Venus Van Gogh
Dating (or not) as a Melbourne Escort
One of the many great things about twitter is how much we can share with our peers and clients alike. The discourse around dating as a sex worker is open and honest and apparently surprising to some. Sex workers are human beings. Yes, dating is our job, but many of us are able to really separate sex work from sex and dating for cash from dating for free. You see many sex workers talking about their relationships, their marriages, their "housemates", fuck buddies and so on. We're normal. We go on tinder dates. We have relationships. Humanise us.
What I want to talk about is how I reached the conclusion that I personally cannot be one of those people who dates for free and is a sex worker at the same time. It's not just a slew of bad experiences. It's not the type of people I meet. It's not about being damaged from my time in the industry. It's about the fact that I can't manage both the emotional and sexual demands of a relationship and the emotional and sexual demands of being a sex worker. Perhaps this is a flaw in my design, but I haven't been able to make it work thus far, and I don't think I ever will. So, I stopped trying.
And you know what? That is completely valid.
It's not a negative portrayal of sex work or relationships. It's simply a reality that I face as a person. Sexual and emotional labour are not exclusive to sex work. Everyone says it, but really, really understand that relationships are work. In my experience, especially for women. We've come a long way, but the reality is that society imposes much more expectations on women to be the emotional and domestic backbone of relationships whilst also holding down a full-time job - or in my case, two full time businesses. I slide into this role too easily for my own well being, which is why I'm so good at my job as a sex worker, but I'm not a limitless chasm of empathy, sexual and domestic labour. I have my limits, I need a lot of alone time, and it's impossible for me to offer that up to both the professional and personal facets of my life and do both well, while also reaching my goals.
When my last relationship ended in 2019, the one thing that really made me realise that I couldn't do it again - work as a sex worker and have a relationship - is the fact that my income doubled again after he finally moved out. Suddenly, I had all of this free time and energy to pour into my business and my clients. Finally, I could hit savings targets like I could before I got into the relationship. For 2 years I really struggled to find my footing in the arena that had once been so good for me, and I couldn't figure out why... Until one massive load was lifted off my shoulders and made way for the flow of abundance from the other.
I don't want you to feel sorry for me. Not at all. Plenty of people make sacrifices in their personal life in order to reach financial or career goals and I am completely satisfied in and happy with my decisions. Many of my clients just never had the time to get married or their marriages failed in part due to their work commitments. I can completely relate to that and I am grateful that we have each other to fill that void. At the end of the day, romantic relationships aren't everything. I value the relationships that I have formed with my friends and my clients, my family and my community. My life is full and beautiful. The men and couples I date help me out financially. They give me the space to breathe so that I can give them my best and run Goddess Photography - which is taking off, slowly, but surely. I honestly wouldn't have things any other way at this time in my life.
Though it is something that I do think about. When I eventually stop sex work, I may find that I want to pursue that side of myself, I may not... or perhaps I will stop sex work for someone who meets my needs and can financially enrich my life and support my goals with Goddess Photography. I am grateful for sex work because it has taught me a lot about how I wish to be treated and the kinds of things I won't put up with even when I'm being paid, let alone for free. I don't see this as a sacrifice I'm making for my finances, I see it as an investment in myself and my future. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything at all. I'm simply living life by my own rules and setting expectations on who can access me and what they must do or provide in order to gain access. This is a priceless skill to have in any relationship. I'm getting my needs met from the interaction - not only financial gain, but sexual release, physical touch and emotional intimacy - on a basis that works for both of us. What can a romantic relationship offer me that I don't already have? Perhaps, I'm just one of those people who wasn't made for them... and that's okay!
Honestly, I really do admire those who are able to make it all work. Especially those who engage in polyamory and have multiple relationships AND work. But those of us who can't or choose not to engage in romantic relationships while being sex workers are valid and human too! Sometimes I forget this, but it always bears reminding that we are sex workers after all. Our lives are already unconventional simply for that fact. We've already broken one of the biggest societal rules and the sky hasn't fallen. The rules don't mean anything. Do what brings you happiness, safety, peace and/or financial security. If you're also a sex worker who chooses not to date or can't while you're working, there is absolutely nothing wrong or less human about it.