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The Whore Next Door: 6 Things I've Learned from Sex (Work): Advice for Fornicators

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1. Eyes are an erogenous zone. Whether I'm gazing up at a stripper while she defies gravity on the pole or furtively searching porn tube sites for the perfect money shot, watching sex is exciting. Anyone who's gotten it on next to a mirror knows that being able to perv out on your partner (and, if we're being honest, yourself) from a couple different angles is awesome. Critics of pornography often claim that porn ruins people's sex lives by giving them unrealistic expectations of sex. But both watching porn and acting in it have taught me that the visual element of sex is just as important as the physical element. For me, sex is so much better with the lights on and my eyes open. Why wouldn't I want to watch? It's like free porn.

2. Just bring extra lube; it's never a bad decision. Lube makes everything look better, feel better, and work better. A dab of lube inside a condom will change your life. Lube is to sex what bacon is to food: you can and should put it on everything.

3. Always bring a snack. Sex work makes me hungry. “Hangry” is a term used to describe the moment at the end of the session after my client has left when I frantically dig through my purse in search of a stray almond or Altoid to satiate my blood sugar crash until I can change the sheets and make a beeline to Ike's for a sandwich. When I only find condoms and small lube packets in my purse, an illogical rage accompanies this hunger and, like The Hulk, I am not responsible for my actions once this rage has overtaken me. Thus the term “hangry.” Always bring a snack. Always.

4. How to look like a million bucks, for 20 bucks. Vintage lingerie on Haight Street, dollar lip gloss from the variety shops on Clement Street, discount high heels from Shiekh on Market Street: San Francisco offers a treasure map of thrifty options for the frugal floozy. My personal favorite spot is New York Apparel in the Upper Haight, which carries everything from Lucite stripper heels to pleather riding crops. The folks who work there don't bat an eye when you ask where the crotchless panties are, and they even offer a discount to folks who work in the industry.

5. Always trust your gut. I take many precautions on how I screen clients in order to stay safe. However, my sex worker Spidey sense is the system I trust the most. If I have a weird feeling about a person or a situation, I've learned to listen to that above all other things. I've been fortunate enough to have never encountered violence on the job, but every time I've ignored that funny feeling in my gut, I've ended up wishing I had listened to it.

6. Sex is weird. Long before 50 Shades of Grey lined the shelves of every airport bookstore, I really thought there was something wrong with me. I was interested in sex that involved power and control, elaborate role-playing, bondage, and discipline. Then I moved to San Francisco, started doing sex work, and learned that in this city I was just a normal kinky 24-year-old. I met others like myself, and others still who had fetishes that far exceeded even my weirdest fantasies. As sexual beings, humans are hilarious. We make funny faces when we are at the heights of pleasure, we act like fools to impress the objects of our desire, and we sometimes fixate on things like nylons, diapers, or Klingon rituals when we get off. In my short three years in the sex industry, I've encountered a cornucopia of sexual perversions and come to the conclusion that no matter how kinky or vanilla we claim to be, we're all just a little bit ridiculous when it comes to sex. There truly is no normal. It's comforting to know that no matter how weird my sex life gets, there's someone out there (perhaps even my next door neighbor) who likes something even weirder than I do.

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SF Weekly Staff

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