I Did It! Step One

Well, I signed up for Rania and Don’s practitioner training. The first part happens this weekend. I bought myself a himalayan rock salt lamp to celebrate. It’s pleasing pink glow on my table/writing desk is a symbol of the positive changes I am making in my life. I still haven’t figured out how to wiggle out of my lease, but I have had some friends give me valuable advice on the subject. I’m biding my time, looking online at places occasionally, and trusting that all will work out in the end.

I saw Josh last night, and we spent much of today together. Almost a year of being in each other’s lives and it still feels positively magical. My friend Ra, who did a shamanic healing session with me last week, said that he feels strongly that my story will have a happy ending… which is only fitting considering I have given happy endings to so many (hardy har). I am taking his advice with Josh and am just focusing on the here and now and on how wonderful it is to be with him. No freaking out about The Future or whywouldanyonewannabewithahooker or any of that drivel. Just be present with this wonderful person right now, and let the rest sort itself out. I firmly believe that once I transition to being a tantric practitioner, I will be in a stronger place to make my feelings known. In the meantime, I truly don’t think he’s going anywhere. He is very loving with me and I with him. No harm in taking the slow, steady path.

New Developments

I have taken some time off this month. It was necessary for me to avoid burnout and to make some changes to my life. I’ve been practicing yoga almost daily now, and getting back into weight training and regular meditation practice.
I am continuing on a path of inner spiritual work. I am shedding my past skin in many ways, transforming from the terrified woman with the walls up to the soft and open lover of life who allows herself to be seen. With time, these transformations are less scary to me and more exciting.
I have also connected with some amazing people lately. I connected with a lovely couple who are both Tantric massage practitioners and sacred sex workers. We have developed a friendship with the possibility of play. I am very grateful for their presence in my life and look forward to spending more time with them.
Also, I recently attended two workshops by a sexological bodyworker I know. About four years ago, I was his client. He helped me heal from some trauma in our first session, and in our second session, he gave me extreme pleasure. I was a different person then, still married, starting to recognize my erotic needs as important.
When I arrived at the workshop, he didn’t recognize me. We had a good laugh about that, and we talked about work. I told him that I am currently working in the sex industry and that I am planning to study sexological bodywork. I said, truly, that he inspired me with his work.
Now, he and his partner have expressed interest in playing with me. I am deeply honoured by their interest, and I would like to explore with them. I have given a ‘maybe’ at this point.
The thing is, I love playing sexually with different people, but since I’ve become a sex worker, this has taken a back seat to other desires. These two beautiful couples are deeply attractive to me erotically, and being with them could promise to be very transformational and exciting indeed. Still, I feel some anxiety, because I want to solidify the relationship with Josh first. We still haven’t ‘defined our relationship’ and I am finding now that I want to have that conversation more than ever.
He is away this week on business, and I think of him often, and with such an abundance of passionate love. He has had such a profound impact on me and I am overflowing with gratitude to him for his presence in my life. The fear has taken a back seat now to this wonderful feeling of gratitude and happiness. I am finding that now, more than ever, I want my own partner. I want stability along with passion. I want to do the work necessary to sustain a long-term relationship. I am abandoning those notions that I, as a sex worker, cannot have lasting love. I am still a wonderful person to be with, regardless of what I do for a living. Exclusive access to my pussy is far from the only thing of value that can be offered. How about kindness, warmth, understanding, support? I can offer everything to a partner except sexual exclusivity, which is not the most realistic thing to promise, and it is not something that Josh has indicated is of upmost importance to him anyway. I am feeling empowered to be true to my feelings and frame what I have to give in a positive, rather than considering my love to be a burden that I ought to offer to no one.

Breaking Open to the Divine

I am falling more deeply in love every day. It is frightening, exhilarating, dizzyingly wonderful and profoundly ecstatic. In the tantric school, they said that pleasure is medicine. That is also what the founders of the Sexological Bodywork profession believe. I know this is true.

Sex with Josh is such sweet ecstasy. We keep going deeper into these states of bliss and exploring new and interesting territory. Last weekend, while he was fucking me, I had an orgasm so deep and strong that I couldn’t tell where my body ended and the rest of the world began. I melted into this sweet golden light and the sacred healing energy cascaded through me. There was no part of my being that was untouched.

I remember, years ago, when I was an angry nineteen year old fleeing my abusive lover. I was staying with some people I knew and considered friends at the time. They were strict Christians. I had embraced the Christian faith mostly as a knee-jerk reaction to the pain I felt after being beaten by my lover. I embraced celibacy and maintained a structured existence. Sex, after all, led to loss of control, which led to someone having power over you. I never wanted to feel that fear again, the fear I felt when my lover tossed me around, breaking my skin and choking me until I saw white spots dancing in front of my eyes. The sex with him had been exquisite, but was it worth the price of pain and fear? Was it worth hearing the things he had screamed at me in his rages?

I recall the day I sat in the kitchen with my Christian roommate and her granddaughters. It was a nice moment, a moment of community and sharing. We were desperately poor and lived in squalor, but we had each other. We prayed together, and as we bowed our heads, it occurred to me that there was a dark and painful part of myself that seemed very large and frightening, that no amount of prayer could really heal. In fact, as time went on, the stifling of my sexuality resulted in my spiritual life shriveling up like a plant deprived of water and sunlight.

At the moment, with Josh, when I had that orgasm, I felt that dark and painful place shatter and the golden light pierced the darkness. Before, with the abuse I suffered in intimate relationships, I had felt myself break in pain, huddling on bathroom floors terrified and humiliated. Now, I break apart with the most exquisite pleasure. The walls I built up inside myself shattered and I was left smiling, laughing, and thanking the Creator for allowing me to feel such happiness. I really get to feel this much pleasure. I really get to feel so amazing.

In Christianity and other major religions, pleasure is seen as sinful, as corrupting, a distraction from godly pursuits. This disconnect between sex and spirit, heart and genitals, has caused humanity so many problems. I truly believe that we would not see the devastation of war, greed and cruelty in our world if everyone truly embraced the healing power of their sexuality and used it as a path to the divine.

Conversations With my Lover on Sex Work

It is still a somewhat awkward topic at times, and I find myself not disclosing every work story when I am with Josh. I don’t want to worry him, and I don’t want to bog him down with information about all my clients and experiences. A couple weeks ago, I was visiting him, and we were having coffee on the table in the common area of his apartment building, and the conversation flowed in a way that made the topic easy to address.

He mentioned that he has an issue with people who claim to be ‘sexual healers’. This led to a discussion on how one can never be a ‘healer’ but rather a facilitator for someone to go through the healing process themselves. The person may provide something that helps the person heal, but they are not responsible for the healing.

My heart beat faster as I took a sip of my black coffee. Now was my chance to take a risk, be vulnerable, and share my personal experiences with my lover. It would either bring us closer, or he would have an issue with it and it would push us apart.

I told him the story of the young man I worked with who was terrified to have sex after his long-term girlfriend consistently belittled him in bed. I told Josh about how I held this man and comforted him before guiding him through the experience of pleasuring me, and how after the session was done, he was completely ecstatic that he was able to have pleasurable sex again.

Josh looked at me in a way that showed me that he really got it. His eyes lit up and were full of admiration. “That’s awesome,” he said, and my heart swelled with happiness. My work had not made me unloveable. Quite the opposite.

I told him another story about a man who hired me to pleasure his girlfriend. She wanted the experience, but was terrified. I gave her a full-body massage and talked her through the experience, giving her a full vulva massage and an internal massage. The session ended with her asking her boyfriend to watch me and take notes for future reference.

Josh suggested that we watch The Sessions together, the movie about the sex surrogate who works with the man who was crippled by polio and who spent most of his life in an iron lung. The next weekend, we watched the movie together and cuddled the whole time. I found it very moving, even though I would have preferred that they had given the surrogate more air time and explored her life more deeply. The poet with polio was the character who got the most air time, and he was a fascinating character, and the connection between him and the surrogate was very touching. It was also nice to see a sex worker portrayed as having a healthy marriage, even though it was not explored in great detail.

I am so blessed to have found someone like Josh. He is the man I used to imagine myself finding, and, over time, grew to believe did not exist, at least not for me. He deeply respects women and is very spiritual.

Tips for Getting Into Escorting

I’m writing this post as a response to someone who asked me about how to get into this profession in a safe and healthy way. There are a few different ways to get started. You can go independent, or go through an agency like I did. Both have benefits and drawbacks.

Before you look into these, I recommend brushing up on the laws around sex work in your area. The United States has very strict laws regarding sex work, and you will have to work around them. In places like Canada and the UK, the law is much more relaxed. You will have to navigate legalities in order to work, so be aware of that. The way I work, doing outcalls, I am not breaking any laws, but the people I work with are, so I have to be discreet in order to protect them. The drivers and booking agents I work with could be arrested for ‘living off the avails’ an archaic and paternalistic law that supposedly protects sex workers from exploitative pimps, but in reality can be used against people we hire for security and marketing, and, in some cases, even our live-in romantic partners. That said, the reality is that generally the police ignore the indoor sex industry in favor of harassing more visible and vulnerable street workers.

So back to the biz itself. There are pros and cons to working independent and through an agency. First, I’ll talk about going independent. The benefit of being independent is that you have complete control over your marketing, work hours (depending on clients, of course). You can set your own rates for your services and you don’t have to deal with having a boss. The downside is that you have to front the costs of advertising, and you have to screen clients yourself.

If you go independent, you can work discreetly from your home or another apartment you rent for your work. Another apartment is better than working out of your home, although it is an additional cost. Remember that if a landlord finds out that you are doing sex work on the premises, you can be evicted in many parts of the world, including Canada, so it’s best not to put your housing at risk. Also, even though the overwhelming majority of clients are respectful and decent people, on the off chance that you get a rude or violent one, you don’t want him knowing where you live.

If you do outcalls, it’s important to have someone you can call when you get to the client’s location. Give them the client’s address over the phone in front of the client. That way, he will know that he can’t get away with anything. Also, tell them how long you are going to be there, and, if possible, have them call you to remind you when your time is up, although that isn’t completely necessary.

If you don’t have the time to screen, handle the phone and email inquiries, and do your own marketing, an agency might be the best choice for you. It’s a good idea to research an agency before applying. Go to an interview and ask questions about their practices. Be careful of any agency that is strict about your time, that won’t back you if you don’t want to see a troublesome client, or who charges ‘fines’ for silly things. There is a local agency that fines escorts for having chipped nail polish! Avoid avoid avoid!

I was very lucky when I found the agency I work for now. I didn’t research them in detail beforehand, but they turned out to be a fabulous agency that treats the girls with respect. I have, so far, only refused to see one client, and they completely supported my decision, even though it meant less income for them.

The benefits of working for a reputable agency are that you have more time for yourself. You don’t have to market or deal with the phones. You just have to show up, and they arrange appointments for you. Agencies do tend to be 24 hrs, with much of the appointments happening late at night, so that is something to consider. I am naturally a night person, so that works for me, but for someone else it might not. On the downside, you don’t take home as much cash per appointment as you would as an independent. The agency takes a cut of your fee, usually between forty and fifty percent. Where I work, the agency charges 300 dollars an hour, and I take home 150. I make tips on top of that rate frequently, but that varies person to person and month to month.

When it comes to income, it is lucrative, but irregular. When it’s good, it’s very good. I have gone home a few nights with over a thousand dollars in my pocket just from one client who wanted a long session with me. Other nights, nobody calls and I go home empty handed. If you want to support yourself in this business, it’s important to save your money. It’s easy to get sucked into living large. It’s hard not to feel like a gangsta when you have a stack of crisp hundreds in your pocket, but you have to remember to make that money work for you. In my first six months in the business, I got into the habit of spoiling my then-partner, buying her fancy dinners and gifts and paying her rent for a while… and then work got slow and I had to take appointments when I didn’t want to in order to make ends meet. I don’t want to see anyone in that position. Sex work can be very lucrative, but it isn’t a ‘get-rich quick’ scheme.

I would recommend doing some soul-searching before taking the steps to get into the business. Sex work is, at its best, a very fun way to make a living while helping people and sharing your skills and knowledge. At its worst, it can be a path to drug use and trauma. It is so important to figure out your own boundaries around what you will and will not do with a client and to be comfortable sticking to them. I also recommend some self-defense training. I have only felt threatened by two clients in my first year in the business, but I was very grateful for my knowledge of martial arts and those handy pressure points that can make a grown man weep during one of those two incidents! Some escorts carry tasers or pepper spray. I personally prefer to rely on my hands and my wits. To each her own.

Practice regular self-care! As empowered as you are around your work, sometimes living as someone in a heavily stigmatized profession, and having to spin cover stories to certain people who would judge you harshly, takes its toll. Getting a massage, taking an aromatherapy bath, or walking on the beach, are great ways to care for yourself. Find what works for you.

Good luck and I wish you all success on entering this fascinating profession!

Things I Love About my Work

We are so accustomed to hearing the downside of sex work, the horror stories of exploitation and abuse, drug use, broken marriages, emotional problems, etc etc. So today, I want to talk about the ways that being a whore is fabulous.

1. Helping people explore their sexuality.

This part makes me very happy. I love working with people who, for whatever reason, haven’t had a lot of opportunities to explore their desires. I have worked with women who are bicurious and want their first experience with a woman, men with various disabilities (so far no women with disabilities, but I’m still relatively new at this), and people with kinks that they are reluctant to discuss with anyone in their day-to-day life. The cool thing about helping people explore their sexuality is that in the process, you end up learning more about yourself too. And it’s pretty great to have my sexual skills rewarded after so many years of being punished for being a ‘slut’ in a sex-negative, conflicted culture.

2. Helping people heal from trauma, being a witness to people’s vulnerability and pain.

This part is especially gratifying to me. Sometimes, a session will begin with sexual activity and will turn into something more closely resembling a session with a grief counsellor. Other sessions have been naked coaching sessions helping men (usually men) be more present in their bodies and increase their sexual self-confidence. This work has helped me develop deeper compassion for men, seeing how much pressure men have on them to perform sexually, to be confident, and to know what they are doing. How wounded so many men are, and how little opportunities they have to talk about these wounds with anyone. I am grateful for the opportunity to be that person to them.

3. Teaching people new sexual skills

Since I started working as a whore, I have had the opportunity to teach a lot of men different things about how to give women pleasure. In fact, I have had men hire me just for that purpose. I have taught women how to fuck with a strap-on. I love the role of ‘sexpert’ or sexual teacher. Sure, I don’t know everything about sex, but now, with my experience, I have a lot to teach. It’s so much fun knowing that somebody is having more varied sex because of something I showed them. Super cool.

4. Flexible work hours

I’ve never had this much freedom before. I can take five days off when I want. I can make a lot of money in a short amount of time. Sure, it can get a bit stressful when things are slow, but when things go well, it’s fabulous. And the slow days and busy days always even out into a decent steady income stream. It’s not a ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme, but it’s a good, steady income with lots of flexibility and I am very happy about that.

5. Hanging out with other interesting, sex-positive people

I love the camaraderie I have with my fellow whores. And it’s great to have a work environment where you can talk openly about sex and joke around and tell bawdy stories. I feel like I can totally be myself at work, and I have never really felt that way before.

Challenging Common Misconceptions About Sex Workers

Sometimes I scour the web in search of information for people in my profession, insider tips on how to manage work and a personal love life. I was on such a search last night, which brought me to a message board where people weigh in on whether or not they would seriously date/marry an escort/stripper/porn star, current or former. I was encouraged by the ones who said yes, they would consider it. But it’s hard not to get sad about the many who say no. Not because their rejection hurts me (it doesn’t) but because they are writing me off without knowing anything about me other than my profession.

So now, rather than absorb the shame messages, I have decided to confront them head-on in this ranty blog post. Here goes:

Sex workers hate sex. They only do it for money:

First, it’s impossible to categorically say that all sex workers have the same relationship to sex and money. Second, why do we rarely hear this about other professionals? Psychologists just hate listening to people. They hate it so much that they go to school and hone their therapeutic skills so that they can charge a respectable hourly rate. That would sound silly. Now, granted, there are people in the industry who do not enjoy their work, who have gotten into it because the high earning potential outweighs the psychological costs and physical risks. Because money is necessary for survival in a capitalist society. That said, it is very possible to approach sex work as a conscious choice and even a calling. I have spent a lot of time studying sexual techniques and fetishes, and those skills, in addition to my interpersonal skills, make my work highly rewarding. It feels great to do something you enjoy (most of the time, we all have bad days) and get paid a respectable wage for it.

You can never trust a sex worker. If she dates you, she’s only using you.

People of all professions have been known to use and abuse the people they become involved with romantically. A sex worker is probably pretty unlikely to want a personal relationship to resemble a professional client/escort relationship. An escort already makes good money at work. We are human beings with other needs and desires. I know for myself, despite the thrills and the money that come with work, I crave honest human connection. I’m dating someone who is not rich, but who is kind and giving, warm and funny and smart. While I do know some escorts who will not date outside of work, who claim that ‘smart girls never fuck for free’ I know more who enjoy loving personal relationships, or who would like to when the conditions of their lives allow for that to happen.

Sex workers are all emotional train-wrecks/were abused as children/have no self-esteem

This myth comes from a basic patriarchal myth about women: namely that we are so fragile that we can only enjoy sex within the context of committed love, which translates to lots of sandwich-making, service to our lover/husband. Men, on the other hand, are expected to be sexual. A man going out and having a lot of sex is seen as normal. We don’t feel the need to pity him and comment on how he must be acting out abuse from his past. Our culture is so threatened by a woman who owns her sexual desire, so threatened that we must disempower her by saying that she is to be pitied. Now, granted, some people in the sex industry are troubled people with drug habits and emotional problems. Then again, I’ve known plenty of people who serve food for a living who were also troubled people with drug habits and emotional problems. How well-adjusted to the work you are depends on your own personal relationship to yourself and to the work. And, in fact, most of the women I know in the industry are tough, confident, witty, driven and fun to be around. Certainly working as an escort gives you a different perspective on committed, long-term relationships (hard to idealize the concept of happily ever after when you’ve fucked enough married men in the ass), but to categorically say that only people with problems get into this industry is flawed thinking. It also bears mentioning that it takes considerable confidence and self-esteem to be able to get naked in front of a stranger or group of strangers, negotiate boundaries, pleasure yourself, dance, or fuck. People need to recognize that whores are gutsy and beautiful.

Also, I am so sick of this tired trope of ‘oh, she must have been abused as a child, that’s why she’s so fucked up’ being trotted out. Unfortunately, many people in our society have been abused. A history of abuse does not guarantee a lifetime of bad choices and emotional issues. We are all able to heal from whatever happened to us in the past and go on to live full, healthy, productive lives. Which may or may not include sex work.

Sex workers are disgusting and full of scary STIs:

I would love to see the shaming of sexually active people, women in particular, just die already. It is a myth that someone who has a lot of sex with a lot of people will automatically have a host of STIs. Although sex workers have various degrees of empowerment around safer sex negotiation, most sex workers have above-average knowledge of safer sex practices and above average consistency in using these methods. An escort is not likely to ‘forget’ to use a condom in the heat of the moment. She will carry her own bag of safer sex supplies and insist on using them correctly and consistently. At the agency where I work, it is considered trashy and disgusting to perform oral sex on a client without a condom, generally. Very few girls make the exception and forego rubber for oral sex. Also, every escort I know gets a full checkup for STIs every one to three months, which is more than can be said for the average person.

Also, this fear-mongering about STIs really needs to stop. Yes, STIs are a real danger and a lot of them are scary, and we need to talk about them and deal with them. But could we please have the dialogue without all the stigma and ‘only dirty disgusting people contract STIs’ rhetoric. Any sexually active person is potentially at risk of an STI. We all need to be getting tested regularly and taking care of our health. And if we consider it simply a health issue, rather than a moral issue, we’d get a lot further. Many common STIs are easily treated. HPV infection is present in 98 percent of sexually active people, and, in the overwhelming majority of cases, causes no symptoms whatsoever. Genital herpes is found in one in four people, and many people who have the virus do not know they have it because they either have never experienced an outbreak, or the symptoms of it were so mild that they attributed it to something else, like chafing or razor burn, or a yeast infection. HIV remains a scary virus, but, with new treatments, it is becoming a chronic manageable condition rather than an automatic death sentence. Also, a person who is HIV positive and on medication to lower viral loads to undetectable, is unlikely to pass the virus on to sexual partners. I would still recommend condoms, because I’m a safety freak, but I am against fear mongering. Learn the facts, practice safer sex to the best of your ability, get tested regularly, and please chill the fuck out. I have had a lot of sex in my life, and I have never contracted an STI (except probably for the HPV virus, which is likely present in my body just like it is in practically every sexually active person on the planet).

I could not be with a sex worker, because she would never truly be with me:

Can we ever say that anyone is ever truly ours? Our lovers, even if they are sexually exclusive with us, will always notice other people, fantasize about them, or reminisce about a past lover from time to time. That is normal and healthy and just ┬ápart of being human. We would all be way happier if we got over it. I would love to see love divorced from the idea of ownership. I’ve done a lot of work myself on letting go of this desire to possess and control the ones I love romantically. I am happier for it.

Back to the sex work thing. Do you ever hear someone say about a daycare worker ‘I hope they don’t have kids. They would never truly be able to parent a child after working with kids and caring for kids all day long.’ No, you never hear that. Because childcare is not stigmatized the way sex work is. Sex can mean different things depending on the context. When I am with a lover, I am completely with them. When I am at work, I am performing a role, either a theatrical or therapeutic role, depending on the circumstances. All it means is I have had a lot of opportunity to hone my skills, which makes my lovers veeery happy indeed.

A sex worker has no respect for herself:

I have noticed that the term ‘respecting yourself’ when used in relation to women, simply means ‘act like a good girl according to the patriarchy.’ In my mind, a woman who chooses to engage in sex for her own reasons, provided she is not harming others in the process, is very much respecting herself and owning her desires. I would not be respecting myself if I had no boundaries in the sex work that I do, if I allowed clients to forego protection, if I did not speak up when they did things that put me at physical or psychological risk. As I practice sex work now, I have deep self-respect.

A sex worker has no skills. That’s the only reason she would do this work.

This one really gets to me. Sex work is skilled work. It is an art form to be truly good at sex. It takes practice and time and effort to learn the skills. Plus the interpersonal skills, conversation, reading people, figuring out what they want and need from a session. The ability to communicate about difficult topics and deal with challenging situations such as a client processing a trauma, or wanting to explore a kink that you are not as knowledgeable about as you’d like to be. The skills in this work are considerable. They are just not acknowledged because sex is seen as dirty, disgusting and trivial.

Sex work is dangerous and therefore should not be allowed:

A lot of work is dangerous. Being a miner is dangerous. Being a police officer is dangerous. Being a social worker can be dangerous. The difference is that we don’t stigmatize miners for being in a dangerous profession. Condoms and lube and gloves and dams are the hard hats of the sex industry. Please think of us as another profession that requires work safety knowledge. Thanks.

Also, a lot of other interpersonal situations are statistically dangerous. Marriage is statistically dangerous with 30 percent of female murder victims being killed by their current or former husbands. Dating is dangerous. Romantic relationships are dangerous. Abusive types exist. However, we never tell women to stop dating or stop getting married, because marriage and dating are seen as socially acceptable activities for a woman. Sex work, however, is seen as subversive and threatening, so it is painted as often more dangerous than it actually is in an effort to scare women away from working in that industry, because a sexually and financially independent woman won’t make you a sandwich just because you want her to.

That has been my sex worker related rant for today. Thank you for listening.