strong enough to let go
I had originally written this to go up anonymously. But on reflection, it doesn’t matter anymore if it’s anonymous. The people who nursed me through know who he is, and he knows, and that’s what matters. I wouldn’t say it’s a cautionary tale, per se, but it’s a warning of sorts- be careful who you give your heart to, because it can be awfully easy to get lost in the GFE vs GF headweasels.
I fell in love with a client once.
It was completely unexpected. I have generally been good with emotional boundaries, having been in nonmonogamous relationships for years- I knew how to keep people as close or as distant as I needed to. It was part of what made me a good sex worker… or so I thought.
I remember the session. He had sent me a long email detailing this crazy scene that really weirded me out, and I was nervous about it- as a proDomme, I tended to make it clear that I would do as much or as little as I wanted, but I still tried to satisfy some of the clients needs. He wanted me to spit in his face, to restrain him in a variety of intense ways as I humiliated him, things I didn’t tend to do with my lovers at home. I worried we wouldn’t click well during the session, but I was determined to try.
I walked into the dungeon and he was so attractive I could’t believe it. Only a few years older than me, hot, and submissive? It seemed like a dream. I gathered myself together, determined to offer a dominant experience that would be sexy for us both, and then just walk away. I tied him up and called him all manner of humiliating things and found myself turned on by how he reacted, by the way he writhed for me. When he left, I stopped myself from asking him out for a drink, and took the train back home, confused, but figuring I wouldn’t see him again.
He wrote back the next day wanting to book another session that week. I agreed and instantly felt butterflies in my stomach.
I felt so unprofessional, so unsteady. There was a forum for sex workers, and I posted there, asking if any of the girls had ever felt that kind of attraction to their clients before. Some had, some hadn’t, and all sorts of advice was offered to me to help me work out what to do. Ultimately I was asked the important question- could I afford to lose him as a client? I thought about it, my heart asking if I could afford to not take a chance.
So we had another session, and it was both incredibly sexy and absolutely hilarious. I tripped over my heels, and we giggled about it, an intimacy developing between us where I no longer felt on a pedestal. Two hours later, as we snuggled for some aftercare, I decided to go for it and ask him if he wanted to go to a fetish market with me, as he had commented on his lack of kinky clothes. He accepted, and we made plans.
I immediately panicked and asked my girlfriend to come with me to keep me from making a mistake and maybe let me know if I was being ridiculous and misreading him. Together we browsed stalls filled with kinky toys and pinstriped clothes, trying things on and trying toys out. There was an ease to our interactions, a comfortable friendliness, and my girlfriend said to me that she thought he liked me too (I see to recall she was ok with him, but not overly fond). So I did the suave thing before we parted ways and said teasingly “you know… if you let me do what I want, you wouldn’t have to pay me anymore”.
And so, we began dating. We made plans to meet up at a kinky party all together. There, I had sex with him for the first time, on a sofa while fingering my girlfriend and watching six gay men fuck each other silly. Early into the morning we left the party, exhausted, and he invited us to his flat to rest. He was in media, an exciting job that allowed him to live on his own in Soho, so we took him up on his offer and fell asleep, all snuggled together. I thought I was in heaven, sandwiched between two sexy people. I fooled myself into thinking that this might be the beginning of a relationship.
He was so kinky. I loved the challenge, and all the things we did and tried. I made him nose hooks and mouth hooks, wrapped him in cling film and duct tape, spat in his mouth and pissed on him in the shower. We went to dark places together, him and I. I was so in love with him, and I thought he loved me back, two perverts who had found each other, a crazy sex worker love story.
I encouraged him to go to Burning Man, to meet my friends and communities in the hope he would find acceptance. We’d go to pubs, sex shops, bookstores, holding hands and talking about politics and psychology. I fell deeper in love, so thankful to meet someone who didn’t mind my work, who I didn’t have to explain it to, who accepted me. We went to kinky clubs, high on MDMA, slow dancing to electronica and kissing like we couldn’t stop.
I didn’t notice that the drugs were a part of every time we went out until later.
There were hints that the fairy tale was unraveling, too, but I ignored them. He was embarrassed telling his friends how we met, so I was always a writer to them, my sex worker self put into the closet, if I met them at all. My friends knew and loved him, it didn’t matter to them that he was originally a john, but he never seemed to notice that. Family was out of the question. Our relationship was open, but he went on dates with monogamous girls. We’d fight, then fuck and make up, over and over again. Our sex became kinkier and darker, our fantasies more dangerous and tense. I worried I was losing him, but told myself that I was being paranoid, that I had heard so many times that sex workers couldn’t be in relationships that I believed it.
After a particularly difficult night before I flew home for a few months, we drove to the airport in silence. I was panicked about leaving the UK, leaving him. I was sure everything was about to fall apart and while I knew I was digging my own grave I wanted reassurance that he cared, that we had something special. I was in tears as he gave me three cds. I spent the flight reassuring myself that the music suggested he was confused, too, but we loved each other, that we would find a way. It had been only five months and yet I felt like I had found my soulmate. I slept fitfully.
When I landed… I discovered an email asking for space. He felt like we were struggling too much. I agreed, I could see that we needed some time for things to calm, for me to realize he did love me, that things would be ok. I started journaling every day to work out what needed to happen for our relationship to get back on track.Three days later he was dating someone new, someone I had introduced him to. They moved in together. They broke up. But our relationship was dead by then, and I mourned it. I felt like someone had ripped my heart out, my trust, and burned it in front of me. I railed at my friends. I fell apart.
I tried to heal, in time. We tried to be friends, meeting for coffee. But I was furious, and hurt, and not ready. I felt like he had betrayed me, that he had shunned me for my work. It was one of the most heartbreaking experiences I had ever had, and I cursed myself every day for losing control, for letting myself blur the boundaries between client and sex worker. A year later and I still hadn’t recovered. Two years and I still struggle seeing his picture.
There was a party I went to, about a year and a half after the breakup. He was dating someone else, someone who was in some of my communities. We ran into each other, she, high on E, I, sick with the flu and somewhat delirious. She told me how thankful she was that he had met me, that he was so self aware and open thanks to me. I felt like I was going to throw up. I felt like love was something that would fuck me over, every time, that all I could ever be as a sex worker was training wheels for a “real” relationship.
I cut him out of my life after that. And, for the most part, I’m glad.
But I think, years later, that he left raw wounds that still affect me today, in my current relationship. I still worry that as a sex worker I will only ever be the girlfriend experience and never the girlfriend. I have never gotten close to a client like that again, and I doubt I ever will. There is a part of me that is still traumatized and miserable about the whole thing. It was one of the hardest lessons in boundaries, trust and honesty I have ever had.He seems happy, now, and a part of me still hates him for that. I reach out every once in a while, but I don’t know what I would say if he ever wrote back. I wonder if he knows how badly he hurt me- I wonder if he cares. I wonder how things might have been different if there wasn’t this stigma about sex workers and clients. If he might’ve been able to see me as his white picket fence girl after all.I guess I’ll never know.I hope that writing about this will help me mend. I hope it’ll tell other sex workers who may’ve gone through this themselves that they’re not stupid, that this happens, that it’s ok. You’re not alone.
And yes. I know that doesn’t help.