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.
I’ve written about the need for discretion in the adult industry before, but unfortunately it doesn’t end at what I can and cannot write about. As sex workers, even those of us who are out are forced to lie constantly. There are little lies: the things we tell to clients (like our mysterious ability to match fetishes with each and every client), our constant busyness, and our insistence that they’re really more important to us than every other client.
There are the medium-sized lies we tell to our civilian friends. We make our jobs out to be more like nonstop fun trains than they always are. Even the happiest hooker has bad days, douchebag clients, irritating colleagues, annoying or disgusting fetishists, or whatever.
Then there are the big lies—the lies we tell to people like our family members. “I work at a brothel, but I’m just a receptionist, I answer phones,” “no mom, I’m not actually a prostitute,” or “bad clients? No, I don’t have any of those. All my clients are absolutely wonderful!” So often parents are uncomfortable with us having sex in general, let alone for money. So often they’ve heard horror stories of abused hookers, beaten by clients and left to die by the side of the road or in mattresses of fancy hotel rooms. They don’t want to believe we have anything but the greatest clients of all time, because they hear, “I almost got murdered” every time we say, “I had a booking with a real douche.” When I told my mother Grant had found me at Dolorous Delights, she freaked out, convinced he would stalk me and possibly her, a scenario that would likely result in our deaths by his hand. It took everything in my power to convince her I was going to be okay, really, that Grant was a creep, but he was enough of a hobbyist that he probably didn’t even remember the girl he’d seen five years ago.
The biggest lies of all, though, are probably the lies we tell to our partners. I know so many girls who never, ever reveal the extent of the services they offer to their boyfriends or girlfriends. Massage workers tell significant others that they’re going to coffee shops to write, and then go jerk men off at work. Fetish workers tell their partners that they offer no explicitly sexual services, that their clients jerk themselves off or hump the floor. Escorts tell their lovers that they are paid for companionship, not sex, or that they’re just fetish workers. Sure, some of us are totally out to our partners, but in my experience they aren’t the majority.