How to Support a Sex-Worker You Love
As a newbie escort still testing the waters, I find it sometimes difficult or just plain awkward interacting with people that I love who are not (or who are no longer) active sex-workers, or put simply: civilians. And yet, sex workers like myself are not that different from civilians: many of us have friends, family, partners, and a constellation of intimates- in short, we have people for whom we care deeply and who provide support in one way or another, especially emotional support.
Just like everyone in this world, I crave love, support and encouragement- just like how all of us seek reassurance that we are choosing career paths that are good for us- yet there is no denying that my profession is unique in that people seem at a loss in how to get over the “sex” aspect of what I do. This is why I’m sharing some advice on how I would love to be supported in my work, by those whom I love. This guidelines are simply that: open to interpretation and adaptation to suit your own particular needs, whether you’re a fellow sex worker, a hobbyist, or someone who cares for a sex worker.
- Do: Ask us how our day/week/month is going. Sometimes, I will make 0 dollars, despite putting in countless hours into advertising, correspondence, marketing, and my own personal appearance. This is completely disheartening and frankly scary: I have no way of telling whether I will make enough money one month to make my rent or if I will have to deplete savings because it’s been a shitty go. Other times, I will make a large sum all at once, and I will feel awesome about myself. In both extremes, it’s incredibly valuable to be able to share my experiences with others, either to seek reassurance that it will be ok, or to celebrate hard work that results in success. Sex work can be very isolating if you have no-one to talk to about how things are. If you really want to show support for a sex worker, ask us how work is going.
- Do: Understand that we have a need for privacy, as do our clients. Many different jobs out there have a great degree of discretion required- think any medical profession, social work/therapy, law, investigation, financial…. Sometimes, you simply can’t share all the details, no matter how much you really want to. This doesn’t mean we don’t trust our loved ones; it’s merely that we must respect the privacy of those we work with. Likewise, please respect our privacy and don’t pressure us to divulge something confidential to satisfy your curiosity. In many places, sex work is outright illegal, and pressing for such details can actually put our safety and freedom on the line.
- Do: Have a keen understanding of your own boundaries. Is your romantic and/or sexual partner a sex worker? Awesome. The fact that you want to be with them shows a great deal of maturity and confidence in your importance to your partner. That being said- sex work is not platonic. We’re teasing/dancing/touching/sucking/fucking/cuddling/listening to other people. All of these acts have stereotypically been portrayed as something that should only be reserved for a significant other and should not be used as a way to capitalize on your sexual skills. But that’s exactly what we’re doing. And when you enjoy this type of work, you’re going to enjoy and look forward to the company of our clients. This does not mean we love you any less. This also does not mean that you have less importance in our lives than our clients. Hell- we’re investing our time in you for free- because we care. If something is going to bother you, take some time to self-reflect and figure out why, and please communicate this with us. We can’t work towards a solution if you don’t tell us what’s wrong. Figure out what are deal-breakers for your (i.e. would you be heart-broken if your partner allowed clients to do a particular act) and tell us. We can tailor what we do to a certain extent- but please understand that some requests will affect our ability to make money.
- Don’t: Underestimate our understanding of risk. All professions, to a certain extent, involve some degree of risk. Sex work involves health risks (from the common-cold to STI-contraction), the risk of personal violence and injury, the risk of theft, emotional risks, the risk of legal harassment and persecution, and financial risk. The one risk I run into the most when talking openly about sex-work is the risk of STI-contraction. This is interesting to me: no one would approach a nurse, doctor, prison-guard, emergency-service attendee, police officer, a professional athlete, a garbage-person, a custodian, or any other professional whos livelihood could result in the contraction of an STI, if they’ve thought about what they’re getting into. Because what they do does not directly involve sex, and therefore, is not as “dirty.” Frankly, I understand risk and take every precaution in my power to maintain my health, while still comprehending that what I do is inherently uncertain: condoms break, people are asymptomatic, and sometimes people are dishonest. That being said- I took two years to calculate what degree of risk I would be comfortable with before getting into escorting. For instance: I am comfortable with uncovered oral sex, but I am not comfortable with uncovered full service or with uncovered toys, or with entertaining clients who are: exhibiting visible symptoms of an STI, or a client who is drunk or high. I’m also super uncomfortable being submissive with a first-time client, or performing outcalls in areas too far away from my security. I rely on my keen sense of judgment and on the advice of others when accepting new clients- and I do have a blacklist of people that I will not see based on how they have interacted during texts/emails/phone calls. Please understand that most of us have taken a great degree of time to research and decide on our own terms what is and is not worth it.
- Don’t: Assume that it’s ok to tell others about what we do, until we say it’s alright. There’s also the risk of alienation from friends, family, and lovers if they find out that we are sex workers. This is incredibly isolating and can lead to depression and feelings of hopelessness. Please be understanding if we ask you to call us by a particular name depending on the crowd we’re around; and if this proves difficult, agree on a pet name like “honey” or “dear” to make things a little simpler.
- Don’t: Give us unwarranted advice- it’s just plain rude. Think you know something clever? That’s awesome- please share- but don’t force your thoughts/opinions/advice/complaints down our throats. Truth is, unless you have first-hand experience in sex-work or as a client, we’ve probably already thought about what you’re about to say, and decided that it’s either worth our time or not. That being said- ideas can be good, and what you have to say can have some worth. The best approach is to ask someone if they would like your thoughts, and accept quietly if they decide that they do not.
All in all, please just understand that sex work is complex- and sometimes it’s great to have someone who wants to support us through the trials and triumphs. However, even in attempting to support someone, you can actually make things worse. That’s why it’s crucial- in any kind of employment- to ask someone what they need to feel supported. That way, good intentions can more likely line up with good feels all around.