Since coming out as a sex worker I have had many beautiful and open conversations about my job. People ask me lots of interesting and heartfelt questions, and since I am very passionate about the work I do I love engaging with them. I have noticed that some issues come up in almost every conversation I have, so I decided to make a little series of blog posts about them. Today the first one: boundaries.
I have boundaries. Quite a lot of them. I never have unprotected sex for example, and I ask clients to take a shower before we get intimate. Some boundaries are absolute, some of them change or differ from person to person. Fr example: I enjoy a lot of kinky stuff, and I occasionally use rope in my sessions. As a rule I don’t let clients tie me up though, but I might make an exception for someone who I know and trust well. The bottom line is: I decide what happens to my body. Period.
“But Rosie, people pay you to have sex with you!”
Actually, they don’t.
My clients pay me for my time. In that time I usually offer erotic services. But that does not mean I just go along with everything, or that I do not reserve the right to say ‘no’ to absolutely anything that does not feel right.
What I offer are profound journeys into the erotic, journeys of self-discovery, of finally being truly seen and truly held. An experience of being loved and accepted, of ecstatic bliss, and of letting go. These are deep places, and I can only take my clients there if they trust and respect me. They will never open up if they don’t. Transgressing boundaries is the number one sign of disrespect, and thus the number one sign of a less than profound session.
These journeys go two ways. They are most powerful if I am present with my full self, boundaries and all. Just as my clients need to trust me in order to open up, I need to trust them as well. I can only be my full glorious self if I keep myself safe and comfortable, and my clients know that.
Asserting my boundaries with my clients makes them realise that my ‘yes’ is authentic. And since my clients are sometimes worried about that aspect of the session, it makes them feel safe if I am honest about what I like and don’t like.
Occasionally I run into a client who feels they can be disrespectful. Often I filter these out in the first few emails. But if it does come to a meeting, that is usually a short-lived one. Now when I say ‘disrespectful’ I don’t mean anything violent. It is more about a disrespectful attitude that is expressed in insisting on something I have already said ‘no’ to. It is not so much about what people ask for as it is about how they deal with my answer. These people never become regulars. And that’s great, because I only want to work with people who come to see me and all I have to offer. People who respect me and my work. Those who don’t will never get much value out of our sessions. So it is better for the both of us to part ways sooner rather than later.
At this point, I want to point out that I am in a relatively privileged position. I love my job. I was not forced into it either by a person or by economical circumstances. I have enough financial security to be able to turn down clients. This is not the case for everyone in my industry, just as it is not for many people in other industries. I have enough friends in office jobs who have to put up with disrespectful bosses and clients on a daily basis. I am in the lucky position not to have to do that.
If anything, sex work has made me more aware of my boundaries and more empowered to assert them. I am confronted with unusual requests all the time, and I consider each one in a conscious way. I have learned to listen to my body and my gut, and have discovered that I like and dislike some very surprising things. I know my desires and my boundaries really well and train my ability to communicate about them every day.
So: Great that you have boundaries! This will in no way stop you from doing sex work. If anything, it will make you better at the job.
If you would like to go deeper into learning how to feel and communicate your boundaries (and desires!), I’d love to invite you to one of the workshops Seani Love and I are running. Boundaries and consent are central to our work, and we integrate many exercises on this topic in our workshops: