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Teaching You a Lesson or Sexually Assaulting You?

January 20, 2010

Taking off a condom in the middle of a sex act…it happened to me a couple of times.  One of the most notable ones was one of the last of 4 sexual assaults in my early 20s which culminated in me realizng that I had survived a series of different sexual assaults between the ages of 17 and 22.  This was just the last of 4 that I would allow to just roll over me like a big crashing wave that nearly drowns me and pushes me down, spitting sand and salt but told to just recover and keep surfing. I was urinating blood in the toilet.  I thought it was an STD.  I went to Planned Parenthood and one of their routine questions traumatized me.  “Could you be at risk of being pregnant or having an STD?”  The last guy I slept with that took the condom off in the middle of our sex came to mind.  I had to say,”Yes.” and take the pregnancy test.  It was traumatic at the time, what has become more routine for me now.  Watching Jerry Springer in the clinic lobby bitterly thinking that for sure I felt violated that I had to endure pain and uncertainty because of his irresponsibility. This one was definitely his fault because he took action to violate an unspoken trust agreement between two people using a condom that that condom should stay on during the entirity of the sex act.  It turned out I had kidney stones and that was why I was bleeding internally but the blood in the toilet was so traumatic that it forced me into a path of rape trauma healing of all my assaults, deal with boundary violations, go to counseling and understand PTSD.  I FELT that the guy who took off the condom violated me, and I experienced it physically (through the kidney stones) and emotionally as such and so to me, it was an assault.  Would the police classify it as such?  Of course not.  Does this guy think he sexually assaulted me?  Of course not.

Fast forward eleven years, 3 of the last of those I’ve worked as an escort in LA and beyond.  I have practiced boundary negotiations with hundreds of clients, customers, dates, boyfriends, and whoevers.  Things still happen.  Violations are part of the occupational hazards of this job.  I work with the herpes virus using barriers to protect my clients and reduction of unprotected oral, when possible.  Recently, the client knew that there wasn’t a condom on and continued to have sex with me.  We had used a condom earlier, but the second time he put it in I didn’t realize there wasn’t a condom until about 15 minutes into it.  I stopped to ask and he replied, “there isn’t one.”  I was pissed.  “That’s it.” I said. “We’re done.” I started packing my work bag and headed for the shower.  With more body language I let him know that I was not happy.  While I was in the shower, I wanted to resolve the issue so that somehow I could make it out of there on good terms.  This guy had just gotten out of prison, did drugs and clearly didn’t think that not using a condom sometimes was an issue.  I should be worried.  I told him that.  “when IS the last time you got tested?” I asked.  “They test you when you go to prison.” he says.  He claims that prisoner rape isn’t as common as the movies make it seem and that he never shared a needle.  But you and so many too many men I’ve been with think not using a condom on every contact, every time is excusable for the sake of pleasure, or horniness. But, in this case, I believe it is also my responsibility to realize that a condom is not on, even though the penis holder is clearly in an position of power.  I’ll take some responsibility for [you fucking me without a condom].  Just so I don’t have to process what you did like another sexual assault.  He tipped me very well.  I’m not sure if it was because he felt guilty or not.  I must have made him feel bad.  He gave me his phone numbers and said I could call him for anything.  In the end, because I didn’t leave angry, I was able to not feel so violated.  It doesn’t always resolve itself like this.  Unsafe sex is an automatic ejection from the game.  I think though, you should always be aware of whether or not a condom is in use.  And if you are calling yourself a pro you should always be on top of that, literally.

I did feel initially violated but felt like instead of getting angry and calling him a rapist, I would try to gain an understanding about what HIS thinking, if any was.

“Do you think that what you did was wrong?”

Well, it turns out I am the forever carrier of the herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) and apparently even unprotected rubbing of my vagina with other genitals can infect you with herpes sores.  An ex-lover recently called me at 7am freaking out about sores all over his dick, which we guessed he contracted from rubbing himself against me without a condom 20 ? days ago in a romantic non work setting.  I believe that it is possible to have safe sexual experiences with people with herpes, obviously.  The condom violator definitely should have contracted herpes if the one showing signs of herpes got it.  It was, as a matter of fact on the SAME DAY.  (I am a hoe, afterall).

So, taking a condom off with a girl like me can get you herpes.  Because I got that 7am call, I felt compelled to call the condom violator and disclose to him and tell him to get tested so he wouldn’t infect more people.   Most clients don’t want to have unsafe sex.  Pro sex with me is usually pretty sterile but there is that occasional guy who dreams of raw sex as the ONLY way he can get off.  They don’t even ask or realize how easy it is to transmit herpes.  They don’t realize that I have to worry about MORE than herpes, but other STDS AND pregnancy.  To me, cold sores are not life threatening even though they don’t have a cure.  This last lover seemed to have symptoms pretty bad.  I sometimes feel like just taking those types of guys for suckers, snatching their money and giving them a lecture about WHY they should be more careful, but I wouldn’t fuck them first, probably just take their money, which I end up doing in the course of the type of  sex work I do on a regular basis.  Agency work is sometimes cruel like capitalism often is and it has nothing to do with STD disclosure.

I understand that there are MANY people who think that prostitutes are trash [women] spreading diseases even if they don’t all have diseases and even if we are not all women.  I write this as part of my process to debunk the diseased whore stereotype at the same time as BE ALIVE within it.  I think it is as important for me to come out and be me as it is a HIV+ gay man who also lives the stereotype but feels the need to be out about it.  We can always say what we would or should do, but until you have an STD that you should or need to disclose you really don’t know what it is like to have to deal with…

I’ve never had a major multiple blister syndrome like what he described, neither did anyone else that I’d been with, including my 2 year live in boyfriend..  Too bad for my dear young 21 year old lover though, I did warn him while he was doing it, gave him the opportunity to stop.  He not only didn’t stop but was extremely almost convincing me to let him in further w/o protection!   Will it teach him to use a condom more because now he has to?  I could be like the Trashman, aiming to unethically teach guys with indecent unsafe sex proposals a lesson about waht that could bring them in the long run.   The idea of having a real life vagina dentata is somewhat enticing, however.  Trashman’s character (which they have found to be a performance) is deviant and malicious.  Mine is not.  I simply don’t want to stop having sex.  Not yet.  I am also not in a position to stop doing sex work right now.  So did the condom violator violate me or did I violate him by not disclosing my status, or by even working while knowing that I have an STD?  Herpes is something you have forever, and I’m not showing any signs of outbreaks (and if I do, they aren’t major), so you can imagine it’s tough for me to accept a chaste and celibate future.  Forget whether or not money is exchanged.  I believe that he would say that he is somehow off the hook because I am the one who gave him something, that he PAID TO GET!  I would say, if I didn’t already have herpes, I surely would have gotten it then, and he will surely pass it on in the same way.  He didn’t really see the importance of getting tested, I did make him realize that he could spread it to all the little speed freaks that he “helps” by giving them a hotel room to stay in.

In my recent mission to make things right in different ways, I called him and told him.  He, being a “full blown drug addict” (his words) didn’t really care it seemed.  He wasn’t upset.  He wasn’t showing any signs of herpes.  But, our conversation did make him use condoms more he said.  (but I’m sure he doesn’t understand that he violated me too).  He appreciated my honesty.  He believed he was a man of solid morals.  A good tweaker.  (they always believe they are good).  Once the 21 yo lover told me of his outbreak, I told this guy, whom I only had the phone number of because he wanted me to buy weed from him.  My conversationS with him were not too deep and definitely drug induced on his part.  His intent to harm me was not there, I figured, but I realized that BOTH of us need to protect ourselves from each other’s withholding of information at the same time!  I don’t feel guilty and I don’t feel violated anymore, but that could unfortunately be because I have a lot of practice dealing with this type of thing or it could be that I took so much time to process and discuss it with each of the peope involved, writing about it on blogs and to myself..?

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 20, 2010 12:33 pm

    you’re doing a great job of processing something that is extremely taboo – like, even taboo for sex workers to talk about, and just our existence is taboo. i think that’s awesome. i wish more people could be so open and honest. the conversation needs to happen, because the reality is here. and you’ve taken the issue of safe sex and really humanized it by being willing to bare your heart. it’s a topic so complex i still don’t know my feelings on it. on the one hand, i’ve had two instances of men forcing themselves on me without a condom and i caught only one STD that was luckily treatable, but that meeting at planned parenthood really is traumatic. i can only imagine what it would be like to have something that never went away. i want to say, no way should a rape stop you from living your life. and i do believe that. but on the other hand, i can’t lie: i once had sex with a friend who i knew had warts but i had forgotten, and i am to this day offended that she didn’t bring it up before i fucked her to say hey wait – grab a glove or a dental dam. even though it’s my fault at least 50% for not just grabbing a glove or a dam, i felt like i was violated. and i didn’t even contract the disease, because i’m vaccinated. when it comes to work, however, i think circumstances are more cut and dry: the sex is always between parties that were at least initially strangers, and both parties know that there are multiple other partners involved, so pro sex almost inherently carries a higher risk, and i think that should go without saying, though you even went so far as to point that out to the person you were with before he insisted on bareback, which is admirable. i’d like to see more discussion of the pressures to offer BBBJ or CIM. i consider those activities to carry as high a risk as genital-genital contact, and this hugely reduces my pool of consumers. but that’s my privilege, to chose who i give it to and who i sell it to, and so i can stick it out for the men looking for the strictly safe experience. no way is that realistic for most sex workers, but at the same time, it would be so much safer. it’s just one more job risk. — but now i’m digressing. i just, don’t have any very solid or easily simplified thoughts. it’s a topic talked about little enough and that is complex enough to have my baffled even after writing all these words. thanks for bravely, articulately, and movingly opening up this discussion.

    • January 22, 2010 3:42 am

      you kind of have it mixed up, but it’s okay. thanks for your support anyways sister!

      • January 22, 2010 3:43 am

        i only told the condom violator AFTER my romantic lover complained of sores. I told my romantic lover while he was rubbing me. Perhaps too late? It was the best I could do. But he didn’t care, like I said.

  2. January 20, 2010 1:05 pm

    I think you do have an obligation to disclose that you have herpes, because it is something that can be contacted even with protection. Your clients have the right to choose the level of risk they’d like to undertake with their sexual health. It’s great that herpes is not a big deal for you, and I understand disclosing could be a problem with some clients, but that’s sort of the point…you don’t know how anyone else will feel about it, but it’s reasonable to expect that it would change at least some people’s minds about whether or not to consent to sex with you. And that sucks for you, but they have the right to choose not to expose themselves to an incurable disease. At the very least, I think you have to answer honestly if they ask if you have an STD…

    That said, I agree with your characterization of taking off the condom during sex as sexual assault…I’m sorry you had to go through that.

  3. January 20, 2010 5:53 pm

    Thank you for you honesty, your wisdom, your truth and bit biy bit.. us sex workers getting up and out ther educating the public about our experiences. Myth busting is sooo important to educate our communities.

    Sex workers are safe sex experts, ( even though we are human!) and I apluade you and so proud to know you and say your my friend :)

    xxxx

  4. December 7, 2010 1:53 am

    I actually can’t really be sure that I was exposed to oral herpes because of my escorting (sex work)? I was using a lot of barriers more than not so that was why I was suprised. Herpes is something the PORN STARS have learned to accept as a part of doing sex work without barriers on a regular basis. Herpes is not even one of the common tests at the biggest urban gay and lesbian testing sites, AIM healthcare (the testing center for the porn industry) or at the brothel doctor I visited before I was cleared to work. The only way that I even found out was because I was part of this extensive research study where they happened to do herpes blood tests. It freaked me out when I found out, but now I don’t worry AT ALL. I may have been exposed as a child or as a sex worker, but nowadays I don’t care to know when or why. The consequences for herpes 1 in my life are minimal and the outbreaks are as manageable as a pimple.

  5. Daniel permalink
    April 2, 2011 5:20 pm

    Yep, I contracted oral herpes as a child. My whole family has it. It’s not a big deal for me, so it’s hard to remember to disclose it to people who want me. It’s really jarring when someone makes an off hand comment about herpes, denigrating all of us who have it, live with it, don’t worry about it at all. I felt really bad when my lover had hir first breakout of genital herpes, although aware of the risk, but zie didn’t feel harmed at all by the experience. Since then I have also had a genital breakout, and it’s no big deal. There is no such thing as safe sex, life or otherwise. All we can do is minimize our own risks, and give people enough information to make their own choices, and respect their boundaries. Anyone who downgrades the level of protection agreed upon is a creep and needs to get their head examined. Herpes is pretty benign by comparison to other risks. Keep up the great work!

  6. Mel permalink
    August 21, 2012 7:39 pm

    A very forward thinking woman, quite progressive, to seek answers to problems others say are irreparably tragic.

    I’m one of those guys who only likes sex without condoms. I found this page by looking for porn where the condom is taking off during the sex.

    Being open and honest, as you have courageously done, I hope that you will get some understanding of what goes through a man’s head when he wants to have sex.

    For me, the intimacy of sex is amazing. Penetration may be the pinnacle, but skin on skin contact, feeling the warmth of your partner, and getting lost in the act together are what it’s all about.

    Condoms, however, add a barrier between the penis and its goal of feeling. It’s like you sitting down to eat your favorite meal, but before you do so you have to put a plastic barrier on your tongue. Feel free to chew, let the textures glide over that plastic barrier, and swallow. The denial of taste reduces the art of cooking to a mere act of sanitation for nutritional sustenance.

    For guys like me, if a condom becomes necessary (for having sex with partners of unknown background and/or trustworthiness), I’ve found that a few drops of lubricant INSIDE the condom help greatly. Your clients may appreciate it if gifted the experience.

    As for disclosure of HSV-1, I’d prefer to know beforehand. There’s things that can be done that would make for a very pleasurable and intimate experience without relying on the hope that a condom will block all contact with possibly infectious areas.

    Don’t hate me for my honesty. I hope it helps.

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