Beautiful Pages

Can I tell you a secret? I haven’t read To Kill a Mockingbird. I went to Christian school with dreadful taste in literature so there was no chance of having to read it then and I just haven’t gotten around to it since then. But an angelfriend sent me a copy of Go Set a Watchman. So therefore it is definitely time…

Beautiful Pages


Nothing has taught me more about how little men respect women’s consent than doing sex work.  I didn’t go into my line of work hating men; not by a long shot.  I was pretty scared of men, distrustful maybe.  But not angry or hateful.  And I’ve gained a lot of positivity.  Doing sex work has given me a sense of power around them that I never felt prior and probably won’t have at any job again.
But the fact remains that virtually every sex worker will experience the way men push her boundaries in every way imaginable.  
Most prominent to me, because of what I do and where, is how men just can’t handle the idea of not being allowed to touch me.  I work at a one-way contact club, which means I can touch my customers but they can’t touch back.  And it blows my mind how common it is for men to sneak their fingers up my thighs, open their mouths when I press myself against them, peck my shoulders or head when I’m on top of them, and on.  

A lot of the time it isn’t malicious.  Often it’s not even intentional, it’s a natural reaction for a straight guy when a naked woman is on top of him to hold her.  I understand that and I give guys credit when they find it difficult but refrain from putting their hands on me and allow me to do my job without fear of being grabbed. But I make it very clear what the boundaries are.  I tell them “I need you to keep your hands right here” and place their hands on the outside of their legs.  About 50% of the time, they instantly move their hands into their lap. Like, within seconds.  Even the tiniest thing, like them sliding their pinky up and rubbing it against my thigh during a dance is a sign of them not respecting the rules of my club or my personal boundaries.  And it genuinely frightens me how common it is; how often they think that if it’s subtle or quick, it’s ok.

On Friday night I had a customer who seemed outraged at the thought that he couldn’t touch me for $5 a minute.  He kept slipping his hand up towards my waist, I kept lowering it.  He asked if it was a personal boundary, I told him it was a club rule and that I’d get in trouble if I was caught with his hands on me.  If I got close, he’d lift his finger so it brushed against me.  He said, more than once, “What if no one can see us?” or “They won’t know if they can’t see.” to which I continued to tell him I knew and that he needed stop.  Finally, we were part-way through his ~6th song when he said “The more you let me do, the more dances I’ll buy.” to which I said “Then I guess we’re done here.” and started getting dressed.  He seemed shocked that I wasn’t willing to cross my own boundaries, which I’d laid out clearly, and risk my job for him.  He acted completely at a loss, which is when I told him “You need to learn what the fuck ‘NO’ means.“.
It may seem silly or petty to walk out on money because a guy is brushing his fingers against my legs, but to me it’s absolutely not.  I’ve worked at two-way contact clubs.  I don’t even mind being touched when working at a club that allows it, for the right price.  But to me, it is absolutely egregious, creepy, abusive behavior to be told by a stranger what their boundaries are and to make every possible effort to test and push them.  “NO does not mean ‘convince me’.” needs to stamped on the forehead of every sex worker, because ours is a job where our consent is inherently devalued and seen as negotiable or not worth considering at all.  And that is a reflection, not of us or the work we do, but of the way men and society as a whole sees sex workers and sees women in general.