Like nearly every freelance job, sex work has its ebbs and flows. I’ll go through periods where my inbox is pinging every 30 seconds. Other times I don’t have a date for weeks. I’ve gotten better at predicting these points throughout the year. The beginning of spring means an uptick in everyone’s desire to mate. August gets quiet with so many people on vacation. The pre-holiday stress of December always brings a cavalcade of appointments, often at odd hours. The arrival of post-Xmas credit card statements mid-January induces a few weeks of financial sobriety.

I also have periods where I know I should be busy and should be booking a steady stream of dates. And yet my calendar is a total dead zone. It’s always an agonizing moment, especially if rent is coming due. I debate rewriting my profile, changing my photos and contacting long-lost clients to ask if they’re up for reconnecting. But I’ve gradually realized that the moments when my professional sexual schedule goes dry mean something else is in my life is askew.

I’m not one of those types obsessed with “energies.” I don’t believe in karma. I don’t have a manifestation board. I’ve never read The Secret. I have however noticed a connection (I’ll call it energetic for lack of a better term) between the different facets of my sex life. Going through a professional slump can mean a lot of people are short on cash or simply out of town. But more often than not, it’s indicative of me having let my private sex life decline.

It might sound like an odd thing; the idea that a sex worker isn’t having enough sex. But it’s a more common trap to slip into than you’d imagine. When I’m working at peak volume I’m dedicating all of my sexual energy, my desire and my orgasms to pleasing clients. Placing all that focus on others means I’m not attentive to my own needs. Just like hitting the gym, eating a decent diet and having regular therapy, monitoring my psychosexual health is part of maintaining my overall well-being. To put it bluntly, sometimes you just need to get laid.

During a recent professional downturn, I find myself in front of the bathroom mirror, analyzing my reflection. It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve had a date and I’m feeling paranoid. I’m examining my body from different angles, noting the flaws, thinking about different workout plans, wondering if I should get Botox. It’s all ridiculous of course.

My rational brain knows that the clients who book me, like me because of how I look, not in spite of it. But my emotional self still wants to say the reason the money isn’t flowing is because there’s something wrong with my appearance.

My phone buzzes with a text from a semi-regular fuck bud. He’s been bugging me to hook up for the last three weeks and I always have some excuse for not connecting; too much work do, too exhausted, a cold that won’t go away. Tonight he’s trying to get me to join a group scene. Staring at my naked reflection, I’m feeling so unsexy right now. I really just want to plunk in front of the computer with a bowl of soup and catch up on The Good Wife. But with the stress of the last few weeks I realize I need to engage in a little self-care. And in this case, self-care means fucking at least three different guys in an evening. I text back to say I’ll be there by 9.

He lives close by so I decide to walk instead of taking my bike. It’s one of those cold, wet February evenings where the prospect of spring, let alone summer, feels hopeless. Partially melted snow banks reveal cigarette butts and dog shit frozen since fall. I’m halfway there when an icy rain starts to pelt my face. I really want to turn around and go home, just text him to say I changed my mind and return to my original plan of Julianna Margulies and Martha Stewart’s creamy tomato basil potage. But I pull my hood tighter around my face, lean into the wind and keep repeating the words, “You need this,” under my breath.

Taking the elevator up to his floor, I stare at my reflection in the mirror; wet hair dishevelled across my face, skin pink from the cold. I’m definitely not looking my best. But I’m about to step into a room full of horny men who’ve already been going at it for an hour and will be hungry for some fresh meat. Even if I look like shit, I’m sure to be a welcome addition.

His door is slightly ajar when I arrive so I step in and push it closed behind me. I drop my coat on the hall floor and ditch my shoes before walking into the living room. The room smells like sex; sweat, poppers, ass. As I enter, two guys are bent over the back of the couch getting pounded by the two other guys behind them.

“Hey,” I say as they all turn towards me. “Got room for a fifth?”

To be continued . . .

(Follow Devon on Twitter @devondelacroix or email him at devondelacroix@gmail.com)

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