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.

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.

Meeting Chris

Six months ago, I was out the door and off to meet my friends Alec and Drew, for a fundraiser night for the transgender-friendly food bank. Drew helped to start this food bank earlier in the year after a close friend of his, a member of the trans community, took her own life. The food bank was named in her honour. Drew had told me about the times Saja had been turned away from community food banks and soup kitchens because of her ambiguous gender presentation. He had wanted to found a food bank that did not have a religious agenda, and that would help people of all genders and sexual orientations.

I enjoyed my time volunteering at the food bank. It gave me a chance to check out some of the other sexy volunteers. I had my eye on a gorgeous trans man named Nat for a while. He looked delectable in his leather chaps and fitted shirt. His tanned skin and hazel eyes and toned arms were a very welcome distraction from sorting through produce.

During this time, I met Chris. Chris was genderfluid (male bodied) and had lovely long hair. She would come in for food, and I would always give her as many veggies as I could. We didn’t talk much in the food bank line, but later on she sent me a friend request on Facebook. I accepted.

The food bank fundraiser was held in an Italian restaurant downtown. Drew, Alec and I found a table and opened our menus. Chris walked in soon after, and I could not help but notice her. She was decked out en femme in a long flowing skirt, and her long reddish brown hair flowed past her shoulders. Her eyes were beautiful blue. She sat at our table and we all ordered drinks.

Money was tight for me since I had walked out of my last waitressing job. It was Drew who suggested I go into escorting. “You already like sex,” he said. “And you’d make more money with less grief.” I had tried escorting briefly the year before, but had given it up for that elusive promise of a loving, committed relationship. Now, as I contemplated a return to the business, that I had actually, for the most part, enjoyed, I gave up on the idea of finding that loving partner.

That night, at the fundraiser, I was not feeling sorry for myself. I was excited about my new job and (hopefully) financial independence. I was in one of those predatory moods, the kind where all the attractive people around me become this delicious feast for the eyes, and I think about biting everyone.

At one point in the conversation, Chris mentioned that she was thinking of shaving her head. “I’m balding anyway, why not embrace it?”

“Well,” I said. “If you shave your head, be sure to ask someone to lick your scalp, because that feels really good.” I had a shaved head as a teenager. I know these things.

Her eyes widened. “Did I hear you right?”

“Yes, yes you did,” I said.

“Jade has some exciting new career aspirations,” Drew said to Chris. “But I don’t know how comfortable she will be discussing them tonight.”

The night went on, and our food and drinks arrived. I had a small veggie pizza and some red wine. It was ok to splurge, after all. Soon, I would be working, and making much better money than I made slaving away in the Greek restaurant.

I excused myself and went to the ladies room. When I came back, Chris complimented me on my dress. I was wearing a short, tight black knit with a small, silver chain belt and hoop earrings. I felt super sexy.

“So, Jade, what is it that you do?” Asked Chris.

I decided to start small. “Well, I have worked in harm reduction and sexual health education for quite a few years,” I said. “And I really would like to continue that work, only I would like to work with people around their sexuality, and teach about pleasure as well as how to prevent the spread of STIs. I would like to go to school eventually and study Sexology, and maybe Sexological Bodywork. There is this great school in San Francisco where my heroes Annie Sprinkle, Betty Dodson and Joseph Kramer all studied.”

“That’s really great. I’m interested in the same sort of things. I’m a counsellor, and a trained social worker, and I have a lot of experience in the LGBT community, helping people with their sexual issues. I’m going to school in Kamloops soon, getting my Master’s of Education.”

We talked a while longer about school and sex-positivity and sexual healing. After a while, I decided to tell her the whole truth.

“I am going to be funding my education by escorting. I have decided that I can do it in a way that is respectful to myself and my clients, and I think I have a knack for it.”

“Wow, good for you,” she said. “I had sex for money once, and it was a pretty good experience. You have a safety plan and everything?”

I nodded. “Yes, and I have a martial arts background.”

“You seem like a really strong person. I think you’ll do well.”

I smiled. “Thanks. I guess it’ll make it harder for me to date. I mean, I have a few casual fuck buddies right now, and I don’t know if I should tell them or not.”

“I’d be fine with it,” Chris said. “But I would prefer to know about it. But I’m into open relationships anyway, so it’s not a big stretch for me.”

I smiled. “Good to know.”

It was really nice to talk to someone as warm, open and on my wavelength as Chris. The conversation turned to sexual orientation.

“I used to call myself bisexual,” I said. “But I don’t think that really describes me, because bi implies only two genders, and I have dated trans people before, so I think pansexual is a better term for me.”

“Yes, I think that’s the best way to describe my orientation too. I mean, I am more often attracted to feminine characteristics, but I am attracted to men sometimes.”

“One combination I really like are people with male bodies who dress in women’s clothes. I don’t know why, but that combination is really sexy to me.”

Chris smiled.

“And I’m serious about getting someone to lick your head,” I continued. “I had a shaved head as a teenager, and when my boyfriend licked my head, it was such a wonderful experience.”

“Well, all I need is to find someone who is willing to lick my head.”

“I’ll do it,” I said.

Chris laughed a bit, a cute, nervous laugh. “You will, huh?”

“Sure, why not?”

A little later in the night, she asked me another question. “So, Jade, you said you are attracted to people with male bodies who wear women’s clothes? What do you think of me?”

“I think you’re cute.”

“Oh? Well, I think you’re really cute too.”

At that point, looking into those deep blue eyes, the only thing that made sense was to grab her and give her a kiss. It was a fantastic first kiss, the kind where the room melts away and all that exists in the whole world is you, the other person, and the warming embers in your body.

We separated awkwardly, glancing at Alec, who had been sitting across from us at the table the whole time. “Sorry,” we mumbled.

He shrugged. “No worries.”

Drew came back to the table. “I knew you two would get along,” he said. “Are you two going home together?”

“Well, we haven’t discussed it,” I said.

“It’s up to you,” said Chris. “But I’m game if you are.”

I ran through the checklist for spontaneously bringing someone home. My house was a mess. I have many skills, and housekeeping is one that does not come naturally. I had changed my sheets recently. This person was sexy, kind, and intriguing.

“I’d love it if you came over, but I warn you, I wasn’t expecting company and my place is a mess. If that’s ok with you, then great!”

“That’s ok,” she said.

The four of us left the restaurant and made our way to the bus. Drew, Alec and I are all East Vancouver queers. At the time, I was still living above the Greek restaurant I used to work at, before I entered into a disasterous romance with my much older widower boss, but that’s a story for another post. Drew and Alec lived across the alley from me, which was very convenient for socializing.

We found seats at the back of the bus. I held Chris’ hand. We got off the bus and said our goodnights. Then, I led Chris into my ghetto apartment.

My apartment above the Greek restaurant was big and cheap. And it was cheap for good reason. It was in a very old building. So old, in fact, that the owner was selling it to a land developer. But it was my own apartment and I was quite proud of it all the same. Even with the weird mold growing under the burners on the stove. Even with the creepy shower, which I affectionately dubbed my ‘Turkish Prison Shower.’ It was an exposed rusty pipe with no shower head (the shower head had fallen off, on me, while I was getting ready for work a few months before. It sprayed dirty, rusty water all over me in the process and gave me a bit of a bump on my head.) The base of the shower was on rotting wood. It was an icky place to get naked, although I know from experience that two people could fit in my Turkish Prison Shower, because resourceful gal that I am, I have had sex in it.

Chris was very kind about the state of the place, and didn’t judge me based on the fact that I hadn’t done dishes in a few days and that my clothes were strewn all over the place. I made a pot of tea and we sat in the kitchen and talked for a while. It turns out we had a lot more in common than the idea of sex being sacred and the fact that we were both members of the LGBT community. Chris had been involved in a Star Trek club and was a quintessential sci fi geek, like me.

Soon enough, the topic turned to sex. “I practice Tantric semen retention,” she told me. “So when we’re having sex, I will pull out for a little bit if I’m about to ejaculate, because this practice is a bit new to me.” I smiled, thinking that I really lucked out with this one. Genderfluid AND staying power. “Is there anything that you don’t want me to do?” She asked.

“No choking,” I said. “And I don’t like anything in my ass. Bad experiences.”

“Ok.”

That was the point where we started kissing again. We moved to the bedroom and I helped her out of her clothes. She was wearing a nice purple bra with black lace, which looked fabulous on her athletic, swimmer’s body. I shed my clothes in a hurry. We kissed naked, the embers under my skin warming at her touch. Her skin felt so new and yet familiar in a way that caused me to feel excited and relaxed at the same time.

She, unlike my first transsexual lover, truly enjoyed her body, which I found exciting and refreshing. She kissed down the line of my body all the way to my feet, where she spent time sucking my toes. I enjoyed, but felt a bit nervous because my feet had been encased in boots and tights all day, but I told myself that she wouldn’t be doing it if she wasn’t liking it, and that helped get me into it.

She was amazing at eating pussy, which is a valuable skill when it comes to going to bed with me. I sucked her cock, swirling my tongue around the head and down the shaft. She had a pleasant salty sweet taste, and my pussy throbbed as I watched her react to my lips around her cock.

We fucked for the next few hours in various positions, and fell asleep in each other’s arms.

The next day, I awoke with her in my arms. I kissed the top of her head. It felt really good to hold her. There was a sort of familiarity, as if I had known her longer than I had. We had breakfast together and exchanged phone numbers. I was struck by how easy it had been for me to find a like-minded lover mere moments after I had disqualified myself from finding love because of my impending life of professional sex. This was the beginning of a very special and significant relationship.