Harlotry: Being Arrested Made Me Believe So Much More In My Sex Work

Woman in a jail cell.

Cate is something of a renaissance sex worker; she’s currently employed as a pro-domme at a fetish house but has held numerous interesting jobs in the adult industry. Each week, she shares her stories in Harlotry. This is the story of her recent arrest. Part I (the story of the police raid on her fetish house) is here and part II is here.

I hadn’t waited very long before the older policewoman–the one who’d said I was pretty and complimented my dress–came and stood in the doorway of my cell. I was worried she’d come to deliver a speech about respecting myself and my body; I was prepared to get up on my soap box, but it turned out she wasn’t there for a discussion about sex worker rights or whether or not I was guilty. She’d come to unburden her heart.

“How old are you?” she asked.

“Twenty two,” I replied, “Twenty three in a month.”

“You’re just a kid!” she exclaimed, “You shouldn’t be in here.”

“Oh,” I said, “I know. No-one should ever be arrested for doing what I do.”

This didn’t seem to faze her, either she wasn’t listening, or she agreed, I wasn’t sure.

“You know, I see a lot of girls come in here,” she began, “Some of them are younger than you are. They come in with track marks, all fucked up. Some of them are pregnant. You’re such a bright girl, you don’t need to be like them.”

I started to protest that I wasn’t like them, I was nothing like them, but she wasn’t really interested.

“I’ve been a cop for almost twenty years,” she said, “I see really terrible things every day. I don’t want you to end up on the street. You have to take care of yourself. Take care of yourself before you do anything else. You know, I didn’t get married until I was forty and it was the best decision I ever made. Live your life, learn about yourself before you get married and have kids.”

“That’s what I’m trying to do,” I replied.

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    • Sean

      I love your weekly articles Cate, please don’t ever change.

      As a small side point, perhaps the lady cop misunderstood your point of view because she sees it so rarely? I would imagine the majority of women she sees are involved in sex work in forced situations, either because of destitution or addiction, in contrast to those who, like you, choose to do so as their profession and view it as more of a vocation than a source of money?

      I think her advice still stands, even though she didn’t realize what her true point was…what ever you choose to do in life, don’t ever lose (or surrender) who you are as a result.

      • http://SommelierinSneakers.blogspot.com/ SomminSneakers

        Unfortunately, the ‘destitute’ and ‘forced’ population are few. Drug addicts that are too high for you to even see who they are, are common, but in a professional dungeon, with a charge of ‘being in a house of ill fame’, the police woman was probably just working out her own issues with cate, not recognizing her as the exception to the rule…

    • http://www.facebook.com/naomi.kashinsky Naomi Kashinsky

      Cate, my job is related to the industry. Is there a way I can get in touch with you about your interest in activism?

    • http://SommelierinSneakers.blogspot.com/ SomminSneakers

      So goddamn proud of you my heart is swelling and my eyes are full of tears. 9 days.

    • Dan

      From my own admittedly limited experience with cops, it seems that once you have been arrested you are automatically deemed a criminal in their eyes, regardless of the circumstances. It doesn’t sound as if this female cop was listening to you or cared about the details leading to your jailing. She viewed you to be a criminal and wanted to do her part to “reform” you.

      As for being a vocal part of the revolution, you might try working on women first. Women are the harshest critics of sex workers. My guess is that women feel extremely threatened by sex workers and therefore attach all sorts of opprobrium to the profession. I don’t feel you need to justify your work by pointing out the therapeutic aspects of it. Simply being a transaction between 2 consenting adults that doesn’t harm anyone else is good enough.

      Again, I truly enjoy your column for it’s honesty and insight. Looking forward to your next installment.

    • Angel

      “but my friends and I are getting arrested for giving people a place where they can be honest about their sexual quirks without judgment or shame.”

      No you stupid bitch you’re not being arrested for being a freakish whore, you’re being arrested because you’re being PAID to be a freakish whore.

      • Felicity

        No she was arrested because the law in America is an ass. I did the same job here, no arrests, because sex work is legal. Your comment just shows what a sad excuse for a person you are. And demonstrates exactly what the person above said-some women are our harshest critics because they feel threatened.