Respect our boundaries, pay our fees.
Don’t ask us to watch you wank for free.
My time is not free.
A sentiment all freelancers, bloggers, and self-employed people feel deeply. It’s deeply ingrained that time is money, and when you live by that saying it’s really hard to switch off.
As such, you’d expect that those in a similar position to yourself – a freelancer, self-employed person, or sex worker, would understand that whilst you should not only pay for your porn, you should also pay for a fellow professionals’ time.
This is true for, and seemingly practised, in most areas of business. However, the glaring chasm of ‘oops I forgot to compensate you’ is prevalent within the adult industry. Don’t get me wrong, people expect free labour a lot of the time – interns, bloggers getting compensation in the form of products, etc. But, I’ve never felt it more than within the adult industry.
To some, our time is worth nothing. I say this not solely from a provider’s point of view, but as a customer too. Where possible I always try my hardest to support other creators, both in and out of sex work.
If you approach me at my job, or in relation to my job, and you want me to answer a basic question you could find anywhere else, it’s going to cost you. Double if there’s emotional labour on my end. Now, I’m not completely cold-hearted, I will give links to my site, or preferred clip site where they can then easily find the information, but that’s it. I have upwards of 20 clients in my inbox daily asking me these questions on a quiet day, and my time is valuable, especially as my ‘not ill’ time is so limited. Yet, people don’t treat it as such.
One case in particular springs to mind, and it’s not going to make me popular. A sex blogger popped into my DMs, though I guess in this context I should say ‘slide’. They said that they’d seen my sex work content – my clips, and they liked them, though the terms were more descriptive. We’ve never spoken more than the odd hello, and interaction on Twitter has been brief. They did contact me on both my blogging and sex work Twitter, I replied on the latter. My feelings would have been the same regardless of which Twitter I replied because the matter was about my sex work, my paid content.
Then this moved into wanting my input on which of my clips they should buy. Any sex worker knows that if they’ve not spent a dime and they ask you this question, there is a good chance they’ll be a time-waster. I know for sure they didn’t tip me for my time. They didn’t approach me as a sex blogger, they approached me as a sex worker, and expected labour for free.
… and that’s what they got.
Looking back I should have said no and should have asked them to tip, but because they were a fellow sex blogger, I felt compelled to answer. The interaction rounded off with an inappropriate question considering our lack of familiarity, a question that still doesn’t sit right with me.
The presumption that because I’m a dominatrix, sex worker, and fellow blogger that there’s a level of ‘I can feel entitled this of you’, and it is a problem. I deal with many clients, many that self identifies as male, that have ‘hand on dick syndrome’, and so manners and boundaries fly out of the window.
Should I have contacted this person privately instead of blogging about it? Probably, but honestly, I am a little terrified. I don’t fit into any of the communities I intersect. There’s always a ‘disabled, but sex worker’, ‘sex blogger, but sex worker’, and ‘sex worker, but disabled’ with every identity. As such, I can’t help but see problematic people do problematic things that I want to call out, and now I’m going to, just like ‘Designing for ‘the disabled’.
For three groups of typically open-minded individuals, there seems to be a close-minded attitude to paying for sex worker’s time, including accessibility as a basic standard and remembering that other’s have boundaries that might be stricter than yours.
To this day I don’t know if they ever brought the suggested clips, or paid for my time – that’s the nature of clip sites. Maybe they did, then great! But if they didn’t, and never intended to then we have a bigger problem, especially within sex industries.
Expecting that people will pay for your time, and then blatantly disregarding that when it comes to other people’s time is disrespectful. It tells me that I’m not worth your time, and lets me know just how much you think of my work. It reinforces the stigma sex workers are trying so hard to overcome, that our labour is valuable, and so many don’t see it as such. To many, we are a punchline, or a questionably written show – I see you Netflix.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a massive problem within porn. Hundreds of thousands don’t pay for their porn, and many more expect free labour as standard. But, I guess it just hurts a bit more when someone that should know better, acts like everyone else.