Holly, 28, a full-service sex worker (a person who has sex with their clients) in Texas told me the worst misconceptions she’s had to deal with when dating: “that I am riddled with diseases, that I have so many mental issues I shouldn’t be dating anyone, or that I am looking for someone rich to ‘save me.’” “I think many people have a misconception that girls choose dancing because they’re desperate,” said Giselle, 43, a former dancer from Los Angeles. Every girl has her own reasons.” Lily, 28, a full-service dominatrix in Chicago, tells me that when she first entered the industry seven years ago, she kept her job to herself.“I still dated,” she said, “but because I wasn’t honest it never went farther than casual dating.” Since coming out five years ago, Lily said that she’s dealt with partners becoming jealous and insecure.But with her, I let it hurt me and altered my behavior accordingly to appease her.
The normalization of sex worker abuse contributes to the abuse of all women.
One partner, she said, “was nice enough when we were together, but I always knew he hated my job.” When they broke up, Lily said that he accused her of cheating on him and Nearly ten years ago, when I was just getting out of sex work, my boyfriend used my status as a transitioning sex worker against me.
We danced around the subject of my sexual history, just as we avoided most honest discussions.
After he and I broke up, I knew that a “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule wouldn’t do in future relationships.
To find a true partnership, I decided, I’d have to be entirely transparent and find a partner who was comfortable with my past.