Posted at 19:22 on 25 Jun 2019 by Pandora / Blake
A few weeks ago I sent a nerve-wracking email.
For a few years now, I've been thinking about hiring a sex worker. I've been inspired by the wonderful women and queer folx who have booked me for sessions: our culture makes it a lot easier for men to honour their sexual needs and seek out ways of getting them met than people of other genders, particularly people who have experienced misogyny and slut-shaming. I really admire it when a woman or non-binary person comes to me, knowing what they want, and with enough self-esteem to think they deserve to get it. It made me wonder if this would be something I might do for myself one day.
The problem, as I saw it, was that as a sex worker myself, all of the suitable candidates I could think of - who I knew I could trust with my body and my fantasies - were friends and colleagues. Some of them friends I hadn't dated, some of them friends I had. Part of the professionalism of sex work, for me, is to maintain distinct boundaries between my clients and my social life, in order to manage everyone's expectations and make sure I'm not giving too much. So it seemed the idea was a non-starter - even though I felt like it might be a really cool experience to be on the other side for once.
A few weeks ago something changed. I took part in a hands-on consent course for touch practitioners with the School of Consent. Part of the training was learning to notice what we want and how to ask for it. Why might we not be asking for what we want? What are we doing instead?
I teach this material already, and yet I still have so much learning to do. The way it was approached on this course resonated with me deeply. I found the questions really confronting - what was I doing instead?
For a while now I've been nurturing specific submissive BDSM fantasies. They recur time and time again in private moments. I teach workshops on how to ask for what you want. I'm writing a book on how to be okay with bringing even your darkest fantasies to life, for goodness' sake. And yet, I've not been generating these experiences for myself.
The end result is that I have some submissive and masochistic desires which haven't been getting met. For a lot of the last year, Felix's energy for BDSM play has been pretty low. They've been working hard, coming perilously close to burnout in fact, alongside managing some delicate ongoing health difficulties. And since I got pregnant, I've had low energy for dating new people myself. I'm extraordinarily selective about who I submit to, and have no desire to do so in a casual encounter. Unless I know someone really well and respect them hugely, as well as being attracted to them, it's not going to work for me - I can be a bossy bottom, but truly surrendering control is off the cards unless I've seen that they're skilled enough, kind enough, and competent enough to seriously earn my trust.
So this is the time when people hire a sex worker, right? Except all the sex workers I know and trust enough to actually help me out are friends of mine. This seemed like an insurmountable obstacle. But then, on the course, I found myself enquiring of the lead facilitator, Dr Betty Martin - a sex worker herself - whether she had any experience of friends hiring her, or vice versa. The subsequent conversation was enormously reassuring.
I realised that actually, two adults can make whatever deal they want with each other. And with myself and whichever service provider I choose both being professionals, we'll have the skills to create a container for this scene and keep the boundaries clean. I realised that depending on the comfort level of the person I approached, it absolutely could be possible to have a service provider/client interaction without it infringing on our friendship. After all, a lot of the performers and freelancers I hire in the course of running my content creation business are friends; my friends and I hire each other all the time. I'd never done it in the context of being a sex work client before, but why not?
As soon as I started to think that it might be possible, I instantly knew who I wanted to ask.
Faye Summers is a geeky, warm, beautiful person with a razor-sharp intelligence, a devious mind and a kind heart. We met at a play party a few years ago and have played a couple of times since then, and enjoyed each other's company over dinner. She's queer, political, a skilled domme, and - very relevant from my point of view - a switch, so she knows what it's like to receive. I like her, I think she's super hot, and I feel safe in her her hands.
On the train on the way home from my course, I put down the reading I'd been doing for my book and summoned my courage. I had no idea whether or not she'd be comfortable seeing me as a client. Would she think it was weird of me to ask? If we went ahead, would it risk damaging our friendship? I figured it was at least worth posing the question.
My heart in my mouth, I fired off the email - and suddenly discovered a deep well of empathy for all the impatient clients who send me three emails in the space of 24 hours when I don't respond to their initial enquiry straight away. (I did, however, resist the impulse, since I know how obnoxious that sort of pestering is to receive). Already, I was discovering a new appreciation for how vulnerable it can be to contact a service provider and ask for what you want.
To my delight, her response was quick - and she was delighted to be asked. She said she was privileged to be the person I chose to approach, and full of admiration for me for knowing what my needs were and going out and getting them met. In short, she was game. It looked like my crazy plan was going to go ahead.
There was still some stuff to iron out - not least finding a date that worked around Faye's travel plans and my due date. The last thing I wanted was to make hot plans and then have to cancel because I was going into labour!
I was a little nervous about committing to a big BDSM scene while nine months pregnant. Working around my round belly would take some careful thought - and I wanted to look after myself as much as possible. We planned a time of day when it would be convenient for me to drive to her place, so I wouldn't have to wrangle public transport, and discussed positions that wouldn't put pressure on my bump. One of the reasons I chose Faye was that I trusted her to respect my pregnant body, without treating me like glass.
We settled on a date a few days before my 35th birthday, when I'd be 37 weeks pregnant. This is my last chance to fit something like this in for a while, and it feels like a perfect way to celebrate not only my birthday, but my last few weeks before my baby arrives and my life changes forever.
That day was today - and I'll tell you all about how our session went in another post.