Sex work is normal, and more than normal, healthy.
It’s important any piece about sex work acknowledge this fact explicitly: remuneration for the erotic is a perfectly reasonable thing. It might take many forms, and you, the reader, even if you are a lifestyle only domme, probably consume some manner of product of the larger industry. Perhaps you stick to erotica, or buying gear inspired by the things popularized in porn. Perhaps you, yourself like to enjoy the performance of a stripper or you are a client of someone yourself.
Nonetheless, when you are a lifestyle femdom, you will find yourself in the curious situation that not only are most resources for straight women tailored under the expectation of copying the pro experience, but a significant number of your partners will, up until you, have only ever experienced submission in the context of a professional, and it shows.
Take this not at an accusation of the evil fakery of the Pro, but as a certain pattern that I just keep seeing pop up over and over again.
1) Kneeling and wanking on a towel to finish is normal to him.
These days there’s a well needed thaw on “dommes don’t fuck/BDSM is not sexual” by default. (And thank goodness!) But, quite reliably, if your partner wants to get off to femdom and it’s been pros only until this point, they don’t think it will be with any contact or physical assistance from you.
This is largely due to the letter, rather than the spirit of anti-sexwork laws being obeyed, but people who have only experienced being clients also expect a certain physical distance as part of emotional boundaries. So, knees on the floor, towel down and several feet away, a supervised wank has an odd habit of being how he expects things to wrap up. Can it be hot? Sure, but like the particular patterns in sex based on what looks good on camera trickle from porn to regular bedrooms, this one is a very strong tell.
2) Being *wildly* grateful.
The thank yous don’t stop, from when you first agree to play to days after. It’s nice to be appreciated and infinitely reassuring if you are worried that he might not want a second time, or you need a little aftercare. Still to the point you start feeling slightly concerned they think this was a lot closer to helping them move a couch than mind blowing sex for you.
It’s not that you were “better” than his past experiences (although if he likes a lot of emotional intimacy it might necessarily have been). But, while kink, at the best of times, is vulnerable, the environment that makes sex work the only easy to find outlet tends to feed the idea this was being dooted by a unicorn. So many check-ins to say thank you again. So. Many. @_@
3) Reflexively calling play time “sessions”
Lifestyle BDSM is less likely to use this to describe a hookup, whether alone or at a play party. That’s not to say that one never does, but the framing of taking a private lesson or some sort of treatment or luxury spa time can bleed into both the approach he takes to it, but also how he talks about it before and after. The kink scene at large tends to pick up on it, as well, but it’s been my experience that M/f tends to frame it in terms of a scene. Again, it’s not bad, but it is a very philosophically different position to be in.
4) He gets weirdly anxious you are not being properly compensated.
This doesn’t necessarily mean money, but there remains the perception that some sort of payment/service always has to go with the kink play out of “fairness” to you. In any relationship, gifts and acts of service make up 2/5 of the love languages people might approach relationships with. In professional domination, there is Often he’s quite free with the gifts or nurturing, and gets emotional gratification from doing so even independently of whatever other BDSM activities you do together. This is a bit of a chicken and egg thing, since if you don’t find paying for something very personal gratifying you aren’t going to be as likely to seek out a professional dominant.
5) Extremely healthy attitude about sex work as work, which generally extends into respecting women’s time and labour.
Maybe it’s a selection bias to the guys I date too, but I find frequenting sex workers actually tends to have a certain awareness of how much femininity is performance. I can’t speak to every client ever, but it is very refreshing to be free of the guys who go out of their way to tell you you are prettier without makeup, or who expect a medal for preferring a less mainstream body type.
6) His mind is blown by very cuddly aftercare, possessive intimacy, or sex that blends into BDSM and back out again.
See towel wanking for the other symptom of very hands off BDSM. Nobody is touching these boys in anything other than a controlled fashion, so expect a really big eyed paralyzed reaction the first time play ends with significant snuggles or involves climbing on top and biting. Mix stroking, petting and massage into play and they practically have some sort of temporary tour of nirvana… alongside the most bewildered faces this side of an Organic Chemistry class.
7) Has trouble understanding you are getting anything out of this, though more than happy to do things your way even if it isn’t his fetish.
Even when you just had a loud, sloppy orgasm. Even when he just spent the last hour falling all over himself trying to please whatever arbitrary kinks and preferences the fetish fairies gave you. In addition to feeling you need to be paid, your fellow may even need constant reassurance not the standard “did ya come/was it good for you?” but “That wasn’t *too* much of an imposition, was it?”
8) Usually able to clearly articulate his desires and separate how he thinks something will feel versus how it actually feels.
Your average former client had a past partner who is very used to extracting actionable activities out of the often incoherent and oneiric space of fantasy. Can the traditions and practical parts of pro-work lead to some very unusual behaviour? Sure! But, for all of that, there’s a certain requirement to tease out what he wants from the vague flappy sea of human guessing and fretting. A professional session is not cheap, and professionals who thrive also have a particular knack for extracting want from “um, ah… I have this fantasy…”
As a bonus: You also have an accidental screening for the maybe-masochists who are more attracted to the idea of bottoming than receiving.