I am a sex worker and a queer woman, and I recently sought the services of another sex worker.
I wanted to hire a sex worker for several reasons. First, as a sex worker for many years, I have no moral objection to sex work, and I don’t think hiring a sex worker should be a big deal. What sex work has taught me is that most men have contacted a sex worker, hired a sex worker, or thought about hiring a sex worker. And there’s no shame in that.
But we shame women for the same desire to have sex without strings. The dominant society considers that the place of a woman is to give pleasure, not to receive it. A woman’s orgasm is often treated as superfluous, even unnecessary.
A study 2017 found that heterosexual men had the highest orgasm rate during sex at 95%, with lesbians reporting having orgasms 89% of the time with partners, and heterosexual women reporting having an orgasm only 65% time with male partners. Heterosexual sex is defined for many people as having taken place when the man ejaculates.
So it’s no surprise that a woman wants to hire a professional, someone she can guarantee will be focused on her pleasure. I’ve spent my entire life, even outside of sex work, focusing on serving and pleasing men, both in bed and out of bed, and I’m sick of it. I’m tired of my pleasure being irrelevant. I matter, and my sexual satisfaction matters.
People think that women never want only have sex, but we do. Women are horny, women are sexual, women want to fuck, just like men. Hiring a professional, rather than finding someone in a bar or on a dating app, is more appealing to me because after years of meeting everyone’s sexual needs, I want sex without much preamble. I want an (almost) guaranteed fun sexual experience, complete with orgasms, without having to engage in a lot of emotional labor.
I’ve always been queer, but I never even started to piece that together until I turned 30 a few years ago. I’ve only had sex with a woman twice, both times in threesomes with men, both of us pleasuring her and fulfilling a male fantasy as our main focus.
Still, the two times I had sex with a woman, I enjoyed it much more than having sex with men. I liked the way a woman’s body felt better. Sex with women, to me, feels safer, more intimate, and I enjoy the mechanics of it much more.
I thought about hiring a sex worker, and maybe I will one day, but seeking out that experience felt like an important step in de-stigmatizing my gayness within me.
So I started looking on websites where I had advertised myself as a sex worker. Most sites have worker profiles, much like a Facebook page. It will usually indicate whether a particular woman sees men, couples, women, or enby/trans people. I went through dozens of profiles and only found providers who saw “men” or “men and couples”. Of these, less than a handful said they would see women.
I reached out to a few and here’s what I heard back: Sorry, I don’t see women unless it’s a threesome; OK, but can you send some selfies of yourself first before I decide; or I’ll see you, but you have to pay more. These are not the responses that male customers would likely receive. Of course, no one should have sex with someone they don’t want, but what else is going on here? After all, many of my sex worker friends are gay and have sex with male clients all the time. And many of the providers I spoke to were willing to have sex with a woman as long as a man was there.
By researching outside of my area, I know there are vendors that are open to queer women, enby or trans customers, but not only is the distance prohibitive for me, but most of them charge A LOT more than the average person can afford. This leads me to believe that these services may not be available to most women.
And if I have such a hard time finding a supplier, I can’t imagine what trans or gender non-conforming people would go through. It’s systemic in the sex industry.
Gender is also heavily controlled for providers. When I do sex work, I have to dress in “gender drag” – including makeup, long hair and high heels – and perform an outsized version of femininity. Although in my everyday life I prefer to wear old t-shirts, baggy pants and no makeup. The sex industry has by no means managed to create a real and valid space for non-binary and non-conforming ways of expressing gender.
I can understand that the sex workers I have spoken with make the choices that make them most comfortable while navigating a difficult and equally stigmatized industry. But the net result is a system in which whole groups of people are excluded. People (like me!) who would be nice, respectful customers who pay quickly and tip big.
When you picture the “typical” client of a sex worker, you might picture a white, cisgender male. Many sex workers feel the same way. But white cisgender men are not the only ones who can benefit from access to the services of sex workers.
Seeing a sex worker can be extremely beneficial, especially for groups of people who have been shunned, belittled, or treated poorly by society as a whole. It can be therapeutic to have someone with you, to touch you, to see you; even for just an hour. It can be a way to gain experience, safely explore fantasies, or gain the intimacy we all crave.
And keeping in mind the orgasm gender gap, one could argue that women, especially women who have sex with men, could benefit greatly from being able to see sex workers from any sex.
I intend to keep looking, daunting as things seem. I know there is a provider that is a good fit and willing to work with women. And I hope that in the future, everyone can experience what it’s like to put their own pleasure first, no matter what type of relationship they choose.
Do you have a compelling personal story that you would like to see published on HuffPost? Find out what we’re looking for here and send us a pitch.