Back In the Saddle

OH MY GOD I AM SO HAPPY TO BE BACK!!!
I want so badly to jump around and tell everyone “I’M AN ESCORT AGAIN!! Did you know?? Did I tell you?? ESCORTING AGAIN. ME!!!” 
I’m so ridiculously ecstatic I’ve had to stop drinking wine around some people lest it slips out in a moment of wine-lubricated enthusiasm (my sister is a definite no-no, as much as I adore her…). I might be happy, but other people won’t necessarily be happy for me. That much I remember. 
Instead, I thought I’d share it with you. I’ve been wondering what to write about as my first blog post, to celebrate my return. So maybe I’ll just write about…celebrating my return! With you guys, who will actually appreciate it 🙂
So. 
It’s been a long time between frolics. And now that I’ve made the decision to come back, I can’t really remember why I left. I was young and carefree…but also maybe influenced by the disapproval of those around me, to my intense regret. Now, I have a lot more experience and wisdom at my back. I’m more discerning about who I tell, not because I feel like I have something to hide, but to protect myself from the emotional labour of helping certain others to feel better about it.
Of the people I have told, my two closest friends have asked me why I’m so happy about this—curious, not judgemental questions. 
The money, of course—it would be disingenuous to pretend that’s not exciting. In my other life, I work in the helping professions, which are immensely rewarding, endlessly interesting and terribly, terribly paid.
That work lends itself to reflection; it’s built into the work, mandated by professional standards. It’s not a space to plan the work to be done, but rather a space to think about one’s own practice—how one’s own experiences, values and beliefs are brought into and impact upon the work. It is something I value very highly, and as a hopeless over-achiever (with a slightly competitive streak…) I think this is a skill I can bring to sex work to be the very best provider I can be. But it’s also a skill set I can use just for me, to ferret around in my my own mind and understand what motivates me, a process which I find very satisfying. So probably this space will be made up on my reflections on life, love and sex work, as they occur in real time. Writing has always been a favourite pastime of mine. ‘Writing myself sane’, I call it. Be prepared 🙂

Human Connection and Sex Work

I’ve spent a lot of time over my life reflecting on contributing. Sometimes valuing (or devaluing) myself based on what I can contribute, sometimes raging against what it is that our culture values as a legitimate contribution. I find it interesting that two of the roles I have gravitated toward are not valued very highly as concepts (the helping professions are often dismissed as ‘bleeding heart’ professions, dividing us into Morrison’s ‘lifters and leaners’ dichotomy, rather than the more nuanced reality). Obviously, I see it differently. But it’s rate of pay reflects how little society values people who need support (or values social justice, for that matter) and those who do the work of supporting them (motherhood, anyone?). Sex work manages to follow a similar trajectory—dismissed as a dirty or desperate profession for those with no morals or no options, which does not do justice to the profound importance of human connection and helping someone to feel good, to enjoy sex, to be present in their body and feel desirable. The stigma associated with it reflects how little society values it, yet the rate of pay is exactly the opposite—because at the same time, sex is something that we as a society value very much. We’re wired for connection, and we’re wired for sex, and we’re willing to pay for it individually. 

Sex Work as Valuable Work for the Client

So for me, all my work (in helping and in sex work) has to have some value on top of the income derived from it. My identity is caught up in contributing. I don’t speak for any other sex workers, of course—we all value different things. But for me, I think the biggest misconception I have encountered in regards to sex work is the firmly held belief that men who use the services of sex workers are vile, misogynistic and repugnant, who exist with the singular aim of humiliating women—and that we, as sex workers, enable them to continue to do so. The idea that they are normal, everyday men (there are exceptions, of course) is perhaps even more confronting, because it removes the lines that society neatly draws around both sex workers and clients of sex workers. We all just bleed in to one another, so anyone could be a sex worker, and anyone could be a client—your sister, your friend, your brother, your father. Your husband or wife. And the fact that I can find value in helping someone to feel good, to feel valued and safe and listened to (because frankly some people need that to enjoy sex, though again, we’re all different…), and/or enjoy sex—and what’s more, enjoy the experience myself—is so distasteful and undervalued because…why, again?

Sex Work as Valuable Work for Me

So, there’s the pay and the inherent value that I see in the work. 
But there’s something else about sex work, for me, personally. 
From the moment I heard that you could have sex as your CAREER (all of thirteen years old), I was intrigued. Having discovered masturbation at a very early age, seeking pleasure was as natural to me as breathing. I looked forward to bed every night so I could play out my latest fantasy again, tweaking the highlights, the locations, the punchlines (I have also pursued a career in writing, and have a very active imagination and an eye for the details…), and getting myself off. 
So, I like sex. Connected sex or purely physical sex. Add in the fact that I was very shy around boys at that age, and sex work seemed like my match made in heaven (they would come to me!! So my rationalising went..). I was baffled that everyone wasn’t doing it. So the idea had been rattling around in my mind for a long time by the time I finished school, and I bounded off to uni and into a brothel and it was AWESOME. (Actually, that’s not entirely true. One of my guest lecturers in a criminology class was lecturing on sex work, and told us at the end of her lecture that she was a sex worker. THEN I bounded off to a brothel). It’s indicative of the social stigma I had internalised that I needed someone “like me” (ie well-educated, a high-achiever, apparently “normal”) to give me permission of sorts to pursue my long-held dream.
I get that other people view sex differently to me, and that’s great—variety is the spice of life. And it means that there’s someone out there who’s a good match for everyone. It also brings me to sex work being valuable for society. I am so happy that people can pay for the experience they desire. Maybe you want a porn star experience. Maybe you want to film it? There’s a sex worker who’ll be a good match for you. Maybe you just want to talk and cuddle for a while before progressing to physical intimacy? Good. There’s a sex worker who’ll be your perfect match for that. Maybe you want regular sex with someone you trust with no strings attached. Whatever you want, there’s bound to be someone who’ll be right for you in this industry. Of course, their price will exclude some people. But I think recognising your desires and paying the right person to fulfil them makes for a better, happier world for everyone.   

So what’s changed to bring me back to sex work at this point in time? 

I still work part-time in my other profession—and I still love it. And I was thinking, that maybe it’s that combination. Because, don’t get me wrong. Sex work can be hard. Stigma is a bitch. Not feeling able to be open with your friends and family is extremely stressful (I’m a terrible liar, and feel a constant compulsion to divulge everything I’m thinking to those closest to me…) Being vulnerable is likewise a constant stress. There are idiots and worse out there in the world. But I still want to do it. And I went into the helping professions because I am interested in people. I like people. I like finding the ways we can connect, I like hearing about the experiences of others, I like the joy and sparkle that comes from meeting that innate need to connect with others. I like feeling like I can contribute to someone’s journey, whatever that may be. And I like how in this work you can meet all the variations. The confident, the smart, the shy, the awkward. The well-travelled, and the never-travelled. The fun-loving and the lonely. The deep-thinking and the frivolous.
I’m comfortable with all the myriad human presentations (except douchebags. I am not comfortable with, fond of, or tolerant of douchebags…). I feel like I can bring all of my best selves to this role. The joyful, delighted, curious, and kind selves. The alluring and sophisticated selves. The own-my-own-businesses, intelligent, intellectual selves. The athletic and shamelessly horny selves. The womanly self who does NOT get to wear sexy dresses and lingerie in her other job!! Not to mention the introverted selves—in what other job can you dress up, meet interesting people and be unashamedly yourself…and then not, when you need some solitude? And get paid really well for it?  
So, there’s all of that. There’s orgasms, too 🙂 But mainly, I think my joy is from finally acknowledging what I want to do, and choosing to do it, regardless of the stigma, or the pressure from those around me. It’s been a long road, I’ve been slow as a slug on the uptake, and I wish I hadn’t been so impacted by what others thought was best for me. But that’s part of the joy too, isn’t it? Because learning and growing has value whenever you do it. So when I recently made this decision, the cliched giant weight lifted from my shoulders like a pesky heavy jacket being removed in the glorious summer sun. And now I can frolic—naked!!!—and soak up the heat 😉
So, hello, lovers! I’m back, I’m thrilled, and I’m dying to meet you. 
Til next time,
Ellie