Cheating and the Ethical Sex Worker

I was asked on that lovely site formspring this question, which I get asked fairly often:

As an ethically non-monogamous/polyamorous individual who is also a sex worker, how do you feel about potentially enabling someone to cheat on their spouse?

This is an interesting one for me, as obviously my work involves a lot of guys whose partner has no idea they're sleeping with anyone else- never mind a sex worker! That said, not all my clients are in that situation- my last one was here on his business and apparently his girlfriend, who is also a sex worker, recommended he come to me, and before that I had a couple clients who were single. Interestingly, when I was doing one hour incalls, I had a lot more clients who had partners.

Anyway, this is also something I dealt with a lot in polyamory. Obviously, it's great when you can speak to the other lover/s, but that isn't always part of their agreements. You kind of have to trust that when the person you're dating/casually sleeping with says "this is ok and within the boundaries of my commitments", they're telling you the truth. I've definitely been on the "other woman" side of agreements that were not well-negotiated or not discussed, and it sucks, for everyone involved.

Now, generally, in those situations, where you have a V- two people connected by a common lover- if one person on the end of the V feels like they haven't been getting the full story, or the care they need, they will blame the person on the other end of the V. This is the "other woman" story- the "other woman" is stealing him away, the "other woman" seduced him, etc. Many crimes of passion, and movies showing such,  involve the two women fighting while the guy sits back and takes little if any of the blame.

I hate that.

I mean, I get it, definitely- it's easier to be angry at this other person, that you have no connection to or feelings for, than it is to be angry at the person you love. However, personally, I decided a long time ago that, if I was in that V situation as an end point, I would make sure that I directed my anger/hurt at the shared lover, not the "other woman".  Because it was my lover who wasn't being upfront, my lover who wasn't checking in, my lover who had a commitment to at least negotiate what our boundaries were- not the other person, who may or may not even know me. 

With that in mind, with the question of cheating, I also decided that I wasn't going to take ethical responsibility for someone else's commitments. To be cold about it- that's not my problem. If they're choosing to cheat, or lie, or if they got permission, whatever- that's a discussion for them to have with their partner. Cheating sucks, dishonesty sucks, but it's not my ethical responsibility to make sure my clients are behaving appropriately.

Never mind that all that's on a moral level- also, quite frankly, I'm doing my job. My job is to provide pleasure and self discovery to my client, not to wrangle his personal affairs. Just as it's not a bartender's responsibility to make sure her customers aren't alcoholics. She can only provide for her customers as safely and responsibly as she can. Similarly, I can only provide my clients with safer sex, make sure I'm healthy, and encourage my clients to try talking to their partners about their desires, give them ways to try to bridge the gap. And that's where my responsibility begins and ends, I think.

Tough stuff, for sure, but making for an interesting blog!

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