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While this tumblog attempts to be a safe space for everyone, certain realities of the industry might make it uncomfortable at times. It's a job strife with racism, sexism, transphobia, and homophobia, and is sometimes hard to deal with. It's not harder to deal with than any other customer service job though.
If you don't know the difference between consensual sex work and trafficking, you don't belong here.
How do bartenders go to bars after work? How do servers go to restaurants? Can amusement park workers still enjoy going to a park on their day off?
I’ve been stripping on and off for 2 years, and until last night, had not stepped into a strip club as a customer since I started dancing. I had only been a customer one time before. I didn’t stay me after walking in there. It was like the second the lights, the music, the smell hit me, I was in “work mode.” I couldn’t watch the stage without thinking about working and making money myself, I was watching and critiquing hustles, I was sizing up every customer in the room.
I didn’t interact with a single customer that night besides the friend I went with. But when I left, I realized I was in the same guarded, put-off mood that I’m in when I leave the club after work. I’ve always noticed being in this specific mood when I leave a club after working. I don’t want anyone to talk to me, and I don’t want to be flirted with/touched – especially not in any sort of sexual manner. The absolute last thing on my mind is sex – the exact opposite of how most people walk out of a strip club.
But I was a customer last night! I should’ve been on the other side of the equation! Relaxed, had fun, enjoyed the show, and feeling sexy… right? No… I wasn’t me anymore. I was Aurora.
At least coming out of a club after working and being like that made sense. I brushed it off as an unfortunate, but completely understandable side effect of working such a job for 6 hours. You put yourself in work mode, you are no longer you – you are a sexualized, fantasy stripper persona, you deal with people chucking dollar bills at your ass and tits all night, pretend to be interested in whatever random person has become enraptured with you, and act like you’re really into grinding on them for 3 minutes of a random rap song.
Sure, when you get out of there, it takes awhile to adjust back. That’s just common sense. For me especially, I’ve realized that I can’t handle being around people I actually care about right after work (the only exception having ever been significant others). Because at work (when I’m “Aurora”), I’m an actress – I’m not me. Everything is make-believe. I don’t care about the people I’m interacting with. I mean, I care about them as fellow human beings and genuinely care about their enjoyment of the evening and their experience, but ultimately, there is no personal connection for me. If that was me, we wouldn’t be talking, I wouldn’t have my top off, and I certainly wouldn’t be pretending to enjoy grinding their crotch 10 minutes and 15 compliments about my “bewbs” after meeting them. But I go through it, because I’m not me. I’m Aurora. And that’s truly just fine with me.
But the second I’m out of there and faced with someone I do genuinely care about, I can’t be in that mode anymore. I don’t want to be Aurora for them, I want to be me. But I’m still not me. So a colossal amount of mental dissonance happens. I’m trying to come down and out of work mode and become me again, but I’m not there yet. Meanwhile, someone is talking to me who I can’t just pretend to care about, but I’m not in a place where me – where I – can listen and care because I’m not back in control yet. So this just results in me being frustrated and annoyed because they won’t stop talking and give me the space and silence to process my night and transition back to me. And I end up being a bitch and running away from them. I can’t handle it right then. And I can’t handle being touched once I’m away from the situation where it’s my job to just put up with/ignore it.
As sad as all that sounds, I just deal with it. It’s a natural reaction to the job. Who wouldn’t be that way after a night of dealing with all that? And I truly wish I had better phrases to describe this than “put up with” and “deal with” because it’s not so much that… It’s just… being neutral, because, like I said – I’m not me so why would I care?
But I wasn’t dealing with all that last night. I wasn’t dancing, I wasn’t hustling, I wasn’t talking to drunken idiots. But I wasn’t having fun. I had switched. I was, against my will, in work mode despite no work having been done, and after leaving the club, I still was. My friend talked all the way home, and it took everything I had not to tell him to shut up because I was trying to mentally process what I was going through and couldn’t concentrate on him at the moment. He tried to get with me when we got home, and I could not enjoy it. I did not want to be in the same room with another living soul, let alone be touched/groped by one in any way.
Now that’s scary. That just that environment – just walking through those doors and being a “normal” person sitting on the other side of the bar still inspired such a strong mental switch to my stripper persona. You don’t hear about that in other jobs. I mean, I know there’s sayings like, “if you’re a chef, you don’t wanna cook when you get home” – so on and so forth… But is it the same thing? I feel like a chef can still walk into a restaurant on their day off and not instantly recoil at the idea of dicing onions later that night?
Maybe it’s because in those jobs, you go to lots of bars and restaurants or amusement parks before working there? Your only experience is not that of “this is a place of work?” So you can cross over more easily in your personal life?
Or maybe it’s because in those jobs, you’re still ultimately you. You may have to be more “corporate” or diplomatic than you’d like, but you’re still you. You still go by your name. I think the majority of people think that sex workers come up with fake names because of them – that we’re worried about stalkers. I think the truth is that we need them to protect us. They’re our separate identity. They are the only thing allowing me to go from “work mode” to “me mode,” otherwise there’d be too much overlap and that’s not good.
I’ve always advocated it, but now I’m even more certain. Everyone looks down on “bitchy” porn stars, hookers, and strippers and says that only mean-ass, ghetto bitches get into this business. That the industry is riddled with girls with “attitude problems” and that’s why we can’t fit in anywhere else. No one ever stops to think that those girls were/are perfectly normal until they step foot into that environment. Why it is that they feel the need to develop such an attitude/persona. What it might be about their own behavior that is causing such a reaction in the girl they’re looking at. And that maybe, off-camera and out of the club, once they’ve come down from the work mindset, they might not even be that bad… I mean, how does your general day/night have to be for your mind to instantly switch to completely different thoughts/tolerance levels to protect you when you just step foot into the environment, regardless of if you’re even there to work or not?
I don’t really like to talk about the dark side of the industry or the way it can fuck with you mentally. I don’t want people to pity me, or condemn the industry as evil. I’ve made my choices, and I can write a million more blogs about the great things about the jobs I choose to do. But this revelation hit me really hard, and I needed to talk about it to process it and “wind down.” And maybe it’ll help some people “get it” a little better should they ever wonder why I turn down a trip to the local strip club, or god-forbid they have the displeasure of running into me after I get off of work.
correllation and causation are still different things. There’s lots of sex workers that have had shit happen in the past. Same goes for EVERY job.
There’s sex workers who haven’t had shit happen either.
Only you know what you can do safely and what you can’t. I’m not qualified to give a dissertation on what misguided researchers think about our experiences.
BUT, it’s something that’s been discussed. go to tumblr.com/tagged/sex worker problems and you’ll see the issues people face.
This makes me sound like a dick, but fuck what he says, it’s your job and your life. IF you wanna do it, then do it, if you don’t, then don’t.
It’s a healthy choice if it isn’t being coerced in any way.
But it might help to make a list of PTSD triggers and keep those in mind when you’re screening clients and choosing what kind of activities you engage in. These boundaries will be different depending on what kind of sex work you’re engaged in, so keep that in mind.
I don’t know of any etiquette - honestly if your client vanishes, and especially if he was a regular, his wife probably caught on. (imo)
By no means are these friendships, he’s paying for a service. Friendly, not friends.
I had that happen a few times and they’d come back in a month or so, different number, you’ll recognize him if he does most likely.
If I’m missing what you mean, come back, anon, and lemme know. :)
Depends on what kind of gross. I’ve just kinda held my nose and dealt because he was a great tipper, and I’ve also turned guys away. When they say something gross I’ve ignored it generally.
If you’re eating a client’s ass and that’s gross then use a flavored dental dam. Flavored lube can also help if it’s stinky dick. Covered blowjobs are good for smegma clients (uncut dick that isn’t clean).
If it’s possible, introduce shower play into the session to clean out any nasty stuff.
Anyone else wanna chip in on their gross clients? I can only speak from escort experience.
Camming with gross clients would be different - you’d be able to block them, for example.
Stripping would be different, too.
But it’s a balance of your strong stomach versus your need for cash. My need for cash was great enough that I handled some pretty gross stuff for it.
As recently as 1991, police in a southern California community closed all rape reports made by prostitutes and addicts, placing them in a file stamped “NHI.” The letters stand for the words “No Human Involved.” (Linda Fairstein, Sexual Violence: Our War Against Rape, 1993, New York, William Morrow.)
you can anon if you want, or just reply to this. We’ll get some posts going for ya’ll!