Harlotry: I’m Sleeping With A Cheater, Only Complicating My Feelings On Fidelity More

Harlotry: I'm Sleeping With A Cheater, Only Complicating My Feelings Toward Fidelity More

Closer (2004)

Cate is something of a renaissance sex worker and has held numerous interesting jobs in the adult industry. Each week, she shares her stories in Harlotry.

I’ve been a sex worker for six years–my entire adult life–and much of that has been full-service work. To put it in civilian terms, I’ve sucked and fucked a lot of dick for varying numbers of dollars, and this has allowed me to pretty much totally devalue sex. This is not to say that sex isn’t potentially awesome, oh boy is it ever, but I don’t feel that it’s in any way special or sacred. It’s just another potentially fun activity you can do with people.

Last week, I wrote about how my work has affected my feelings about fidelity. I’ve gotten to a point where I find it nearly impossible to find fault with a garden variety client-provider relationship, let alone see it as true infidelity. I’m pretty sure this feeling isn’t related to some submerged guilt at my own complicity in many of my clients’ infidelities; instead, it likely stems from the fact that I’ve gotten to a point in my personal life where physical infidelity doesn’t really count to me unless there’s some kind of emotional involvement.

Granted, I’ve never put a lot of value on sex. I grew up with the same messages about purity and the Madonna/whore dichotomy that every woman gets in Western society. You know, all the regular cultural shit that tries to sublimate the awesome glory of female sexuality. Just like most girls, I was told that my virginity was special and sex was special and the first time I decide to sleep with someone, I should make sure I love them. This never made a lot of sense to me, especially since I also heard lots of horror stories about how crappy losing your virginity is. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just get it over with?

So when I was fifteen, I decided to lose my virginity. I selected a guy and decided to seduce him. I was hardly pure as the driven snow (I’d already been fooling around with girls for a year when I decided that taking the plunge with heterosexual intercourse was the way to go), and I ended up actually having a really good time. After that, I really didn’t get what the big deal was. Sex was awesome, sure, but it definitely wasn’t some kind of magical thing that somehow bonded two people for life or anything.

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    • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cathryn Berarobitch

      THANK YOU FOR THIS PICTURE, SAM! THANK YOU.

      Sometimes I feel that Closer is my life.

      • Samantha Escobar

        <3

        GOD IT IS SUCH A GOOD MOVIE. Seriously. I might actually watch it when I get home, haha.

      • Kaitlin Reilly

        Freshman year of college I watched Closer like four times a week. I’m obsessed with it.

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

      Bomb.

      • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cathryn Berarobitch

        SO BOMB GURL.

        THE MOST BOMB.

    • Samantha Escobar

      See, stuff like this is why I love your column! Because it does actually make me think about some shit I don’t normally think about.

      I’m not a strict monogamist and I’ve had open relationships, but I also am typically in the mindset of “if you’re in a relationship under the guise of monogamy, stay there and don’t go outside of it.” But the kid just complicates everything (not that it is his/her fault, obvs!) because if I were afraid of never seeing my kid again, I would stay with somebody no matter how bad things got, and that’s why going outside of one’s relationship would make so much more sense under the circumstances.

      • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cathryn Berarobitch

        Yeah, in theory I’m pretty against cheating (as defined by violating the agreements of a relationship) but it’s almost always so much more complicated than just sex, there are pretty much always other factors at play. I’m also not going to pretend I’m a perfect human who has never cheated. I’ve done it, I’m not proud of it, but it’s definitely happened.

        But as you say in this situation, this guy seriously can’t leave his girlfriend unless he wants to risk giving up his daughter too. And yeah, the primary reason we’ve been seeing each other is for sex, but also weirdly intimate stuff, like how I rub his back when his girlfriend won’t. It’s kind of hard to see his behavior as wrong when overall he’s doing as much of the right thing as he can by supporting his family, and I think it’s unfair to expect him to sacrifice fulfillment in all arenas just because he is boxed into one unfulfilling situation.

    • dewna

      “the already woeful lack of fathers’ rights in our society”?…

      Echoing MRA talking points is a sign that it’s time to take a good hard look at your life.

      • K

        Yes and no. The laws are pretty fucked up and inconsistent state to state – so you end up with cases where rapists can sue for custody if their victim becomes pregnant, but you also end up with cases where the mother is neglectful or an alcoholic or something and clearly unable to take care of the children but some sexist judge who’s decided that women are naturally better caretakers says she should have custody instead of the father anyway.

        It’s not like MRA’s don’t have *any* legit beefs… it’s just that they don’t make the logical connection that the problems they’re whining about are the result of a patriarchal system that proscribes strict gender roles for men and women. Go figure, the patriarchy hurts everyone.

      • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cathryn Berarobitch

        As K says, it isn’t as if MRAs have no legitimate beefs (though unfortunately it seems like the majority of their beefs are…less than legitimate, to say the least) and here in Illinois, unmarried fathers are pretty unlikely to get shared custody of, or even visitation with their children, especially if those children are female. You’d be a real jerk to try to claim that this doesn’t suck a lot, at least for the father and the child[ren].*

        Where the MRAs get things wrong (again, as K said) is that they don’t manage to connect patriarchy with the ways in which they are treated unfairly by our society, and in addition to that, believe that their lack of a relatively few rights is equal to or even greater than the ways in which women have been historically and systematically oppressed. They approach the unfairness in their lives from a place of misogyny and sexism that completely blinds them to the fact that overall, cisgendered men have it pretty good, rather from a more sensible, egalitarian perspective.

        *I’m talking about normal relationships that are free from abuse here. Obviously abusive parents, no matter the gender, should not have contact with their children.

    • janelle

      I’ve enjoyed your columns, but this one disappoints me. I am much older than you and have had similar experiences. But for the first time, this column leads me to think you are not as “together” as you seemed to be. I wish you well, but there are things you still haven’t learned. I do hope you find yourself in a happy, fulfilled place one day soon.

      • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cathryn Berarobitch

        I appreciate your concern, but I’m actually in a much better place now than I’ve been during most of my career at The Gloss.
        I have a better idea of what I want now, both personally, professionally, and romantically, than I’ve ever had, and I am indeed very fulfilled. I agree that there are things I still haven’t learned, but they will come with time, I am still very young.

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    • Andrea

      If I found out my husband slept with a prostitute and paid her, I’d be more pissed than if he slept with a girl he met at a bar. I can forgive and indiscretion/heat of the moment/slip up. But hiring someone takes forethought and planning and that money could have gone to something for us or the children. I wouldn’t forgive that EVER.

    • mathmaehem

      I’m a sex-worker (I go by escort, but I am a full-service lady), and have been for two years. I’ve been dating for about one and half of those years. For every guy that I saw who did not understand how I didn’t see my job as cheating I wish I could show them this column. You have very eloquently written how I feel about sex (I’m just not great at putting my thoughts and feelings into coherent communication). My sex drive used to literally get in the way of dating, but since I’ve been doing this (a job I absolutely love) I’ve been able to date without feeling like I need to sleep with every person I go on a date with. I was a veritable sex-fiend lol. Now I’ve finally found someone who I connect with on so many levels and he understands that what I do doesn’t mean we can’t be emotionally monogamous. It is so gratifying to be able to be completely honest with him about my work and know that he will not judge me.

      In short: High-five! I feel like you’ve hit the nail on the head here for how a lot of us feel with regards to how our work affects our personal romantic lives.

      Sidenote: I’ve been perusing your archive and I’m loving your column. I’m insanely jealous that you are able to be so open with and have the support of your mother even if it isn’t the most ideal kind of support. If my mother knew… I would no longer have a relationship with her… she almost disowned me for being bisexual. :(

    • roy rules

      Eh, I came to your column with an open-minded perspective, but this rationalization of deception and cheating is just ridiculous.

    • congokong

      “Sex work has caused me to place almost no value on sex itself, and has
      considerably lessened my faith in monogamy. I know that I’m supposed to
      feel guilt about my flagrant enabling of infidelity, but I’m no longer
      sure quite why, other than the fact that our society values monogamous
      relationships.”

      Your first sentence answers the second. Prostitution has caused you to lose all potential emotional value of sexual intimacy. Monogamy for most people is a strong part of that.