So looking back at most of my recent posts on this blog, I’ve come to realize that I rarely blog about my work in the industry anymore, rather more about my activism and other sex work related news. However the current rash of “faux” sex worker bloggers and industry “dabblers” that then claim to be experts on all forms of sex work has got me thinking that I need to be sharing my stories of the REALITY of sex work. No disrespect y’all, but it seems for such a maligned profession, sex work has become awfully trendy over the past few years. Everybody wants a piece of the pie so they can sell their salacious story to the highest bidder or gain the most followers on Twitter. It’s all so boring to me.
And who am I? Let me re-introduce myself for those who don’t know. I’ve been a sex worker for over 12 years, in a variety of capacities. I started out as a dominatrix, moved on to escorting (which I prefer) and also do sensual massage, as well as some casting and camera work in porn. For the most part, I love the work and have very few complaints about it or my clients, whom I rarely bitch about. The truth is nowadays I have very little to complain about regarding my work in the industry. Has it always been like this? No. I have had quite a few negative experiences in my years as a sex worker and almost exclusively, those experiences were when I was working for other people. Managers, agents, agencies, pimps, panderers, whatever you want to call ‘em, these people are almost always fuckin’ lazy assholes who seek to profit off women’s work.
This brings me to a situation that I dealt with about a month and a half ago in which I was dealing with a young girl who had been working for an escort agency out of Des Moines, IA. She called our hotline from the lobby of a motel and said the agency had flown her in from out of town with the promise they would pay her travel expenses back home. She’d been taking calls at the motel all week and after each client left, a gofer for the agency would come and collect all the money, leaving a small amount for small expenses like meals. She had told them earlier in the day that she was ready to return home, but they stopped taking her calls and refused to bring her the money she was owed or provider her with funds to get transportation home. Yeah, it was a fishy situation, but the agency seemed to prey on young girls with very little experience in the industry, who didn’t know any better about how a decent escort agency would be run. She’d never worked independently before, didn’t know how to advertise for herself. When she finally got someone from the agency on the phone, they said they planned to “pick her up and drive her to another city to work.” These people basically had a mini-trafficking operation being run through several states and one look at their website (a free WordPress blog, no less) showed what kind of creeps they really were. They had a “bad escorts” page with photos of about a dozen women that had supposedly “ripped them off”, but the reality was most likely these ladies had taken their money and never looked back, like I was trying to encourage this girl to do. Over the course of two days, with a lot of help from others in this community, we had gotten the agencies website pulled, their Paypal account frozen, and got this girl on a bus back home. Regretfully, it was a loooong two days for this girl, who ended up placing a lot of hotline calls but finding virtually very little resources for a trafficking victim in a smaller Midwestern city. And it made me think back to my agency days where a worked for people who promised the world, but instead played games with your livelihood.
Soooo, back to the beginning. I became interested in this type of work through a roommate I had who’d returned to Chicago and found work as a pro-domme in a dungeon that was run out of the basement apartment of a disgusting, obese submissive with an uncanny resemblance to Tiny Tim. He’d call our house numerous times a day and leave messages on our answering machine or engage me in conversation if I picked up. When i lost my job as a dog walker, I inquired to him about working there and he told me to come on in and meet him. After a brief conversation, he proceeded to lay under my feet and smell my toes, later giving me $75 with the promise “that he would out me on the schedule.” After weeks of phone calls, he never did and just played phone games with me…and my roommate, who quit working for him and had to press charges against him for phone harassment after her called her up to 20 times a day for several weeks.
I still was intrigued by the work and wanted to try my hand at it, so I then went to work for one of the largest “commercial” dungeons in town, a well-known operation her run by a pseudo-mobster complete with a neck-warmer haircut, Mike Ditka-moustache, and a framed photo of a stack of money in his office (like one of those you’d win at a county fair). By this point in time, hundreds of women have worked for his operation over the years and most of the stories remain constant. This guy was a d-bag to a “t”, but it seems over the years his behavior has gotten more and more abusive to the pro-dommes that work for him. When I was there, he was just a jerk who recorded our conversations and videotaped sessions without the knowledge of clients, and instilled ridiculous rules and regulations for behavior on our downtime. He also tried to tell the women who worked there that we couldn’t hang out together on our days off for fear that we would talk shit about him and his operation in our socializing. Of course we would. I finally quit in a huff after he threatened to “suspend me” (like in high school?) when I offered a disgruntled client a free enema as part of his session. Apparently, he just couldn’t part with $50 in a gesture that was intended as a good faith measure. If anyone in that dungeon deserved a good ass-whipping, it was him.
Another dungeon I worked for was managed by the boyfriend of the namesake dominatrix, who told us we needed to split our tips 50/50 with the house, a ludicrous request if there was one. While him and I had some major personality differences, I was lucky to walk away from that establishment fairly unscathed. Sadly, a few of my friends who worked for him at a later time were sexually assaulted by this man, who at last report now appears to be practicing law in the suburbs somewhere.
Oh, and the escort agencies. Where should I start? See, when I started out, there was no internet advertising, or at least I wasn’t privy to it. The upscale escorts worked for agencies that advertised out of the phone books or in weekly publications that ran adult classifieds, Er, kinda like Craigslist. It was common practice for escorts to work for a few agencies at one time, in order to maximize your potential to see clients on any given night. Many agencies accepted credit cards. Some ONLY accepted credit cards…a sure way to control the escorts money by allowing them to fine you for things like not answering a call, showing up late, or any old reason they could find. Paydays were erratic and usually involved meeting some random person late at night or in a out-of-the-way location after numerous phone calls were placed. Most agencies took a 50/50 split at that time, meaning if you did a call for $300, you got $150 of that. Whenever I hear agencies complain about being ripped off, I remember how I’ve been ripped off by nearly every agency I worked for. I certainly don’t shed a tear for them.
One agency would hire two drivers to pick up all the girls on call at 6pm and require us to drive around with them all night long, until 3AM, dropping girls off to calls in various faraway locations in the suburbs all night. Some of the escorts never received a call and just rode along, sleeping in the backseat until we were given a green light to go home. The phone operator was crass and abusive to everyone and I later found out they were notorious for not paying on credit card calls. I never did receive my check from the one call i did for them, nor did I continue to work for them after the one night of hell I went through.
Another agency refused to pay me for several jobs I did after I stayed a few minutes over with a client and didn’t “call out” at the exact 1 hour mark, thinking I had collected money on the side from the client for an extension. This was typical protocol for agencies…another reason for guys who don’t like “clockwatchers” to use them. If you ran five minutes over, they wanted the client to pay for a whole second hour.
Or the Canadian guy who wanted the escorts to run to the bank the next day and deposit the money into his bank account who accused me of being “on crack” because I didn’t make my deposit the next day. I remember reading a news article some time after I stopped working for him about how his agency got busted up and the cops had obtained the bank account information from one of the escorts who got arrested. Still, he remained in business, manning the phones from Canada where it was unlikely he would ever face arrest here. Many of these people were pretty clever in running their operations in different cities than the ones they resided in, leaving them free from any sort of accountability of anything ever happened to the escorts working for them (physical harm or LE wise).
With the exception of the agencies that were run by former sex workers themselves, most of these were run by lazy-ass guys who probably had pimp fantasies and thought running an escort agency would be a cool way to make some extra dough by doing as little as possible. They had no understanding of what the escorts went though, expected you to show up to calls at the drop of a hat, see asshole clients, and then meet with them so they could collect their cut of the money as soon as possible. For awhile, I ran my own small agency with the intention of treating the workers how I would’ve wanted to be treated on the job, but in the long run, it just made more sense to me to strike out on my own as an independent.
The best thing the internet did for sex workers was allowing us to stop depending on these pimp-like agents and establishments and work independently. We no longer needed these people do do our advertising, answer the phones, and pretend to do some sort of screening process that we had little knowledge of. While agencies still exist, they are becoming more and more a thing of the past, and yet those that are still in existence are still pulling shady shenanigans like the situation I dealt with last month. Whenever I can, I encourage young workers to strike out on their own, but many times those that are new to the industry feel more comfortable working with an agency to arrange all their appointments and do their screening. I can understand the need for this, as I did it for years. However, unless the agency/establishment someone is working for is treating them fairly and with respect, I tell people to walk away. These places need workers more than the workers need them. Once the “training wheels” are off, sex workers should work for themselves. Let’s stop putting money in the pockets of disrespectful, abusive assholes who we don’t need anyway. We CAN and SHOULD be running this show ourselves.
In addition, one of the reasons I’m against legalization of prostitution is that the brothel systems we have in place here in Nevada are generally as exploitative as the illegal agency models that I worked for. All one has to do is watch an episode of “Cathouse” and see what a pimp-like asshole Dennis Hof is, it doesn’t matter what he’s doing is legal. Friends I know who have worked in the brothel system say the same things. The owners instill all sorts of rules and regulations and workers are treated no better than if they were working illegally. So obviously, a decriminalized system that would allow workers to work independently is the only way to go. I could never work at a brothel and I’ve already worked for enough of these establishments to know that the people who run them are full of shit.
So yes, I understand that people love to hear the sex worker sob stories and I do have quite a few. My life hasn’t always been peaches and cream and while I’ve never been physically abused, I have had experiences that have been emotionally and psychologically abusive. I found a way to eliminate those from my life and never will I work for any type of agent, manager, or establishment in this industry again. This is what made the difference from me being a scared, depressed sex worker to a emotionally stable and fully independent worker who loves what she does.