Boundaries Are For The Little People
This is a guest post by my friend Aurora.
[Content Note: describes sexual assault on a sex worker.]
It is late at night, after I’ve taken my medication. The necessary conversations have been had – he knows not to touch me sexually in my sleep, but cuddling is okay. We’ve seen each other for over three years now and slept together before. He knows my history, my struggles, my slow process of returning from the knife’s edge of mental illness. He pays me for my time, and I choose to have sex with him. Earlier in the evening we had played together enthusiastically, me using my erotic experience and skills to keep him melting with pleasure. We both know what the deal is. We both honor it. Except for tonight.
More than half asleep, I feel his tongue lapping at my pussy. I wake and his face looms in the cold light from the bathroom, greenish-gray, monstrous. We are in a tangle of limbs and blankets, but it never included blanket consent. I roll over and pass out, and wake in the morning thinking that it was a nightmare until he makes a casual joke over breakfast.
He is a rich businessman, a world traveler. I am a woman recovering from mental illness who sometimes moonlights as an escort. I tell him that eating my pussy while I was asleep was a violation of boundaries, and he dismisses my concerns about STIs and consent. He stopped, after all, and let me go back to sleep. There is no contest here because I haven’t yet been paid – I fake a smile over scrambled eggs and keep him company during the elegant activity he has planned for the day. As soon as I can, I take my money and move on.
He’d hired me for the night, so perhaps he felt entitled to my body when jetlag left him feeling bored. Maybe he’d hoped to wake me up and turn me on enough to play with him again. Maybe he was getting off on sexually assaulting me, though I don’t think that’s it – if I’d picked up that vibe, I wouldn’t have trusted him enough to share intimacy in the first place. I suspect that like many people grown used to wielding power without consequences, he simply didn’t respect my boundaries and choices as legitimate when they conflicted with his own desires.
I write this so that others who may have had similar experiences will know that they are not alone, and it is not their fault. I write this because like a skilled musician, I played a man a violin concerto, and later at night he put the bow in my hands and tried to make me saw away at it like a puppet. I write this because I am not a musician, but an escort, and that unlike other women we are assumed to be selling our bodies rather than our services when we choose to provide paid companionship. I write this because I was sexually assaulted, and I will not go to the police or prison-industrial complex seeking any type of justice, because like Sun Tzu I will not engage in a battle that is sure to be a loss.