Harlotry: An Interview With My Mother On How Parenting A Sex Worker Affects Her

Photo: Flickr

Photo: Flickr

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. For this week’s installment, Cate interviewed her mother on what it is like to be the parent of a sex worker.

Cate: Everyone will remember how I was outed to you by a client. What were your feelings when that happened? Did you already suspect something was up?

Mom: Well, I remembered you said you were going to enter the sex industry when you turned 18 because you could get better rates if you were “barely legal.”  I figured you had followed through with this plan because you were so adamant that this was what you wanted to do. When I had the truth coming right from a client, I was totally exasperated and could not for the life of me figure out why you would want to waste your life this way.  To me, it seemed you could do so much better for yourself than sex work and I was sad you were selling yourself short. It just seemed so stupid and short-sighted. On the other hand, I fully recognized that the more I said about it, the worse the situation was going to be. So we had our conversation on the matter, then I tried to shut up.

Maintaining the relationship with you was more important than pushing my values, and I was concerned that if I said anything or acted in any way that severed our relationship, your new career was sufficiently dangerous that I could well end up attending your funeral sooner than expected. This would have been a terrible blow to your sister as well as me. Therefore, the only course of action was to try to maintain some vestige of rapport and hope that the situation improved.

I was very sad. Part of this was related to the fact I was recovering from my second round of breast cancer and had just had reconstructive surgery.  To my mind, I was struggling so hard to put my own life together while you were hell-bent on ripping your own apart. It was not at all even cheerful–let alone happy.

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    • Ali

      Wow! I absolutely love your mother. She is very wise.

      • Butt Trophy Recipient

        Not quite wise enough to avoid raising her daughter as a hooker…

      • Andrea

        Remember that this is The Gloss and not everyone here knows you and loves you like we do ;)

      • Sexlovesounds

        I see you forgot to read what she said in the interview. scroll up and you’ll find it.

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

        Wow, not even sure where to begin on how much this comment sucks, bro. Thanks for showing everyone exactly how much of an idiot you really are.

      • Samantha Escobar

        Fortunately, she was wise enough to not raise a human like you.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Now do you see what happens when you get out of your territory? Go home, BTR, you’re drunk.

      • Naomi

        Aww. I remember my first beer too, buddy.

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

        My mom is basically the best. We don’t agree on everything, but I have nothing but respect for her.

    • Samantha Escobar

      I think this is one of those (many, many) times where it would be impossible to speculate on how a person is feeling rather than simply asking them. I’m sure plenty of people have assumed and discussed how they think parents of sex workers feel (just as people do with the sex workers themselves), but it’s exponentially more interesting and informative to read those thoughts straight from the source. Your mom is damn articulate and I’m so glad she agreed to doing this interview.

      • Sexlovesounds

        Heartily agree. Wonderful.

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

        Me too! When I first asked her about it I wasn’t sure if she’d be down, but I’m so glad she was.
        A lot of people assume that sex workers’ parents are train wrecks or generally absent or totally disappointed and disapproving of our careers, but often that isn’t actually the case and I’m really glad I was able to give the world the perspective of one sex worker’s mom here.

    • Guest

      Your Mom rocks, I hope you appreciate the fantastic attitude she has.

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

        I absolutely do. My mom is generally amazing, and her ability to not be the biggest fan of my work but support me anyway is a great testament to her character.

    • Natalie

      Cate, I think you should include a follow up article about how this interview made you feel and what you think you will do (if anything) to address her main concern -you are in a limited field that usually has a age ceiling and you can’t necessarily put on a resume. (unless you get creative and do something like “independent contractor with excellent customer service and communication skills”)
      I’ve actually been wondering that as well and I think it would be interesting to hear, even if you plan on continuing sex work until retirement, I’m wondering how that would work! Just a thought.

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

        I’m actually planning to write that next week! It was supposed to be in this article, but my mom had so much to say that there just wasn’t enough room to add much of anything else.

      • Samantha Escobar

        One of my favorite things is when readers want things we are planning on posting. :D Hooray!

    • Michelle

      you have a very smart and loving mama.

    • guest

      I look forward to Harlotry each time a new article comes out. I find myself searching for it, not really knowing the schedule of publication. I have read each article, and many several times. I also read all the comments. I particularly like how you are willing to listen to others’ opinions about the work you do. I am looking forward to hearing how your Mother’s feelings on the subject affect you emotionally, and if you are planning to change anything about your life because of it. Please don’t read that as me saying you need to change anything, because frankly, I don’t really think you do. I am just wondering if it makes you think about things you may not have before. For all we know, you have a personal retirement account full of money and are heavily trading in the stock market and gaining. That would actually be a blessed thing to inform your Mother of because that does seem to be a common thread in her responses. Your future prosperity is very important to her. Some of that may have to do with her own sense of mortality and realizing that she will eventually need you and/or your sibling(s) to help support her financially and otherwise. I know this is something I worry about, and my daughter is only 15. I do want her to be successful in life and to be prosperous. I believe that is a very deeply rooted desire of all parents.