Having sex for money* plummeted me into a spiral of sex addiction and a constant need for experience.
I was inspired to write this after a friend asked if my inability to “open [myself] up to the prospect of having a girlfriend” was triggered because I was “mistreated in a previous relationship”. The simple answer is no but it is far more complicated than that and maybe even a little taboo for the average discerning person. So here goes.
I have always been a very sexual person. I first had sex when I was fourteen. I had boyfriends in abundance during high school. The most traumatising break up I experienced was when Samuel dumped me on Valentine’s Day in 2002. He didn’t even have the gutsiness to tell me himself, instead he sent Kieran to run to me and shout it in my face in the playground at lunchtime. It was the Valentine’s disco that afternoon, who was I to hold hands and dance with now? I was heartbroken. It still haunts me to this day. Maybe that’s where my hatred for cowardliness stems from. Oh, Samuel. You are he who is responsible for all my complexities.
I was either fifteen or fourteen when I my tolerance for bad sex had been reached. My best friend, Rebecca, and I were fucking our boyfriends at one of their house’s. She was on the top bunk bed while my boyfriend and I were on the bottom. I was as outspoken then as I am now. Blunt, abrupt, to the point, and satiated with the ritual of moaning with “glee” as he tried to fumble with my labia and penetrate my clitoris. I demanded that Rebecca and I swapped lovers. Her boyfriend was marginally better, or at least, he had a bigger dick. Maybe that’s my love of swinging stems from.
I can’t pin point how I developed a love for dominance and degradation but I recognised that my Head of Year pulling me out of class to reprimand me turned me on more than anything than I could ever find scrolling through RedTube. I fully committed myself to the cause: excluded five times, forbidden to go on the ski trip in France, not allowed on the trip to Auschwitz, instead being made to sit outside his office and complete tedious tasks. Although it did give me something to wank over when I eventually got home so somehow it all seemed worthwhile.
When I wasn’t masturbating, I was in chatrooms and talking with “slave owners” in Texas on ALT.com. I told one local Master the exact route I walked from school to home. We played with the idea that he would kidnap me and one day I felt his presence in my shadow. I strayed from my usual path, and instead walked down a busy main road and scurried into the closest newsagents where I called my mother to come pick me up. I remember telling her I felt faint and nauseous. It wasn’t untrue. I was panicked and learned that some fantasises should stay as such.
And then I met Steven. I was sixteen and at the nightclub that was infamous for “underagers”. I had been going there since I was fourteen and grew friendly with the door staff. In hindsight, and looking back at old photographs from then, I’m not entirely sure how I was let in but it was before Challenge 21/25 and if it wasn’t for my teenage posse and the old perverted men who lusted after us, there’d be no revellers.
“I’ll give you £300 to fuck you if you can prove you’re sixteen.”
He was offering me money for something that I would have done for free. He was exactly what I wanted at that moment. Charming, older, experienced, a perfect one nightstand and a brilliant excuse to disappear. I said my goodbyes to my disinterested friends and escaped to his hotel. This “one night stand” evolved into a five year affair. I wasn’t so naive not to realise that he’d have a wife and a family but he was in my city every week for work and his accent was the same as my biological father’s so when asked me to call him ‘Daddy’ I knew that the wet between my legs would not be found if I was the ‘sweet, little girl’ that he liked to call me.
We were perfect for each other. We were equally perverse, taboo, and being 26 years my senior I relied and look up to him as a daughter would depend on her father. And him being an egocentric, he needed to be needed.
I spawned an imaginary friend so to have an alibi for my countless weekends away from home. Her name was Sarah, we met through friends but she lived in Edinburgh and my mum knew just how much I loved that city so of course I’d have to go see her every weekend. Little did she know I was in Liverpool, or Manchester, sometimes actually in Edinburgh, London one time and Tenerife another. He’d teach me to drink whiskey and we’d play Strangers in a Bar. We’d fuck all weekend, he’d made me squirt and come harder than any other boy my own age could ever dream of. And then there was the gifts: designer watches, underwear, jewellery, a £450 dress just because it looks cute. Sometimes cold hard cash too and I can’t deny I didn’t love it. “Spoil yourself”, he’d say.
Fucking was, and is, like cocaine to me. The supply creates demand.
One sugar daddy wasn’t enough to sustain my sexual hunger. It was inevitable really that I’d eventually get into sex work. I was obsessed with that famous call girl who was all the rage some ten years ago. I was impressionable and wanted all of the things: the money, the sex, the power. I liked conversing with men, humouring them as they tried to make me believe that they were interested in me as a person and not just because I was a young hot whore.
The money was a bonus. I was outwardly living the last of my teenager years as a sexually liberated, kinky woman, having experiences, and going to parties that my peers could only dream of and fantasise about.
It all calmed down (a little) when I started to date a woman and things looked to be getting serious. I still occasionally saw Steven, I was still occasionally “working”, I was still venturing to my local fetish club and I even dragged her to some of the bigger kink parties.
I loved her but I couldn’t omit my sexuality, not even for love, and I don’t think I will ever be capable of doing so.
Being in, what was essentially, a monogamous relationship saw me cheating and living out my hedonistic tendencies unethically and at her expense. It seems everyone’s seven-year itch is my five and last year we amicably made the decision to split up.
This last year has allowed me to find my feet as a singleton again. I can’t deny that I actively seek out “quick fix” conquests and I don’t think I will stop anytime soon. Everyone needs a hobby and while you may pass time playing video games, I fuck strangers. What began as a desire for experience has unfolded into a never ending chase for experience, and in turn possibly an undiagnosed sex addiction.
I have no idea how many people I have slept with but I don’t think the number is relevant. I am proud of my sexuality and will talk freely about it to anyone who wants to know. I may not live my life in a way that is considered conventionally healthy but the pleasure derived from it outweighs the shame. I love love and I love sharing deep moments of passion and lust with similarly sexually liberated individuals. Just because we’re not “in a relationship” does not mean there is not the opportunity to share, to grow, to trust, to provide. Any relationship, given the opportunity, no matter how significant or not, allows change, allows process, and allows healing to occur.
Maybe one day I will grow out of this need to have everything, to do everything, everyone. Maybe one day I will get married, have children, and stop looking over your shoulder.
I’m 25 now and I can’t foresee myself slowing down any time soon, it all seems like a terribly dull and boring prospect for now.
*I am aware that this post has been published on a platform where I am not wholly anonymous. Many of you here know me outside of the realms of the inter webs and my sex worker past may be something you were not aware of but it is neither something I deny or am ashamed of. Sex workers are real people and there are more of us than you think.
I am the flower in the mirror,
the moon on the surface of water
I am the shadow behind you,
the Mona Lisa
I am a mirage,
the beautiful dreams that are unattainable
I am the sun setting or rising,
the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
I am the beauty that you can only see,
but can’t touch
I am the beauty that you can only feel,
but can’t touch
It’s not your decision whether someone falls in love with you or not.
And I agree for the most part.
But I struggle with it.
I struggle with all of it.
I sit in silence absorbing every word while you chat amongst yourselves.
I want to defend but I can’t argue what I can’t articulate.
It’s like white noise inside my head.
Instead I laugh. I shrug it off. It is what it is.
I’m not deflecting. I’m not being defensive.
Or at least I don’t mean to.
I’m an open book.
Or at least I thought I was.
Do you feel like you’re letting a barrier down if you openly talk about things?
Do you find it difficult to trust people?
Were you mistreated in an old relationship?
Why don’t you feel?
If I knew the answers I wouldn’t be the disaster that I am.
But trust me when I say that I’m doing you a favour.
You don’t want the toxicity.
You don’t need the burden.
Just ask those who tore down that wall.
I’m the parasite.
There are never any positive adjectives.
Just a bitter after taste.
An off flavour.
A bad habit.
A beautiful mess
But a mess no less.
I have struggled with the contradiction that is me quite a lot over the last few years. When I was a teenager, a doctor suggested I may have bipolar disorder or a borderline personality. She referred me to a psychiatrist but I never went any of the appointments. Instead, I took her suggestion as a diagnosis and then used it as an excuse for any shitty behaviour. A little later, a different doctor gave me a prescription for antidepressants and anxiety meds while he sat and ate digestive biscuits. Sure, I persevered for a few weeks until I realised that my ability to orgasm was more important than feeling numb. I decided that feeling sad sometimes and feeling EVERYTHING sometimes was more important than feeling nothing all. of. the. time.
Most recently, I went to see a counsellor. Self-loathing comes very easy to me, it has a home in me where it is never a stranger. She asked me if there was anything about myself that I liked and I replied “my detachment”. I never saw her again because she didn’t think that was a positive trait and I disagreed.
Detachment is not something that is “done”, in my mind, but something we arrive at when we really understand the nature of reality. Detachment is a lofty and beautiful esoteric goal. I wouldn’t be able to do my job if I didn’t have the ability to detach and cut off emotions and not invest my whole being into someone else, I would be unable to remain equanimous in the face of loss, change, and disappointment.
My most detached moments are most easily experienced when I am feeling incredibly grounded and convinced of my divine nature. When I am not in this awareness, when I am in my ego, steeped in humanity, detachment is much harder to embody. And that, I suppose is when the idea of wanting to “adhere” to it, or effort myself into detachment, is quite hard to do. In those times, I do my best not to run from what is emerging. To instead sit in that heat. This feeling what I am afraid to feel, all the way through, becomes my orientation. Seeing where it shows up in my body, my chest, my jaw, my muscles. Usually it is a feeling of fear, of sadness, and often despair, however brief, around the severing of a very human attachment. The aspiration to not be affected by relationships, and I can see why one might want that.
True detachment and aloofness and disassociation can look very similar. However I am learning to believe in relationships, to believe in kindness. It is one of the great gifts of being human, fostering and nurturing and allowing these relationships to affect us, to move us, to heal us, to challenge us open to our wholeness, our bigness, to shake us awake and out of our sleepwalking, to correct what needs correcting, through a move of merciful interaction.
Sometimes detachment is easy. And sometimes – when I am PMSing, when I am tired, when I am overwhelmed – it is very difficult. I attempt to inquire into any given experience. And provided that I have time to process and inquire, I can usually reach a place of detachment, or neutrality.
Other times, I can be only somewhat neutral, and that has to be OK for that moment.
she shone bright in the darkness, the subtle glare of red reflecting off the one streetlight beam peeking through the curtain. her darting eyes scanning the room and smiling in recognition.
i knelt beside the door as she approached me, dug my intestines out through my naval and stretched my heart down into my crotch. it felt fluttery and warm down there. i curled around the sensation and felt the solace radiate through my body.
her lips were full and gentle, her hands captivating and soft as she held my face side by side prompting me to my feet. i held her face and pressed my nose against hers as the cold fumbled around our bodies.
i knew she didn’t feel what i felt but i was happy that she let me kiss her and hold her like that for a minute.
she didn’t encourage my feelings but she was kind enough to let me indulge in them.
Let’s just have sex because love, love means one of us has to fall. I don’t want to fall and I don’t want you to either. So let’s choose not to. Let’s choose to stay afloat and be guided by the current, to grow and ebb with the tide. To contort our bodies into each other, to wrestle with the mania and to listen to that song which speaks the feelings we can’t articulate. Let’s take our detachment and fears and forget about them for the evening, to only know this reality.
As lovers we are image makers and artists and unique. We’re story tellers and dream chasers. We’re the fingerprints and snow flakes and forgotten child memories, metaphors and desires out of the ordinary. The impulse is deep and old and persistent. A drug, chasing the highs but not naive enough to not anticipate the lows as consequence.
We can’t be in love because this is not how love is made.
The only things binding are the shackles on wrists. The only things blinding are the scarfs and dust bags. The only thing warm is the melted wax from burning candles over skin. It’s concrete and viscera, it’s the wet and the hard and the dirt and the rope, it’s the only love I want to know.