Single Mom Doing Sex Work—Is She Obligated to Disclose?



All around solid advice, and good on you LW for doing what you need to do for your family and standing your ground.


I trust you're also charging sales tax and meeting your Federal and State income tax obligations, including self-employment tax, as well as deducting the expenses for your profession (% of home utilities, bedding, birth control expenses, etc). Hire a CPA.


I'll second qapla @ 1 concerning the LW standing her ground.

As for the advice, well, IDK about the last bit. If anyone withheld such a crucial bit of information from me for two years (!!!), no matter what it is and for what reason they didn't come clean earlier, I'd dump them immediately. There would obviously not be enough trust on their part for the relationship to work, and my own trust would instantly disappear as I'd constantly be wondering what other surprise I can expect.

Two years is a long time. It takes quite a lot of skill to manage to lie/deflect questions/invent fictional gatherings with friends or business meetings/etc. for such a long period, and in my experience, people with such skills tend to use them whenever it suits them. Not a good basis for a relationship.


You working for the govt @2? Hope you post such comments on Amazon’s etc pages. Pathetic comment. This woman is a single mother raising two children and you go on about taxes.


@#2 LOL. But seriously, that's not the advice the LW was requesting, so zip it, please. Those asking for help aren't fodder for random lectures on whatever subject you see fit.


@5 - okay


Never rely on someone else's kindness for your basic economic needs. I'm guessing there aren't many sugar daddies looking for a woman with 2 kids but... that sounds more like the type of arrangement you want?

Next time you meet a generous man, have him pay for college courses rather than a car. That's what my mother did (well, she wasn't a sex worker, just met a guy with a good job who could keep us afloat while she went to school). College degree is the single best investment in the world right now. Get in on it.


@4 @5 the whoosh is strong


Oddly, raindrop @2 has a point, in that the LW is not paying into Social Security if she’s keeping it under the table, and this could be a bad financial move in the long term due to women’s long life expectancy. If she was married for 10 years to the ex, she can draw at his rate in her elder years (unless she remarries), but that wasn’t in the letter. Best of luck to her...


New concept: hire a male CPA, trade his services for hers, fall in love, discover he’s into hotwifing, he runs the back office for her business, live happily and securely ever after.


I agree with Ricardo @3. Either date in sex-positive circles where you can be open about providing non-PIV services for a fee, or keep it to yourself and deal with the consequences.


Hmm. Why the unkind words for WORK's ex-boyfriend? He "progressively got less generous" according to WORK, but that's not a strike against him - you pay a prostitute for sex (or, according to some, for the lack of strings after), not a girlfriend (at least, not in my experience). The fact that he was still paying her or buying (or, as it turns out un the case of the car, loaning - pro-tip, you don't own a car if you name isn't on the title) her expensive gifts AT ALL once he putatively stopped being a client is weird; WORK seems to have missed the fact that people generally consider the mutual exchange of sexual attention and social/emotional support/labor an equitable trade within dating relationships on its own and don't straight-up pay their girlfriends or boyfriends to date them (exception for people like Donald Trump, who very much - and almost certainly explicitly - pays women to date/marry/procreate with him).

Sure, the guy should have anticipated that a prostitute might be planning to continue doing sex work and not be sexually exclusive (even if romantically exusive) by default, but he's allowed to set his own boundaries/conditions for the relationship and decide he doesn't want to date someone he has to pay and/or who will still be fucking other people. WORK's expectations sound more unrealistic/unreasonable than her ex's to me. I think she's obligated to disclose anything she does that poses a significant risk to a partner, and I think it's in her interest to disclose her profession so that she screens out people who don't want to date someone doing sex work - such people are bad partners for her by definition. She's not owed a partner (or clients, for that matter), and she can maximize her odds of finding a compatible partner by not concealing things about her life like her vocation.

On that count, given that Melania is nearly 50, our orangutan-in-chief may be looking for a newer model soon.


Ugh, missed some typos: "un" should be "in" and "you" should be "your."


Really Dan? Not being ok with your partner doing sex work means you are a controlling and possessive asshole?

If you had just said stingy asshole, ok maybe. But most people (99%?) would view sex work— whether providing or consuming— as out of bounds in a monogamous relationship,
regardless of health concerns.

They had an agreement that was not unreasonable (again, minus his stinginess), but she chose to lie and cheat. Ok, stuff happens, she had a hard life and was trying to make ends meet, fine, I don’t judge her harshly. But this does not sound like a good guy/bad guy situation, just two people who weren’t well-matched.

And I am not sure I follow, are you really saying that it is ok not to disclose sex work in the context of a monogamous relationship? Really? I can do sex work and not tell my wife? Is it ok not to disclose seeing sex workers too? Yahtzee.


Ok I read it again and I guess Dan wasn’t saying that you can hide sex work in exclusive relationships. My bad!


Probably the 99% is too high. 85%?


I’m not sure if what LW vaguely describes as “specialized niche service” should be taken as 100% PIV-free as Dan is suggesting at some point. PIV and other contact acts can still occur as part of, before, and after a said niche.

While raindrop @ 2 attempts to be judgmentally funny he probably inadvertently points to something that could really help LW and society at large: legalizing sex work.


My whoosh is always strong, Sportlandia @8.
The LW works in retail, therefore she’s paying her taxes, social security.. whatever the deal is over there. She’s kept one client.
Agree with Ricardo and Erica. Two yrs is way too long to not disclose, so date, as Erica says, in sex positive communities,
LW, Good on you for looking after your children after their father abandoned his share of the work. Pox on his house.
Sorry the client/ bf was a sadistic turd. He gets six figures and didn’t offer to help until you got more established job wise. Then he took the car back. Guess it’s too late to send him a bill for services, given the car was payment. What a jerk.


Ex-client/'boyfriend' shouldda paid her
not to 'work' if he felt that strongly about it
or moved on.


CMD, the LW said it is PiV Free, so why are you second guessing her. Agree, legailze sex work.
Our govt has no issue with taking sex workers taxes. Sex work here is not an issue and our PM, bless his sucking up to Trump soul, is a fundie Christian. Never heard a peep from him about it.


He knows not to go there.


@19 yeah he should have either paid her or moved on, and she should have either been honest with him or moved on. Now, thankfully, they have both moved on.


I’m confused. The third-wave feminists keep telling me that sex work is super empowering and awesome for women. Guess this LW is just doing it wrong.


What @23? This woman is raising two children by herself, can’t pick up any weakness in her letter. She’s empowered, you just can’t see it.


The consensus around here used to be: you are obliged to disclose everything that you can reasonably assume to be a dealbreaker for the other person. Doing sex work on the side qualifies, in my opinion.
Also, the "It's not really sex if it isn't PIV"-argument is not taken seriously when used by cheaters or religious types, and it shouldn't be here, either.


reasonably assume to be a POSSIBLE dealbreaker


Two years is too long, for sure. The question in my mind is whether the LW wants to make sex work part of her long-term income stream. If so, she should reveal right up front. I'd date a sex worker, but just like poly, I'd want to know up front.


What a douchebag. He gets involved with a woman he knows needs to do sex work to support herself -- whom he himself meets by paying her for sex work -- then condemns her back to poverty by insisting she give up her only source of income, while keeping "the milk for free" himself. Was he paying any other sex workers during this time? Glad he's out of the picture!

As for her current question, I'd rephrase Dan's advice slightly: "a new romantic partner—someone you've made a commitment to, somehow who might reasonably assume* you're exclusive" -- in the early days of a relationship, it's not reasonable to assume you're exclusive until you have the talk about being exclusive. However, reasonable people aren't going to assume the person they're dating is having sex with multiple people for money, either. Sex workers present a different level of risk than civilians who are casually dating, and that's why this risk level should be disclosed, not to dispel an (unreasonable) assumption of monogamy. Otherwise agree -- she's not exposing him to any STI risk, so she should tell guys when she thinks she may want to get more serious with them. If anything, the way they react may inform her whether she has another douchebag on her hands.


Wait, I just got to the end: "And if you meet a good, decent, and understanding guy and, say, two years later you decided to disclose, WORK, he should be able to wrap his good, decent, and understanding head around the reasons you didn't disclose earlier." TWO YEARS!? No, Dan, no one should hide this from a partner for TWO YEARS. I hope that was a typo and you meant months. If someone I was in a serious relationship with hid something like this -- hid ANYTHING -- from me for two years, I'd be hella pissed off, doesn't matter what the hidden thing was. Dan, you've just set this poor woman up to get dumped over and over again, not to mention having contradicted your earlier good advice: "You aren't obligated to disclose your side hustle to a casual partner—and anyone you start dating is a casual partner until the moment you decide he's not." I would say this should be disclosed within the three-month money-back-guarantee period. How will she know if he's a keeper otherwise?

Now, if you are talking about -past- sex work, fine. There's no obligation to disclose that at all -- though in an ideal world, it would come up organically and any empathetic, sex-positive partner would understand. But sex work that's concurrent to the relationship? If he doesn't know this about her, then he doesn't know her, and she's entering that relationship on false pretences. Dan, please reconsider this timeline.


Didn't know this is now a financial advice column.

Ricardo @3, snap.

John @12, are you more than one person? I used to agree with your posts, now you're making no sense at all. "He's allowed to set his own boundaries/conditions for the relationship and decide he doesn't want to date someone he has to pay and/or who will still be fucking other people." It's the and/or that's wrong. Either he accepts that she needs to support herself and this is how he knew along she was doing it, or he fills that cash gap. He wanted to withhold his cake and not eat it either, which is selfish and controlling. You can't end a sex worker's career without becoming her exclusive sugar daddy, which he could easily afford to do, but didn't, because he wanted her to struggle. Great guy.

The rest of your post I agree with. It's in her interest to screen out people who wouldn't date a (current or former) sex worker, so she should tell them and avoid heartache down the line.

Kristofarian @19, exactly.

Lava @24, agree. It wasn't the sex work that disempowered this woman, it was an attempt to have a traditional monogamous relationship with a wealthy man. What does that tell you?

RE @25, yes. And I would date a sex worker, too, but only if they were honest with me about it.


I don’t see why it has to be assumed it’s a POSSIBLE deal breaker RE@26. And this from a man who goes to sex workers.
If she’s a Domme, then I can see some men finding that hot. Not to mention many on FetLife are on the money trail. It’s hardly a discreet few doing these jobs.
Depends on the man, because this woman is fine with her story. Find a poly man in the kink community.


Lava @31: RE was speaking generally about possible dealbreakers. This one is a possible dealbreaker because it would be for many people, but not everyone.
Agree that poly, kinky men are probably her best target market.


Yes Fan, it’s lucky Dan has got his trusted team here to balance him up. Speaking Of Librans, nearly b’day time for our dear Daniel.
Though I forget the date.


Yeah, I know what RE was saying, Fan. I also think it’s hypocritical given he goes to sex workers.
It depends on the man, like I said, because this woman has no problem supporting her children this way.
She sounds like she enjoys her one client.
Doesn’t a lover, a poly man, want his partners happy and able to fend for themselves and their children?
People have to survive and the USA sounds hard work as a single person. This woman is keeping three people going.
She sounds a solid woman to me.


It didn’t need to be said Fan. We all know it’s a possible dealbreaker. Maybe I’ve read you wrong RE. A few men here jumped straight to see sex work as somehow a problem, which in the general public it is. We are responding to this letter.
This woman has her head screwed on, and is not judging herself. It’s sex work. And by the sound of it her house is clean. Braces for her kid ffs. Big bucks for those. So glad none of my kids needed them.


Lava @34, how is it hypocritical? RE isn't saying that it would be a dealbreaker for him. He's saying it would be a dealbreaker for many people, which is objectively true. Poly would be a dealbreaker for many people, and that's not hypocritical for me as a poly person to say. I think you have read RE wrong. He's just reiterating/contradicting Dan's point (depending on which part of his post you're reading) that because sex work is a possible dealbreaker, she should disclose it to potential partners before things get serious.


The part of Dan's advice I liked the most is 'do what's best for your kids'.

The LW gets $200 a week, which is vital to her, for performing a sexualised scene. Her question is whether she should disclose this to casual partners and dates. The advice given is sound: 'no' or, rather, 'no, not until such time as your partner becomes serious'. This is all easy....

What to say about what's already happened is hard, would be much harder, other than that it's all in the past.... 'Do not turn a client into a partner': this is a good rule, it would seem, for a sex worker. Do not take him for an amazing man; he may be, in some contexts, but for you he is a client and, at best, an amazingly reliable payer. The LW's tone and language is across-the-board immoderate. She was 'abandoned' by her ex. Not just 'left'? He didn't have his reasons? Her description of how she took on an old client again behind her bf's back doesn't seem to accept this was the wrong thing to do morally. (The right thing to do would have been to have said something like, 'fuck you, you earn six figures; I have two children, you're my partner, can't you spend some money on them?'). And 'reached out' isn't quite the idiom to use for procuring a former client. The LW needs to separate work and relationships much, much better and more clearly than she has been doing. Process, think things through, see your first ex's side more, any ex's side more, come to a more rounded view.... None of this means giving on up on the sex gig.


@12. John Horstman. The basis for the LW's relationship with her former-client and former-bf in the story is always that she's dependent on him. She expects 'generosity' in some form or another--maybe tips for her sex work, to begin with, then gifts or ex gratia payments or financial support. We have her word that they were in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship--would he have said the same thing? His understanding may well have been that he was paying her indirectly to remain monogamous. I can't imagine that he didn't see the terms of their interaction in this way--as him paying (or giving) and her taking; and, on that basis, he was appallingly stingy, especially towards her children. Taking back the car? It's not as if he needed it financially.

If they had a more substantial and equitable partnership (which I doubt), the LW didn't believe in it. She didn't sit down and ask her 'bf', 'what do we do about my being so hard up?'

@19. kristofarian. I would think he did indirectly--on good terms for himself. She cut him too cheap a deal.

@23. Escapee. Well, she is--or was--doing it wrong. Transitioning a client to a boyfriend was a poor move. It is, in principle, and it worked out as such. Sex work is professional work. There are reasons it's 'empowering', that it plays to someone's sense of their capability, strength, intelligence, resourcefulness etc., and reasons that it's difficult, demanding or a drudge. This is true of almost all lines of work--of 'I have to get in at 8.30am every morning' (for an office job) vs 'I have to be at someone's beck and call and work on their terms' (for contract-based or ad hoc work). Why should sex work be any different?

@25. Registered European. You might be obliged to disclose potential dealbreakers to a partner when your terms of engagement are relatively known or have been negotiated, but I wouldn't think you are to a date.


If the LW had ten men on the go, yes, this could be a problem. She has one client. And a man she appears to like.
To answer the question LW, I have no idea. Given sex work is illegal in the US, you do have to be circumspect. Hang out in places where kink happens, and play it by ear. Trust your abilities to know who you can trust. It’s a tough one because there are dangers, re being found out.
Talk with other sex workers in the kink community about how they navigate these


@29. Bi. Agree about 'two years.' Not two year six months? Not 'earlier, if your sex work involves handstands?'. Angels fucking on pinheads and angels lying on pinheads. The criterion should be 'disclose if you think your partner / lover / boyfriend / regular fuckbuddy would want to know. If he would potentially view you differently'. That's an ethical norm, and any other condition is just self-interest.


A poly person can reasonably and consistently veto certain potential metamours, and could embargo his or her partner doing sex work on a similar basis.

The LW made things harder for her kids by having a poor read on her ex-client ex-bf's character. She would have done better not to have dated him--to have stayed on the payroll. I don't think she'll make the same mistake again. Why not look for lovers or boyfriends beyond the pool (now much smaller) of her clients? This could be a self-confidence issue for her. But she may well find someone who's fine with her sex work.


Harriet @41, I disagree that consistently vetoing one's partners partners is reasonable poly behaviour. What's reasonable is to let one's partners make their own decisions. If one has reservations about a certain person that the partner cannot see through their NRE-coloured glasses, one has the right to voice those reservations, but not to veto anyone. Poly folk who are in strong primary relationships may hold more favourable views toward veto rights, but if you are using them anything but sparingly, you're being controlling.

Sure, people have the right to decide they don't want to date someone who does sex work. This is why the sex worker must disclose early, to let them make that informed decision. But no one has the right to get into a relationship with a sex worker and demand that they stop. Particularly someone who met that person through the sex work!


Harriet @37: "She was 'abandoned' by her ex. Not just 'left'? He didn't have his reasons?" Perhaps he did, but I took "abandoned" to mean he stopped supporting them too. Philophile, if you're reading, here's an example of someone whose financial situation DID make her "resort to" sex work.


Lava @34 and BDF @36: BDF @36 correctly summarizes what I meant.


Both of them wanted to have and eat their cake. He wanted her to give up sex work, but not be financially dependent on him. She wanted to stay in an exclusive relationship without giving up sex work. Star-crossed lovers.


LW, I do feel you need to disclose, it’s not clear to me when. If you casually date, and always use condoms, I don’t think this is the time you disclose.
So much ballyhoo, LW, about people selling their sex, which often engages their hearts, when most people are selling themselves day in and day out to the machine.
If you’re ok with how you conduct your life, that’s what counts.
Others though turn up their noses.
Like sex work hasn’t been a necessary and very important part of cultures. Ours, for sure. So you have to adjust for this. I admire the clarity with which you have lived and cared for your children.
Be honest about yourself, when it feels time.
Also when you and a man start talking one on one, seeking a deeper connection. Poly connection, because you want to keep your client.
When you zoom in on each other, and start to share lives.. that’s when you mention children and sex work. He might have some surprises for you.
Say NSA if that feels safer. As people keep pointing out, that’s a well worn pathway to more. However, you promise nothing at the start.


Joeburner @45, it wasn't that she didn't want to give up the sex work. It was that she couldn't afford to. A problem he could have solved, but chose not to.


So, after a discussion about giving up sex work and being in a monogamous relationship, LW went back to sex work with one of her clients to make ends meet. She was found out and dumped the client until her kids needed braces and glasses. The BF found out again and dumped her, making his a controlling asshole? Maybe he was, and I certainly want to be on LW's side, but this is more a likely result of her actions than him being a controlling POS.

LW is probably right that most guys won't be interested in a relationship with someone who does sex work on the side. Unfair? Sure, but plenty of otherwise good, decent, and understanding guys are going to freak the fuck out if their girlfriend of two years tells them they've been engaging in sex work on the side, PIV or no. If LW needs to continue with sex work to support her family, then she should do what she needs to do. However, not having a relationship is a cost she needs to be prepared to pay. Going for two years without informing a partner of this, as Dan suggests, would really make LW a bit of a POS.


Mike @48: Certainly, she shouldn't have cheated. When she realised she couldn't make ends meet without the sex work, she should have had a frank discussion with her partner instead of just "hinting." She should have put it straight to him that she needed the extra income and his choices were to accept her doing sex work (which he certainly found acceptable enough in the beginning, hello) or help her out with her expenses. Which is exactly what it sounds like she did when she realised for the second time that she couldn't afford her kid's braces. Would he have been more understanding if she hadn't cheated the first time, we have no way of knowing. One question is how long they were together. Certainly, it seems inappropriate to expect a partner of less than a year to pay for your kids' medical expenses, even if that partner is rich. But then we go back to it being unreasonable for him to expect her to give up her livelihood if he wasn't going to become her sugar daddy. If he suddenly developed a moral objection, he's a hypocrite.


Bi @49: We're all hypocrites at some level, and yes, it sounds like they agreed she would give up sex work and he'd contribute something towards supporting her (the car and maybe more). Neither side should try to claim any moral superiority, my take is they're just two people with human-like flaws trying to figure something out. She didn't stick to her end of the agreement, he didn't offer the kind of support she needed. I'm not really judging either one, but focusing on the BF as a controlling asshole glosses was glossing over a lot of problems. Ignoring these and giving a timeline for disclosure measured in years isn't likely to make her next relationship successful.


“you pay a prostitute for sex”

Actually you pay a prostitution to leave after sex.


"Really Dan? Not being ok with your partner doing sex work means you are a controlling and possessive asshole?"

Meeting a sex worker because you're a client of that sex worker, asking that sex worker to date you, then telling that sex worker they can't do sex work anymore = controlling and possessive and a hypocrite too. If you're not okay dating sex workers, don't date sex workers. Your right to set that boundary, of course, and your loss.


@BDF/49 I think that's the crux of the matter. He knew what her job was when he met her - it's how he met her. He's the one who insisted she quit, knowing it would be a substantial pay cut, and then... nothing. Apparently she was supposed to just deal.

Normally yeah, I don't get behind financial support in a relatively new relationship, but that goes out the window in this case. If their relationship is serious enough for her to quit her job at his request, it's serious enough for him to make up the financial gap.


@52 Dan, why is it relevant how they met? And why is he a hypocrite? I don’t think he is saying sex work is wrong, he is saying he doesn’t want either of them to have sex outside of the relationship. (I assume that was the deal. If he still wants to be able to see sex workers, then, yeah, hypocritice.)

You can fuck a bartender (or lawyer or orthopedics resident) but not be willing to date one. Even if you meet in their place of work.

He has a price of admission which is not unreasonable. But clearly it wasn’t going to work for him and LW, and he should have realized that.


BiDanFan @42 My understanding was that "poly" usually meant a triad or something similar - not separate lovers for the primaries. Separate lovers seems more like ENM to me.

If I'm correct, then yes, I think the poly partner gets to exercise their veto powers any time they aren't interested in (for whatever reason) an intimate relationship with the potential new member of that relationship.

Unless of course, you're a certain type of Mormon, and any current wives are utterly subservient to the whims of the husband/head of household by dint of their religion...


Of course after "moving him from customer to boyfriend" it needn't even be relevant that "he progressively got less generous" had he accepted WORK's job.

Oh, and he he didn't "bought me a car" if he could "took back his car"; he merely bought a car and let WORK use it.

"Do I...disclose this work...? I feel like if I do I will never find a man who wants to be in a relationship with me."

I think you're making an incorrect assumption. Unburdening yourself of this secret at some point will like anything reduce your options but /not/ to zero.
And the odds might even be better with a former client.


(And they both should have realized that.)

@49, @50, @53 good comments


@56 JibeHo
Your definition of polyamory is not correct. It means many loves, irrespective of configurations.

Non-monogamy is about sexual activity irrespective of love(s).


I'm an hetero sex worker too, the one that doesn't involve PIV like the woman in the letter. I don;t fully agree with Dan's response (despite being a huge fan of him). the way I deal with it when dating is I never disclose at the begining, I just see where the relationship is heading. If theres potential I "test the waters first", meaning: I mention him that "I have a friend" who does my sex type of work and listen carefully how he feels about it. If I hear a negative response the "potential" is over and I move on with my life. As Dan dais you need to be cautious and thread carefully. waiting two years to disclose is crazy.


joeburner2 @55 Bartender's don't fuck people to keep a roof over their head and to feed and clothe their children. They mix drinks! The analogy only works if the bartender fucks a customer from the bar, they start dating, and then the customer/SO insists that the bartender only mix drinks for them, effectively rendering them unemployed...


@53 Dan, I suppose you could argue there is a difference between spelling out the preconditions for dating, vs actively pressuring your partner to change. But it’s a fine/blurry distinction.


@61 yeah, they mix drinks for a living and yes, I can tell them I don’t want them to do that anymore if they want to date me. (Because of the hours or because it makes them smell like smoke or because I am a recovering alcoholic or whatever reason.)


“And if you meet a good, decent, and understanding guy and, say, two years later you decided to disclose, WORK, he should be able to wrap his good, decent, and understanding head around the reasons you didn't disclose earlier. And if he can't, WORK, then he isn't the good, decent, and understanding guy you thought he was.“

Is @Dan limiting this advice to pro-domming without oral or penetrative sex? If so, that is a reasonable position. But if the definition of a good and decent man is someone totally fine that their partner doing PIV sex work without their knowledge, that is wholly specious logic and very suspect ethics. The number of people who would find this belated revelation, of what most people would consider a significant, is vanishingly small.


There is a workaround here that Dan didn't mention. People who don't respect sex workers are flawed partners, not just for sex workers but for anyone, since respect for sex workers is part of respect for all people. Respect for sex workers also has deeply to do with respect for women and for men who have sex with men, since a lot of the fake moral outrage around sex work is simply homophobia and misogyny in disguise.

As you get to know someone, you can feel out their beliefs. Do they respect women's right to self-determination? Do they think slut-shaming is wrong? If they aren't educated about the challenges sex workers face or haven't thought about them, do they start to think about them REALLY FAST once you bring the topic up, and do they arrive at reasonable, humane conclusions?

You can present yourself as someone who is empathic to sex workers and their concerns without outing yourself before you're ready. In fact, this is something all of us can do, even if we don't have sex work in our past (or in our present). We can decline to get close to people who think sex workers should be shamed.


Joeburner @55, it's completely relevant how they met. If he pays women for sex, he has zero right to tell her she can't earn a living from sex.

JibeHo @56, agree that you're incorrect. Polyamory means multiple romantic relationships, not that everyone involved must be involved with each other. It could be hierarchical (primary and secondaries) or non-hierarchical (no one is designated the "primary"); it could involve triads or quads, but doesn't have to. It differs from other forms of ethical non-monogamy, ie open relationships or DADT, because there is no "no catching feelings" rule for the non-primary partners. You don't love only one and just bang the others. Because you're not correct, you're basically saying that someone gets to veto their own partners, which of course they do. (Curious @59 said it more succinctly.)

PatriciaV @60, sounds like a good strategy.

Sublime @63, I disagree. If you disclose two years into a relationship that you -used to- do pro domming, years before you met, that seems fine with me. But do you not think that disclosing two years into a relationship that you were doing pro domming while dating this person is deceptive?


Re keeping a secret for two years -- it's not that uncommon, actually. People hide their gender, their sexuality, their kinks, their mental health issues, their past marriages, their past crimes, etc. etc.

If you're an awesome, supportive partner, then it's not impossible that your current partner will stay with you after the secret comes out. You can't count on them staying, of course, but that's true for everyone everywhere.

patriciav @60, thanks for sharing how you deal with dating & safety.


Well done to Ms Fan for picking up on LW's "hinting". I want to sentence her to a performance of Ruddigore, in particular the song in which Rose laments that her book of etiquette doesn't afford her any way for Dame Hannah to assist her in getting a romance off the ground:

If any well-bred youth I knew,
Polite and gentle, neat and trim,
Then I would hint as much to you,
And you could hint as much to him.
But here it says, in plainest print,
"It's most unladylike to hint" —
You may not hint,
You must not hint —
It says you mustn't hint, in print!

I always liked that line, as one could interpret it without the comma. Along with Three Things Very Dull Indeed (in homage to Emma and Miss Bates on Box Hill), Hinting in Print is another of those titles I have in search of a novel.

I'd give XBF a rather stronger sentence. Neither of them seems to have handled the transition realistically; he appears to have "won" the negotiations and then stuck with the agreement when his expectations entering them were worse than hers.

The "Your loss" in Mr Savage's comment seems a bit excessive, inviting the inference that only pointless prejudice would prevent someone from dating a sex worker. I'll suggest that there are some people for whom an active sex worker just isn't a great match, with no need for any deprecation.


SarahTheUnstoppable @65

"this is something all of us can do, even if we don't have sex work in our past (or in our present). We can decline to get close to people who think sex workers should be shamed."

Quoted for truth.


@66 “it's completely relevant how they met. If he pays women for sex, he has zero right to tell her she can't earn a living from sex.”

Agreed, he can’t tell her she can’t earn a living from sex. But he didn’t do that. What he can and did tell her is that she can’t earn a living from sex and date him at the same time.

And then she can tell him to get lost.


“I'll suggest that there are some people for whom an active sex worker just isn't a great match, with no need for any deprecation.”

Well said


What is the alternative for the boyfriend? (beyond taking better care of her financially, which he should have done.) If the other clients make him jealous, then... he is not allowed to end the relationship? Because those feelings are invalid or hypocritical? Or he is allowed to end the relationship, but not allowed to tell her the real reason why?


Or he should just break up and take the idea of her quitting her job off the table?

I dunno, maybe that would be preferable, but I think what he did was fine too. (Minus the stinginess.)

Sorry, arguing with myself at the end of the thread again.


I don’t lecture any of my friends who are hairdressers on paying taxes when they do friends’ hair, this is a stupid and willfully shamey diversion that doesn’t even pretend to be helpful. “Whoosh” suggests that there was a joke, and Raindrop doesn’t make jokes, just slights.


@65 Sarah - (slow clap)

@Damn near everyone else - why do so many of y’all think it was just fine for this guy to insist that his girlfriend give up her livelihood as a condition of dating him? Would you be ok with that if she were a lawyer, a teacher, a bartender, or anything else? Because if not, check your anti-sex work bias.


@75 yes I would. Discussed bartender example above.


@68 Agree 100%. Dan's snide comment was just unnecessary, and inaccurate to boot- most people aren't missing out on anything by having their own preferences and deal breakers. If a man ruled out dating me because I'm not poly or kinky or whatever else, it actually wouldn't be his loss (or my loss), because I wouldn't be a good fit for him.


@74: Nevertheless, sex work is/should be taxable income and it used to be that liberals took great pride in paying their fair share to society.


You do go on raindrop. It’s flamin’ illegal in the US, so guess what, no taxes.
You know what this LW’s taxes have been? Rearing alone, with love and survival skills, two people. One of whom might be wiping your bum in the old folks home you live your final days in.


Your bias is so obvious and this tax line is a red herring, raindrop. Isn’t there a street corner you could peddle your views on, nobody here is going to be converted. If you need help to broaden your mind, for sure, hang around and learn. Otherwise it is becoming tiresome when the group here is having a conversation and you pop in with your bull. We’re all bought and sold in the market place, one way or another. You don’t like sex work, don’t do it.
/ Whether this woman chose freely or resorted to sex work, Now, she’s got a balance going.
Concern re the wrong people knowing, because as Dan said, she could lose her children/ job.
Respectful of others’ perceptions of sex work, whatever it is.
Sex work like every other work is not the same across the board. If people judge all sex work as wrong, then I second Bee @75, check your anti sex work bias.
Not all sex work is the same. Not all letters about sex work will be the same. This woman’s individual life sounds fine to me.
It’s the men who have behaved like dogs. Abandoning children and the client/ bf, what a tool. Didn’t mind her being a sex worker when he wanted one.


Far warning raindrop, you have entered troll territory and reports will start.


If I had a rule against dating blondes, it would be awfully shitty to get into a relationship with one and then demand they dye their hair. It's fine to have whatever standards you want but you don't get to demand people change themselves to fit those standards after you've entered a relationship with them. We date people, not their potential.


@69 EricaP

@79 LavaGirl
Right on! You want it taxed, poison raindrop fool, join us progressives (liberals are centrists now) in the fight for it first not to be illegal.

I hope this dysfunctional raindrop soon gets over whatever has made it darken our doors lately. Take a walk, watch the clouds blow by, get it all out of yourself.


There is something to be said for not dating or marrying outside your class. If people are more or less on the same economic level it keeps expectations realistic. But that is why Charles Mudede is not the relationship advice columnist.


Yes curious, legalise sex work. Get the criminals out.


Of course it should be legal @82. That's obvious.

@2 was not a red herring LavaGirl, please believe me. I admit it was too snarky, but let's legalize it, tax it, and take the stigma (and pimps) out sex work once and for all!


@81 fair enough, that would be a dick move. But I doubt he had a rule like that ahead of time. Probably it was his first time dating a sex worker, he thought it might work, and then he realized he didn’t like it. Didn’t sound like there was much forethought on anyone’s part.

And it’s a little unfair to compare a rule against being blonde to a rule against having sex with other people. LOTS of people have the no sex rule. Just because money is changing hands doesn’t necessarily make the emotions easier for the partner to deal with.

I dunnno, I have been spending a lot of energy defending this guy, and it’s certainly possible he was a complete asshole. But the main point I am insisting on is that it’s totally consistent to be pro-sex worker, to see a sex worker regularly, and not want to date an active sex worker.

I should stop debating. Good practical advice from @60.


Well Joe @86, sounds like you want it all ways. Sort of normal for most men.
If a woman is good enough to see as a sex worker she’s good enough to date and love.


I watch porn, but would not want to date a porn star. I watch late night talk shows but wouldn’t want to date a talk show host. I cherish my country’s independence, but would not want to date a soldier.

I admire and respect what they do, but what they do would make me uncomfortable in a relationship.


Funny boy. Watching porn and visiting a real live woman who is a sex worker are way different.
Keep putting your foot in it.
If you’re a poly man, one of your partners being a casual and responsible sex worker, as this LW is, is a problem how.
If you have such an attitude towards sex workers, don’t visit them.


Maybe that explains our disagreement. What if you are not poly. You see sex workers when you are single, but don’t see them when you are dating.


@76 joeburner - Yes, i read your comment - it gave me the idea to use lawyer and bartender as examples and that's about all that I found useful about it. Thinking you have the right to demand that a romantic partner give up a profession they were already engaged in when you met them is beyond entitled. So I had no expectation of getting through to you on that point.


@90 joeburner - If monogamy is a requirement for a person, that person should not date sex workers who intend to continue doing sex work. If a person doesn't figure out that monogamy is a must-have until they find themself in a nonmonogamous relationship, they have have every right to ask for monogamy, but they are not automatically entitled to it.


@85 raindrop
What's "obvious" is that "too snarky" doesn't begin to describe how despicably vile it was @2 to ask a professional in real legal danger to be paying fucking taxes you vermin. You don't get to do that if you're not part of the solution of making it legal, and until it is legal.

Don't engage in battles of wits if you don't have any. Don't keep talking to us with your head so far up your ass, it's making your breath unbearable.

I think the worst thing about trolls is that their brains don't work properly.


@92 agree with all you say in that comment. And no of course, no one gets to demand anything of their partners, much less that they must give up their jobs. But everyone gets to have non-negotiable conditions for dating. If he knew those conditions ahead of time and sprung them on her later, then he sucks, but I doubt that’s how it went down.


Arg, I am just repeating myself.




@92 agree with all you say in that comment. And no of course, no one gets to demand anything of their partners, much less that they must give up their jobs. But everyone gets to have non-negotiable conditions for dating. If he knew those conditions ahead of time and sprung them on her later, then he sucks, but I doubt that’s how it went down.


Arg.... am.... repeating... self..


@91: Let's imagine an alternate reality where LW's ex said "this bugs me more than I thought it would, and I don't know if I can handle it. Ball's in your court how you want to handle things". While not roses and wedding bells, that sounds like a massive improvement over how things actually did pan out.

I'm going to agree with Joe here. People are going to be bothered by the things that they're bothered by. When you tell people that their preferences are intrinsically problematic, you don't make those preferences go away. Often you have people keeping said preferences quiet while still acting on them, other times you have people repress the issue until it does what repressed issues tend to do.

I'd rather a world where people can admit their cognitive dissonance to face it head on, over one where they have to repress until it can't be held back any longer. The latter has a long history of never working.


Yes people have preferences and there are ways and ways to express them. However, it was the LW’s livelihood and the client/ bf knew that. LW did stop the sex work and found ‘proper’ work where she pays taxes, then found she had sudden big expenses.. a,child’s teeth needed braces.. and supplemented her income, by returning to one client.
Client/ bf took the car back that he’d given her to pay for services and no doubt left the LW feeling mighty shitty as he left. He had good money, he would have seen her struggling.
He was a douchebag sadist in his behaviour.


A poly or monogamous man, Joe. One who is not so fussed with kink and is secure in being in his partner’s heart. He may play on the side himself. That’s all the LW is doing, and so many closed off minded responses. So she gets paid. She enjoys the kink too, has a stable client and loves and carers for well, her kids. What man couldn’t see what a warrior this woman is. Oh that’s right. Most of them.