Izzy Votsis

The Boundaries of Sex Work, Consent and Education

Izzy Votsis
The Boundaries of Sex Work, Consent and Education

Being a good phone sex operator means being a good storyteller. Whoever the caller desires, I become. In my own sex life I have no issues being open about what I enjoy and what I don’t, but being a sex worker means that sometimes I have to fake it. As long as it’s legal, I’m usually up for whatever, but I can’t help worrying about whether the people calling know I am not the person I play over the phone, nor is this character a reflection of real women or real sex.

I don’t believe there is anything dangerous about exploring sexual fantasies between two consenting adults. This idea extends to sex work and I have played the role of mistress, dominatrix, submissive, companion and just about everything in between with no issues. Things get problematic when patrons seem unable to distinguish between fantasy and real life. Often callers try to breach the client/sex worker relationship by asking for personal details:

“Which city are you from?”

“What’s your personal phone number?”

“Can I meet you?”

I’ve even had callers tell me they love me after talking to me only a few times.

While a little bit of delusion is hardly harmful, it’s callers who repeatedly try to push boundaries that concern me. I can’t help thinking, are they this stubborn with pushing boundaries in their personal sex lives? Do they practice consent? Enabling clients who behave like this, even in the context of phone sex, could mean real life consequences for their sexual partners. I can’t help feel a little bit liable for educating my clients and I’m conflicted about how far this goes. While education is always a good thing, I am not qualified to give any kind of advice to anyone nor should the onus be on me to do so. However, if I find clients who cannot adhere to my set boundaries, it makes me feel better to explain the reasons behind why they are in place, despite having no obligation to do so.

Even though I am limited with the amount of resources I can provide due to time constraints, there is a key concept that should be discussed anytime sex is involved and that is consent. We have all been severely undereducated when it comes to consent and getting to a place where both parties are in a position to consent freely and withdraw it at any time is really crucial. One of my favourite ways enthusiastic consent can be framed is The Law of Fuck Yes or No by Mark Manson who claims ‘if it’s not a fuck yes, it’s a no’.

Back to boundaries, I have found having them imperative to being able to do my job. As disappointing as it can be to cut off a client, it’s a much better alternative than repeatedly trying to be heard by someone who doesn’t want to listen. I’m sure I will continue meeting clients who don’t always respect the boundaries I set, but I know my mental health and work satisfaction only improve the more stubborn I am. Boundaries are a great way to model how amazing sex can be if they are spoken, respected and even celebrated by all the parties involved.

Every sex worker has different ways of embodying boundaries and consent, but I believe that any movement in popularising these concepts is a positive outcome for the for all relationships, far beyond the remit of sex work itself.