Last week, I briefly mentioned the don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy regarding the specifics of my profession I have with my boyfriend.
Daniel knows I’m a sex worker. When we started dating, I was taking a break from work but I made it very clear that my hiatus was not permanent and that I’d be returning to work in some capacity very soon. We’d been dating for about three months when I returned to sex work at Dolorous Delights, a popular fetish house in Chicago.
At first, I tried talking to Daniel about my work. I would explain the details of sessions to him, hoping he might feel more comfortable about my job. One of the first five questions people always ask me about fetish work is, “So, do you, like, have sex with your clients?”
Throughout my career the answer has moved between usually, sometimes, and no, depending on my relationship status at the time, but I always suspect most people don’t quite believe me when I say “no.” Because of this I overcompensated drastically. For the first month of my employment at Dolorous Delights I told Daniel about every session I had.
I mentioned last week that I’m not great at judging what people’s reactions are going to be. I’m also not great at figuring out when I’ve upset people who are close to me. It took me a month to figure out that maybe Daniel didn’t really like hearing about the things I did with clients. Sure, none of it was explicitly sexual, at least not to me, but it sure was to my clients and it became very clear to me after an unreasonable amount of time that Daniel was not exactly put at ease by my descriptions of what went on at work. So I stopped. Unless a story was very, very funny I didn’t tell it. The don’t-ask-don’t-tell policy was in full effect.
At first things went really well. Daniel didn’t have to hear about what I did, I didn’t have to feel like I was cornering him into awkward conversations, it was a win-win. It was only recently that I realized maybe our sudden, unspoken policy was not the best thing ever.