Eventually, I heard the word ‘burnout’ by other sex workers and it suddenly made perfect sense. I couldn’t cope with the intensity that came with being a sex worker, a student and a full-time worker in another job. It was strange because I was so used to overworking. My whole life I committed myself to two jobs, studying and my family. Burnout wasn’t a thing. It didn’t exist in my universe. I was unprepared for its paralysing and merciless grasp. Once I understood what it was, I could keep it under wraps. I needed to learn how to recognise the signs of a burnout before it fully wrenched my spirit from my body in a vise-like grip.
I have learnt to accept the burnout as a sort of workplace hazard and how to manage it. Like a creeping UTI, I can battle it before it reaches me. It’s up to every sex worker to learn what a burnout means to them and to prepare for it. It’s unwise to avoid it or pretend it doesn’t exist because it doesn’t avoid you. It can cripple you and will only be rid of you when it’s ready to. I’ve only had one other burnout to that severity and length ever since. The second one was worse, it took me a month and a half to recover and it engulfed me in almost exactly in the same manner. You’d think I’d have learnt from the first but hey, I fucked up anyway.
After this traumatic experience, I learnt that if I were to continue to live my life as a sex worker, I needed the support of my closest friends. Lying to your favourite people isn’t a nice feeling, even if it’s for the better. No matter if it’s the starkest white of white lies, it doesn’t feel too good. So one by one, I confessed my ‘secret’ to the people whom I needed the most. All those people are with me today and continue to love me, even if they worry from time to time. I’m fortunate like that.
One of the key things I have learn from that experience is that even though I can meet my sexual needs through my work, it will never be exactly to my liking. I’ve isolated the trigger to my burnouts as a lack of sexual satisfaction and that might sound ironic coming from a sex worker. The thing is, no matter how many clients I see, my focus is always on them. I am incapable of focusing exclusively on myself. Even if it’s the clients desire to pleasure only me, I’m always pushing myself to be pleasured by them to meet their needs rather than completely letting go. As someone who works with hourly intervals, I feel I must orgasm for my clients within that fixed period in order to do my job exceptionally. Before long, I figured that I need to have sex for myself, in a manner that works for me and since then, I’ve found someone to provide that for me. Much like a psychologist needs to see another psychologist because of the sheer volume of emotion they’re exposed to and the adverse ability this has to manifest, so it goes that I need a sexual partner to unload on. A husband wouldn’t ask his psychologist wife why she would seek a psychologist when she could just speak to him and it just so happens with me that my romantic life and my need for sexual care are not intertwined. The sex that I have for me is not intimate or entangled with emotions; it’s raw and explosive and catered especially for me. As for my love life … well, that’s a whole other story.