There are a lot of articles out there centred around what it’s like to date a sex worker, should someone question their partner who’s career is in sex work, but not much from the point of view as a sex worker. So we’re turning the tables to give sex workers the voice on dating and relationships.
We’re looking to discuss with you, our community about this, so if you have any questions, feedback and tips yourselves - please get in touch with us!
Should You Date as a Sex Worker?
This is up to you. Finding a supportive partner can be hard, but finding that secure, evolved person who will support you? That can be great. It’s also great to have your own freedom and independence. We’re not going to lie here, it can be a tough decision to make, but you need to put yourself and your needs first.
We asked our community members some questions around dating as a sex worker, here’s what they had to say:
What is your relationship status at present?
From our online survey, 31.3% of respondents said their relationship status was single, 33.3% said it was in a relationship, 2.1% said casually dating, and 33.3% wanted to just see the results.
Do you reveal to partners or potential partners what your job is?
From our online survey, 32.3% of respondents said they always reveal their job as a sex worker to partners/potential partners, 10.1% said they have never done so, 12.9% said that they would tell if a relationship got serious, and 38.7% wanted to just see the results.
How long into a relationship would you reveal your job to them?
From our online survey, 31.3% of respondents said other parties in their relationship know what their job is, 6.9% said that other parties don't know, 0% said the other people in the relationship have a feeling, and 62% wanted to just see the results.
If you're in a relationship at present, do they know what your job is?
From our online survey, 36.4% of respondents said they would reveal their job as a sex worker straight away, 9.1% said they would do it after a few months, 9.1% said they would never tell, and 45.5% wanted to just see the results.
Survey data - Twitter polls. Max number of votes - 48. Data from June 2020
What are the Risks Sex Workers can Face when Dating?
The risks sex workers can face when dating can be wide ranging, however, here are some of the most common that you need to look out for:
Partners overstepping boundaries - positively or negatively
Make sure to set boundaries with your partner(s), including what can be said to who, and when. Some partners might see themselves as cheerleaders or allies, but they can’t be those when they don’t know or respect your boundaries.
Being treated as a health risk
The horrible stigma around sex workers being dirty, unclean and having STIs is one that continues to be prevalent, when we know for a fact that in reality, sex workers are thoroughly educated on safer sex practices and pretty darn good at protecting themselves and clients.
Partners not understanding the difference between fantasy and reality
Sex work is work, and like any other job there are work clothes and non work clothes. No human being wants to have to be on work mode all day every day, so put those demands away, entitled partners!
Partners not understanding that sex worker’s sex drives fluctuate and taking it personally
Sex work can be tiring! And of course it is 100% possible to be bored or overwhelmed with sex. It’s also important for partners to know that asexual people and those with varying sex drives also do sex work and they should not expect anyone to perform for them or not take a break.
Microaggressions used by partners and/or their family and friends
We’ve all heard them - those ‘little’ comments that are consistent attacks, that build up, no matter how ‘little’ they seem at the time. Comments such as saying that sex workers have “daddy issues” or “should get a real job” - not welcome from partners, their family, friends or anyone else!
Jealousy needs to be dealt with in every relationship, however, being in a relationship as a sex worker brings in (potentially) an additional layer of jealousy from your partner(s). This is why boundaries are incredibly important.
We’re sure many of you, if not all of you will have experienced someone with a saviour complex, trying to ‘save’ you from sex work. People all too often conflate sex work with sex trafficking, and if someone does do this, do you want to be in a relationship with someone who does not understand the difference? If someone makes assumptions or is condescending towards you, you really deserve better!
What Tips can you Give Sex Workers Looking to date or be in a relationship?
If you choose to date or be in a relationship, here are some of our tips:
- Be safe - your safety is paramount
- Be transparent - this will give you an idea of what they are like as a person - positive or negative
- Report - if you need to report people on online dating and social media platforms, do so. Your safety as a sex worker is paramount
- Get support - whether from friends, families or fellow sex workers