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Author Topic: re: rough landing about sex  (Read 2600 times)

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Offline poet

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  • Poet living and working in Central Maine
re: rough landing about sex
« on: December 05, 2006, 05:33:50 AM »
When I write poetry, it starts somewhere in my brain and gets processed over weeks or longer before it hits the page.  I have noticed a certain slant in my recent postings and last night realised why: there is another group out there made up of men and women of all ages who deal with disclosure, who, when they appear in public use names other than their own, crop pictures of themselves.  They are sex workers.  If you just had an expected reaction to reading this, think again.  Isn't it exactly the reaction we keep running into when we disclose that we are hiv positive?  The association of dirty, tainted, maker of bad choices, etc.  The reason that I am landing this thread before I have clarity is to see, in this season of the year, if those of us who have worked through our own disclosures about hiv, who have confronted those who have dumped us can open the circle wider.  Would any of us be able to handle a disclosure from, say, a potential boyfriend or girlfriend that he or she is a sex worker?  Agreed, he or she could possibly change his or her status, unlike testing positive.  But know from my own experiences with this group, the reasons why someone got into sex work and stays in sex work or tries to get out of sex work (and this includes, btw, those who appear in films) aren't that simple. 

So having reached a better understanding of humanity, of our own humanity, of the good and bad in us- our mistakes?-  has this given us a way to open ourselves up to others who, as with sex workers, find themselves rejected when and if they try to move within the general world?  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Boo Radley

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2006, 09:51:11 AM »
About 20 years ago I befriended several female sex workers when a lesbian friend started dating one.  Except for one who had a 4 year old spoiled brat who was allowed to smoke pot, every one of them was a decent person for whom circumstance made prostitution the most economical choice.  One of my good friends now was a prostitute when we first met and she's worth her weight in gold and diamonds. 

Even before I met any I always felt most sex workers were not so different from me and that "there but for fortune..." 

Boo
String up every aristocrat!
Out with the priests and let them live on their fat!





Everything I do, say, think, excrete, secrete, exude, ooze, or write © 2007 Sweet Old Boo, Inc.

Offline penguin

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2006, 11:26:13 AM »
I ended up selling sex for a time when my drug habit took over (at the, er, lower end of the market, shall we say) Wasnít my best career move, but it was part of a survival strategy. Guess it worked, cos Iís still here.

Society dehumanises sex workers. Their clients do too, even more so - violation, abuse & lack of even the most basic respect is par for the course. Perhaps due to their own issues with whatever led them to be paying for sex in the first place. Perhaps it's about having to buy (a version of) one of the few things in our society which isnít meant to be for sale; affection, intimacy etc.  And perhaps just because they can, because no one is going to challenge them - at 2am in the morning, in a hotel room, a car, an alleyway, the darker sides of their personality can be given free reign, with no accountability. 

It is a hard thing to tell most people, yes. Harder still, the leaving behind of the protective, numb, dissassociative head-space that such things make necessary to inhabit - even when it is past tense, & has been for years.

Interesting thread, mr poet.

Kate

Offline poet

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2006, 11:46:26 AM »
Thanks, Kate, for flipping it, too, when you comment 'having to buy one of the few things in our society which isn't meant to be for sale.'  In the high end market (the names you guys will all know) of gay life, someone paid for sex, and I mean twenty-something year olds as well in NYC, so that the person would leave.  You could have your cake, your session, and know that the person would be gone and you could go onto other things.  Since I owned an agency very briefly, too, I was able to 'watch' both sides.  The guys for whom the money was great (as I cut the share) compared to anything that they might otherwise be doing, took little time from their day or night, and I made sure that I never sent someone out to a 'wrong' person and that they knew that if they weren't comfortable for any reason, to leave.  Period.  What I could read from my clients is that they fully understood the deal.  No one ever tried to over keep an escort.  They trusted me, that's actually true, to send them the right guys for them. 

But socially, which is where poz.com/disclosure crosses with this, the guys either didn't tell their boyfriends, friend friends or others or socialised among themselves, hooker to hooker almost as some of us choose to date only positive men (or women) to keep the issue a non-issue.  And not that different from someone who doesn't disclose his or her being hiv positive? 

Over to Boo, I don't think that I will ever erase from memory the picture of a 'granny' knitting during one of the PONY (Prostitutes of New York) meetings.  No way would anyone see her as other than a grandmother type. :)  But of course I didn't learn what scenes she was being paid for, either  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline LatinAlexander

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2006, 01:22:45 PM »
I guess I am more humble now...Perhaps, knowing that many people in life do things simply because they have to. I would consider him/her as a person. Period. I have HIV, He is a sex-worker, and the girl next door has bad hair.

Alex
Poz since Jul 19 2006
Initial numbers : CD4-250 VL 3500
First labs after HAART (Dec 04-2006) : CD4-432 VL-<40 (Undetectable)  cd4%=25.11%
Started HAART: Combivir+Efavirenz Aug 26 7:38 pm
Feb 08 2007 - Gradually stopping HAART cause of Myalgia. Protecting Efavirenz. Stopped Efavirenz, ahead with Combivir....
February 17 Combivir stopped.
April 3 -07 : Started ddi+3tc+efavirenz...
Gay and positive (What a lack of Identity...:) )
Looking for my Ben....

Offline GSOgymrat

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2006, 05:34:05 PM »
I don't have much experience with sex workers. I think my reaction to someone someone telling me they were a sex worker would depend on how they felt about doing it. I saw a documentary about women who worked at The Chicken Ranch in Nevada and when I saw how the operation worked and how much they got paid I was envious! I've known guys who have done porno movies and gave private parties who did it because they liked sex, money and attention and that's fine by me. However the majority of people I see are people in the ER who are doing sex acts to finance a chemical addiction, and that is a different story. As I said at the beginning I'm not very familiar with this line of work.

I've have had people offer to buy me the services of prostitutes. When I was 18 a friend called as we were about to sit down to Christmas dinner to tell me that "Rhonda" was ready for me to come over to take my virginity... Merry Christmas. My partner even offered to pay for a private session with a porno star I found hot. I've declined all offers because a big part of sex for me is knowing the other person is turned on and into it. It's all about mutual pleasure. If someone is having to be paid then in my mind they are just going through the motions, they don't find me attractive and that turns me off.

Offline poet

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2006, 07:06:24 PM »
Actually the 'trick' to being a good escort, at least from the gay male direction, is to find in your client of the moment the one aspect of him, whatever that is, that you find stimulating.  I know the stories are that they are 'in' and 'out' and not interested in anything other than the money, etc.  But that doesn't work over the long term because anyone can see if someone is present during sex or not.  This is why I used to recommend that clients choose guys who had been around over time as opposed to the fleeting, streaking guy of the moment. W
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline poet

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2006, 07:08:55 PM »
Over to Alex, this is what I was wondering and why I put this subject onto a poz centered website.  Have some of us learned things, if that is the right word, in being positive, in not being 'perfect' or boyfriend/girlfriend perfect through hiv which would allow us to see others whom we might have looked down upon in our pasts differently?  And this Alex has answered for himself.  Thanks! Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Longislander

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2006, 07:17:54 PM »
UGH the dam timed out. Starting over again..

I don't know too much about all the sexwork out there. I have has a 'massage' from a guy in the back of one of those mags in NYC. Awesome experience, his apt, nice guy, handsome and tall. We talked wuite a bit during the massage, and we both came.

I had a huge crush on a dancer, who I knew also has some escort service thing going ( for women). We used to hang together during his breaks, play pool, etc. If he decided he would become gay and date me, I'd have been all for it. But I knew alot about him and his character. Would I have wanted him to stop the escort stuff? Definitely.

I wouldn't date a sexworker who is in it to support a drug habit in the first place.

I think it's about levels. I never thought negatively about ALL sexworkers. Each is a different person. Has my perception changed since being positive-I don't think so. It wasn't a blanketed perceptionbefore, and it still isn't.

Being gay, I've always felt I lived on the edge of different world than most of 'society'.
infected 10/05 diagnosed 12-05
2/06   379/57000                    6/07 372/30500 25%   4/09 640/U/32% 
5/06   ?? /37000                     8/07 491/55000/24%    9/09 913/U/39%
8/06   349/9500 25%              11/07 515/68000/24     2/10 845/U/38%
9/06   507/16,000 30% !          2/08  516/116k/22%    7/10 906/80/39%
12/06 398/29000 26%             Start Atripla 3/08
3/07   402/80,000 29%            4/08  485/undet!/27
4/07   507/35,000 25%            7/08 625/UD/34%
                                                 11/08 684/U/36%

Offline poet

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2006, 07:36:09 PM »
Thanks as well, Paul, for your comments.  Needless to say, I knew all the guys in HX and NEXT, if they are still being published, because we kept in touch (well we did massage, right :) with each other.  You brought up an interesting twist here: if you were comfortable enough with a masseur that you both came, would you then have to write him off the 'potential' list for anything serious because of that, because of an assumption, whatever he said about it, that he might or did do this with other clients?  Most gay men would say so. 

You comment about the dancer reminded me of the Gaiety Burlesk dancers above Howard Johnsons, some of whom were gay, some straight, some who worked JUST the shows, some who worked the back when that was an option or did outcalls when it was off limits.  So for you he could dance, period, but that is where the line was drawn.  Again, not unusual. 

I hope that few would try to rehabilitate a sex worker who worked for drugs because as we know from other threads here, the stress of trying to do so is just plain bad for our health.  Win

Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Longislander

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2006, 07:42:28 PM »
interesting about the massage guy. I did get a full massage first, which was 50% of my reason for doing it in the first place!! I did like the guy as himself. If it were something more, I would honestly think that if he promised me he wouldn't put it in his mouth with the others, just handjobs, and I believed him-I could date him.

I've seen some relatives get involved with drug users thinking they could rehabilitate-it never worked.
infected 10/05 diagnosed 12-05
2/06   379/57000                    6/07 372/30500 25%   4/09 640/U/32% 
5/06   ?? /37000                     8/07 491/55000/24%    9/09 913/U/39%
8/06   349/9500 25%              11/07 515/68000/24     2/10 845/U/38%
9/06   507/16,000 30% !          2/08  516/116k/22%    7/10 906/80/39%
12/06 398/29000 26%             Start Atripla 3/08
3/07   402/80,000 29%            4/08  485/undet!/27
4/07   507/35,000 25%            7/08 625/UD/34%
                                                 11/08 684/U/36%

Offline poet

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2006, 07:57:13 PM »
For the flip side, imagine my disclosure problems.  If a client indicated that he was interested in seeing me off the massage table, my chances were weighted that if I did so, I would lose the client as a client.  If I disclosed to him which I would have to do, I would weight things even further against me, although my last partner was hiv positive as it turned out, after I left him voicemail about my status.  I will say that as a group, the New York masseurs and bodyworkers can actually be trusted so that were someone to put rules in place, a line in the sand, most would in fact keep on the right side of it.  This is where access to so many bodies 7 days a week helps.  You see so many naked bodies that they become just naked bodies in comparison to the body of the man you are emotionally attached to.  Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Longislander

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2006, 08:15:31 PM »
But see, that's where the story ends for me. I would never ask that sexworker out. For one, I would already have imagined he was pretending to like me. I would also assume he was already involved, or that he wouldn't date clients.

Had I met this man out, not knowing, I definitely would have been attracted to him ( he wasn't a 20-something) and tried to make some contact. If it were to go on from there, there would be some serious question/answer sessions once he disclosed his work!
infected 10/05 diagnosed 12-05
2/06   379/57000                    6/07 372/30500 25%   4/09 640/U/32% 
5/06   ?? /37000                     8/07 491/55000/24%    9/09 913/U/39%
8/06   349/9500 25%              11/07 515/68000/24     2/10 845/U/38%
9/06   507/16,000 30% !          2/08  516/116k/22%    7/10 906/80/39%
12/06 398/29000 26%             Start Atripla 3/08
3/07   402/80,000 29%            4/08  485/undet!/27
4/07   507/35,000 25%            7/08 625/UD/34%
                                                 11/08 684/U/36%

Offline Queen Tokelove

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2006, 09:51:03 PM »
I have never looked down on sex workers/prostitutes, well when it comes to doing it for a drug habit, I do but otherwise I have no problem with it. When it comes to pros being out there for a drug habit, it amazes me that they even make any money, especially the ones I have seen in my town. For the most part, when you see some of the women, they look like something the cat dragged in, missing some teeth,etc. What really trips me out is that there are men out there that actually lets them get anywhere near them.

I do not know much about gay prostitution, I assume it's pretty much the same as hetero but I did have a gay friend named Terry. For the gay men there was this wall that you would sit on to get picked up, in the summer I use to sit there with him til he got picked up by someone. He was poz but didn't disclose and it came back to bite him in the ass because he went off with someone but the person found out Terry was poz. The person pressed charges and the last I heard, he was locked up with an attempted murder charge.

When I was a child, I remember my mother use to do it to make sure we had food when times got hard. I admired her for that because she did what she had to for her children. In the past I have worked at a massage parlor but I did not indulge in sex acts like my co-workers. I whacked dudes off or whatever they wanted that did not involved sex. The money was just too good to pass up at the time. I eventually gave it up because the place kept getting busted.
Started Atripla/Ziagen on 9/13/07.
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Cherish the simple things life has to offer

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Offline poet

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2006, 05:51:57 AM »
Queen, (not making fun of you, but) I always love the lines in the sand that are drawn.  If you get guys off you are not having sex with them.  Paul, too, had a similar line.  But I, as the person doing it always felt that connected or not, it was an act. 

I can now apologise with an explanation.  I have been going through a very strange period and it was clear in my thread here.  As it turns out, I was correct in my assumption.  I had been using the practical side of the brain since April, the side which organises buying and selling real estate, moving, looking for jobs, interviewing, studying for tests, etc.  Having finally gotten through medication certification, I 'allowed' my brain to switch over to the creative brain.  Well it was so unused to being brought into service, it was like getting a car started after it sat around all Winter. :) But last night, when I would have been drifting to sleep, instead I found phrases, parts of lines, parts of a first stanza coming out, each time requiring me to get out of a warm bed and freeze as I got things down in my sketchbook (which I use for writing).  So if I have seemed obviously off in recent posts, that's what it has been.  I am once again wearing the poet's hat.  Best, Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline Longislander

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2006, 05:43:41 PM »
 
Quote
So if I have seemed obviously off in recent posts, that's what it has been.


OK Win,, so where does that put my PM"s from you?? lol

Quote
each time requiring me to get out of a warm bed and freeze as I got things down in my sketchbook


May I suggest a nightstand? ;)



p.s. congrats on the medical certification! :D
infected 10/05 diagnosed 12-05
2/06   379/57000                    6/07 372/30500 25%   4/09 640/U/32% 
5/06   ?? /37000                     8/07 491/55000/24%    9/09 913/U/39%
8/06   349/9500 25%              11/07 515/68000/24     2/10 845/U/38%
9/06   507/16,000 30% !          2/08  516/116k/22%    7/10 906/80/39%
12/06 398/29000 26%             Start Atripla 3/08
3/07   402/80,000 29%            4/08  485/undet!/27
4/07   507/35,000 25%            7/08 625/UD/34%
                                                 11/08 684/U/36%

Offline poet

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2006, 07:44:14 PM »
Paul, I stand by my p.m.'s.  :)  I got the news out of my house manager about the certification last Monday but it took until Monday/Tuesday of this week for the shifting to get into full motion and it's those posts that I don't regret but am sure are not up to usual standards.  If you saw the square footage here, you would agree that a night stand might be nice, but where would it go exactly? lol  And it takes me weeks to 'get' the poem right, so it won't be appearing anytime soon.  (This one is about one of the guys at the residence who can't speak as we might, but does through his expression, body and such.)  If you are ever on the Cape and in trouble, know, Paul, that I am certified in CPR, First Aid and medication administration allowing me to make $12.00/hour.  Best, Win
Winthrop Smith has published three collections of poetry: Ghetto: From The First Five; The Weigh-In: Collected Poems; Skin Check: New York Poems.  The last was published in December 2006.  He has a work-in-progress underway titled Starting Positions.

Offline AtomicA

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Re: re: rough landing about sex
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2006, 09:27:34 PM »
I can only offer two separate insights into the whole sex worker thing

1. when I was 17 and just starting the process of meeting the gay world, I went to a house party at an acquaintances apartment in downtown Calgary. His apartment was on 13thave, part of the city's infamous (if you're in the right circle anyway) 'fruit loop' - an area of 4x2 blocks where all the boy hookers did their work. I was standing on my friends patio with some people I had just met and one of the guys was talking about his new boyfriend. They had only been together for a couple of weeks and he spent a good half hour gushing about how he thought he was 'the one'. I guess this guy had told him he was a server at a restaraunt or something so he couldn't join us at the party. Near the end of the story, this guy looks over the railing (we were only on the 3rd floor) and says "that's weird, that guy down there looks just like my boyfriend". Turns out it was his boyfriend... confirmed because the owner of the apartment was a creep and spied on his neighbours with binoculars, which he left on the balcony. Before this guy could call out this his new lover, a car pulled up, the window rolled down, some sort of exchange took place and the boyfriend got in the car and drove away. This guy who spent half an hour talking about 'the one' turned the color of cork board and looked like he was going to throw up. Last I heard, he was being treated for chlamydia of the throat.

2. When I lived in Australia, I became really good friends with three guys who were all roomates. For the last week in the country they offered to let me stay with them so I could blow my money at gay mardi-gras and not on a hostel. The day before I was supposed to leave I was there by myself when one of my friends came home from 'work'. This guy was HOT, like so fucking hot it was hard to be in the same room as him. That and he preferred to spend his time at home in nothing more than these hot, tight little unico undies so yah... it was 'hard' for me. He sits down on the couch next to me, opens up his computer and starts going over some photos on his laptop, proofs from a recent shoot I later learned. I knew the guy for nearly a year and had no idea he was in porn. Anyway, we started talking about it... I was totally uncomfortable with the idea but he was silver tongued and I was a horny 19 year old and... well, two pills of e and a bathhouse later we were making his videos look like a g-rated childrens movie. Hot HOT HOT! However, while we were having sex the condom slipped off and netiher of us knew how long he had been fucking me without it. I didn't think much of it, I put another one on him and we went for another 2 hours. He decided that he had fallen in love with me and was going to try and come to Canada to see me, so four days after I get back to this country he calls me and through a pathetic display of tears tells me that he'd been HIV+ for 2 years. He hadn't totally lied to me, but when we were talking about his 'career' before him and I had sex, one of my questions was "aren't you terrified of getting HIV?" and he responded "well we always use condoms so it's pretty safe". I was naive enough to still believe in the decency of people and sort of assumed that, in this case, my question would have been opportune disclosure time. The bastard didn't even tell me soon enough for the PEP program to do me any good. The only thing I could say to him was "but the condom came off..."
I was told that I needed to wait 6 months to be absolutely sure I was in the clear. I will never get that half a year of my life back, it was one of the most horrible experiences I've ever lived through. Shittiest thing about the whole situation was that I didn't get HIV from him, I got it from the first guy I had sex with after I was in 'the clear' - 8 months after I got home. That guy didn't know he had it, which makes our act an act of stupidity, not an act of criminal negligence.

My point here is that as far as disclosure goes, I can understand how hard it would be for sex workers as I know what it's been like for me. However, as you said poet, choosing to not have HIV at this point is not something I can do. I also know that people who are in the sex trade, be it porn or prostitution (though in my books they're pretty much the same thing... either way you're getting paid for sex) are in it for varied and complex reasons. HOWEVER, we are all responsible for our actions and our choices. If someone is doing it to support a drug habit it in no way makes it excusable or acceptable as they were the ones who chose to start doing drugs in the first place. Someone who does it because the money is good... well ok that's their right but not a single person who lives in the developed or developing world is unaware of the possible consequences and social stigma surrounding the sex trade, so they have to accept all of the above when they enter it.

The bottom line is that they are people, just like you or me and they deserve as much compassion as anyone. Unfortunately, they are also people who choose, on an ongoing basis to place themselves in the highest possible risk category for every single STD known to man. Immanuel Kant had a really awesome theory about treating people as an end, rather than as a means. That statement is loaded with many different meanings but one interpretation is that if you do not give a person all the information about a situation before they make a choice, the can't be said to have truly consented to participating in that situation. Had that guy at the party known his boyfriend was a hooker, he would never have agreed to a) date him or b) sleep with him. Had the guy I met told me that he was HIV+, at that time in my life there is no way I would have slept with him. In both cases, information that was essential for true consent was withheld because the hooker and the porn star both knew that disclosing would stop them from getting what they wanted. I still to this day feel like I was raped.

Am I more understanding of sex workers now? yes I guess so. I know what it's like to have a secret. However, STD's have already been far more involved in my life than I ever wanted them to be and there is no way on this god's green earth you could get me to put myself in a position where getting another is not only possible, but likely. I would never, ever knowingly have sex with someone in the sex trade again. They choose to put themself at that kind of risk but they don't have a right to put me there with them.

I accepted the consequences of my actions a long time ago and I have no ill feelings towards the people who wouldn't want to have sex with me because of HIV, I probably wouldn't have sex with me either. So long as the people in the sex trade accept that as well... power to them.

 


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