CN: This post is going to chat about a couple different topics, including consent, and how being an open sex-based influencer in my city intersects with my personal life. There are minor mentions of sexual assault, violence against sex workers, outing sex workers, bar culture/alcohol.
Having a career in the sexuality field is without a doubt, awesome. I love what I do; I love inspiring people to live their sexiest and most pleasurable lives and I love doing work that fulfils me, emotionally and politically. I’m sure a lot of other sex professionals would agree, and so would a lot of people outside of the field. “You have the best job!” I hear from friends and acquaintances. “Damn, I wish my job was that fun and easy.”
Not only is my job as a self-employed person in the sexuality field not easy, but it comes with a lot of downsides too. One, in particular, is an issue that a lot of people don’t expect or even notice. Sure, there’s the gross emails, annoying cis men, and internet trolls, but all of those annoyances pale in comparison to how people (even friends) talk to me when they realize I work in the sex industry.
Sex is still a topic that many people aren’t able to talk to everyone in their life about. Hell, they may even have absolutely no one to talk to about it other than myself. So when it’s announced that I’m a sex blogger/reviewer/influencer, all ways of acting appropriately go out the window. Strangers and acquaintances feel like they know me better than they do; it’s like the world has presented them with this guru friend who is there to listen to their problems, intimate sex confessions, or to educate them. But surprise: it’s not my job to give people free emotional labour when I’m out and about, especially when I’m out at the bar or at a party (which is typically where people like to approach me about my job).
Here are a few things you should and shouldn’t do to me, and other sex professionals, online and in real life.
Don’t ask me for advice.
When I’m out and about with friends or am drunk at the bar, the last thing I want to do is to be working. You may think that since it’s about sex, you can ask me a question like you’d ask a gal pal, but for me giving out advice is my job and you’re asking me to work for free.
If you have a question, check my blog. When my articles don’t answer your question, then you can shoot me an email, where I may answer you on my own time. If you require more in-depth advice, I’ll send you my consulting rates or my Amazon wishlist. And say you feel the sudden urge to ask me for advice while you’re out and about? Ask your friend instead!
Do ask me what I’m working on.
I like talking about my job, I do, I promise! Ask me what projects I have on the go (I always try to have something fun up my sleeve), and we can talk about that. I know a lot of people immediately just go to the sex part of my job when they’re trying to find something to talk to me about, but my career is a whole lot more than boning people.
Don’t try to debate with me.
This one is mainly for the lads out there. As the resident queer sex-educator intersectional feminist, I often get people (cis men) trying to come up and debate with me about equality. This is usually followed up by basic shitty opinions that I don’t care to entertain. If this sounds like something you’ve done to anyone, well: It’s not my job to educate you, and I don’t want to get in an argument while I’m trying to enjoy my life. I get into enough internet debates that I really, really don’t need to get into one with you IRL.
Instead, go home and use a laptop to learn about the oppressions of marginalized people.
Do listen to me.
If a topic in the social justice realm does come up (it’s natural they do nowadays), and you ask my opinion on it, actually listen to my answer. I get a lot of people who ask me questions as a segue for them to tell me their opinions. They don’t ask to listen but ask to object a preconceived idea of my own thoughts. If I’m going to give my time to a conversation, actually try to learn my perspective.
Don’t tell me intimate details about your sex life.
People coming up to me and telling me a random intimate detail about their body or sex life is one of the most common, and most annoying contenders on this list. It happens online and in person, so it’s something I never really escape from. How would you feel if someone you only semi-know tell you a detailed happening of the wacky sex they had the other night? It’s inappropriate in all contexts. I talk about my sex life in my own online spaces (my blog and social media) but people *choose* to follow and read my experiences. I get that people feel like they can tell me their sexcapades because they read mine, but I haven’t consented to do so.
If my advice, blog, presence, etc, has had a positive influence on your own sex life or body positivity, it’s more than okay for you to tell me that! Just please spare me the intimate details, or ask for my permission to tell me more.
Do recognize I’m a person beyond sex and sexuality!
Wow, me, a sex blogger, also likes non-sex things? What a thought! If you’re lost of conversation topics with me, feel free to bring up shitty reality tv (Big Brother, Drag Race), quality comedy TV shows, the Instagram algorithm, the lack of queer culture in Hamilton, interior design, makeup or talk to me about something you’re passionate about!!
Don’t ask me to collab/interview you.
If I just met you… asking for me to collab with you or to interview you is, in my opinion, pretty tacky, especially if your work isn’t really relevant to my own line of work or interests. I work with people I like, who I have a rapport with, and who I share an industry with. I’ve often had people ask me if we can collaborate five seconds after we’ve had our first conversation, and that makes me feel like they’re using me for my platform.
If we meet and get along and you happen to think that I would be excited about working with you, then you can send me a professional email! Another option is to try to build mutual interest over social media. Or, sometimes, I may just not want to work with you!
Don’t bring up sex work.
If you decide to bring up sex work when I’m at a bar or a party, you’ve put me in danger. Never, ever out sex workers. I may be vocal about my work and activism online, but those are in spaces where I feel comfortable doing so and on my own terms. If the wrong person overhears, I could end up hurt or even dead.
Don’t touch me.
Sexual assault isn’t an acceptable way of showing your fondness for me or my brand. Do not touch my boobs, slap my butt, or force a kiss on my cheek. Just because I show my body online does not mean that my body is available for you to play with in real life. I have personal space boundaries just like everyone else, so please respect them.
Instead, ask if it’s okay for you to hug me when you see me. Ask if it’s okay to touch me when you’re feeling the urge to touch me. Asking for consent applies to everyone in your life, not just the people you’re fucking.
I’m sure these types of interactions aren’t only common in my life, but the lives of other sex educators and sex workers. We have boundaries too y’all! Sex professionals are often expected to perform additional and free emotional labour because people aren’t able to distinguish aspects of our jobs as jobs. If you meet an accountant, you’re not going to expect them to do your taxes on the spot, so you shouldn’t expect free work and advice from professionals in the sex industry. Please respect us.