Let’s talk about clients who stalk. Boundaries-violators. The guys who won’t take no for an answer.
I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve only had about a half-dozen of these fuckers in my career (like most women, I’ve had men get alarmingly fixated or territorial at work, or after a few casual dates, but that’s another story). Every sex worker I know has encountered clients like this. I’m sure that many of these guys behave inappropriately with other women in their lives, but when it comes to sex workers, they completely abandon their inhibitions because they perceive us as being especially vulnerable (which is true) and also because these unhealthy abusive dingbats don’t have proper perspective and can’t keep a handle on their emotions.
At the root of all this, of course, is the fact that they don’t respect you or see you as fully human. Disrespect is the soil abuse grows from.
I’m not talking about the client with a crush, who is besotted and always brings in flowers or candy and offers to do favors for you and is clearly just dying for a “real date.” That is emotionally exhausting, and I usually let those guys go, too, because it’s awkward and I don’t like feeling pressured or that I am causing them pain, but it’s not oppressive. It is understandable that a man could develop a crush on the woman who is always looking beautiful for him, always catering to his fantasy, always in a good mood and providing acceptance of some of his most personal vulnerabilities and secrets. I sympathize. Guys with mad crushes stress me out, but I sympathize. I really do.
I’m talking about the stalkers. You politely decline to see them again after three or four sessions because they disturb you or upset you, and they blow up your email box demanding an explanation for your decision , or email you again after a few months to see if you’ve “changed your mind,” or they pretend as if it’s their first time ever contacting you and try to book an appointment. The client whose email and social media communications you block, who then makes up a new email account or identity just to get around the blocking and confront you or make you think he’s someone else. The client who finds your ads from years ago in Google cache or the Wayback Machine and emails them to you, with commentary. The client you intentionally, deliberately stopped seeing at your last dungeon (and yes, you told him this), who tracks you down at your new dungeon two years later and makes an appointment with you under a new name.
The client you stupidly gave your real cell phone number to when you were green and trusting and stupid (he’s married with a family! He wouldn’t stalk me! He’s safe!) who then pays a company to find out your legal name…and actually tells you about it, as if he did something to be proud of. You walk into the room, totally unsuspecting, and, to your complete shock, he starts calling you by your Christian name, as if you were old friends.
The client who asks other sex workers about you…if she knows your personal information, where you go to school, if you have a boyfriend, if you drive, if you have a lot of clients.
The client who stalks your ads on all of the online ad malls and tells you which ad copy and pictures he likes the best. Not a passing compliment (“Your Eros ad is really hot!”), but a detailed commentary of your online presence that shows he’s really put some time and effort into it. As if anyone asked for his fucking opinion.
The client who finds you on OK Cupid or Match.com or your PRIVATE LIFE profiles on collarme/collarspace and fetlife and messages you about it.
The client who gives you bad vibes and you don’t want to provoke him or antagonize him in any way, so you don’t clearly and explicitly reject him to his face or via email (when I was pro-subbing, this happened to me a few times with male doms). You brush off his booking requests a few times in courteous fashion and then ignore him utterly. Instead of taking a hint, he books a session under a new name “so that we can talk” or just shows up at the dungeon out of nowhere demanding to session with you anyway.
When you used to session at your house (that lasted about three months, precisely because of douchebags like this), this is the guy who picks up your personal items without permission to examine them. You catch him rifling through the basket of periodicals by the sofa to see what you’re reading and also, naturally, to find your legal name on a mailing sticker.
I have one of these clients on my hands right now, and if I hear from him one more time, I’m going to threaten the nuclear option: going to the police. This just can’t go on.
Here’s the deal: about two months ago, I decided to try a new type of sex work–sensual massage. I met a prodomme in San Francisco when a client hired both of us for a doubles session, and we’ve become a little friendly and have gone out to lunch a few times. Anyway, she does massage and told me that there were lots of clients for it and that it was comparatively easy.
Now, I’ve never given handjobs in a session (I don’t look down on it or judge at all, it’s just not something I offer, and my rates as a fetish worker reflect that), but I’ve tied a lot of men down and held a hitachi on them…and that’s sort of the same thing, right…? I mean, it’s not illegal, but it’s the same thing, right…? And when I was pro-subbing, a lot of the doms would want neck and back massage. That’s sort of the same thing, right? My boyfriends liked it when I rubbed and scratched their backs, so I sort of have experience, right?
“It’s easy! Look sexy and beautiful, flirt, make conversation, encourage them to relax!” she said.
So I put up a massage ad with pics of me in a satin robe and fancy lingerie, under a new stage name.
I could only do it for two tours. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it is just not the type of sex work for my personality. I could see how it could appeal to other women…but it wasn’t for me.
Part of it was being a flirtatious and gracious hostess, which is fine, and it reminded me a lot of BDSM tease-and-denial sessions…except that (IMPORTANTLY) these clients were non-fetishist men, NOT submissive, and I didn’t feel in control of the situation. It’s not like they were tied up, safe and sound, and I felt nice and safe to erotically tease them or whatever. These men were not subs and I was not in a position of authority.
What I found myself in was a situation where I am dressed in pretty frilly lingerie, giving a backrub to a naked dude who is a stranger, trying to act flirty and sexy when I do it.
The problem is, I felt like this scenario had SEXUAL ASSAULT written all over it. I was completely vulnerable. It wasn’t even like a massage parlor, with other women around. If a client raped me, what on earth would I tell the cops? “I was dressed in my bra and underpants straddling this guy giving him a neckrub and he paid me and I swear no sex was intended, I SAID SO IN MY AD!”
Which brings us back to the stalker.
TO BE CONTINUED