Past trauma resurfacing
I'm in the V in an interesting poly situation. My longer-term boyfriend (3+ years) lives 1000 miles away and my shorter-term boyfriend (9 months) lives 19 miles away. Tommy, my shorter-term boyfriend, has been married to Jordan for about 5 years.
Jordan is a very professional and safe sex worker who loves her work. She has a degree in human sexuality and works in non-profits advocating sex worker rights. She deals with wealthy clients and gets tested frequently. Tommy is very supportive and encouraging of this and I am too. My longer-term boyfriend Doug isn't very comfortable with me having unprotected sex with Tommy because of Jordan's work, but he has hired a girl before and also advocates for sex workers rights. Doug is a nurse practitioner and has seen the physical risks associated with having more partners. The number of clients Jordan sees in a month is approximately equal to the number of partners Doug has had in his life so I understand his anxiety. I'm not as concerned about the safety aspect because I've tested positive for things before, I get tested frequently and I use protection.
Recently it's become clear to me that Tommy and Jordan think I disapprove of her career choice and make a lot of assumptions about why they think I would feel that way. Tommy has told me before that I could make a lot of money doing sex work, and encouraged me to pursue contacting men on craigslist who post casual encounters that peak my interest when I'm short on cash. When I respond that sex work isn't for me, that I'm uncomfortable with it, he perceives it as a personal attack or insult to his wife
When Jordan first told me she is a sex worker, I told her that I have some experience in that field and I think it's great she's doing something she likes. When I was 18 I funded a study abroad trip by giving hand jobs and foot fetish massages to men from craigslist. It paid well and I was financially secure on the trip. Afterwards I didn't feel fulfilled by the experience because I felt creeped out by my clients.
My only memories of my biological father are of his penis, and of him hitting me. It's all a confusing blur to me. Did he molest me? I'll never know for sure. He disappeared from my life when I was 8 years old and now he's dead. My mom was raised Irish Catholic and the subject of sex is completely taboo to her. She beat me when I was sexually suggestive as a toddler. Today, violence is a significant part of my sexual relationships.
When I was 14, I lost my virginity to my boyfriend and I wrote about it in my journal. No one had ever talked to me about sex. I came home from school one day and my mom had thrown away all my possessions and chased me out of the house, throwing things at me like a roller blade and whatever was handy. She read my journal. At first I went to friends houses, but she had the police pick me up and bring me home. Then she'd abuse me and throw me out again. She'd tell me that she loves me but she really doesn't like me, and that I'm just like my father. Child Protective Services got involved.
After a few times of this I went to Telegraph Ave in Berkeley because I knew some gutter punks out there. I found a day center and a case worker who told me where I could sleep and provided me with one meal a day and a sleeping bag.
In the shelter, I woke up at night with my body and clothes molested and disturbing child-like notes on top of me. I couldn't sleep in the shelter anymore. I tried sleeping on the stoop of a church, but homeless men would walk by and ask me questions like, "Are you sleeping here all night?" Or, they'd walk away and come back with a friend or two and my adrenaline would drive me to leave quickly. I couldn't rest anywhere and was constantly moving at night because if I didn't, men would proposition me or steal from me. I slept with a knife in my hand. I found out why all the homeless people at the day center slept there during the day. My flirtatious case worker at the day center offered to take care of me. He said he liked me and I could stay with him. I didn't feel safe at the day center anymore either.
The worst night, and the last straw was when a man told me about a couch in a garage that was safe to sleep on. No one would bother me there. I was so tired that I went to the couch and fell asleep. I was woken up by a homeless man grinding on top of me. I had been set up. I had my steak knife though, and I threatened the man with it. He sat up on the other side of the couch and hit his glass pipe. He offered me some. I left.
I went home and tried to be the abstinent perfect daughter with good grades that my mom wanted. She made me live in a group home that was later closed by the health department. My district high school didn't want me. They said I didn't "fit in". They sent me to a charter school for teenage girls who had been rape victims, prostitutes and drug addicts. It was ironically called Circle of Care and functioned alongside S.T.R.I.V.E. My peers there exposed me to amazing experiences like being forced to have sex with a stranger without a condom on a bathroom floor, and being drugged and date raped in the back of a suburban. We had weekly visits from a Planned Parenthood volunteer who gave us birth control and pap smears, rides to obtain abortions as needed, and random drug tests. On a typical day we had more therapy than academics. I was frequently institutionalized for weeks at a time as a danger to myself and others because I kept trying to kill myself. Everyone treated me like I was a spoiled rich girl lashing out. Girls at the school called me "Rich White Bitch". I started to view in-patient treatment as a vacation and at the time I felt like I couldn't tell anyone what was going on.
The charter school lost it's grant and accreditation and I was sent to a school at juvenile hall until I could enroll in another public high school. That's where I finally managed to get in a safe place, get good grades, and convince everyone that I was sort of normal. My mom had remarried a Mormon man and I got baptized Mormon. I made new friends who didn't know about my past and playfully referred to me as their innocent Mormon friend.
So now I'm 26 and happy being polyamorous and long distance. Unfortunately I encounter emotional disturbance when Tommy and Jordan make assumptions about the reasons I say "I'm uncomfortable with sex work and I'm not interested in doing it." I feel like I have to tell them about my experience because they don't know. Tommy won't even hear me out about it without getting insulted and angry, so when I try to explain my perspective his reaction makes me feel like I'm trying to prove I'm not "square". I tried talking to him about it this week when he suggested I pursue an ad on CL for money, but he is stressed out about a lot of things and was very challenging about the subject. He gets a lot of grief from people he calls "squares" who judge him and say shitty things about his wife's work. He assumes that because sex work isn't for me, I look down on his wife because of what she does. I'm not his wife's biggest fan right now but that's because of things she's said, not her career. I feel like I will get over what she's said with time. Tommy says I should see a therapist and get the support I need because he can't give it to me. The thing is, I'm not asking him for support I'm asking him to be aware of my experience and stop making unfair assumptions about me.
My experiences make me a strong advocate of expressing sexuality in healthy ways. I encourage anyone who pays for sex under fair terms, and I fully support anyone who makes a living doing something they like. When someone suggests that sex work would be great for me, I usually say that I've tried it and it wasn't for me. People suggest it a lot because I'm a sexual deviant. I've only told a handful of people about small fractions of the experience I've described here. This week, because of these conversations with Tommy, I've been thinking about my past a lot and crying a lot too. That's why I'm posting this. I want to lay it all out for myself. Maybe I'll share it with Tommy. Maybe we'll break up.
Thank you for posting your story. You are a very strong person, and I admire your ability to rebuild your life under incredibly challenging circumstances.
Even if your only reason for declining sex work was out of a lack of interest, and you had an idyllic childhood, Tommy has no business belittling you, or questioning your motives. Your opinions of what you want for yourself should be respected.
I say you go with your instincts in not disclosing your story to Tommy. The situation sounds complicated and more than a little hostile.
Oh, honey, I want to hug you. You write brilliantly and it makes me want to make a screenplay out of your autobiography. I also want to smash anyone who is mean to you. Ugh!
Listen, why not just send Tommy and Jordan here to read what you wrote? Maybe then they'll stop acting like such arrogant fucks and get off their high horses! I sure hope so. It sounds like a part of him wants you to get into sex work just to justify to himself that it's okay that Jordan does it.
What indie and SN said. You *do* write beautifully, and you've told your story really clearly. I wish I'd had myself that "together" at 26.
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