I am writing this with an hour before I meet a new john, and as always I am nervous, my heart beats faster and I'm dressed to kill. What boots! What a skirt! If my teenage self could see me now she would swoon with envy and pride. I look amazing and I know it, but that's not the point.
I am also, as always, conflicted. As a women with radical feminist politics, this is the one area where I diverge from the dominant opinions of that group. I am constantly evaluating how I can be a truly feminist sex worker. For me that question of feminist integrity matters more than how to be a safe sex worker, a high paid sex worker, or anything else. My integrity is the most important thing, and I never do anything with a john that I wouldn't do by my own choice.
I turn down the piss requests, the "will you let my dog fuck you?" guys, the ones who try to bargain for more time and less money. I do not turn down the ugly ones, the lonely ones, the very hairy and sexually confused ones. There is something in me that loves them and their small perversions, loves the taboo of sex work and the incredibly novel situations that I find myself in. As an Ivy league masters candidate, this is not my last resort. I've lived with the love of my life for years and am satisfied in every way by our love/sex/friendship. I'm educated and well adjusted, yet I am also a working girl. We tend to defy your expectations, don't we?
For me sex work is more intellectual than anything else. My reward is the money, but most importantly the understanding.
The truth is, I often feel less safe around men I'm not sleeping with for money, the ones who harass me on the street or at my day job. The patriarchy is so overpowering and omnipresent that my feminist self feels in danger almost everywhere. What I like about sex work is the exploration, the digging through layers of sexism and sexual politics, finding where I stand and how men act when they are given free reign. It's a chance to dig through the hidden and bizarre aspects of our lives, and it fascinates me.
Sometimes johns are beautiful. Sometimes they are violent, or threatening.
But they always teach me something, however small, about the realities of human existence and I feel privileged that they let me in.