What would be the ideal mate for a sex worker be like? I would think honesty and trust would be a big deal, but what else?
I don’t believe in “ideals”; every person is different, and needs different things in a mate. That having been said, there are some qualities which tend to be necessary in every relationship: you mention honesty and trust, and those are certainly important…but isn’t that true of every relationship rather than just those involving sex workers? The same could be said of qualities like understanding, patience, loyalty, fairness, etc. If there is one quality that the partner of a sex worker needs which isn’t necessarily indispensible in other relationships, I would have to say it’s the recognition that sex is neither special nor magical. While the myth that sex equals love and/or vice versa is a destructive factor in most normal relationships, it is highly destructive in those involving sex workers for reasons which require no explanation. When both partners believe in the myth and continue to provide sex to their spouses, or the extracurricular activity of a partner who doesn’t believe the myth is never discovered, the negative effects alone are probably insufficient to doom the relationship (“if you love me you’ll take constant no for an answer and never look for sex anywhere else” is a related but slightly different and more complex issue). But in a sex worker’s relationship, it is a ticking bomb waiting to go off at some unpredictable time. The person who loves a sex worker cannot ever afford to allow himself to see current professional activities as “cheating”, or past professional activities as some sort of ritual pollution or moral failure, because such feelings will inevitably rise to the surface during arguments (and we all have them) with catastrophic effect.
There are a couple of other columns you may wish to read for on this subject: in “May Q & A” I answered a reader who was curious about how sex workers could still be interested in partner sex after a day at work, and just a little over a month later I published a two-part interview with my husband which used questions supplied by readers; the latter will allow you to get some feedback straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were.