My mother always wanted me to be a doctor. But some days I feel like I should have been a nurse. Sex work means dealing with people’s bodies in the most intimate ways possible. It’s wiping up shit while trying to stay hard enough to keep fucking. It’s hoisting someone out of a wheelchair and onto a bed before sticking your dick in their mouth. It’s fielding frantic follow-up calls, assuring someone the rash they have isn’t syphilis but probably just a reaction to their new laundry detergent. It’s holding someone’s hand as they cry after a role-play goes too far. It’s trying to seem aroused and interested, no matter the situation, because your ability to sell the fantasy determines whether you’ll be hired again. It’s like being a healthcare provider, a therapist, a sex educator and a small-business owner all rolled into one.
I’ve dealt with all kinds of bodies. I’ve had sex with guys who weigh over 400 pounds and with double amputees. I’ve taken more virginity than I can count, from high schoolers to senior citizens. I’ve fucked in apartment stairwells, the backseats of cars, parking lots, ravines and (once) in a suburban backyard bomb shelter. I’ve had colostomy bags break open, held knives to people’s throats while they blow me, and (once) pointed a gun at someone’s head while I was fucking him.
I never thought I’d be a sex worker, and I never thought I’d write about it. I was already writing professionally when I entered the business, and there were other subjects I wanted to deal with more urgently. Friends I’ve come out to over the years invariably ask why I’ve never used whoring as creative material. It’s partially because I didn’t feel equipped to talk about the larger cultural phenomenon of sex work since all I really know is my own experience. There’s also the fact that so many sex workers I encounter have some inclination to turn their experiences into screenplays, novels, theatre pieces or magazine columns. Frankly, I didn’t feel like the world needed another first-person whore-diary.
So why begin a series of columns on sex work now? I don’t have a specific reason except that entering my mid-30s means I’m hopefully a little wiser than I was in my mid-20s. Writing about sex work is an opportunity for me to reflect on the last decade of pulling tricks, what it’s meant to me, and how it’s shaped me as a person.
As a starting point, I can say sex work has given me an insight into people’s lives I’ve never found anywhere else. It’s financially rewarding, but it’s not easy and often not very sexy. It’s physically and psychologically demanding, alternately uplifting and destructive, a trigger for addiction and a serious opportunity for self-analysis. There are good days and bad days, bright sides and dark sides. But despite all that, I’ve never regretted doing it, even when I’m wiping up shit.