When people ask what I do, I’m just going to start saying I’m a whore. Fuck all this weird dance around “I’m a sex worker, I’m a dominatrix, I’m a dancer” or “I’m a freelance reporter & an erotic masseuse.” Only if the other person is also a sex worker do I want to talk nuance. If you think being a whore is fucked up, we’re not friends.
I’m going to keep this short because our lives are short: it’s time for sex workers to do some killing of their own. We need to kill this myth of the righteously aggrieved client once and for all. It’s a myth that enables men to blackmail, rob, rape, and kill sex workers. It is a shame when you pay for a service you don’t receive, but it happens all the time in all varieties of the service industry, and it shouldn’t ever foster vengeful attempts at singlehandedly policing every worker in an entire field.
I propose that from this point forward, we don’t let the letters “TER” go uttered even once without launching into a recounting of the information above. That we support and encourage our colleagues while they explore ways to work without reviews, or at the very least with reviews on sites acting as alternatives to TER. That we create our own alternatives. That we recognize and reject vampiric pimps in all their forms. (As Melissa Gira Grant once put it, Elms successfully “jockeyed to take the abusive middleman’s place.” Jason Itzler, the man who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from famous New York escort Natalia, praised Elms as “the most influential man in the prostitution business in America.”) That we don’t let a single client bemoan the risk he takes by submitting to a screening form when escorts are, indisputably, disproportionately, and aggressively targeted for arrest, police violence, extortion by friends and family, abuse from violent men posing as clients, and life-ruining stigma when outed. They do not suffer a fraction of what we suffer. That lie ends now.
Clients sometimes lose money. Sex workers regularly lose their lives. How should we rate that reality on a scale of one to ten?"
the only book in this dungeon is Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina.
Hey! I wrote a personal essay for this podcast about how tricky it was for me to keep my public and private sex lives separate when I first started selling intimacy for money three years ago. It turned out both sexy and ‘bad taste in your mouth’ ‘leaveyoufeelingweird’, so please listen and let me know what you think. Also, btws, it’s in the middle but you should listen to the whole episode cause it’s bomb.
That said, the muddiness of performing sexuality for pay and performing sexuality for fun has only amplified with time. This year was the first time I had a crush on a client (a graphic designer from Staten Island with a Joe Strummer tattoo, loll but also, babe) and the first year I realized I might want things like a long-term partners and babies and all that junk, which for me is a serious recalibration of my sexuality. It’s also the first year where I’ve started moving in professional and social circles where I don’t want to tell people what I do for cash. Lying fucking sucks and feeling like I have to lie to my new ‘profeshional journalist’ friends is making me realize how totally unsustainable this line of work is for me.
After a series of lacklustre personal sexual encounters this year (and nail-gnashing, rage filling, professional ones where I’m just like ‘omg you are a pervert and I hate you and WHYDOYOUTHINKITWASOKTOSAYTHAT?’), I’ve decided that sex work is adversely affecting my ability to want and desire things and people for myself. So, I’m giving myself a two month (ie, cash-saving) deadline to stop working so I can start regrouping what I’m attracted to and what I’m not attracted to in my ‘real life.’
Oh, also, NY makes me neggy and agrro and my work is totally adding to it hard. Half the time I don’t want to talk to anyone cause I assume they are all the worst type of creep. And 3/4s of NY’s charm is creepy weirdo strangers! So like, yeah, gtfo g.
i think i saw a straight person once but it might have been lettuce
i love this visual so much! the context of the piece is very sad, but in general i often think of my lovers as filled with colorful candy and about to burst.
Félix González-Torres, “Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)”, 1991
The artist created a series of conceptual portraits of his lover, Ross Laycock. Ross contracted AIDS in the 1980’s and died years later from AIDS-related illness. This is my favorite; a reflection on both the wonderful personality and slow death of his partner.
In practice, this takes the form of a 175-pound pile of individually wrapped pieces of candy. When Ross was diagnosed with HIV, his doctor placed his ideal weight at 175 pounds, so this pile of candy is meant to symbolize his sweet personality and his weight. Visitors to the gallery/museum are invited to each take and eat a piece of candy from the pile, taking a piece of Ross with them. The candy pile therefore slowly dwindles, reflecting Ross’ weight loss and eventual death.
However, González-Torres has also said that each pile should ideally be continually replenished, creating symbolic immortality for his beloved partner.