my side fighting the whore stigma with/for me. It makes me wonder why.

Ra went on to tell me how much my friendship means to him. “When you met me,” he said “I was at one of the lowest points in my life. I was in an abusive relationship and I was suffering from PTSD and getting off meth. And you were always absolutely wonderful to me. If anyone deserves to be happy, it’s you.”

I started to make an inventory of the things I do have to offer. Love, devotion, financial security, generous spirit, sex skills, listening skills, emotional support, backrubs and foot rubs, interesting conversation, great food, companionship, honesty and loyalty. What is off the table for me: sexual exclusivity, conventionality, ‘respectability’.

When I visit Josh and we watch movies together, which we do sometimes, I am struck by the degree of whorephobia in the media. I feel afraid and I don’t talk too much about my work. I’ve told him what I do, and we’ve talked a bit, but he still talks about ‘hookers’ like they are other people and not the woman he holds in his arms at night. I am afraid that if he saw me as a ‘hooker’ rather than whatever version of sex therapist/worker that he currently sees, he will stop touching me so tenderly and holding me and caring for me. It’s fucked up. It shows how deeply I have absorbed those attitudes that women who are sexual with a wide variety of people are ‘used up’ and ‘not worth caring about’. It’s such a basic attack on a woman’s being. Sexuality is such a basic part of who we are, and, to me, such a powerful part that it cannot be suppressed without severe damage to the psyche. So the choice remains: damage yourself by suppressing that which is natural and innate, be a good girl according to patriarchy and shut up, or be an outlaw and be vilified and subject anyone you are in a relationship with to potential stigma and discrimination. It’s a complicated mess. I long for a time when people like me are held in high esteem as teachers and shamans rather than vilified as dirty, worthless whores.

Just When I Thought I Was Out, They Pulled Me Back In!

Last night, I had an eight hour session with a client, and it was an amazing experience. He was a man close to my age, attractive, into similar music/subcultures as myself, and very kind. We drank a couple bottles of wine over the course of the evening and discussed philosophy, human rights, queer theory, feminism, gender relations and literature. I found myself being myself with him, rather than the modified version of myself that I sometimes project to my clients.
He was very shy when it came to the sex part of the night, but I helped him come out of his shell pretty quickly. He had beautiful long hair and dark eyes, and his back was scarred from his forays into the world of hook suspension, something I had at once time considered doing myself.
Sexually, he was very sensuous and considerate. I asked him to let his hair down and run it over every inch of my body, which he happily did. I enjoyed all of what we did after that. I didn’t want to leave. I felt a conflict in a sense, because I know that, if we didn’t have the client/provider relationship, he would be someone I would be friends with, and possibly I would have been his lover under different conditions. Of course, with Josh in the picture, that would have been unlikely, so I am going to be content with the relationship within the context that exists.
He wants to hire me this Friday for another eight hour session, which I am happy about. Today, one of the booking girls told me (off the record) that I am excellent at what I do and that I am one of the best girls they have. It felt good to hear that, and it also makes it harder to think of leaving. I am going to think of it as a process. I can do the agency for a time while I work out how to be a fabulous tantric practitioner and whatever else I want to be. It might even work if I stayed on with the agency on a very part-time basis and catered to a few regular, trusted clients. No more coke dicks for me!

Musings on Openness, Risk, and Whole-heartedness

I’ve been on a conscious path of self-improvement lately. Now, with the new options that I have as a whore, I have more money and time for such things. First, I threw myself into activism, wanting to create positive change in the world. Now, I have been scaling that back just a little. I’ve started seeing a therapist to help me deal with the emotional residue from my marriage, the things I didn’t have the time or resources to deal with three years ago. I’ve gone back to practicing yoga regularly, and I am in the process of reorganizing my home to be more of a temple, with the help of my friend Ra, who has been an amazing support to me over the last six months.

The last few weeks have been difficult, but also full of wonderful surprises. I am doing my best to focus on the positives and see the lessons I can learn.

I recently started a romantic relationship with a woman from the community I have admired from afar for a long time. We dated very briefly, and I loved every moment I spent with her. She decided to end the romantic relationship a couple weeks ago, because she wanted to focus on a former lover she still has feelings for. I understand where she is coming from, but of course it hurt. Mere hours after she broke things off with me, I had a big falling out with a very close friend when I read something he said to me as judgmental and mildly whorephobic. I know he isn’t whorephobic, but I had just had someone break up with me hours before, so I was in an emotional state. Losing him as a friend so suddenly was heartbreaking, even moreso than losing the romantic and sexual connection I had with this wonderful woman. With her, at least I know I still have her friendship.

All of this has me thinking about life, love, relationships with others and with myself. I don’t know exactly what went wrong with my friend, but I have been soul-searching. I know there have been times that I have been insensitive, self-absorbed, unreliable. I also think that I’m pretty awesome in other ways. Bottom line, we can’t read another person’s mind. I haven’t contacted him since because I don’t want to force myself where I am not wanted. I would, of course, welcome a dialogue, but I will not push for one.

Josh and I still have a strong connection, and we see each other regularly. I still feel paralyzed when it comes to expressing my true feelings for him. I know that I have to get over it and just talk to him, and I have started in little ways to open up, but it’s hard. I am wondering why this is so hard for me. I am working on a practice of meditation where I focus on love without grasping, without expectations. When we try to control another person, we stifle them and the relationship suffers. Love at its best is unconditional. I am working towards being able to love without expecting anything in return, without grasping for guarantees of devotion, safeguards against hurt. Those safeguards are illusions anyway. Hurt is inevitable, and it isn’t the end of the world. I have been hurt before, and I have grown from it and created some art in the process. We break and mend many times in our lives. I need to be ok with breaking open, with my heart being free to love without fear, despite all that there is to fear. Stakes are high in love because there is so much to gain.

This weekend, my cat went missing. She is an indoor cat, and somehow she managed to sneak outside. I was distraught, missing her terribly and worrying. I looked for her, before texting Ra and Josh about the situation. Ra came over immediately, and went looking for her while I curled up in a ball in my bed and cried, praying for her safe return. Extreme? Perhaps, but I love my cat and I have a somewhat irrational fear of bad things happening to her. When I was a teenager just getting off the street, I lived in a house with a lot of cats. My roommates psychotic boyfriend poisoned them on Christmas Eve and they died in my arms. Before that, my first cat got sick after having her kittens when I was eight. She died in my bedroom, and I was afraid of her sickness and went to sleep with my parents, leaving her to die alone. I have always felt guilty about that. So yeah, I was beside myself crying.

When Josh got my text, he was over to help me look for her within twenty minutes. We walked through my neighborhood calling her and trying to lure her out with food. No luck. We sat in my backyard for a while, and he hugged me and reassured me, encouraged me to not beat myself up for her disappearance. He took me back to his place and fed me dinner. After dark, we went back to my place and started looking for my cat again. We interacted with six different neighborhood cats (and fed them treats) before finally finding her. She had been in my neighbor’s backyard hiding. She was damp (my neighbor is an eccentric woman who zealously waters her garden) but unharmed. I have such gratitude for the people in my life who are here for me when things go wrong.

Before we found my cat, I told Josh that the past few weeks had been really difficult, what with my friend’s departure and all. “If you want to go away, please wait a week or two” I said. “Don’t do it now, I don’t think I can handle it.”

“I’m not going anywhere,” he said. I breathed a sigh of relief and hugged him for a long time. Bob Marley once said that everyone ends up hurting you, you just have to find the ones worth suffering for. If anyone is worth suffering for, it is definitely Josh.

Whorephobia in the LGBT Community

I experienced my first brush with direct whorephobia this week, not from a gang of angry men or law enforcement, but from someone within the LGBT community, someone I used to socialize with. Daria is a transwoman in the community. She has a psychology degree and transitioned in her late sixties. She lives with her partner, Ramona, in a lovely apartment known in the community as the Tranny Palace. I have attended a few parties at the Tranny Palace in the past. It was always a good time.

 Ramona and I have been talking lately. We both wanted to pursue a closer friendship. She shared some very personal things with me, which I was honoured to hear. Ramona recently underwent sex reassignment surgery, and this weekend, they were throwing a party to celebrate. Ramona insisted that I attend, which I agreed to do. 

 However, a day before, I received an email from Daria informing me that I am no longer welcome in their home. She accused me of attempting to sabotage their relationship, and said that a woman in my profession would bring negativity to an otherwise lovely gathering. Strange, since I seem to recall a proud ‘sex tourist’ bragging at previous parties about going to Thailand and ‘fucking tons of shemales’, but I digress. 

 So apparently, according to Daria, it’s ok to be a man paying for sex, but not to be a woman selling it. This weekend, I felt very much like an outsider with my face pressed against the glass, excluded from the festivities. It is deeply sad that someone who knew me socially can’t see past the whore stigma to the complex person underneath. 

 Now, this is hardly a shock. Daria has been very judgmental towards me on several occasions. Once, over drinks at a pub on Davie Street, she said: “I have a vagina now. My vagina is way nicer than your vagina, because my vagina is brand new and yours is very used.” Clearly this giantess of a woman has some deep-seated issues with women. Gender policing, slut-shaming, whorephobia, she has all of these in spades. 

 It is discouraging to keep doing this work when the dominant culture is intent on vilifying and dehumanizing you. It is extra disheartening when these sentiments come from ‘your people’ in the LGBT community, people who suffer from stigma and marginalization themselves. People who ought to know better. 

 When I chose to be out about my work, I knew that I would encounter some negativity, but honestly, I was blindsided by this. Even knowing how judgmental Daria can be, I don’t understand how she can take it to such extremes. 

 Still, overwhelmingly, the reactions I have had from the people I have told have been positive. Being out is tough, but it does show you who your real friends are. So, despite a discouraging week of setbacks, this whore is here to stay. 

Changes

I have become one of five organizers for a local movement/protest march against victim blaming and slut shaming. I am reluctant to write too many identifying details until I have passed the hurdle of becoming completely out about my work, so forgive my vagueness in this post.

I decided to take on a fundraiser event for the march and related events, because we have no money. I have never organized an event like this before, so the last few weeks have been stressful to say the least! It was a smashing success, though. Not as lucrative as I would have liked, but very inspiring how the community came together and made this magical night happen.

I met some amazing people, including the fabulous drag queen who hosted the event. This person is an inspiring performer and a powerful activist in the LGBT community. Over the week leading up to the event, we got to know each other very well, and have developed a connection of mutual respect. I owe the success of the event largely to them.

I also performed at the event. I did drag, and burlesque, for the first time in two years. Josh agreed to be my burlesque co-star. My number involves a reenactment of the Pygmalian myth with the genders reversed, and he agreed to be my statue. Yay!

I took him on a little shopping trip to a sex shop on Davie Street, one that specialized in mens fetish wear. He seemed to enjoy the day, and we found him a beautiful leather jockstrap that showcases his generous endowment, and I found a pair of leather gauntlets for my drag persona. Afterwards, we went out for beer and wings. With him, things feel so good and right. We flow together, we get each other’s jokes, and we can talk about deep topics. The sex has always been deeply passionate, but now, it seems to have gone to the next level, passion mixed with tenderness.

Pierre had, before that, offered to donate a course to the fundraiser, which was very generous. He had also told me I should consider coming clean about my relationship with him to Josh. As I sat at the bar with Josh, looking at him and being amazed that I could have found someone so beautiful inside and out, I realized that I didn’t have it in me to tell him. I don’t feel as close to Pierre. We don’t flow the same way. I realized that I felt too much pressure with two regular lovers, plus being a sex worker and an activist and an artist. I felt torn in too many directions, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue my relationship with Pierre. Despite the positives in our relationship, it felt like time to step back.

Later, I emailed Pierre and asked him to be incognito at the benefit. I told him I didn’t want our relationship to be public knowledge. He told me that he would respect my wishes, which he did. The event was an amazing experience for me. I loved performing, and seeing all those people come out in support of the cause. And to know that this event would not have happened except for my hard work and resources.

Still, there was stress in the evening as I watched Pierre drink tequila, sitting with Josh. I hoped they were doing ok, that everything would not come crashing down. Nothing happened, but by the end of the evening, I knew I couldn’t date both of them any longer. I had to choose. And my heart wanted Josh. Pierre got up at one point to talk about his class, and he said some things that were insensitive to the transgender population, which was a big part of the crowd, not to mention a big part of my community. I was embarrassed, but what could I do after he had donated so generously? So I smiled graciously and thanked him. I was quite relieved when he left.

That night, I slept over at Josh’s place. It was lovely and comforting and exciting to be with him. The next night, we decided to stay in and watch a movie and order pizza and drink beer. It was the perfect post-fundraiser activity. After that, he offered me a pot cookie. Usually pot cookies make me horny, but that night, it was different. Pot cookies apparently do not agree with me when mixed with beer and post-event exhaustion. We went to bed and started kissing and making out. I was sore and chafed from the six hour session earlier that day, and feeling vulnerable after the emotionally charged night before. We agreed to hold off on sex because clearly I needed time to recover. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by feelings of panic and intense fear. I realized again how much I am falling for Josh and how much I don’t want to lose him. I tried to stop the tears, but pretty soon, I was crying. Josh was amazing. He held me and comforted me. I realized that with him, I am getting the gentleness I have always wanted, but didn’t have a lot of in my relationships with men in the past. Particularly my ex-husband, who would often yell at me when I expressed uncomfortable emotions. He asked me what was wrong, and I told him it wasn’t something I was ready to talk about. I apologized for being a fucking mess and him having to see me like that, but he just kept holding me and telling me that it was ok, that there was nothing to be embarrassed about.

The next evening, I went to Pierre’s house and ended our romantic relationship. It was pretty low-key, although he did say a lot of other transphobic stuff, which upset me, but I was too tired to challenge. I hate that I didn’t challenge it, but I didn’t. I felt deflated, scared, tired, angry. I went home and spent the night in blissful solitude with my broody thoughts.

I have been questioning how capable I am at polyamory at this time in my life. I know I naturally flow that way, and it can take many forms, but having more than one partner that I see on a regular basis seemed exceptionally fragmenting and disorienting. Especially when my job involves sexual interactions with a variety of people. I think that I am naturally inclined to polyamory, but that I lack the time and the will to commit to a primary-type relationship with more than one person at a time. Satellite romances, on the other hand, are just fine in my book! And these things can change with time.

Yay for Cross-dressers!

This week, I got paid to fuck a beautiful boy. A very beautiful boy. A boy who likes to wear lacy lingerie and who likes to be called by a girl’s name while my cock is deeply buried in his tight, delectable ass.

This beautiful boy pre-booked his appointment, which is always appreciated. I originally thought he was a different client, a regular, who likes to be dressed as a girl and fucked. The driver dropped me off at the motel in Burnaby. I went up to the room and knocked. I was dressed in a skin-tight black dress, thigh-high stockings, sexy boots, over a gorgeous black lace strappy teddy. I love my job. Honestly, sex workers get to wear the best clothes to work.

I was pleasantly surprised when a gorgeous, twentysomething boy answered the door. He looked Italian, with beautiful olive skin, dark brown eyes you could lose yourself in, a nice body and a cute smile. His reaction to me was even better. “Wow, you look beautiful! Come in! I LOVE what you’re wearing!”

I smiled and thanked him, and we chatted a bit. I like to make a few minutes of small talk to put a client at ease. Soon, we were discussing what he had in mind for our session.

He told me that he likes to be dressed as a girl, and referred to as a girl. He told me that his name was Mark, but for our purposes, he would like to be called Marsha. He wasn’t into pain, just being fucked and treated like a girl. He wanted to start by trading lap dances. The lack of musical options on the TV was a small impediment, but I did my best to lap dance for him. I have learned a long time ago that men are truly not that hard to please. You don’t have to have acrobatic dance moves when you’re dressed the way I was dressed that day. When I had stripped out of my dress and gyrated in his lap, rubbing his cock through his jeans, he told me he would like to give me a lap dance.

I pulled out the lacy lingerie I had packed for him. He put the black lace teddy on and layered the purple slip over top. He danced for me, and I very vocally appreciated his efforts. Soon, we were in bed. I was on top of him, kissing him and rubbing him through his lingerie.

He liked dirty talk whispered in his ear. He had a fantasy of being gang banged by a bunch of guys, and for me to be there controlling him, telling him what to do. “I take huge cocks in my ass,” he said.

“I bet you do,” I said. “You’re a dirty little cumslut, aren’t you?”

I lubed his ass slowly, pushing the lube in before inserting a finger. He loved it. Soon, I was opening his hole with two, then three fingers. When he was begging to be fucked, I excused myself for a moment to wash the lube off my hands and rig myself up with the strap-on. I picked the big, pink dildo and walked back to the bed. “This big enough for you?” I asked, raising an eyebrow.

He looked excited and nervous. “Um, it’s big,” he said.

“I’ll go easy,” I said, thinking that perhaps he had only taken big cocks in his fantasy life. “Suck it,” I said, putting it in his face. He took in only the first quarter, but I was still careful to praise his cock-pleasing skills. I of all people know that gag reflexes happen, although they can be largely unlearned with time.

I started out on top, fucking him slowly, following his lead. Soon, he was wrapping his legs around me and pulling me in deeper. I whispered in his ear how I was going to fuck him and I was going to let a bunch of my friends fuck him, pass him around and use him like a sex toy. We fucked doggy style for a while, and I trailed kisses down his back, whispering in his ear how good it felt to fuck him, how great he was at pleasing cock.

He enjoyed getting on top and bouncing on my cock. My pubic bone is still a little sore from the rubbing of the strap-on, but I don’t mind.

The session ended with him jerking off and me feeding him his cum and describing ten guys ejaculating in his mouth.

After the session, he told me that he had never done anything like that before, and that being with me had been a great experience. He was looking forward to exploring his kink further. I told him that I actually do have a fetish for male cross-dressers and that having him as a client was a treat for me too. He asked me if I could organize a gang-bang for him. I told him about my friends who are male escorts (and a married couple) and he found that idea incredibly sexy. I don’t know how much money this boy has, but somehow, I don’t think he’ll be able to afford the three of us. Still, I am really happy that I had the chance to help him explore his kink, and to teach him that there are women out there who are into what he’s into.

I hope this boy calls again. He said that he would. So here’s hoping.

An Update

I have taken a small break from blogging for various reasons. The first and most obvious one is that my life has become very busy over the last month or so. The second reason is that I’ve been feeling conflicted about how much to reveal about my life on this blog, lest I might include too many identifying details of my life and accidentally out myself.

I have recently become an avid listener of the new podcast The Whorecast (http://www.thewhorecast.com/#). It has been very encouraging to hear the voices of other sex workers presented in a positive light, by and for sex workers. I find myself laughing and crying while listening to the Whorecast, and feeling a camaraderie with the brave, beautiful and candid people on the podcast. Siouxie Q, the host of the Whorecast, encourages sex workers around the world to be out whenever possible and shares her stories of coming out to her family. Her partner Jesse is a regular on the Whorecast, and he talks about his family’s reaction when they learned of his girlfriend’s profession.

On listening to their stories, I am again reminded that, for the first time since I was fourteen, I am not completely out with everyone in my life. Being closeted takes its toll. I find myself calling my mom less frequently, especially after her reaction to the revelation that I am polyamorous. It’s like there’s a big chunk of my life that I can’t talk about, and worse, I have to lie about. My relationship with my mom has improved over the last few years; we’ve both worked really hard at it. But now, I feel it falling apart. I feel rejected and judged and the stress of lying and facing her judgments takes its toll. I have stopped phoning home, just returning her calls rather than initiating contact.

I often wonder if being completely, unapologetically out would help matters. Or would it create a rift in our relationship that is impossible to mend. I am not yet willing to find out.

I want to do so much with my life, and as I shed the expectations of respectability and embrace sex work as a calling, the world feels more open and rich with possibility. Perhaps I will be able to make the porn that I want to see when I shed what remains of my inhibitions.