Unless you are a sex worker you probably won't be able to relate to how complex dating can be. I mean it's tough enough for the rest of society, right? Everyone has their hang ups, baggage, triggers and expectations and there are so many points along the road where it can go wrong in dating. Maybe you meet someone and the first date or two goes well, but then you discover they chew too loudly, have extreme political views or just seem a bit self-absorbed. Now take all those issues and magnify them by hundred. That's what dating is like for a sex worker. I will write from the perspective of a female sex worker seeing as that is what I have experience of, not to say that other genders may not experience similar problems when dating, but that's not my story to write.
It's the classic trope, boy meets sexworker, boy becomes entranced with sex worker, boy tries to change worker, sex worker dumps boy, boy doesn't get sex worker back. The adult world is extremely compelling for the male species and most men fall in love with their eyes and what they see, whereas women tend to fall in love with what they hear. Initially, a guy may see a sex worker as his dream woman. She appears confident, outgoing and on top of that she wears sexy clothes most of the time. He thinks - she must open minded and great between the sheets too. Isn't that just the perfect combination for any red-blooded guy? All their dreams have come true and lo and behold - boy has fallen in love, not with a person but with his idealised fantasy. The problem with falling in love with a fantasy is that before long reality will start to creep in. Let's call the sexworker Tamsin and the boy Dan and let's look at how some potential scenarios and see how problems can start to arise in the relationship. Tamsin might have been out on a shoot all day long or she might have come back from a night shift working on the late-night channels or even webcam. Dan did his 9-5 then curled up on the sofa with a beer and a movie fest. He's relaxed and horny, Tamsin is totally exhausted from being on the go. Dan tries to initiate sex but Tamsin is too tired. Dan immediately feels rejected and reacts to this perceived rejection – "So you have time for all these guys on webcam but not me?"
Dan has made the classic mistake of assuming Tamsin thinks like a man and that seeing a guy pop his willy out on webcam is going to be fulfil all her sexual needs. He has suggested she doesn't want to have sex with him because she is getting her sexual needs met elsewhere. He has failed to understand that this is her job, not just a cheap thrill. He feels let down, betrayed and his weapon of choice in the counter attack is emotional blackmail. In Tamsin's mind, she has merely asserted one of her most basic needs – sleep. She begrudges the fact that Dan is trying to deprive her of much need sleep that she requires for function. They are at an impass, both parties feeling defensive and hurt. The relationship is already starting to become toxic and if unaddressed the resentment will continue to grow between both parties.
I have been in the industry myself around 16 years in various roles, webcammer, phone chat operative, producer, performer, dominatrix, erotic writer and it doesn't matter whereabouts you are under the umbrella of sex work, an insecure guy will always find a problem with what you do for work. I have experienced it myself many times and seen it happen to friends of mine. Being a sex worker involves a lot of hours. Even when you are not on set, you may be writing blogs, doing promotion, advertising, buying equipment, networking and planning shoots, and the list goes on! Often you can feel like your work is never over and if you start to take it too easy then you'll start to get behind and see your sales start to fall, so it can be a high-pressured job most of the time, so this means the job may monopolise a lot of your time and any potential love interest would need to understand and respect this, which is easier said than done. On top of that, you may be talking to clients throughout the day or evening. So, while Dan was excited when he started to date a sex worker, he is now starting to feel insecure. He sees Tamsin chatting to other guys all day and wonders how she has all this time for them and not for him. Dan is feeling anxious and as if he's lost control of the situation. He decides he wants to take back control of the situation. He feels weak and scared and wants to feel powerful again. Several things can happen at this point, depending on Dan's personality and what his attachment style is. If he is avoidant, he may become distant. If he has an anxious attachment type he may become clingy or controlling, or if he has a secure attachment type, which makes up a mere 55% of the population according to https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/ he may wish to communicate his feelings and talk it through with Tamsin.
If 55% of the population has a secure attachment style, let's say half of those are women. That means only about 26% of men have a secure attachment type, so the likelihood of problems starting to arise are very high.
What are some controlling behaviours you might witness in this type of relationship? Speaking from experience, Dan might start to become controlling and may demand to know where you have been and who with. At the worse end of the scale he may try to stop you seeing friends and expect you to spend all your time with him. If he lacks character and moral fibre, he may even try to make you feel insecure. I have had this happen to me in more than one relationship, the guy feels insecure so he tries to project that onto you to try and make you feel insecure in the belief it will rebalance the scales and give him more power over you. This may look like flirting with other woman in front of you, insinuating that other women or men are attracted to them or made a pass at them, suggesting they are attracted to someone else or he may even start to criticise your appearance. All of a sudden in under a week you have gone from gorgeous and sexy to fat, too short, not their usual type, your eye is a bit wonkey, they don't like your labia, your hair is too scratchy - yes an ex actually complained about the texture of my hair when he kept clinging onto me and stuffing his face into my head! In fact, I have heard of all these insults and usually when something good had happened to me. The Dan's of this world don't want you to feel confident or happy. A Dan wants to make you feel insecure so that you feel like you need them. A Dan will hold you back because even when he wears a smile on his face he will want to sabotage any success or events in your life if they do not centre around him. As soon as he feels you are starting to give your attention to something else, Dan will stampede in and start to bamboozle you.
Over the years, I have seen so many girlfriends go from being happy, confident and successful women to introverted, stay at home types. Often their work will suffer and they may suffer mental health problems. Of course, I can happily say, many have bounced back some time later having summoned up the courage to break free from the toxic cycle and ditch their loser boyfriends.
Not every guy that dates a sex worker is a Dan, but there are a lot of Dan's out there that want to date a sex worker, but then want to change them completely. It's a bit like capturing a vibrantly coloured song bird you see in the garden. It looks like such a free spirit flitting from tree to tree, singing a melodious song that makes your heart soar. You are enchanted by the bird but don't want to share it with anyone else. You lock it away in a room and draw the curtains tight, scared it may escape. The bird becomes lonely, sad and longs for the outside world. Her beautiful feathers fall away and she loses her glow. She feels drab, melancholy and has nothing to sing about anymore. Her beautiful voice is lost. She no longer sings for you. The little bird that you once adored is now a shadow of her former self. You have crushed her too tightly with your expectations and selfish desires and the little bird lives for the day it will escape and return to its former glory.
I would say that a lot of narcissistic guys are attracted to women who work in the sex industry. Not all guys are narcissistic or Dan's for that matter, but even the nicer guys can be very hard work at the best of times. I'm a dominatrix so I work online but I also see slaves in real time. Some might want to be whipped, others have a foot fetish and some like to dress up like adult babies and be read a story! To me, it's my job and I see my subs as normal people that just happen to have a kink or fetish. Several of the guys I've dated, or considered dating ask about my job, then start calling my subs weirdo's or freaks, which I find disrespectful. I don't ask about their jobs and go about disparaging their colleagues or clients so why should they feel entitled to? I've also had situations where I've told guys I've been casually dating that I'm networking and having a client dinner or in the dungeon, only for them to ask later if I was on a date. You shouldn't have to justify yourself to anyone or have be called into question just for going to work, especially that early in the game. If a guy mistrusts what you have told him and questions you when you are casually dating, there is a strong probability that he is only going to get more controlling once you are in a relationship. Is this really what you want? Having spent many years trying to make these sorts of relationships work, for me, these kinds of things are no longer red flags but absolute deal breakers. I would much rather be on my own and be free to live my life than be in another relationship where I felt claustrophobic or as if my wings were clipped.
A final point I would like to comment on is the subject of money. Sex workers can at times earn high figures. That is not to say that we are all flush or can splash the cash around. For one our expenses are high. We have many costs such as hair, beauty, and equipment which is very expensive and often needs replacing or updating. We pay out for venues, software, storage, food, bills, clothes, lingerie, accountants, travel and many other expenses. Also, unless you are in the top stream of earners which is becoming more and more competitive, your income streams may not always be consistent. There may be times when things go quiet, so you must be careful not to go over budget in case a bill pops up unexpectedly. All Dan sees though is that you've just earned £50 in 20 minutes. He is overcome with envy at the outwardly apparent easy life you have. He doesn't see the whole iceberg and the hard graft. He just sees the reward and covets it. Most guys assume that we are loaded and that our money is easily earned. They might think – "well why should I put my hand in my pocket when she makes money that easy." I have encountered so many stingey men that don't feel as if they should pay their way in life. Its such a double standard when some guys go on about gold-digging women, when men can be just as bad.
I've had guys suggest dates then not want to pay their share. Others might even expect to borrow money off you and get angry when you say no and so they cause a fight. The worst Dan I have ever met - a true Machiavellian character - had the audacity to steal from me and would take money for cigarettes out of my handbag while I slept. I caught him twice and he had the cheek to say, "Well you would have given it to me anyway!" Yes, it was much easier to hand over £20 than watch him smash the bathroom up again. Yes, I should have called the police the very first time but you live and learn.
So, these are some of the problems that sex workers face when dating. The point of this article is to supply context to other sex workers who are struggling to make sense of the things that are happening to them in the dating world. If you haven't been in the industry long or haven't read up on toxic relationships, I advise you do asap and save yourself a whole lot of bother. Often men with toxic traits will say things like, "it's only you I have a problem with," or "if you didn't do this we'd be fine," Look out for this kind of accusatory talk. It should always be a deal breaker if someone can't take accountability and must always blame those around them for their problems in life. Don't let them use their insecurity as an excuse for treating you badly. However much you think you love or care for someone, if they aren't making you happy and being with them feels like hard work, it's time to let them go. You don't owe anyone anything in this life. Don't sacrifice your own happiness trying to please someone else.
I know it would take a very special, patient and caring guy to make me consider another relationship. I know what my deal breakers are and I'd rather be single than compromise any of them. Jot down a list of what your deal breakers are – for example, it could be when a guy isn't able to be honest or communicate well, or perhaps someone who is irresponsible or just doesn't meet the criteria you have set. Once you know what these deal breakers are for you, it's much easier to see who is good for you in life and who isn't. It's your life, no one else's. You are in the directors seat.
Don't let Hollywood's sugar coated lies deceive you. No one is coming to save you, there is no handsome Prince. Be the Heroine of your own screenplay and live the life that you desire. It's your time to shine Princess.