My hero, Leigh Alanna, has written about (and thus alerted me to the concept of) AUTHENTIC PLEASURE MAN. This is the name she (or maybe sex workers in general?) gives to a particular kind of sex work client who wants to make sure you’re really, for real, enjoying yourself. Sexually, that is, not on an “I’m doing my job well” level. Not just acting like you’re experiencing sexual pleasure. I guess the thought of being “serviced” is distasteful to these guys, and in theory that’s kind of nice but in practice it comes off as a bunch of invasiveness and pressure. I think I’ve just encountered my first one of these guys.
I recently made a custom clip for someone. Not a foot-fetish clip, which has been my ouevre so far. A clip for a different fetish – something tangentially related to my own interests but not really my thing per se. But I’m a decent actress, and also really imaginative and empathetic and amazing at dirty talk; I can usually find the tension in a fetish even if I don’t precisely feel it myself, and work it for all it’s worth. I enjoy the challenge of bringing a fetish to life in that way. So when I sent the finished clip to the client yesterday and he thought it was fantastic and raved on and on about all the spectacular little details I’d included, I was totally jazzed at having conquered this challenge. Like, on such a high that I texted everyone I know (who’s aware that I make clips) to brag about my accomplishment. On such a high that I could barely even sleep last night. I did enjoy making this clip, obviously; on a performer level and an “I’m so awesome at my job” level.
The client and I got to talking via FetLife message afterward and he asked if I’d be into doing some role-play sometime. He’d totally asked me that a few days previous and at that time I was like “Oh, like as in cybersex but pertaining to [fetish]? I can’t really get into cybersex unless it’s with someone I’m really into. Also, my interest in [fetish] is more [tangential thing]; what you like and what I like only have a tiny little bit of overlap.” At that time, he seemed to understand and gracefully backed down and we made some small talk and he ended up ordering a clip from me. This time around with the “how’s about some role play?” thing I assumed he was talking about pay-for-play as I thought I’d made my stance on free cybersex with randos clear. So I was like “what, like Skyping for money or something? I’ve been considering that but trying to work out the logistics.”
And he was like no, for free. Do I enjoy [fetish] enough to do some role-play with him for free? And wow, way to put me on the spot, AUTHENTIC PLEASURE MAN. I can only assume that between the amount of talking we’d done in the process of negotiating the content and price of the clip, and my convincing performance in the actual clip itself, he felt that my previous conditions had been met: that I was into him and into [fetish].
I didn’t want to ruin the clip for him by telling him I’d been completely acting, but he’d sort of backed me into a corner. What I ended up saying was that I like role play a lot but it takes a lot of energy and focus for me, and therefore I need a little incentive to do that instead of, oh, fucking around on the FetLife discussion boards or watching Netflix or some other thing that’s both fun and easy. I said it’s like how someone can really love their job but wouldn’t want to do it if they stopped getting paid – there are some things that are enjoyable but not something you’d do for free.
And he never replied. At all. So I guess I’ve shattered his dreams or something. Which bothers me because I did genuinely like him! And I did genuinely enjoy making that clip for him! Just…not in the way he was hoping.
So I suppose now he’s off in a huff thinking I’m this cold transactional bitch who only wants money.
For what it’s worth, I’m usually too lazy even to enact kinks I love with people I love, if the scenario involves a lot of set-up. I own costumes and wigs and I love playing pretend; when I was dating Mine I fantasized about being a lovesick Harley Quinn torturing Mine a.k.a. The Joker for not returning her feelings. But I was going to do it as a birthday present to him – not just any old time – because costumes and makeup take time and energy and I do not have the goddamned spoons. Strap-on play is too much exertion for me, too a lot of the time. I am simply not a person who can be like “let’s have sex! I’ll start getting ready and meet you in the bedroom in an hour!”
So yes, if someone I’m not in a relationship with wants me to enact his fantasies for him, I’ll need incentive to do so. Even if his fantasies are also my fantasies (which in the case of AUTHENTIC PLEASURE MAN up there, they were not). Because acting out fantasies is work, and work has to be compensated somehow, and since there’s no pre-existing romantic relationship there it’s not gonna get compensated by love.
I suppose I should take it as a testament to my stellar acting skills that dude thought I was into [fetish] and into him even though I’d specifically told him that I was not. But jeez, why couldn’t he just enjoy the fruits of my emotional labour and leave it at that*? Why’d he have to make things all weird?
*I agree with Leigh Alanna’s idea of the perfect gig. I am a luxury service, here to make you happy. Just enjoy being the focus of attention and don’t start pulling at loose threads. 😛