I made the mistake with a kinda new but very regular fan of mentioning I have a side-gig making jewelry and selling it on Etsy. As soon as he heard that, he said wants to invest in my business so I don’t have to cam anymore. I said I’m not interested, but he insists.
He’s told me a ton about himself, including where he works and pictures of his security badge so I can Google him, but I really don’t want to get mixed up with him. He hasn’t done anything threatening, but something about his offer just feels off to me. What should I do?
— Wary in Worchester
As an author of self-care books for sex workers, at least once a month I’m approached with some variation of your question: a client or fan wants to “help” or otherwise get involved in your life, but it doesn’t feel right. My advice is always the same. The fact that you’re reaching out for my opinion tells me everything I need to know — you don’t trust this guy. That’s your answer!
I understand deeply, from my own experience, that it’s not always easy to say no to something when we can’t articulate a concrete reason why. So I want to talk more about why it is so, so, so very important in camming, sex work and all other facets of life to follow your instincts. Every time.
Why Trust Your Gut?
Intuition is built up from an accumulation of all our past experiences, along with the wisdom we’ve gained from them. As is happens, in your case, all kinds of red flags are waving bright. He wants to “rescue” you from camming. He’s sharing a bunch of personal details you didn’t ask for. He won’t take no for an answer. These are clear signs that he wants to encroach on your life, take control and make you dependent on him. Not good.
More generally, when something feels off about a person, you may be responding to cues that your conscious mind has completely forgotten from an incident in your far-distant past. That’s why we often experience intuition as a sideways, niggling sensation, something that’s just out of sight, something we can’t quite put our finger on. That doesn’t make it any less wise.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that we’re conditioned as social creatures to be nice, accommodating and understanding, to give folks the benefit of the doubt — especially those of us raised femme/female. Predators rely on this. Instinct is a function of our bodies and brains trying to signal that someone’s motives don’t quite add up, even if on the surface that person is saying and doing all the right things. Put another way, our animal selves sometimes can sense signals our human selves overlook.
On the flip side, our intuition doesn’t just let us know when something is wrong. It’s also there to signal when something feels really right — a sensation of calm or deep connection or heading down the correct path. When we meet someone and have that notion that we’ve known them all our lives or that we’re going to be friends with them until the day we die, that’s real, too.
Intuition appears in many forms, and not all of us experience it the same way. Sometimes it’s a little voice in your head or a feeling like you can’t focus. It might come on as a wave of emotion, like disorientation or anxiety. You might experience it as a bodily sensation like restlessness, nausea, goosebumps, sweaty palms or a stone in the pit of your stomach. It might pop up as a strong desire to be somewhere else. You might find yourself suddenly only able to think about another person, place or situation. All of these are valid signs that your intuition is trying to get your attention.
If intuition is an inner resource you wish to cultivate, I recommend mindfulness practice. Making a habit of taking a few moments out of each day to notice your thoughts and bodily sensations makes you more aware of those times when your internal compass is pointing to danger.
Finally, I just want to say, it’s lovely when we’re able to act on our intuition without needing external support. That’s a goal we all can strive for. But sometimes we just not able to give ourselves permission, and we need someone outside ourselves for validation. That’s perfectly fine. There is zero shame in going to someone whose opinion you respect — a good friend or coworker or an advice columnist — to talk through your ambivalence. That’s what your support network is for.
Until next time, be sweet to yourself.
Lola Davina is a longtime veteran of the sex industry and author of Thriving in Sex Work: Sex Work and Money, her followup to the formative Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry. You can get the audio version of Sex Work and Money via Awesound here. Contact Davina at Lola.Davina@ynotcam.com and visit her on Twitter at @Lola_Davina.
Image of Lola Davina courtesy Pat Mazzera.