Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My First Sex Worker

Tuesday, January 19, 2010
This entry isn't going to be a how-to guide about having sex. Instead, it's going to be about how and when I met my first sex worker -- a former porn star who I will refer to as the Helen.

I was sixteen at the time, and it was thanks to the worldwide web. You see, I used to do a bit of graphic design, having saved up money to buy the now-ancient program Adobe Photoshop LE. With this program, I could begin creating banner ads, desktop wallpapers and other pieces that I could post online.

As for Helen, I saw her before on the Howard Stern show. I was struck by the fact that she didn't seem like the other adult film stars that Howard had spoken with before. For one, her look was a lot more exotic. No blonde hair or blue eyes, nor did Helen have a fake spray tan. That, and the way she spoke of porn was actually kind of interesting.

I went online and found her official website. Nothing too racy, seeing how any porn star worth the lube and condoms she fucks with will charge a fee for the hardcore stuff. I browsed around, then found an e-mail address where fans could contact her. I'd previously made a desktop wallpaper of Helen, featuring some PG-13 shots from a Hawaii photo shoot.

On a whim, I attached the JPEG file to the email and sent it off. This was before the era of malware, when downloading attachments from unknown senders was a sure way to have one's PC infected. About a week later, to my complete surprise, Helen wrote back, telling me she loved what I did and asked if I had any more stuff available.

And so began a little bit of work for more. In exchange for a small fee and some autographed photos, I made Helen several desktop wallpapers, banner ads, a new image on the splash page of her website. I could hardly believe my luck -- and yet the fact that I hadn't told Helen that I was only sixteen gnawed at my conscience.

Eventually, I spilled the beans. Helen was surprised -- she said I sounded so professional over our emails, and my work was good -- but she didn't let me go. Please understand that under no circumstances was I working with any R-rated material. Strictly PG-13 stuff, as Helen was working on leaving porn behind and trying to start a more mainstream career.

So, what's odder than a sixteen-year-old working with a woman who lived across the country and was ten years his senior? The fact that she, in many ways, became a confident, and later a friend.

Every question I had about sex she answered, and she answered them fully. From anal sex to three-ways to the various kinds of condoms and lubricant, there was nothing off-limits. This kind of honesty and candor was refreshing then and it's even more refreshing now, with abstinence-only movements still trying to pretend that they actually yield positive results.

There was humor, too. My most vivid memory is that Helen told me not to worry too much about my first time, as it wouldn't last that long anyway. I laughed so hard over the phone I thought that I would wake my parents up.

(For the record, by the time I met Helen in-person I was pretty much an adult, so it was never an issue hiding it from them. And as for Helen's checks, well, I made some fake ads for a non-existent real estate company, so mom and dad were never any the wiser.)

Helen and I finally met in New York City, had lunch, walked along the shops in Fifth Avenue. We were so comfortable with one another people actually thought we were related -- probably because we shared a similar skin tone and were always close but not romantically inclined. And keep in touch we did.

More than anything, Helen exposed the porn world for what it was -- choreographed sex sold for a profit. The sheer idea that porn was somehow genuine or something to be emulated was so foreign to me that I would never dream of trying to imitate it with a girl.

I learned that most of the men use Viagra. That the girls get breast implants, hair extensions, fake tans and nails, and a Brazilian wax most every month. That there is a director barking orders from a chair, alongside a slew of lighting and sound guys to capture the moment. It's not sexy; it's awkward. It's not a fantasy; it's work.

To most people, the idea of allowing a sex worker to talk to a teenage boy about her former career is unfathomable. Well, I'm here to tell everyone that by doing just that, Helen made sure I would never fall into the trap of thinking that porn was the way to go in terms of forming sexual relationships.

And, above all else, she showed me that sex workers can in fact be well-adjusted and productive member of society. Helen is now married, out of pornography for good, and earning an income from a variety of business ventures and investments she secured for herself while in the adult film industry. Her "porn self" is dead and gone, and she's happy she was able to get in and get out.

We talk now and then. Unfortunately, I'm the one who's now being dishonest with her. She doesn't know I'm an escort. I've no clue as to how she'd react, and I don't have any plans to tell her, either.

Funny. In reading this entry before I post it, I couldn't help but notice something. In a way, I didn't find sex work. If anything, sex work found me.

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