Today, I want to give you an insight into the therapeutic side of my sex work. My studies and my sex work are complimentary, so I see it like this: whichever one I’m currently working on, I’m going to be reaping rewards for both – it’s win, win.
I work with men, women and couples and a proportion of my time is spent using what I get from the transference or my counter-transference to steer the session or consider for the next session. It’s a delicate balance, particularly with services like humiliation and degradation, where the erotic can become the traumatic with one poorly chosen remark. Some clients also sadly carry a lot of shame around with them about their kinky desires, so I try to work in a way where they don’t just project it into me and leave. Rather, I hope they can acknowledge it and we discuss it. Believe it or not, erotic humiliation is one way to work through the shame. It gets it out, exaggerates and plays with it, even makes it a bit absurd, and reveals it just to be outside judgment, rather than inside deficiency (and in a fun, sexy way too!). This doesn’t work for everyone, but for some people, verbalising and eroticising the shame is a great way to diminish its destructive power and transform it into pleasure.
With my male clients, I’m often the only person (other than their GP), who knows about their changing medical conditions and medications they are taking, their mental and physical health and sexual concerns. This is necessary for the services I provide, but also, my play space is a safe place to speak about almost anything; the revelations stay in the room.
With the women that visit me, I’m usually the first person they’ve discussed their desires with, or they’ve had an experience with a partner and would like to know more. I really enjoy the exhilaration in that first meeting and in subsequent ones, as we embark on a fun, playful (and educational!) journey together. They teach me about their different lives, relationship styles, how they developed an interest in BDSM, and I share my knowledge. It’s a humbling experience to be trusted with someone’s deepest desires and to be able to explore them together. It’s lovely to work with women too.
Finally, working with couples is definitely the most complex and rewarding side to my sex work. They visit me for certain kinks, but I have to navigate what’s really going on underneath, and often this is unconscious. There’s also the weight of expectation: that I can provide life changing skills/advice in just two hours. I imagine this is a similar situation with which couples therapists are greeted. Couples visit me as a means to admit beliefs and desires to one another that they either haven’t felt able to admit or aren’t even aware of. They visit to discover new ways to relate and understand one another. They also visit with the express desire to seek out female empowerment through BDSM.
Sex work is sex, I’m not denying that, but it is also work. I don’t believe I would be able to work in the sex industry if it was just a series of cold transactions, as it’s often portrayed. I’m certainly not erasing the bodies from this picture. Physical sensation and stimulation, tease and denial, are pivotal, but when you combine that with the psychological side, you create an intimacy that I myself have often missed out on in my private relationships. The sincerity, imperfection and mutability of those connections are some of the reasons that I love my job and what has drawn me to psychotherapy.
That’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed reading,