One of the hardest lessons we can learn as sex workers in the beginning of our careers is setting clear boundaries, with clients, and with ourselves.
There is always clients out there who will try for more, whether that’s your private information or for extra services and time. When you are new to the sex industry that can overwhelm you, setting boundaries and even knowing what your boundaries are can seem like a minefield.
Not all clients who do this are malicious, some are just nervous, new to seeing sex workers, or have themselves caught in lust wanting to feel closer to their companion. That’s understandable, but for the safety and mental health of us as sex workers, we need to keep separation of church and state.
Below are some tips that have helped me with this:
For example: Some workers don’t share where they study or what part of town they grew up in for their safety. Maybe you grew up in Preston (in Melbourne) but you tell clients you’re from Brighton. Maybe you say you are studying Arts but are really studying Law.These small deflections help protect and separate who you are walking around in the world and who you are in the bedroom with a client. This doesn’t make your service any less real and personable, but instead allows you to fully fall into your sex working persona without links to the real work.
Another side of this is being firm in what you are and are not comfortable offering at work. Maybe anal sex is something you love doing with partners, but not something you decide to do at work. Keeping that act for your private life and as a boundary. Maybe your boundary is around offering uncovered blowjobs or not offering them, for instance.
Sometimes the hardest thing is saying “no”. You are in a booking with a client, time is up and he’s begging for an extra ten minutes, “just a bit longer babe please.” You freeze up, feel trapped, and before you know it you’ve gone 30minutes over.It has happened to us all. When you aren’t used to keeping firm boundaries being put on the spot can be tricky.
What has helped me, as a naturally people pleasing person, is to practice. Stand in front of the mirror and say no, say it multiple times, in many different ways. Find all of your different no’s till it feels as normal as breathing.
“No babe, I have another client after you, time’s up.” Or “Ok time’s up! Would you like to extend then? I’ve been having so much fun.”
Or: “I told you to stop doing that, if you continue the booking is over and you will have to leave”/“No, I don’t offer that. If you continue asking the booking will be over.”
Once it becomes as natural as breathing, once you’ve done it a million times, it becomes easier to keep to your boundaries. Sometimes situations call for a friendly tone to invasive questions by clients, a friendly warm tone that deflects and doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.
Others call for a more firm tone to make very clear inappropriate or boundary crossing behavior is not allowed. Find your voice and don’t feel like you can’t use it. If someone won’t listen to your no they are not entitled to your services.
Don’t. Your mental health and feeling good going to work is worth more than money.
When it comes to setting boundaries with clients it can be difficult to cut off a regular client who has maybe pushed the line but books every week or month dropping big cash on you.There is always other clients out there! Sometimes cutting off someone causing you stress opens up space for even better, respectful, fun clients to enter your life.
This is key. Sometimes we lead ourselves to believe that clients purchasing our time means we should let them do that service they are pushing for or what’s the harm in staying those extra 10mins?Purchasing someone’s time and services does not buy consent. You can always say no. You can always stop a booking if a client makes you uncomfortable. Rape is rape even if they paid you for sex.
Sex workers deserve to feel safe in our personal lives and going out with friends, on Tinder, on our personal social media. We have as much a right to a private life as any civilian.
Remember this always and stand firm in your boundaries.
By Rain Morgan