What Are Best Practices For Dating A #SexWorker

by Reid on March 16, 2021

What Are Best Practices For Dating A #SexWorker








Reid: Hello everybody it’s Reid Mihalko from https://reidaboutsex.com/ and I am here with my good friend.

Andre: Ohh.

Reid: Hi. So you in my…when we got to know each other, we’ve got we’ve got some questions for about dating sex workers and so you happen to be in town and when I met you this is…this is me being weird. I have so many different names for you, how do you want people to know you in ‘coz I….it’s…is it Arra, is it Andre is it like how do?

Andre: I know. Yeah, it’s funny. It’s actually I loved it because it’s a testament to how many people have really kind of bore out like years of fun, years of friendship with me and  have like earned the right to still be friends with me now is by how many names you actually know me by. But I for this… for this purposes my sex worker/educator name as you know is Andre Shakti and my legal name is Ariana Travaglini and I’m very comfortable being addressed as either or both.

Reid: Yay!

Andre: Yay!

Reid: And…and as we start this for people who have several browser windows open, where…where do people can find you mainly and like what website would you direct people to?

Andre: I was gonna say well right now I’m in Reid Mihalko’s hot tub in Portland.

Reid: With Mihalko’s hot tub.com

Andre: [Laughing] which now will be a live streaming porn site that we will start after this.

Reid: [Laughing]

Andre: People can find me on Twitter as @AndreShakti that’s Andre like the giant SHAKTI, on Facebook it’s Andre Shakti or on https://www.iampoly.net/ which is my non-monogamy advice column and the home of my

Reid: patron

Andre: calendar of events and my patron

Reid: Yeah

Andre: and all the things.

Reid: Support this brilliant human being.

Andre: Oh, thank you

Reid: And thank you…thank you for stopping by for lunch. We just had a lunch with Allison Moon of http://girlsex101.com/

Andre: ­And you guys drive a real hard bargain, you’re like

Reid: we did

Andre: Come up to a beautiful house and have a wonderfully delicious lunch and then sit in my house for I just had to think about it for a really long time.

Reid: So the questions were, I had some great questions submitted recently from…from a couple different people. The….the first question was written by somebody who seemed like it was a cisgendered guy who was wondering if… if it was appropriate and…and if it is, how to ask somebody whose essential provider out on a date or…or to ask them out to see if it would be appropriate to figure out if they were available to date?

Andre: Alright.

Reid: It was….I don’t have the question right with me but it was really well recorded.

Andre: Even…you even memorized it verbatim.

Reid: No, no but it was… it was a sensitive question, right? So

Andre: Yes

Reid: So for you who works [Inaudible 00:02:47] and most of other people who were identify as sex workers but the first question is to you, what does sex worker mean like what’s the identity…how would you define [Inaudible 00:02:58] and then…and then answer this question.

Andre: [Inaudible 00:03:03] including hopefully the person who asked you the question. I’ve been in sex industry for ten years. I started off as a stripper and now I make most of my money in the industry via pornography and pro-domination. So those are my two areas of

Reid: revenue

Andre: yeah sure

Reid: Okay

Andre: My two favorites. And then in terms of sex worker, I identify it as um well first I wanna say that sex worker is an identity and it’s heavily politicized identity that most people who are…have the privilege of being able to be very out about their work take on and folks that are very active in the community. So we never want to label someone as sex worker who doesn’t themselves identifies as a sex worker. And there are plenty of people out there who are doing what to our eyes might seem sex…sex work but if they say, “I am not a sex worker” we believe them. So that being said for me my definition is the sale or commodification of either actual sexual activity or the fantasy selling the fantasy of sex

Reid: Okay

Andre: So that could be anything in my definition from burlesque performers because even though they could be very intellectual and creative and political, they also are at their core, they’re selling sex… they’re selling sex, and it’s kind of like they’re sneaking in oftentimes the subversive message of under the guise of sex, right?

Reid: And not all burlesque performers would identify themselves

Andre: Very true

Reid: as being a sex worker

Andre: And so anything like that from more overt like clients on direct client work like doing um sensual massage, doing sensual like energy work, again we know lots of people in common from Tantra community, lots of those folks for my personal definition are performing sex work and lots of them don’t identify that way and that’s perfectly okay. So yeah

Reid: Yeah and then there’s cam girls and there’s adult performers

Andre: Cam girls, adult performers there’s I mean half my dumb revenue is as you know I do a subset of domination called Fetish Wrestling where I literally wrestling for money, it’s the best job in the whole world and it helps me blow off some steam in these fun times that we’re all in and so there’s that, there’s a fetish modeling you know just erotic modeling where you don’t have any physical contact with the photographer. There’s I mean

Reid: There’s…there’s some of my friends who do sex blogging or sex toy revealing and blogging also identify as being sex reviewers or sex workers and I mean again I think the…the thing that I love about the question is you should really ask the person

Andre: Absolutely

Reid: How they identify and live with that.

Andre: Yeah absolutely.

Reid: Okay. So let’s get into our question

Andre: Yes, please

Reid: So…so, when it when is it appropriate if… if at all that if you’re seeing somebody for some sort of sensual service and you wanna ask them out or you wanna see if they’re interested in figuring out if…if they wanna date you like how do you that?

Andre: Sure. [Laughing] I love you much because your eyes are like “You’re about to start.” [Sigh]. So this happens to us a lot and it oftentimes happens in more what we define as full-service relationships with clients so that oftentimes means that you are seeing your client face to face, you’re interacting with them directly and they have a certain physical access to your body and you have a certain physical access to theirs that by legal definition um would be would be defined as sex. So this could be anything from sensual masseuses again who give like a little handy at the end, it could be anything from escort or a street prostitute etcetera…etcetera. So when people ask how I’ve been in the industry as long as I have, one of the things that I say is that I’ve always been really good at executing boundaries because people who entering to the sex industry just like many other industries like social work etcetera they burn out, nonprofit work, they burn out over long period of time. And there are certain things that you can do to help stave off burnout and be proactive about it and also those things depend on how much privileged you have as a sex worker.

Assuming the person has the same level whatever sex work we’re talking about has the same level of privilege that I do, I recommend people take breaks from their sex works, I recommend they have other avenues of income and I recommend that they very…very clearly define what their boundaries are which could be physical just as much as emotional. Because sex work involves a lot more emotional labor than most people realize you are literally developing a relationship with every single client that comes to you. And some of that relationship maybe genuine but more often than not it’s professional and you need to hit this really sweet balance between performing that relationship while actually caring about that person while making sure you’re not investing too much of yourself into that and it’s a really it’s a really find lives, very delicate balance and not everybody’s made out to be in the sex industry.

This is especially hard when we know that our clients oftentimes….sometimes through no fault of their own do not have equally great boundaries as we do. You know for the average client who is someone who obviously is not getting all of their needs their needs met around desire and being recognized as a desired sexual being and having maybe any fetishes they have be celebrated instead of shame for someone who comes looking for a sex worker. It’s oftentimes initially under the guise of the physical like I have a fantasy about strap-on play, I have a fantasy about ravishment play that I want somebody safe who sees me and accepts me to act out with me, right?

Reid: Or somebody who’s more experience

Andre: Exactly!

Reid: Not or but and

Andre: Yeah and so instead of trying to take someone home from the bar and be like “So are you into this thing or not?” Am and what they….sometimes don’t even realize is that sex is merely the surface like the top surface of the product they’re actually looking for. What they’re looking for is somebody to listen to them, somebody to accept them unconditionally and somebody to again celebrate whatever it is about them that is…that is making them you know internalize all these messages that our society gives us about what it means to be ‘oh gosh!’ [laughing]

Reid: I didn’t do that, that wasn’t planned; it’s just the hot tub making sure it stays hot tub temperature.

Andre: Really ‘coz it kind of felt like an enema to me it’s actually what it felt like

Reid: And you’re sitting exactly where you need to do be sitting.

Andre: Excellent. You chose this spot for a reason, didn’t you?

Reid: I did not do. Nope. You would not…this is not a set up.

Andre: So anyway a lot of times clients you know when they have the initial meeting of the sex worker um they not…they oftentimes feel like sexual satisfaction or sensual gratification based on what services were discussed but they also immediately feel an intimacy with that person

Reid: Yeah, connection

Andre: That isn’t exactly… that isn’t actually real it’s…it’s kind of like displacement like it’s like they’d rather be feeling that for a partner or you know maybe the partner they already have

Reid: Yeah

Andre: their wife, their girlfriend, etcetera because they don’t feel like that person’s safe, all those feelings suddenly get displaced on the sex worker and the sex worker is not a consenting member in that displacement, right?

Reid: Yeah

Andre: So that is really long and fancy way of saying that it’s not a good idea to hit on your sex worker unless you want that relationship to end. And a lot of people particularly cismen in our culture have difficulty not internalizing perceived rejection around like vulnerability, making themselves vulnerable to other people, making advances on other people but you really have to understand that it’s not about you and that if you wanna keep seeing that sex worker and if you really care about them and you want them to keep enjoying their work and loving their work and being able to provide these services not only to you but people like you who need them you need to understand that having excellent boundaries is the way that we do that, it is the way that we ensure we keep doing that. All that being said, I do know of two or three couples who have been together for years who meet because the guy they’re heterosexual couples who meet because the man was originally a client of the provider…now why those things outliers?  Because the men in those situations never cross those boundaries and the women were the ones who initiated that boundary cross on their ends because they felt comfortable if the power was on their side. So rest assured that if you actually have a real connection with a sex worker it happens extremely rarely again, ten years in the industry I know three couples but if it’s gonna happen, it’s gonna happen and it should gonna happen because the sex worker crosses that boundary herself first or themselves first.

Reid: And so this is where it’s interesting because my…my advice for relationships and just human interaction is to be honest but also do the work ahead of time to figure out how to be like air quotes “appropriate” to be savvy about things so like if…if I had a crush on somebody what I would do is I would say “Hey just so you know I have crush on you and I can handle all of the responsibilities around that like I don’t … I don’t want to ever lie to somebody.” And so it’s this is one of those tricky areas where like I’m saying “Hey you know be honest with people and let them know that you know and this is where tricky like I would be available if you were ever interested in considering you know investigating dating and I never…we never have to talk about it ever again. I can take responsibility for…for how I’m being it and in the ways of being cleaned around that especially in a paid dynamic.”

Andre: Yup

Reid: Right? ‘coz then there’s also acknowledging that if I was the client like there’s a certain kind of financial privilege and power and dynamic that’s there in me being the person that’s paying

Andre: Yup

Reid: and so you the kind of have to be super literate on all that stuff to be able to kind of say “Hey I’ve been doing my homework at night I…I just don’t ever lie to you” right? And again like it’s I’ve never really figure out a great answer like that fits every situation.

Andre: Yeah. I was gonna say like it’s so just in response to that, number one I say this very…very confidently the vast majority of male clients that sex workers see are not even remotely at the emotional intelligence around that as you are. So like if somebody like you ever gave just from my intimate knowledge of you and how I know you feel about the sex workers, how good you are at boundaries both professional and personally, I would if I already had that impression of you I would not feel threatened at all

Reid: Got it.

Andre: by you expressing your feelings in that way because I would feel confident that regardless what my answer was I wasn’t gonna lose your business.

Reid: Yeah

Andre: ‘coz that is really

Reid: Got it. Yup

Andre: The thing is that a lot of times what happens is client will fall for a provider

Reid: Yeah

Andre: and then they will kind of messily and without really thinking about the power dynamics inherent in a relationship, without ever really thinking about the providers you know remembering the provider is above anything else you know a business that is a working relationship.

Reid: Yeah

Andre: They will blurt out or throw up you know [Inaudible 00:15:06] vomit their feelings and then when the provider doesn’t reciprocate that no matter how respectfully or considerately they communicate that…that money goes away

Reid: It gets weird

Andre: and that is what happens because regardless of what stigmas and stereotypes about sex workers are out there, most sex workers are working-class blue-collar individuals we need the money

Reid: You don’t want to lose that costumer

Andre: We don’t wanna lose the customer and that doesn’t mean just because we’re thinking predominantly from a financial perspective does not mean that we don’t actually care about the individual and that’s what a lot of times there’s a binary way of looking at it from a client’s perspective where they’re like “Well if you really cared about me you wouldn’t be taking my money.”

Reid: Yeah yup…yup…yup

Andre: “And if you won’t take my money like can we at least have a personal relationship?” And it’s like those two things can coexist in the same relationship

Reid: Yeah. Sure

Andre: with someone. Yeah

Reid: Thank you for that

Andre: You’re so welcome. Thank you for asking you know like you have to twist my arm so hard to talk about sex work.

Reid: Hot tub and we have apple pie, homemade apple pie for after hot tubbing. Um you know treat…treat sex workers nicely ladies and gentlemen wherever you…you have come upon them. And if it’s…if it’s

Andre: Also you know way more sex workers than you can actually think you do. Most people think they don’t know any sex workers. We’re all out there you cannot tell who we are just by looking at us and I guarantee you somebody in your close circle whether it’s family or close friends is an active sex worker and just is not this close you’ve got for whatever reasons.

Reid: So here’s the next question and…and before my battery runs out

Andre: [Laughing]

Reid: When… as a sex worker when is it appropriate or when would you like I don’t speak for all sex workers right but, um

Andre: I’m trying to like adjust my…my positions subtly without like nips slipping

Reid: Okay there you go

Andre: Here we go okay

Reid: We could…we could also put it right up against the thing so we could like lean up on it this like this

Andre: Okay. That’s great I like that. Thank you

Reid: Okay so…so the next question is what’s your advice around when is it appropriate if you’re…if you’re dating somebody socially to disclose that you are a sex worker?

Andre: Okay. So this the first thing that you want to…you want to remove the other party from this in the beginning. So you want to…you want to think about your own personal disclosure politics removed from any potential romantic or sexual partners first. So where are you right now? Are you out to family? Are you out to friends? Are you out to Social Media or the internet? Are you out you know in all areas of your life? Are you very in a closet in most areas of your life? Many people although advocate for all sex worker coming out all the time just to show what our true numbers are in this country. I also would never think of guilt sing or shaming anyone for not being out.

Reid: Everybody has their own reasons

Andre: Exactly! You might have kids, you might have a job working with children, you may have an ex who would love to get their hands on that information so they can blackmail you in some way, and so all these are very legitimate. So you have to consider that first when you start dating if your number one, consider how core of your how much of your core identity is related to sex work. Is this something that you can keep very comfortably and very easily separate from your romantic or sexual situations particularly while they’re in the more casual phases? You know number one if it’s gonna because you pain or discomfort or create space between you and your partner if you don’t disclose that and then you take your own personal disclosure politics into account and then third especially if you are femme identified and I hate that I have to say this but you have to be really careful about initially disclosing sex work to your potential partner even though my personal politics are to come out all the time as soon as possible ahead of everything else because in my opinion that way you set yourself up for maximum success. You don’t form am an intimate connection with somebody before you just close this to them and then run the risk of having them react poorly to it and now you just…I’m a type A and in my mind

Reid: They, they, they feel like they’ve been tricking…you’ve been tricking them

Andre: Exactly which is also bullshit! If that happens you didn’t trick anybody so um so yeah I mean it’s kind of like yellow battery mode coming up

Reid: Okay

Andre: So it’s kind of like same thing in my opinion of telling someone where you live. So let’s say you like pick somebody up on OkCupid or you pick someone up on Tinder you go out on a date or two or three with them. If they ask me where I live I’m gonna say Oakland, I’m not giving them a section of Oakland, I’m not gonna tell them what intersection I live near or like what building I live near because I don’t know if this person particularly if they’re masculine person I don’t know what their intentions are and I just start out with an immediate distrust for that until I build up a relationship with that human where either they have disclosed equally that information to me and or I feel comfortable enough myself disclosing that, right? So like if you’re super out then like I am, the first thing I do on a date is tell people that I’m a ho like that is the first thing because I wanna know right away what their politics are around that and I’m willing to like dive into a conversation about it at that moment. I’m not expecting that person to be like “Oh yeah I’m totally cool” and then we move on to talking about like the food that we just ordered, right?

Reid: Got it

Andre: Like I am willing to have that dialogue because I wanna to set myself up for romantic success. If you’re more in the closet about it would wait a few dates, I would wait a few dates until you feel like this is somebody that you want to continue seeing until you feel like somebody that this is

Reid: You’ve invited them a little bit

Andre: Exactly! This is the safe person, this is the person that respects you but overall I really wouldn’t wait more than like three or four dates with somebody because with the pervasiveness of the internet how it is right now number one somebody is gonna find out and if the more in the closet you are when that person finds out the more they can use that as a weapon against you.

Reid: Yeah

Andre: and I just like eliminating as many weapons in my life as humanly possible.

Reid: Yeah and if you’re just joining us in this video we did preface that you know people stay in the closet for their own reasons and those are really good reasons so like no one shaming anybody because we don’t know everyone’s you know lived experiences and most people have really good reasons for things and it becomes that kind of weird like even in those first couple of dates I wouldn’t sleep with them on the first date because they don’t know yet so you don’t have informed consent but I’d spend a couple of days having really interesting conversations about politics

Andre: Yup

Reid: You know…what do you….you know what are your views on workers’ rights? And what about sex work? And what about sex work and like you kind of pun intended slip it in, but doing it as an assessment technique to figure out

Andre: Socialification

Reid: if this…socialification to see if this is…this is a bad idea or not like it’s kind of dating your species situation.

Andre: I’m gonna make one more point because I’m worried the battery die before end.

Reid: Okay

Andre: is that there might be a third circumstance which is that you might be comfortable being out with the idea of being out. You might not feel like you’d be very threatened, your livelihood would not be very threatened by being out but you might have a discomfort with telling people that you’re in the sex industry for…for your own reasons.

Reid: Yeah

Andre: You might have an internal discomfort with that

Reid: Be your personal privacy settings are such like it’s none of their business yet.

Andre: Well that and I’m gonna say if you were the kind of person who could totally be out but you are still you… you still don’t tell people because you’re afraid of how you’ll be seen, of how you’ll be judged, you have your own discomfort around sex work that perhaps you haven’t yet identified and sassed out, I would say that before you even think about disclosing to another person you need to figure that stuff out internally.

Reid: Yep

Andre: We call that into an internal… internalized for phobia. There is anything wrong with experience in those feelings it just means you know some people are more empaths than…than our others. And that it means that you know society’s feelings about sex work and the kind of people who do it have just been absorbed over such a long period of time by us that it’s really hard for us to shake those out.

Reid: Yea

Andre: And I would highly recommend before I’ve been considering disclosing that to someone that you see is a trusted confidant that you make sure that you’re okay with it yourself.

Reid: Yeah

Andre: Because that’s gonna determine how you present it to that person

Reid: Sure

Andre: And that there could be a power dynamic that they might take advantage of in that

Reid: Yeah

Andre: if you would disclose to it to them but they noticed that you’re really uncomfortable with it and anxious seeming and self-conscious about it

Reid: Yeah

Andre: they’re gonna file that away. Hopefully not if they’re decent person but there’s always a risk of that happening.

Reid: Sure. Battery is low so ah thank you so much.

Andre: Thank you!

Reid: For joining us in the hot tub. Am what… where people can find you again?

Andre: Sure on so my name is Andre Shakti professionally its ANDRE SHAKTI. I’m a friend of Reid on Facebook so you can find me through there or you can search me on twitter @andreshakti or you can go to my website which is https://www.iampoly.net/ and I Am Poly And So Can You is my weekly non monogamy advice column that you can check out.

Reid: And if you would like to support this brilliant person’s work you have a Patreon

Andre: https://www.patreon.com/IAmPoly

Reid: Alright guys thank you

Andre: Thank you

Reid: Leave some comments and I’ll check them out later.

Andre: Have a great one.

Reid: Bye. Back to the hot tub.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas from Sex 'n Dolls March 25, 2021 at 5:20 pm

Thank you so much for the insights. And by the way, your girlfriend is beautiful! Just scrolled through her Twitter…


Reid March 28, 2021 at 2:36 pm

Thank you for leaving a comment, Thomas. I’ll pass along your compliment.


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