This piece was written as a performance for Sharing Subversions/Unleashing the Beast, the opening party of Resurgence 2009 in Sydney, Australia.
Cunt at Rest:On being a (mostly) celibate whore
“So how does it affect your personal relationships?” she asks me on the car ride home from the meditation retreat. I’ve just come out to her as a sex worker and I take a deep breath before giving her my pat answer, an evasion I’ve been developing for years.
I can’t explain how I feel when I notice your smile and the way you laugh, how I steal glimpses of your lips while trying to pay attention to what you’re saying. How I silently observe the curve of your back when you walk out of the room.
And how when you ask me on a date or your hand comes too close to my waist, I think: above the waist! and squirm away.
“Hi Robert, have you seen a mistress before? Ok, well, I offer services ranging from tie and tease where we focus on light sensations, erotic role play, bondage and discipline, fantasy transformation as well as full service. What kind of session were you interested in booking?”
On our “we are so not crushing out on each other” cuddle date, my lips find the forest of baby fine hairs on your back. From where I’m spooned behind you (I’m always the big spoon) I sigh into the nape of your neck and taste the smell of your hair.
I position myself at the end of the brothel bed between Andrew’s legs where he can’t touch me but I can use my hands on him. “Holy shit, I’ve never been done like this!” he says over and over. “Yeah well, that’s what you get when you come to a professional!” I laugh. Five clients tonight and three that I finish off without having to fuck.
You lean into me and nuzzle into my neck. I kiss, stroke, cuddle and adore. Then wonder what are we “doing”? What does this “mean”?
Yoshi is shaking like a leaf, lying naked on the bed. I don’t undress but lie beside him and gently caress his chest with my fingernails. “I’m so Nervous!” he giggles. “ It’s ok. We can just lie here together.” He smiles and for the first time lets his shoulders sink into the pillow.
One night she walks by and I nearly put my neck out checking out her ass. Later when she dances up all over me and I freeze and recoil from my desire for her.
We’re snuggling on the bed—my bed—and you tell me how you have this strange feeling…”it’s like…” and as you struggle to find the right words, I think I know what you’re going to say…”it’s like there’s no expectation”. Or it’s like you feel validated by my desire. Or it’s like you finally got what you wanted without having to explain it all. Or occasionally, “it’s like sex with you feels healing”or”liberating”. I know what you’re going to say because quietly, I’ve been paying attention to you. It’s not magic or an accident or just part of my personality. It was my intention.
But this way you unravel your sexuality with me, this is “women’s work” so it looks…easy. Natural. It isn’t. Over the years, friends and lovers have taught me how to create intimacy, make space for love, counsel, seduce, flirt, reassure, orchestrate pleasure, be accepting, flexible, intuitive, read body language, open up, negotiate, communicate, validate desires and bodies, be knowledgeable about sexual technique, health and safety, maintain boundaries and turn on.
These are my skills-whether I’m with a client or with a lover. They don’t go away when I’m not being paid. I became a whore in part because meeting people’s sexual and intimate needs feels right to me. Now that I do it professionally, I don’t need to be slutting my skills around every queer party, wondering who’s going to let me fuck them till they cry. The more I get paid for my services, the more valuable I realize they are and how for years I’ve put others sexual needs before my own.
Now I know that my sexuality is beautifully, expensively mine, our culture wants you to believe that the key to my mental health is fucking for free and that if I’d rather hold hands and kiss than than fist, it’s because sex work has damaged me, left me incapable of the full range of emotion, just a burned out shell of myself, too brittle to feel anything anymore, “addicted to money” and degraded because I “sell my body”.
My sensuality, my tenderness, my lust and my power are all still with me—but between those and you are these: 100% cotton, full brief, high waisted nana knickers. You want sexy little panties? You can pay for those! Today I am OFF DUTY. And “off duty” means no lacy black panties, no seductive smile, flirty giggle and my hand accidentally grazing your thigh. It means when I ask if you wanna hang out, I mean “little h” let’s have tea and actually hang out. It means I ain’t seducing you and I don’t care if you think I’m hot. I put on this dress, these heels, this lipgloss, for me. So I can walk past the mirror and mutter to myself “shit, I’m hot”.
And if I don’t believe me, if I start to doubt and wonder who I’m putting first, when I get tempted because you are so fucking cute, my reminder is always wrapped softly around my hips. Pastel, floral elastic waistbanded bundles of comfort. Not a border so much as a warm jumper on a cold day.
I think you’re delicious and lovable and adorable and wonderful. But sex is my service and I need time when I stop providing for others. I need time when sex becomes a completely personal relationship with myself. I need time when I rest—and this cunt is at rest.
“How not to be afraid
Of these proud legs crossed
Like the storm lantern
Of the most adventurous of pirate ships?”