On the ethics of working with an infection

•August 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Just the other day I had my latest STI tests done – both swabs and bloods.  I like to get these done every month or two when I’m working, just to be sure.  And then I get all paranoid.  What if…  I test positive for HIV (worst case scenario!)…  I have thrush and have to take a day or three off work?  And so on and so forth.  And as I was getting all paranoid, I thought further…  what if I do test positive for something…  do I keep working?  I mean sure, some things can be cured, others can’t…  I don’t know all that much about cures and all that, I just use protection and get tested regularly!

A while ago there was a high-profile news case about a man charged with willfully infecting several people with HIV.  I take it from this* that it is a criminal offense to have unprotected sex with someone if they do not know that one is HIV positive (if they know, and consent, it’s really their own stupid fault if they get infected!).  And rightfully so.

Since I have not yet found any further info on the legality, let us for now focus on the ethics (and assume this scenario is legal):

If I tested positive for something, and continued to work, and use protection at all times, but did not disclose my positive status to clients, would that be wrong?

I’m not 100% decided on this issue yet…  opinions would be appreciated!

On the one hand…  no.  Clients (technically) knowingly take on a risk in having sex with someone who has sex with a lot of other people.  In the past four months, I have had sex with several hundred people.  Condoms can slip and they can break, but (as far as I know, and please correct me if I’m wrong), they still offer the best protection against STIs.  I’d say every client of a sex worker is taking a risk, and a greater one than if they were to have a random one night stand (provided the same levels of protection are used in both instances).

I would like to make a point here:  as far as I know, by law I am not permitted to use results from tests I’ve had to claimto be STI-free.  As a sex worker I pretty much have to let the client assume that I could have an infection.  For all I know, I could.  Infections can take at least two weeks to show up on a test, so each test won’t be able to pick up anything that I may have contracted in the preceding two weeks.  Also, by the time I get my all-clear, I’ll have had more clients, and more chance to contract an STI.  Hence, I can pretty much never know for sure, while I’m working.  Not a very comforting thought!

However, if a sex woker knew for certain that she’s infected, even if she uses protection, should she tell the client?  If she did, then she may aswell stop working, since she’d pretty much lose all her clients that way.  But she knows that they are exposing themselves to a definite risk, not a potential risk of “she may be infected”, but “she is infected, and even with a condom, there is a, albeit small, risk of contracting the infection”.  Isn’t it the same?  Definite risk or no, there’s still the protection from the condoms.

I don’t know.  I think if I were a client, I’d want to know, but then, knowing that there’s a risk whether I know it for sure or not may be all that would matter to me.

Just a thought:  is it possible that the risk (or perceived risk) is lower with a sex worker, than with someone else?  Even though we fuck more people, could it be that we’re more likely to consistently use protection and get tested regularly?  I know I do, but I don’t really know about other sex workers…  and I’ve heard about plenty that don’t use condoms, at least for blowjobs.

And by the way, I got my results on Friday:  all clear!

* I havent actually been able to find any concrete information online tonight, but I intend to do some more research within the next week or so and will hopefully have an update soon.  I’d like to know if this applies only to HIV or to other STIs too, and what about sex with protection?  Do you still have to declare your HIV status?

It’s been a while, but I thought I’d try coming back

•August 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So this post on being good at sex never quite happened.  And having an unfinished draft sitting there put me off writing any more, and then I just forgot, and couldn’t be bothered.

But, all that aside, I’m going to try to start writing a little again.  I don’t know how much, or how often, but having a little more routine in life may help.

Things have changed a little…  I have now commenced post-grad study, which is all very exciting, and a little while ago I “came out” so to speak (about work, that is) to my brother.  He’s the only family member that knows, and I would like to keep things that way.

Also, know that I’ve been back at work for over four months, my feelings about it have changed again a little, but it’s still fine.  I’ll want a proper break from work at some stage, but I’ll get around to that in due course, I’m sure.

For now, I’ll move on to another post on a proper topic…  This is in regards to working with an STI

Being a good prostitute

•May 14, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This is a preface to a piece I am hoping to have finished sometime soon about being good at sex. Here I’d like to talk about what it might mean for a prostitute to be good at her job. I think it might be helpful to get this out first and I’ll see how I go with thinking about being “good at sex”.

Édouard Henri Avril 3

I think that for prostitutes, being “good at sex” is often equated with being good at our job. I think there can be quite a difference. So to start with, I’ll throw some ideas out there as to what it might mean for a prostitute to be good at her job:

  • She should be a good communicator; it is essential to be able to find out what a client wants, otherwise it’s highly unlikely that they’re going to get what they want. This is not only verbal communication of course, physical communication and paying attention to non-verbal signals is often just as important.
  • She should be very clear from the outset about her rules. While I think it is the client’s responsibility to find out if the prostitute he’d like to see offers the particular service(s) that he’s after, in some cases I’ll grant that’s not easy to do and some clients just don’t even think to do so.
  • She should do what she can to give the client a good time. This one encompasses quite a lot:
    • Be nice! It can be hard to do, especially when you’re having a bad day and really don’t feel like being at work, but so long as it’s not the client’s fault, don’t let it out on them. An exception to this: if they’re being a bastard, refusing to obey your rules, are being rude and obnoxious and pretty much everything you don’t want in a client, it’s not always necessary to be nice. Or to give them a good time. But I’ll write about turning into a feisty bitch another day.
    • She should either enjoy herself or convincingly pretend that she’s enjoying herself. If you’re having sex with someone you don’t really want to them to think you’re going over your grocery shopping list in your head (even if you are). Smile, show some signs of enjoyment and pleasure such as squirming around, moaning or even saying something about enjoying it.
    • Put in a bit of effort. Whether you’re giving a massage, blow job, hand job, kissing, playing starfish or anything else, do it well! To be good at any profession you need to put in a bit of effort. Sex work is no different.
  • She should put some effort into her appearance and (I take it as a given, but include it just in case) personal hygiene. Personal hygiene is simple things like having a shower in between clients and washing your hands at appropriate times. Appearance could be debatable, but I would argue that the sex industry is very much an appearance focused industry. To do well (and so, one could argue, to be good at your job) it is a good idea to wear something appropriate (something that makes you look hot), have your nails nicely done, shave/wax armpits and legs, do your hair nicely (but make it practical, especially if you’re busy!), wear some make up and perfume. To a certain extent it could be advisable to aspire to a mainstream view of feminine beauty, because that’s most likely to get you the most work.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but if you think there’s something I’ve left out, or something you disagree with, please leave a comment. Whether you’ve seen a prostitute, are a prostitute or are merely using your imagination, feel free to let me know what you think.

Disclaimer

•May 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I like to generalise.  So much so that I sometimes do so without noticing.  So here’s an important note:

Everything I say about sex work comes from my experience only.  I have not talked to very many people within the industry, some of those I have talked to may well have been talking bullshit.  When I make a general statement about sex work, please do not forget that my experience is not universal.  My experience involves adult (over 18) consensual (and legal!) prostitution in New Zealand only.  My experience is very much limited by the (relatively) short amount of time I have spent working and my opinions about it (and other things) are opinions only, feel free to contest them (that’s what comments are for!) but do not assume I am talking about something other than myself and my own experiences unless I clearly state otherwise.

For example, if I were to say that prostitution is completely ethical, I would like it to be assumed that I mean that adult (18+) consensual, legal prostitution as I have experienced it (in New Zealand) is completely ethical.  The sort where a whore is free to choose whether or not they want to see a client and free to change their mind at any time and free to come and go within the industry as they please, etc.  I am not talking about child prostitution (which may or may not in effect be child sex slavery) in some other random parts of the world, where the money is payed to god knows who (but not the one providing the sexual services) and it’s very obviously not ethical at all.

Another common generalisation I’d like to excuse now is that of the female prostitute and male client.  I know there are male prostitutes and female clients, but again, this blog reflects my experience and in my world of work there are female prostitutes and (so far) no female clients.  Plus it’s easier using a single (male or female) pronoun rather than having to write “they” or “he or she” or “(s)he”, etc.

Just wanted to be completely clear on that.

So why are you working here? Is it the money?

•May 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

This is a question I am relatively often asked.  In a way it’s just a different phrasing of the “so how did a beautiful, nice, young girl like you…?” question.  But it often also seems to be a case of wanting reassurance that the interaction between us (myself and the client who is asking) is more than merely financial.  A query as to whether or not I can ignore the money side of things and treat the encounter as though it were…  real life as opposed to a paid encounter in a brothel?  Something along those lines, but I’m not entirely sure how to word it.

I need to make a point very clear here:  this is an acting job.  When I started working at this house (as I did with the previous house) I created a character.  I gave her a name, an age, family background, personality and so on.  Sure, to make life easier on myself, this character bears certain similarities to me.  But she is nonetheless fictional.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do this in order to justify “lies” that I tell (eg about my age).  I don’t have a problem with lying as such, a lot of the time.  Depending on circumstances and so on, but that would be another topic entirely and I don’t know if I’ll feel up to discussing ethics in depth here.  This is to keep a level of separation between myself and work.  I’ve heard it called “compartmentalizing” (putting things in boxes in my head).  It works for me.  So when I get asked questions like this (or any questions at work) I answer not as myself, but as my work persona/character…  here, let us call her…  Dea.Catherine_Walters_(c_1870)

So why does Dea work?  Of course, she loves the income!  She won’t even deny it.  And she loves the sex…  most of the time.  She’d be a fool to try to convince anyone that she always loves it with everyone.  She enjoys meeting new people, and ultimately, she’s lazy.  Sex work is much easier than a real job, most of the time clients do all the work, and in her free time she likes to sleep.

So why do I work where I do?  It’s good money.  And yes, I do like to meet new people and yes, I am a lazy git and love that I get payed plenty of money for what feels like so little work most of the time.  About likes and dislikes with work and pleasure when it comes to work I’ll write another day.

So how did a beautiful, nice young girl like you end up working here?!

•May 7, 2009 • 1 Comment

So, how did a beautiful, nice young girl like you end up working in a place like this?

A Venetian Courtesan

Well, we were living with a flatmate we detested, but couldn’t afford to live without flatmates.  I’d been very close to exploding at her almost since she moved in (in fact, to this day I have no idea how I managed to hold it in for so long!) and I was flicking through job ads on trademe and found an ad in “other” – which is how I got my first job in the sex industry.  Apparently the ad was taken off trademe shortly after I saw it and got in touch with my first boss.  On the very same day my partner lost it at our flattie, yelled at her, made her cry (cruel as it seems, I was proud of her, our flatmate really deserved it!) and our dearest wish came true: our flattie decided she was gonna move out.  It was perfect timing, because due to the new job (and the money we were sure was going to come out of it) we’d be able to afford to live without flatmates.

As to how I first got the idea…  I’m not sure.  I think when I was younger, going through puberty with the low self-esteem which can (and often does) come with it, I’d think about it from time to time, probably along the lines of prostitution is about as low as one can sink, and I didn’t really deserve any better.  And later on, when considering how on earth I was going to make enough money to do everything I wanted to do, it popped into my head from time to time.

But, yes, stereotypically, I got into prostitution when I was in need of money.  No, I wasn’t desperate, but I wanted money and it seemed like a good way to get it.  Daunting, yes, and boy was I nervous, but since I got over that I’ve been ok.

The scariest part was the first client.  But as the other girls told me, the first time is always the worst.  Once you’ve done one, you’ll be fine.  And until last week or so, the first client I ever had was indeed among the worst.  Just a pain in the arse, rude bastard.  But I was ok.  And having worked previously, I think it might always be a viable option for me.

How did I end up working where I am now?  Well I had a job in the real world for a while, something I had experience in, was rewarding, but was enjoying less and less.  And the pay was shit.  I got in touch with NZPC (who’d helped me out when I had issues with my previous boss upon leaving) and asked if they could recommend somewhere good for me to work.  They introduced me to my current boss, told me that from what they’ve seen and heard, she’s probably got the busiest place around, she’s friendly, the other girls are friendly and it’s a good, clean work environment.  They were right!  I handed in my notice to my boss, took as many sick days as I had left, and started working again before I’d finished at my other job.

Again, I wasn’t desperate.  Certainly not for money.  I didn’t have all that high hopes for the money this time around after the financial disappointment of the last place.  I was desperate to leave my other job, because I was sick of it and needed a change.  I was sick of actually having to work hard for little money.  At least as a whore, I can sit around reading, playing solitaire on my laptop and have naps if I’m not busy for just as much, and sometimes more money!  And the actual work doesn’t tend to be very hard.  Besides, as it’s turned out, the money here is many times better than the last real life job and the previous sex work put together!

So, really, why wouldn’t a beautiful, nice young girl like me want to work in a place like this??

“Ok, bitch”

•April 29, 2009 • Leave a Comment

A quiet night at work can make a nice change.  I had one of those last night.  Only two clients, but the second one extended for another hour.

Both were polite, which also makes a nice change.  The second client, let’s call him A, asked, before getting started with anything what he’s not allowed to do to me.  A was quietly spoken, with decent English and he seemed to like to take things very slowly.

Let me pause to explain here that while I am a kiwi (well, partially – also expat German) I work at a Chinese house – I’m the only non-Asian there in fact.  My clients are predominantly Asian, some Indian, and the other day I saw my first kiwi/european client since I started working again over a month ago.  The English-speaking skills of my clients varies, so levels of communication vary also.  From entirely non-verbal (as on my first ever outcall – a story for another day) to perfectly fluent English conversation.

A seemed quite content with lying on top of me (me face down on the bed) trying to get his cock hard by rubbing it against me, a bit of a blowjob, a few pats on my ass (and again, he asked politely if he would be allowed to hit it and was quite happy when I told him that no, I don’t do pain), kissing my feet…  not my average client, but nothing I found unusual either.  Perhaps there seemed to be a bit of a hint that he might be into SM, but, as I said, nothing unusual.

After a while, he gets down to the actual sex, still lying on top of me, and leans down to whisper something in my ear.  I didn’t quite understand what he was saying, but something about callling me something.  I told him I wasn’t sure what he meant, and he says, “you know, like bitch”.  Well, sure, whatever floats your boat.

“Ok, bitch,” he says.

396px-rendered_handcuffed_nude_model

Maybe he was really as happy with me/his time with me as he seemed to be, or maybe I am right in thinking that he wanted a bit more out of it, but didn’t feel relaxed/comfortable enough.  I’d like to think I can usually pick up that kind of thing.  It seems to me that he would rather have enjoyed talking dirty to me, calling me names (more than just whispering “bitch” while still sounding marvellously polite), slapping my arse, having me get a bit rougher with him (admittedly he did ask me to bite his nipples – quite happy to oblige there!), god, perhaps even a bit of bondage, pain, etc.

You’re not going to get what you want from a whore unless you ask.  You’re paying money for sexual satisfaction, so tell the person you’ve paid what exactly it is that you want!  If you don’t, you could be missing out and simply not getting your money’s worth.

Sure, we won’t all agree to go along with every wish and fantasy, and the more…  uncommon, shall we say…   it is, the more important it is to call and ask whether the lady you’re potentially interested in provides the particular service you’re after (and if it will cost any extra), but you won’t know unless you ask.  Often if you’re after something particular when it comes to sex and are having trouble finding someone who’s willing to explore with you, paying for someone who will is often one of  your best options.  Greta Christina talked about this in one of my favourite posts of hers.  This post (and the comment discussion following it) brings up some other issues I’d like to think/write more about another day.

And contrary to the impression my list from the other day may have made, I love being asked whether or not I do something.  It shows that a client is polite (asking is much more polite that assuming you can do something without asking!) and it helps to make sure that the client enjoys themselves as much as possible (as I said, you won’t get what you don’t ask for).  I don’t, however, like to be asked the same thing over and over again.  No means no.  Yes, some ladies will change their answer for more money, and it could be worth asking one more time with an offer.  But no means no.

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.