I won’t say that I have absorbed anything dramatically new to my own pleasure/fantasy/sex/kink palate. (I assume you’re talking about my years in phone work; Sidewalk Smut is very much the same kind of work.) I’m a little more curious about men in feminine clothing, from talking to a couple of phone clients about what they really liked about cross-dressing, but that’s curiosity, not taste or desire.
I think I’ve probably gotten better at articulating what I want, just saying the damn thing, whatever it is. That has to happen in phone sex; whatever’s going on and however you’re feeling, you have to say it, or at least let out some very convincing groans, or else your partner isn’t going to know that you you're doing anything. But that is really about using my words, which is an excellent transferable skill and not a new deposit into my sexual imagination.
Truth is, indulging other people’s fantasies for a living has never added anything significant to my wank bank. I pick up what people want for long enough to create an experience, spoken or written, that they want, and then I set it aside when I’m done. I’ve got enough going on in my head, I don’t need to store everyone else’s shit.
The same has NOT been true when I indulge my partners’ fantasies. If I am playing with someone not for pay, but because I really like/love them and find being with them a fun time and trust them not to be dickheads, then yes, over time I have picked up a few new fantasies/role plays/activities for my repertoire.
Mostly they have been things on the rougher or more violent side of the spectrum—things like wrestling hard, or hand-on-throat play, or consensual non-consent--where if they came from someone with whom I have no foundation of trust, I would be all, “Gah, no, what?”
Makes sense: these sorts of things require time and exposure and repeated reassurance, in both word and deed, in order for me to feel safe. Someone blathering about them on the phone line just makes me roll my eyes. I have no way of knowing that they know what they’re talking about; mostly, they sounded like they didn’t. With people I trusted, I could explore the extremes and still feel safe.
More than anything else, though, the biggest shift in my sexual life that came about from working with people’s fantasies for pay was in my head, about myself. I learned to judge others less, and learned to judge myself less, too.
In both of these lines of work—phone sex and Sidewalk Smut—I had to keep my non-judgmental face on at all times, even if I was judging them hard. I had to act like it was all good, and that act had to be pretty air-tight, because people can tell when you’re judging them.
And the thing about faking it ‘til you make it? Eventually you do make it. I believe it; it happened. My body was keeping the non-judge-y muscles going, and eventually that sank into my consciousness and I increasingly found myself not judging. I never stopped judging people's level of douche-baggery, but as far as sex and kink went, I learned to say "right on, not my thing, but cool" and really believe it.
It was not inevitable that I turn that kind of radical acceptance around on my own life; most people are harder on themselves than they are on other people. I certainly don’t remember sitting down and consciously thinking about giving myself more room to explore and not judging myself for my fantasies. But that’s what happened.
I am a lot less weird about my own “weird,” which is a much more comfortable place to be.
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