I’ve run out of arguments to convince my boyfriend to accompany me for an erotic massage.

I went out of my way last year to search out a nice salon where girls without fake boobs seem to have fun working together and feel like friends. I found a gem. It isn’t at all easy to find a girl willing to give another girl an erotic massage. I liked the experience so much that I’ve asked my boyfriend to join me next time.

Although he seems very excited by the thought of it, he’s still reluctant. He fears STIs and is unconvinced that the girl I met last time didn’t seem to hate her job. He kinda feels like he is betraying his principles and the feminine gender. I think he also fears that I won’t like seeing him being touched by another girl, although the thought excites me and I’ve made this clear to him. I wanna go back with him this time. How to persuade him?


Let’s just be rational for two minutes, A, honestly, just two. Then we can all go back to being completely flipped out about the fact that after the June 26th weekend, Toronto may have been burnt to the ground, most of its citizens either in makeshift prisons or poking through the rubble of their condos looking for their yoga mats and French bulldogs.

Nearly everyone you come across in the service industry is either ambivalent about or categorically despises their work. Why do you think large restaurant chains have hospitality training courses and very specific policies around language and behaviour? Because they know damn well that if their personnel could chuck soy grande latttes at people’s heads all day long, that’s exactly what they’d do. Do you think service industry people enjoy using dorky company-speak? Offering you a cherry pie with that? Wearing a uniform that would strip Opie Winston of his sex appeal?

Simply put, if your boyfriend doesn’t wish to use the services of disgruntled workers, he’d have to stay home and never buy anything from anyone.

To insist that sex workers like their jobs at all times is to hold them to a standard we don’t apply to any other worker, and believe me, most sex workers have fewer reasons to hate their work than a lot of service providers.

We put sex workers between a rock and a hard place: we’re mistrustful when they do like their work, yet we insist they must like their work if we’re to use their services “ethically.”

What will it take for people to make up their minds? A fair trade stamp on their butts? An artful community bulletin board above the condom bowl featuring pictures of smiling, contented workers giving hand jobs in straw hats and ponchos?

Having said that, I do understand why, in the context of a remunerated intimate exchange, we prefer an attendant who’s genuinely enthusiastic, even though we don’t necessarily hold our recreational lovers to this standard. But a person would have to find sex disgusting to begin with to dislike this work simply as a matter of course. Many sex workers don’t find sex disgusting or, at the very least, are working against all odds to see pleasure as a positive thing and themselves as pleasure professionals.

If your boyfriend is determined not to believe this or to bring his frankly chauvinistic and dated attitudes toward women’s sexuality to this exchange, I don’t think he’s ready to see a sex worker. Ask whores what, besides bad breath and stinginess, is the worst part of their job, and they’ll tell you: clients who heaps patronizing concern on them.

Corporate pass

Dear Sasha,

Why are you yelling at Lewis? I am a trans woman who’s been trying for 10 years to have a corporate career. I go to interviews dressed as the woman I am, and the same thing happens every time: they see my masculine features and turn right off. No matter how qualified I am, I’m locked out as a reasonable candidate time and time again.

So what have I done to survive? Welfare doesn’t give me enough to keep me alive, so I’m relegated to turning the odd trick to keep food on my table. I’m at a point where I’m so frustrated that I’m thinking of dressing and acting like a man just to get a decent job so I can live and raise enough money to finally get sex reassignment surgery.

What cause am I helping by being out of the closet? I’m starving. And you sit there on your high horse enjoying the privilege of your biological femininity and act like you know what it’s like to be me? Are you going to wave your finger at me if I finally decide to hide my true identity just to earn a living at a respectable job of my choice? Are you going to tell me that I’m perpetuating the bigotry, just like you’ve accused that other reader of doing?

And from what I understand, Nina Arsenault paid for all of her surgeries through sex work. How is that fighting the system? She went with the flow and went underground to get where she needed to go; she worked within the bounds of this marginalization, just as I would be doing if I went back in the closet and pretended to be a man.

So fuck you, Sasha. Don’t sit here and pulverize us girls just because we want to put food on the table with a normal — albeit oppressive — job. No matter which way we go, we lose.


A corporation can do decent things in order to raise its socially conscious profile, but by virtue of its business principles, fundamentally speaking, it cannot be decent. Nor is it necessary normal, unless you consider oppression normal. Therefore, a corporate job can hardly be described as decent or normal.

From the synopsis of the film The Corporation: “Self-interested, amoral, callous and deceitful, a corporation’s operational principles make it anti-social. It breaches social and legal standards to get its way even while it mimics the human qualities of empathy, caring and altruism. It suffers no guilt…. The institutional embodiment of laissez-faire capitalism fully meets the diagnostic criteria of a psychopath.”

You seem to want the same rights and privileges available to every thoughtless, greedy asshole in the world, and you’re looking to me for some empathy because you may have to pose as a thoughtless, greedy asshole to get them. Sorry, Bobby, no can do.

I can see how a woman wanting to transition may see my femininity as a privilege. But I try to work for and with people who have policies against gender, orientation and race discrimination, which has hardly put me in a position of financial privilege.

Mark my words: in the corporate world you’d have similar problems if you were outwardly gay or — and I’m being presumptuous here — if you were racialized. That’s the environment in which you’ve chosen to work.

Ask Sasha: [email protected]

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Sasha Van Bon Bon

Sasha is a nationally syndicated sex columnist whose work has appeared in a variety of Canadian weeklies and online magazines for over 15 years. Her column appears weekly in NOW magazine. She is also...