I reassure my clients all the time that it’s completely normal to feel nervous. It’s normal for clients to worry about whether they’ll be enough – in looks, or even demeanour, when meeting a sex worker. On a general level, of course there is something inherently nerve-wracking about meeting anyone for the first time. And on top of that, client – sex worker relationships are unique! We’re not just meeting for the first time, we’re meeting to be emotionally and physically intimate, sometimes in a relatively short space of time. In that context, of course clients feel anxious about making a good impression; about making the escort feel comfortable; in all, about achieving mutual pleasure.
However, that desire to achieve mutual pleasure often goes hand in hand with an even deeper, more hidden layer of anxiety. It’s one that clients are often too nervous to even acknowledge themselves: anxiety around performance. Often, this anxiety will express itself as the client’s silence around the issue, followed by mumbled apologies. Sometimes it expresses itself as leaving early or not getting back in touch, despite the client wanting to. Even in instances of clear communication, there’s a presumption of having to apologise in the first place. In every case, the pressure to perform results in a stifling of joy, of pleasure, and of connection. Sex workers understand why this is – clients who want to achieve this mutual pleasure with the women they are connected to are forced instead to feel a deep sense of shame about not being able to ‘deliver’.
I reassure my clients all the time that it’s completely normal to feel nervous. It’s normal for clients to worry about whether they’ll be enough.
The historical societal concept of sex in which men have to prove how well they can give sex, and women have to take it, is still very persuasive. When I think of famous media depictions of sex, I think of Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, where Grant pulls Saint onto the bed, and then the train plunges into the tunnel. Depictions of women in control of their pleasure, such as in Blue Valentine and Secretary still imply that the woman receives body worship while the man must succeed at giving it. This general attitude to sex is reflected in our language too. Think of fucking, screwing, plowing, hammering, railing. The woman is the keyholder which the man must successfully unlock. Kink is a space to reverse these roles, but can further replicate these dynamics, perpetuating ideals about the sub getting hard, pleasing the mistress, and cumming to signal the end of a successful session.
It’s these ideals that shape how we have sex. Whether in casual dating or long term relationships, we get caught up in a facade of how we should act. The routine for a satisfying sexual experience becomes: some foreplay, oral, man penetrates woman, ends with ejaculation. This routine centres men’s pleasure, and places women’s pleasure at the behest of mens. Yet paradoxically, this routine also stifles men’s pleasure. Men aren’t able to desire anything different; to be the one cared for, or even taken. There’s very little room for men to pause, let alone struggle with performance. It’s the shame of falling short of these impossible standards that drives many clients’ anxiety about performing in bed.
The historical societal concept of sex in which men have to prove how well they can give sex, and women have to take it, is still very persuasive.
One of the wonderful things about sex workers is that we don’t want these ideals, either. Of course, clients’ desires to make sex workers feel comfortable is a wonderful thing. And it’s that care and consideration that we want. For clients to read our ads, follow our etiquette guidelines, pay us on time, and be respectful. We want these ideals, not normative ones about what ‘good sex’ is, because we know that sex can be about so much more than the physicality of it. It can also be about the connection, the vibe, the emotional release. When escorts and clients can share good communication, positivity, openness, consent, and kindness, we naturally already are exchanging mutual pleasure. And in fact, when these things are in place, physical pleasure can often arise naturally. Our bodies can respond to our minds being treated well. I know that my most memorable moments have been with clients who went out of their way to make me feel cared for and respected.
Client-escort relationships can also challenge these ideals in creative, interesting, and sexually pleasurable ways! We meet in uniquely constructed circumstances – a cordoned off portion of time with pre-arranged guidelines, and an expectation of how things will end. It might seem artificial on the surface, but it’s often the perfect incubator. Both men and women have a space to co-create something genuine outside of the normative scripts, rather than remain stuck in the dance of ‘keyholder and locksmith’. When the scripts for how people meet have already been removed, there’s so much more space to communicate what actually feels good. Our relationships, in my opinion, have much more scope for openness, candour and flexibility than a lot of sex outside of the industry.
Client-escort relationships can also challenge these ideals in creative, interesting, and sexually pleasurable ways!
That’s why, if a client struggles to get an erection, I don’t feel disappointed – I’m looking forward to creating new ways we can have fun together. If a client finishes early, I’m not angry - I’m are in tune with my own pleasure and know how to make it happen. If a submissive can’t finish to signal his satisfaction, I know that there are other ways to convey that dynamic in a kink setup. Size, of course, is a completely irrelevant factor, because I know just how capable the whole body is. Sometimes, if a client doesn’t want to have sex at all, I adore the pure intimacy of talking, cuddling, and touching. I don’t want scripts and shame around sex either – because I delight in creating non-judgemental spaces without shame, for genuine pleasure. And when I can share that with a client, that is what it really means to give and take mutual pleasure.
So, if there’s any advice that I routinely give to my clients, its just to relax. When they’re seeing a sex worker, they’re in good hands. And as many of my colleagues have advised me, the best thing we can do for our clients is create a boundaried, non-judgemental space to just have fun! The pressure to perform can fall away – and a much better performance can take its place instead.
Are you a sex worker or client with tips or experiences to share? We'd love to hear from you!
The Good Client Guide destigmatizes sex work while providing guidance on how to be a better client and ally. Better experiences for workers mean better experiences for clients! To make this happen, we’re welcoming submissions from both providers and their customers.