First time sex with anyone you like can be nerve wracking – but imagine what it’s like to sleep with someone who has sex for a living?
I’ve met lots of people who work in the sex industry as part of my job and know they are no different to you or me generally. But I’ve never slept with any.
Which got me thinking…what’s it really like having sex with someone who is the consummate professional? Are porn stars as good in bed as we all imagine? What’s it like sharing a partner sexually?
On the flipside, what happens when people who work in the sex industry tell prospective partners, ‘Hey, guess what I do for a living?’
Do most people run…or look aroused? And what happens when love sneaks into the equation as well?
Truth is, you need the same things you need in any good relationship to make something like this work – but in bucketloads. Exemplary communication skills, oceans of trust and a tremendous respect of boundaries.
These types of relationships only work with people who are secure in themselves, not prone to jealousy and able to think outside society’s square.
Here – in their own words – are some personal accounts of what it’s like to have sex with a sex worker, from both sides of the coin.
All the names have been changed to protect privacy
From dealing with jealousy to partners who don’t understand that you’re not always in the mood, sex workers have revealed what it’s really like to be in a relationship with someone outside the industry (stock image)
THE WEBCAM MODEL
Lexie, 30, is bi-sexual and works as a webcam model on a popular streaming site. She also produces adult content for OnlyFans
‘I’m bisexual and, in my experience, find other women to be more accepting and respectful of sex work. I’ve previously matched with a few guys on Tinder who, after finding out what I do for a living, immediately ask for ‘nudes’ or free trials to my premium pages which is annoying. People expect that you’d date someone in the industry but every woman I know in it, dates ‘civilians’ rather than other sex workers.
‘I suffered with performance anxiety before I became a sex worker. I had no confidence and would always let my partner take the lead. If anything, sex work has increased my confidence all round and that definitely shows in the bedroom. I’ve never had any complaints!
‘I don’t think people are wrong to assume that anyone who works in the sex industry is fantastic in bed. That’s 1,000,000 per cent right – we’re amazing. But it’s not true that we’re always ready for action. Away from work, we’re just regular people with regular sex drives and we have days where we want to be left alone, too.
‘Sex when I am working is different because I never fully get lost in the moment. My mind tends to wander and I’ll find myself thinking about the weekly shopping list or what jobs I’ve got to do on the weekend despite what’s happening to my body at the time. When I have sex with my partner, it’s completely different. It’s just her and I, in that moment. I can fully let myself be vulnerable. It’s intense and passionate and amazing.’
Lexie’s partner, Julie, is 25. They met on Instagram through Lexie’s professional page
Tracey Cox has interviewed sex workers to find out: Are porn stars as good in bed as we all imagine? What’s it like sharing a partner sexually? And how do dates react to the job?
‘We have the most phenomenal sex life. When she cams online, I get to watch and, if anything, it makes me want her even more. I think her stage performance looks similar to when she’s having real orgasms but when we’re together, I know she’s not performing. Our connection is insane. We both agree that our sex is exceptional and not much tops it.
‘It doesn’t make me insecure what she does. She chooses me, day in, day out and that makes me feel secure given how wanted she is by others. It’s her job to be flirty and desirable.
‘If I had trust issues with her feelings towards her clients, I shouldn’t be with her. Sex work is a job, regardless of the stigma around it and really should be treated exactly like one. She treats her work as work and I feel I am in a very happy and secure relationship.’
Jason, 35, ended a promising relationship with an escort after three months
‘I met her in the most innocent circumstances – walking our dogs in the park. She told me on our first date that she was an escort and it did sometimes involve full sex (though you’d be surprised how many clients she had who paid purely for her company and affection).
‘I was shocked but also blown away by her. She was funny, great-looking, kind and we hit it off immediately. We talked a lot about her work and I felt reassured enough to give it a go.
‘I was terrified the first time we had sex. I couldn’t get an erection – I was convinced she was comparing me to all the other men she’d slept with. But she was understanding and I got over it, though I never truly relaxed. I’d find myself watching her, trying to work out if she was really having a good time or pretending to.
‘I thought I would be able to handle what she did for a living but I couldn’t. It messed with my head. Every time I introduced her to someone, I was terrified they’d guess what she did. She always looked amazing but she definitely dressed way sexier than your average girl.
‘I couldn’t tell my friends and family what she did – they are all quite traditional and conservative. I didn’t take her to meet my parents because I didn’t want to lie to them. If I was 22 and not looking for something serious, it would have been different. But I was 34 and looking to settle down.
‘I hated letting her down. She is a great girl and she deserves to be loved and respected. I did love her and respect her but I couldn’t cope with the stigma. I want to have kids and I don’t want the mother of my children to have had that background. She judged herself, as well, and struggled with her self-esteem despite being outwardly confident.
‘I felt awful ending it and I do miss her. I know we’re socialised to think that when you’re in a committed relationship sex is something that should be reserved exclusively for each other. But I can’t help it: I want a relationship where sex is something you only do with each other.’
THE PORN STAR
John, 29, is a well-known gay male porn star
‘Most of the time potential partners are a little taken back when I tell them what I do. Sex is a big part of a relationship and realising they share you sexually is a big hurdle for people to overcome. One guy really didn’t like it and told me I’ll end up with STIs and that beauty fades and end up unwanted. Fuelled by all the nasty preconceived ideas of what a porn star/sex worker might be. A few days later, he messaged me to meet up for sex. I blocked him.
‘I have definitely had guys place expectations on my sexual performance and expect sex to always be a certain level. One guy wanted to have my porn playing in the background while we had sex. People assume porn stars want crazy, hot sex all the time and that we are always horny. The reality is, after shooting a scene, I come home, eat junk food and watch Netflix.
‘Do I have performance anxiety when I’m in bed with someone I really care for? Absolutely! I make sure I tell them they are having sex with me not the porn star and not to expect every time to be a big performance. Sometimes, I set my own standards too high and it makes having sex difficult: I’m too in my head. It’s true that porn stars are typically naturally gifted in bed – that’s why we’re chosen – but we are human and have our off days and off moments.’
Matt, 32, has been John’s partner for three years
WHAT MOST MEN MISTAKENLY THINK ABOUT SEX WORKERS
I spoke to dozens of women who work in the industry to research this article. Here’s their top four pet hates of what (some) men assume about them.
They assume we hate what we do
‘They presume you can’t get a job anywhere else. You’re desperate. Why else would you work in the porn industry? Well, there’s a good sprinkling of college educated, feminist women who are using the industry to their benefit and actually quite like what they do. Sure, there are parts of the job we don’t enjoy but don’t assume we’re forced into doing what we do.’
They date us to show off
‘Some guys just want to show off: they see it as a status symbol to date someone in the industry. I went out with one guy who paraded me around like I was a show pony: he’d drop into the conversation what I did as quickly as he could. Lots of guy are up for having a casual relationship with a porn star or sex worker but as a serious, life-long partner? A future mother of their kids? No way.’
They assume we’ll stop once the relationship becomes serious
‘I tell potential partners early on so I’m not wasting time. Some men are so rude, they’ll literally screw their faces up and take a step backwards. Other men assume you’ll stop the minute you’re in a serious relationship. (Are you going to pick up all my bills?) The worst reaction is when they think they can sleep with whoever they want because ‘that’s what you’re doing’. The minute there’s shaming, I’m out of there.’
They assume we’re promiscuous
‘Most people make the assumption that if someone is a porn star, they are promiscuous. But it’s impossible to generalise. Some porn stars get married and are monogamous; others enjoy having sex with lots of people outside their job. There are more than a few of us that are polyamorous – probably because we already have the skills needed to negotiate feelings and boundaries of having sex with people outside the relationship. But I don’t know any who sleep around indiscriminately.’
‘I wouldn’t expect John to have sex after a long day at a video shoot as that’s just not fair. He comes home to me at night and if he needs to chill out, that’s fine. He has never made me feel like second best and treats me like the person he loves.
‘He is even better in bed than you would expect! I can’t honestly think of a time when we have not had good sex. The difference is our sex is all about what we choose to do in bed rather than what he’s told to do on set. It’s not his choice then, but it is when we’re together.
‘I would never ask John to stop doing what he does. I want him to be happy and he enjoys it and is really good at it. If he chose to stop tomorrow, I would support him but if he wants to continue, I will also support him. That’s what a loving relationship is all about.
‘My friends and family know what he does and initially they were like, ‘Oh! How does that make you feel?’. But now they know him and understand, I think most of my family love him more than they do me.’
Sara, 28, is a female professional dominatrix and sex coach
‘Dating can be difficult as people overly sexualise you. Even when I’ve just put ‘sex and relationship writer’, I’ve had a lot of men message me, thinking that I have loose knickers. In fact, I’m very difficult to sleep with if I’m becoming romantically involved with someone. I want to get to know their personality a lot before I sleep with them. If I just want to get laid, I might as well get paid for it!
‘Jealousy can be a big issue. I had one person say they didn’t want someone else’s sloppy seconds – I dumped them right then and there. For me, if they can’t talk about sex and relationships seriously, then it’s not the right relationship for me anyway.
‘Sex is different recreationally and I’m very good at compartmentalising. There are rules when it’s a work encounter: the limits are strict and I don’t budge. I have complete control of the situation and I won’t emotionally get involved with my clients.
‘Am I better in bed than the average person? I do have skills a lot of individuals don’t – and I’m trained, so I can offer things that other can’t. But I have terrible moments, like everyone else. I can be clumsy, knock teeth, fall off when on top.
‘One of the biggest myths of people who work in the sex industry is that we all take drugs. I can’t give blood because of it. But I don’t take drugs and many others in the industry don’t.’
Sara’s partner Jack is 26 and they met on Twitter
‘Do I feel like she is performing when we’re together? We are all performing to some degree or another. We all perform to different people, friends, family, workmates, people you don’t like at work. Do I worry that her feelings towards me aren’t genuine? No. Everyone is different.
‘It doesn’t matter how many people you’ve slept with, everyone’s likes are different. You need to learn your partner’s preferences, so while some skills are transferable, you’re always going to need to learn what your partner likes, what their hard limits are, and their preferred relationship style.’
Visit traceycox.com for more practical information on sex and relationships, to listen to Tracey’s SexTok weekly podcast and to find her product ranges.