Archive for the ‘Q & A’ Category

Has any of your past clients ever fallen in love with you and you didn’t reciprocate those feelings?  I ask because the last escort I saw was different from all the other ones I’ve met; she’s very smart, strong, confident, beautiful and she even told me I was cute.  She seems to be the kind of person I could be in a relationship with and I would like to get to know her off the clock, but I’ve had so many bad experiences with women in the past that I’m afraid to try anything.  What should I do?

lady-of-the-night-by-gweyeniAs I wrote in “Out of Bounds”, “It’s not at all unusual for a client to fall in love with a whore; sometimes, as in my case, that can actually go somewhere.  But there were a lot of men who fell in love with me before Matt, and every one of my sex-working friends has had clients fall for her; it’s a natural outgrowth of a situation in which a lonely man spends a lot of time in the company of a beautiful, alluring woman who only shows him her best side.”  But it isn’t common that the whore returns the feeling; I’ve answered a number of similar questions over the years from men in similar situations to yours.  And even in the very unlikely event that she does reciprocate and a romantic relationship develops (remember, I was married to a former client for 14 years), such relationships have the same kind of problems as others do, plus a host of special difficulties born of stigma and jealousy.

I’m not telling you that you should run away, nor that a relationship with a sex worker is doomed; I’m telling you that A) it’s very unlikely she feels the same way about you as you do about her; and B) if she is in fact interesting in seeing you “off the clock”, you need to be aware that the relationship isn’t likely to be easier, simpler or more idyllic than any other sexual relationship between two flawed human beings, which is to say “not at all”.  My advice to you is the same as it was to the two gentlemen I answered in “A Living Thing” and “Favor” earlier this year, which is:  Enjoy what you have with her and don’t try to turn it into something it isn’t.  And if she begins to clearly and directly express romantic interest in you, and it actually does turn into a romantic relationship rather than a strictly professional one, don’t go into it expecting it to be all sunshine and fairy dust, because I can absolutely guarantee you it won’t be no matter what you think right now.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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You’ve mentioned several times that you’ve never really “amateur dated”, but you’ve also said you were promiscuous before becoming a pro.  Those seem to contradict each other; could you explain?)

By the standards of the 1970s, my mother was quite overprotective; her level of caution would be considered fairly low in these days of bubble-wrapping and helicopter parenting, but 40 years ago she was definitely on the strict side.  Like modern parents, she “seemed bound and determined to control my natural free-spiritedness and to delay my sexual maturation for as long as possible“, and part of that was “she did not allow me to date until I was 16, and even then only in groups to chaperoned events.”  Of course, that backfired (as authoritarian prohibitions generally do); all it did was to stop me from dating, but not to stop me from having sex (especially since nobody bothered to chaperon me when I was alone with other girls).  It did, however, mean that I never developed the weird habit of going places with guys I barely knew and then letting them grope me.  By the time I was out from under my mother’s roof I had already had my heart broken once and wasn’t exactly eager to experience it again; I had a few long-term arrangements with women, including my second heartbreak and my first sugar mama, but until Jack started pursuing me my relationships with guys were largely pragmatic rather than based on mutual attraction.  After he left me I didn’t want to be with anybody for a long time, and by the time that feeling faded I was already a pro and had no interest in giving away that which I could sell.  So even though I had sex with a lot of strange men in my teens, they were all guys I met via my social group and my motive was profit or some other practical thing rather than auditioning partners; the majority of girls who hit on me were already partnered with men and were only interested in experimentation (except for that second heartbreak, about which the less said, the better).  Therefore, even though it wouldn’t be accurate to say I’ve never been on an uncompensated date, the idea of making a regular practice of going out with strangers of either gender and giving them sex for free, and of wanting to do that badly enough that I actually take the time & trouble to create an ad on a website and somehow work out how to decide which messages are even worth answering (again, without profit in mind), is so alien to me that it’s like an outlandish custom practiced by some exotic culture I read about in National Geographic.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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I was wondering if it might be to big a jump for Americans to go from fearing sex to seeing it as a normal human activity; might not the Swedish model be a shorter step?  Decriminalization is best of course, but is it to much of a shift from criminalization to make all at once?

false-compromiseProponents of the Swedish model want you to see it as a sort of compromise position; that’s how it was sold in Canada, where the Middle of the Road is practically the national symbol.  But it’s actually nothing of the kind.  First of all, the Swedish model has never been adopted any place where sex work was already criminalized; it always results in the criminalization of behavior that was not previously criminalized.  Even if it were to be adopted in some US jurisdiction, the oft-heard claim that the model “decriminalizes the seller” is a blatant lie.  Because prostitution is a misdemeanor, arrested sex workers are usually charged with whatever the cops and DAs can think of to get a more serious crime, such as “promotion of prostitution” (ie pimping) or even “sex trafficking” if the cops’ victim was working with another whore; these laws are still in place under the Swedish model (described therein as “going after the pimps and traffickers”), and because there is no lesser prostitution charge the impetus for cops to level such serious charges against ordinary sex workers is actually increased.  But there’s another, more insidious and dangerous effect of the model: it establishes the legal precedent that adult women who behave in a way of which the state disapproves are not merely criminal, but incompetent.  As I explained in my essay, “Treating Sex Work as Work”:

[The Swedish model] is solidly rooted in an archaic and sexist view of women as particularly fragile and vulnerable, and…posits that paying for sex is a form of male violence against women.  This is why only the act of payment is de jure prohibited: the woman is legally defined as being unable to give valid consent, just as an adolescent girl is in the crime of statutory rape.  The man is thus defined as morally superior to the woman; he is criminally culpable for his decisions, but she is not…the law has been demonstrated to increase both violence and stigma against sex workers, to make it more difficult for public health workers to contact them, to subject them to increased police harassment and surveillance, to shut them out of the country’s much-vaunted social welfare system, and to dramatically decrease the number of clients willing to report suspected exploitation to the police (due to informants’ justified fear of prosecution).  Furthermore, these laws don’t even do what they were supposed to do; neither the incidence of sex work (voluntary or coerced) nor the attitude of the public toward it has changed measurably in any country (Sweden, Norway and Iceland) where they have been enacted…a Norwegian study found that banning the purchase of sex had actually resulted in an increase in coercion)…and…despite the hype, the truth is that even operations framed as “john stings” or “child sex slave rescues” end up with the arrest and conviction of huge numbers of women; for example, 97% of prostitution-related felony convictions in Chicago are of women, and 93% of women arrested in the FBI’s “Innocence Lost” initiatives are consensual adult sex workers rather than the coerced underage ones the program pretends to target…

And we haven’t even touched on things like Norway’s “Operation Homeless” (in which the cops sent letters to sex workers’ landlords, telling them they could be prosecuted as “pimps”, so as to get the women evicted); the forcible collection of “evidence” from the “crime scene” (i.e. sex workers’ vaginas); and the expulsion of student sex workers who refuse to pretend that they’re “victims”.

Tl;dr version of the preceding: “No”.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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I was approached for a date by a man who seemed to me as though he might be below 18.  My gut instinct was not to accept the date, so to salve the pain of rejection, I tried to explain why we don’t see under 18.  He became very angry and said he was disabled, but judging by the way he sounded, I believe it was a mental disability rather than a physical one.  It feels kinda shitty to reject him for that, but if I saw him I wouldn’t feel right.  Are the consent issues with a mentally disabled adult the same as when a party is underage? justice

Whether he was under 18 or a mentally disabled adult, you were probably right to reject the date.  Our culture is, alas, in the midst of a new Victorian Era, in which there is tremendous cultural anxiety about sex.  And while it used to be not at all unusual for a young man in his late teens to be initiated by a sex worker, now that would be viewed as “sexual abuse” even if he’s above the local age of consent, due to the magical corrupting power of money.  If his parents should find out and extract your contact information from him, you could be in very hot water indeed.  Even if he could prove to you that he’s over 18, you’d have to carefully examine the circumstances: does he lives alone and manage his own finances, etc?  If so, it would probably be fine, though obviously you’d have to decide for yourself whether you’re comfortable dealing with the special difficulties such a client might present.  But if he lives at home and/or has some kind of guardian, he’d be considered a “vulnerable adult”, and you could potentially be viewed by the law as “exploiting” him just as though he were under 18.  While it’s true that we’re all viewed as criminals by US law anyhow, it’s not really a good idea to turn a misdemeanor into a felony, nor to compound that felony.  And when sex is involved, the mass hysteria that currently grips our culture will make sure that your life is completely destroyed if you’re found out.  It’s sad if you can’t help someone who might be desperately in need of human contact, but there are some things that are just too risky, and I think this is one of them.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)




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Fair Trade

I know a handful of people who have seen sex workers for trade.  I have no issue with the idea that sex can be exchanged for money or (as in “traditional marriage”) other benefits, and I’m not at all bugged by, say, a photographer exchanging website photos for a domme session; however, I get a little nervous when I hear about a lawyer or a doctor trading for some sexual pay-off.  I guess legal and medical coverage hint at a greater power differential; they are so expensive and so very important, and so many people need them who don’t easily have access to them, that my mind wonders when consent ends and coercion begins if one is charged with a crime or needs an appendectomy.  I certainly don’t think that just because a sex worker wouldn’t have sex with someone in their personal lives, it’s somehow automatically coercion when they are doing it to pay their bills/survive.   So when is one right to feel squicked out?  Is a for-trade situation ever just totally inappropriate?  Or is this some ghastly Puritanical reflex that I need to consider unlearning?

Though you may find it an interesting exercise in introspection to try to figure out why you’re squicked out by the exchange of sex for what we might call “high level” professional services, I don’t think you should feel compelled to do so because there isn’t anything “wrong” with your feeling that way.  Now, I suspect that the reason is some sort of entanglement with the idea of a powerful person demanding sexual services as payment for a favor; I think we can agree that a cop saying, “Give me sex or I’ll arrest you”, or a company boss saying, “Give me sex or I’ll fire you and destroy your career”, are forms of rape.  And though I don’t agree that for a professional who does not have actual power over a person to offer valuable and/or expensive services in exchange for sex is morally wrong, I can imagine circumstances in which the line would be mighty thin; for example, the only doctor in a remote village demanding sex and refusing any other form of payment from an extremely ill woman in dire poverty without means of travel to find a different doctor.  So it’s not at all surprising that the one type of interaction could “cross-contaminate” the other in your psyche.

However, it doesn’t actually matter why you feel squicked out by that particular interaction, as long as you respect the right of others not to feel that way.  As I wrote in “Out of the Dark”, “The human brain is not rational, and we don’t get to choose what turns us on….sexual likes, dislikes, kinks and fetishes emerge by mysterious paths from the murky swamp we carry deep in our brains, and there’s no known way to reroute those pathways once they’re established.”  Lots of people are squicked out by the fact that I have sex for money with strange men, some of whom may be extremely physically unattractive; others are uncomfortable with my bisexuality, or with the fact that I’m extremely turned on by some kinds of BDSM.  At the same time, I’m unmoved or even turned off by other kinds of BDSM, and also by some vanilla sex acts that millions of people enjoy.  And that’s all perfectly OK, as long as everyone respects everyone else’s right to have different feelings and refrains from inflicting violence on them or otherwise trying to persecute them, such as by lobbying for laws (enforced by violent thugs) to criminalize behaviors not because they objectively harm others, but merely because they don’t like them.  The most important thing to remember is that aversions and squickouts are properties of individual psyches, not of the things those individuals are squicked out by; they are personal idiosyncrasies, and therefore harmless and not really a cause for concern unless they cause one distress or drive him to act in a way that abrogates the rights of others.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)



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Our perception of what makes a service “safer” isn’t always universal.  –  Lux Alptraum

Bad Jobs

Like something Melissa Farley would make up, only true:  “A new survey shows 90% of social care workers [in Ireland] have experienced violence in the workplace…75% experienced physical assaults – some on a daily basis…

Somehow, I Doubt She Thought This Through

Never call the cops for any reason whatsoever, especially if you’re a whore:

A prostitute was arrested after she told police a clients handcuffed her and robbed her of $2,000 in cash and her belongings…At some point after the man paid her…he pulled out a police [badge], claimed he was a [cop] and handcuffed her with fake cuffs…He took his $190 off the hotel room dresser, swiped $2,000 in cash…and…the woman’s $1,000 iPad Mini, a $40 backpack and a $100 MetroPCS phone…Police arrested the woman and charged her with prostitution…However, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office declined to prosecute the case…

Above the Law  creepy-cop-neil-hempsall

There’s nothing here saying he harmed or threatened any of the sex workers he looked up, but of course there’s no way to know that given that he stalked them by looking up their fucking police records:

A disgraced cop who used his force computer to contact sex workers…was allowed to keep his job…[Neil Hempsall] admitted four charges and escaped with a community order…[the prosecutor said] “He…had been using the services of sex workers and accessing their record on the police computer system”…There was…[also] evidence he was tracking down a former lover…

The Pygmalion Fallacy (#46)

I can’t help laughing at pathetic losers wanking to their fantasies of superhuman sex robots, but but the ones who suffer reaction formation from such fantasies elicit a mixture of pathos and disgust:

According to a [soi-disant] expert in the field, we’ll need to be careful we don’t get addicted to artificial-intelligence lovemaking.  Joel Snell is an [academic who fantasizes]…there’s a real risk linked to the robots…because they’ll offer great sex at any time of the day and night…it’ll never be able to turn you down.  “People may become obsessed by their ever-faithful, ever-pleasing sex robot lovers,” he warned.  “People will rearrange their lives to accommodate their addictions”…

Bonus stupid anti-sex trope: “sex addiction”.

Lack of Evidence (Extra Edition)

It’s a sign of our culture’s deeply-sick sexual attitudes that people still believe in “virginity tests”:

[Dear Dr. Petra, my boyfriend is] like me…a virgin.  But when he checked my vagina he said he could tell I wasn’t a virgin and he doesn’t feel able to be with me until I can be truthful.  I don’t know how to convince him that I am a virgin and don’t know what signs he can see that tell him I’m not…I’m now worried I might be mistaken about myself…[Dr. Petra Answers:] I’m sure everyone reading this [is]…wondering what the circumstances were that led up to him checking your vagina?…You may have told him to get better educated about virginity and women’s bodies.  You might have told him his actions felt alarming and controlling…You could have said he clearly had no idea what he was talking about.  Any or all of these responses would have been reasonable.  And all of them are a good enough reason…to end the relationship without further discussion…There will be other people who are kinder, more sexually informed, more respectful, better communicators and won’t subject you to virginity checks…

Cardboard Cutouts

Note that 1.5% is my standard estimate of coercion among Western sex workers:

This week new statistics on human trafficking in The Netherlands where presented by the Dutch National Rapporteur Human Trafficking [and]…the city of Amsterdam…the Dutch Rapporteur reported…1,321 possible victims of trafficking…66%…from the sex industry…these are not proven victims, but simply people of whom other people (police, marshals, city officials and social workers) have (slight) suspicions about that perhaps they could be victims…if…there are about 827 possible victims in prostitution, and the total amount of sexworkers in The Netherlands are estimated at around 20.000…it would come down to about 4,1%…only 102 possible victims in prostitution where reported in Amsterdam…[which] would come down to about 1,5% of all the sexworkers in Amsterdam…what’s interesting is to compare the suspected victims with the actual number of victims that annually actually press charges…in 2015…33 victims actually [pressed] charges for human trafficking, which is almost the same as the year before (29 in 2014) and the year before that (32 in 2013).  In short, quite a bit lower than how many people are being reported as “possible” victims…

Feminists and Other Puritans

Once again:  NO, a coalition between two different fundamentalist groups to fight what they perceive as a common enemy is in no way “surprising”:

…the surprising nexus between radical feminists and Christian Right culture warriors has been with us a long time.  In the 1980s, anti-porn feminists like Catherine McKinnon and Andrea Dworkin teamed up with anti-porn conservatives like Edwin Meese, leading to the passage of laws censoring sexual speech in the name of protecting women.  In the last decade, anti-prostitution feminists have joined forces with fundamentalist Christians to prosecute sex workers under the aegis of sex trafficking laws.  And now, some essentialist feminists – pejoratively nicknamed TERFs, for “Trans-Exclusive Radical Feminists” – have provided the pseudo-philosophical basis for fundamentalist Christians’ anti-transgender laws…[while] TERFs…approvingly cite…anti-trans [Christian]…right-wing scholars and writers…Feminists…and…Conservatives don’t oppose porn because they want to protect women; they oppose porn because they oppose sexual licentiousness and free sexual expression.  Just like they oppose protecting trans people because transgender reality scares them, disgusts them, or offends their outdated theologies.  A similar shell-game has recently arisen in the context of sex trafficking…This was a deliberate deception on the part of anti-sex activists like the anti-prostitution group Demand Abolition.  As exposed by The Washington Post in 2014, that group’s internal document said that “framing the Campaign’s key target as sexual slavery might garner more support and less resistance, while framing the Campaign as combating prostitution may be less likely to mobilize similar levels of support”…

Hey, Jay Michaelson:  I appreciate your mentioning my work, but the standard practice when doing so is to name the author rather than just the publication, and to include a link to the piece cited.

Guest Columnist:  Kaytlin Bailey

My friend Kaytlin Bailey, on coming out to her father:

…I was afraid to tell him about my having been a prostitute because he was a great dad.  I didn’t want him to think one had anything to do with the other.  I didn’t want to burden him with this indulgent, selfish secret because I feared the images that “your daughter was a prostitute” would conjure might break him, even when his various tours of duty didn’t…We talked for hours, never addressing my prostitution directly. We got tipsy, and…he said…that he was proud of me, and that I could always come home.  “No matter what.”  I could see he wasn’t angry.  He was nervous for me the same way he’s always been…

Go read it.  Please. playing-cowboy-in-cartagena

They Never Learn

Since this self-aggrandizing fascist wankfest hasn’t sold as a TV show, they made a pilot movie:

“Just like the book Uncle Tom’s Cabin brought awareness to slavery and helped start a civil war, this movie can instantly turn that dial of public awareness to sex trafficking,” [fantasizes] director Chet Thomas.  Toward the beginning of The Abolitionists, a film with a limited release…the audience is introduced to “Batman”…a flawed hero with a troubled past who now works largely in the dark of night, protecting the vulnerable from unimaginable horrors…Batman…spent 15 years laundering money for drug cartels in Latin America…[until he had] a Christian epiphany…Nowadays, he works undercover, largely with a former Homeland Security officer named Tim Ballard.  The two of them set up sting operations worldwide that result in the capture of those who sell children as sex slaves…The directors of the documentary…also are working on a TV show.  They say they have enough video — taken with cameras disguised as sunglasses, pens and phones — for 25 episodes…Ballard’s organization, Operation Underground Railroad, has rescued 573 children worldwide and put 160 criminals behind bars…

Choke Point (#610)

The government-encouraged gentrification of the internet is tightening the noose on sex workers:

Lately, it seems like every website wants to see my ID.  Facebook was the first…then Airbnb started asking me to submit both a Facebook account and legal identification…And now Twitter’s opened up its verification process to all sorts of users—provided, of course, those users are willing to send the staff a copy of their legal identification…this push towards a verified internet…makes me concerned that the next iteration of the social media sites that have been essential to the destigmatization of sex work…won’t be quite so amenable to sex work…It should be relatively obvious why a tweeting escort would want to avoid providing her legal information…but even practitioners of legal sex work such as porn and stripping might not be too keen on the idea…it’s…possible that the potential chilling effect on sex worker voices is more than just an unintentional side effect…

The End of the Beginning (#668) 

A reminder that in most of the US, the situation is still worsening:

When he was 18, David Clark had sex with a 14-year-old.  In 1982 he pleaded guilty to sexual misconduct…and was sentenced to four years of probation.  The following year, the state legislature passed a law that retroactively required Clark to register as a sex offender.  In 2009 he was arrested for failing to register…He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.  Last week a federal appeals court [pretended] there was nothing constitutionally amiss about this series of events, because the law threatening to put Clark behind bars is [supposedly] not punitive…retroactive application…violates the Constitution’s ban on ex post facto laws…[but politicians and courts pretend that] forcing sex offenders to register is not a punishment…

Of Course It Is

It’s nice to know that at least a few reporters get this:

…TV stations plastered [Celeste Guap’s] image on newscasts.  Reporters hounded her for interviews and shared images from her social-media accounts on their websites.  During this time, Guap was [using heroin]…to cope with depression related to her [sexual abuse by cops]…last week…Florida deputies arrested Guap and charged her with felony battery…How did the Bay Area media react to this news?  At least four local outlets — including KTVU, SFist.com, ABC 7 and KRON — published Guap’s true identity and legal name, along with a “mug shot” from Florida jail…some local journalists are arguing that Guap’s case already was widely publicized, so it was OK to disclose her legal name…Bullshit.  The only reason her story is news…is because she was an underage victim of sexual assault [by cops]…And her legal name and identity should be protected as such…and…what the hell was Guap doing [in Florida] in the first place?…She’s a witness to…crimes committed by numerous Bay Area [cops, including]…human trafficking, statutory rape, interfering with a police investigation, illegal use of a police computer system, and pandering…she’s…trapped with a $300,000 bail and detoxing from hard street drugs cold-turkey, and…experiencing [jailhouse] harassment from [jailers]…

It’s What They Do

Thanks, Iain, but we don’t want to be “legalized and regulated”; we just want to be left the Hell alone:

The politician in charge of the Commons committee reviewing the laws on prostitution is caught in a prostitution scandal.  It is right for Labour MP Keith Vaz to resign as chairman of the Commons Home Affairs committee for the time being…But beyond that, Jeremy Corbyn is right about it being “a private matter”…Mr Vaz has done nothing illegal.  Even the “poppers” he was alleged to have taken are a legal stimulant.  But a lot of people seem to believe that Mr Vaz should now stand down as an MP simply because he was unfaithful to his wife…Yet…people have always had affairs…gay men should surely not be forced do disclose their sexuality if they feel uncomfortable about doing so…Some of the criticism has clearly come from supporters of what is called the “Nordic model” who believe that the buying of sex should be illegal.  But this story vividly illustrates the problems associated with changing the law to criminalise men who purchase sex…I can’t really understand why the sale of sexual services should ever be illegal unless it involves trafficking, pimping, compulsion or other forms of coercive behaviour.  The Vaz case – if the allegations are true – demonstrates why prostitution should be legalised and properly regulated.  So long as it is underground, the sex trade will remain in the hands of the criminals and blackmailers…

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How do I hate myself less for only being able to feel intimacy with sex workers, due to a history of having been abused?

In ancient times, if a culture was going to survive and thrive, it was vital that its people “be fruitful and multiply”.  Social pressures evolved to encourage people to marry and have children, and laws were designed to encourage this as well, and over the millennia we managed to trick ourselves into a mass delusion that lifelong exclusive monogamy is “natural”, despite the fact that it barely even exists at all (and then largely due to the existence of my profession).  So even though we are no longer in danger of civilization collapsing if women aren’t popping out babies as fast as they can, a lot of people still act as though that were the case: older parents gripe if their adult children aren’t giving them grandchildren; the entire GLBT rights movement got sidetracked into a quest for official government fucking licenses; and expressing aloud a lack of interest in coupling will generally elicit either a stare of the sort otherwise employed when meeting someone with two heads, or else a smug reassurance that one simply “hasn’t met the right one yet”.  Even many people who recognize the inherent instability of monogamy go instead for polyamory, an attempt to fix the problems inherent in ongoing committed relationships by multiplying them.

All snark aside, committed relationships work for many people, and emotionally-monogamous but sexually non-monogamous ones work for many others; hell, even actual monogamy (or a reasonable approximation of it) works for roughly a third of the population.  But there are also a lot of people who are unable or unwilling to maintain romantic partnerships for one reason or another.  Some may suffer from mental health issues; others like their sexual freedom too much to commit to a partner; still others simply feel it’s not practical; and many would love to have a partner, but are too shy or unpleasant or socially-awkward to attract and keep one.  And some, like you, have suffered too much at the hands of people who professed to love you to ever give that level of trust again (not for the foreseeable future, anyway).  And how does society respond to the (voluntarily or involuntarily) unpartnered?  By telling them that there’s something wrong with them, or at least with their situation, and that the condition is one to be cured, shunned or even mocked.  And sexual prudes and control freaks of every flavor want to add still another level of torment by declaring that sex is only for the coupled, so that those without the comfort of a partner should also be denied the simple, natural joy of feeling their skin against another’s.

Given those pressures and messages from both the well-meaning and the authoritarian, it’s no wonder you have succumbed to self-loathing, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to feel that way.  To Hell with those people who are telling you, directly and indirectly, that there’s something wrong with you for preferring your sexual intimacy unspoiled by the fear of getting hurt again.  Those who judge you don’t understand what you’ve been through, and they don’t want to understand because having to admit that a large fraction of so-called romantic relationships are abusive to one degree or another, some severely so, would upset their pretty little happily-ever-after weltanshauung.  You still need sexual intimacy, so you get it from people with whom you have no personal connection, and can therefore trust not to hurt you; I think that’s a brilliant solution, and anyone who encourages you to hate yourself for it is an asshole who deserves only scorn.  Fuck them and their fucking rules about what you “should” do with your body, money and time.  Perhaps one day you’ll decide to trust a romantic partner again, and perhaps you won’t; either one is perfectly OK if it’s what you decide is right for you.  But one way or another, sex workers will always be there to provide sexual intimacy without judgment, entanglement or the danger of falling into another abusive situation.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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