Opinion
5 min

When sex work is unsexy (Part 3)

The clock can be your best friend — or your worst enemy

Credit: Indiana Joel/Daily Xtra

In the sex business, the clock has a strange ability to morph. In the moments after your client has come and you happen to only have five or 10 minutes left before you can leave, the clock is your best friend. But when you’re trying to make a session work with someone you’re physically or psychologically repulsed by, and you realize you’re barely a quarter of the way through, the clock is your worst enemy.

No matter what point you’re at in a session and no matter how badly it’s going, the last thing you want to do is watch the time. The best solution is to try your best to lose any awareness of how long you still have to be there and just throw yourself in with gusto. Whenever you get the urge to look at the clock, close your eyes and imagine counting the fat stack of bills you’re going to receive at the end.

Unfortunately, I’ve already done the thing I know I’m not supposed to do and now have to grapple with the knowledge that I have more than two and a half hours left with my highly-undesirable companion. 

We’re supposed to start with a massage, so I lay out a towel and a series of pillows on the bed, instructing him to lie down with his feet pointing towards the headboard. He obliges, but then keeps himself propped up on his forearms, glaring at me. 

“Okay,” I say, taking his head gently in my hands. “Let’s just relax the muscles in your neck.” 

I guide his face gently down to rest on the rolled towel I have positioned under his forehead. I realize that my bag containing the massage oil is still in the hallway so I excuse myself to get it. When I come back, he’s propped himself back up on his arms, staring angrily at me, his mouth hanging slightly open.

I guide his forehead back to the towel a second time. As I turn to grab my massage oil from my bag, he springs up again. I set the oil on the bed next to him, stare into his face and grab the muscles at the back of his neck. 

“If you keep your head up like this, your muscles won’t relax and I can’t massage you,” I say. “I need you to let your neck relax before we can start.”

I guide his head back to the towel again, this time pressing my hands into his upper back to keep him from popping up. Most of us tend to carry our tension in our upper backs — the result of being bent over a computer or a phone for most of our waking hours. His back is unusually tense, with knots up and down his spine. I start gently at first, trying to warm up his muscles slightly, gradually encouraging him to relax before I apply more pressure.

We’ve only been at it about a minute, when his arms suddenly shoot forward, roughly grabbing the backs of my thighs. As any massage therapist will tell you, having your arms extended above your head like this makes it impossible to massage your shoulders. But since my services are erotic not therapeutic, I usually let this slide and just allow my client touch me. 

But the way he’s grabbing me is so decidedly unsexy. His rough hands are squeezing the backs of my hamstrings in a way that is painful. He quickly makes his way to my ass again, pulling my cheeks apart and pressing his long fingernail into my hole, making me wince with pain.

I release his shoulders, grab both his wrists and place his hands back on the bed next to his face.

“I already asked you not to dig your finger into my ass like that,” I say. “You can touch me if you want, but that doesn’t feel good.”

He doesn’t respond, but just continues to lie there for a few minutes as I work my way down his spine. Then again, without warning, his arms spring forward. This time he grabs for my dick. 

Usually when I’m giving a massage, I start the process with my underwear on, doffing it partway through to allow the erotic tension to build. But since we’ve come directly from the shower I’m already naked, so my dick is hanging flaccid, available to his hands. 

He touches me like he’s doing a medical exam, but without any understanding of anatomy. He squeezes my dick roughly in his palm, as if he thinks it will get me hard. It doesn’t, of course.

Just like when he was fingering my ass, his actions are having the opposite result of what he wants. I let him keep going for a little bit, but again his sharp fingernails start to hurt and so I push myself away from his upper body and move on to his legs.

I’ve been trying not to glance at the clock next to the bed, but I finally break down and look. Its glowing red numbers announce that I’ve been here for a total of 45 minutes. I pause for a moment, wondering if I should just give up — tell him that it’s not worth it, collect a partial fee and leave. 

No, let’s just get through this — it won’t actually be as hard as I’m imagining it will be, I tell myself. And that money is going to feel so good in my hands. I begin applying massage oil to his legs.

I don’t usually spend as long on a client’s legs as I do on their upper bodies. Most people, unless they’re athletes, don’t carry as much tension in their lower bodies as they do in their backs and shoulders. This shift to the legs also usually comes at the mid-point in the massage, when things start to take a turn to the erotic. From the legs it’s a short trip to the ass, and that’s where everything really gets started.

In this case though, as I start oiling up his hamstrings, I can tell that he’ll need a lot of work. His physical condition of having two legs of different lengths has meant both are tense in different ways, the muscles working to compensate for the asymmetry. I continue to massage up and down his legs, gradually feeling the tension release, before moving on to his feet. 

Some erotic massage purveyors won’t go near a client’s feet. I understand why. Occasionally you’ll get someone who’s perfectly pedicured. But more often, especially with older clients, you’re faced with a bunch of calluses and over-grown, fungus-ridden toenails. A quick glance reveals that my trick could definitely use a trip to the chiropodist.

This is the part of the job where sex work really ceases to be sexy and starts to feel quite medical. But right now, that’s sort of a relief. It allows me to drop the idea that everything we’re going to do should be titillating. Sometimes you’re really doing something for a person that benefits their physical health.

I give his feet a quick brush with my hand to knock the sock lint off, and then pick up his right foot and drip oil on it. I’ve consciously positioned myself so my back is to the clock, which allows me to forget about the time. Instead, I stare up at the wall of books behind his bed. Most of them are old hardcovers with German titles, but there’s also a substantial selection of travel books, mostly from Asia and Africa.

As I stare up at the books, I continue to rub circles with my thumbs into the sole of his foot, counting the strokes as I make them so I can roughly approximate the same thing on the other side. I’m trying to use the massage to delay the sex we’re going to have, which I’m already dreading. But I also feel like in this moment I’m giving him something that he actually needs. His muscles are so tense and twisted. Maybe after releasing some of his stress he’ll be a better lover.

After an exceptionally long time dedicated to his feet, I stand and announce I need a quick bathroom break. This is a lie, of course. I just need a moment alone to focus before the sex starts. As I’m leaving the room I glance the clock to find we’ve just passed the hour and a half mark . . .