Despite the fact that I saw sex work as an extension of myself, I knew the labor itself could pull the whole relationship down. Honesty is important in any relationship, but when sex work is thrown into the mix a new level of honesty becomes necessary. I have watched other women in the industry attempt to conceal their professions from their significant others, and whether or not they ever discover what their women are doing for money, the deception always brings about the end of the relationship. Sex work has the potential to be very emotionally draining and difficult, and the support of friends, loved ones, and especially lovers is of utmost importance. I have experienced what it is to have a partner who cannot or will not even try to understand the work and the difficulties involved, and it is a terrifying and incredibly alienating experience. Moreover, it’s deeply inconsiderate to one’s partner to act as if they have no feelings about work that is at least one-sidedly intimate.
During the beginning of our relationship, I tried many times to have conversations with Stanley about his feelings regarding my work. He insisted he couldn’t care less what I did for money and that he would never expect me to quit any job I found fulfilling, particularly not one that gave me a level of financial independence so far above my civilian peers. He never spoke about his personal feelings on the matter, but I was eighteen years old and he was saying all the right things. I continued to work as a prostitute and small-time sugar baby for a little over a month after we officially decided to become a couple. Then I quit entirely, ostensibly for him though I convinced myself that my reasons were more complicated and had nothing at all to do with him.
Because he was stationed in Georgia and had not yet been discharged from the army, the first six months of my relationship with Stanley was long distance. I managed to support myself on savings, fetish work, and art modeling during the time we were apart, but after the six months were over and we moved too quickly into a shared apartment, it became clear that my small jobs were not enough for two people who desired any degree of comfort. When I suggested that I go back to prostitution, Stanley continued to say all the right things, but was visibly uncomfortable with the idea. He kept telling me that if I wanted to go back, he wouldn’t stop me, but his aversion to the idea was written on his face. I sucked it up, swallowed the bitterness of poverty, and didn’t go back. My sacrifices in the name of love had begun.