In this blog I share my journey to coming out as a companion to some of my friends and family. It's a lot more personal and revealing than my other posts and intended for anyone who feels anxiety surrounding their own lifestyle or sexuality.
For anyone who knows me well, you'll know that writing for me is cathartic. I am an incredibly private person and tend to process and deal with things through writing. For example, when I removed a toxic relative from my life around two years ago, I spent months privately ruminating on and being somewhat consumed by it before eventually writing a poem and closing that chapter in my life.
Afterwards, when I would share the process, consequences and realities of that decision with friends, I'd speak unemotionally and clearly articulate the decisions I made. Writing and dealing with things solo before presenting them to the world once ready is a huge element of my personality and always has been.
This blog is unsurprisingly a re-write. Much like my 'What it's Like to Live a Double Life' blog post I explored an uncensored, honest version before reshaping it into something more on-brand and audience-appropriate. I want to share this journey not only for my own mental processing but also for others who felt or feel the way I did because it's an incredibly isolating space to be.
As soon as you land on my website for the first time, you're greeted with the following:
"Almost as soon as I discovered my sexuality, I began carving secret spaces to play in. Initially, I thought this was my way of escaping reality, but I now realise that anonymity is the key to unlocking my authentic self. Whether it was hiding my first girlfriend from my parents or sneaking off to fetish nights in London as a teenager, the simple act of something being private and just for me makes it all the more intoxicating."
When I was approached by an online publication last year to share my journey into this world, I began by saying this:
"For me the following quote by Oscar Wilde illustrates my position:
'Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth.'
Or how I prefer it; "give a man a mask and he'll show you who he really is." Once you remove your identity or the consequence of what others might think, the world is a liberating playground. In my real life, I am seen as reliable, professional, intelligent. Of course, in a different shade, those skills are required to be a successful companion. But as Olivia, I'm also provocative, kinky, unpredictable without sacrificing my career. I can be sexual and adventurous in a space where it's celebrated and safe."
Secrecy is something I have always been fascinated with. The ability to step outside the norm or "escape the mundane". I find secrecy sexy; it feeds my imagination and free's me of real-world obligations. I have always felt considerable pressure about being what society wanted me to be; as an alpha female who is confident sexually, kinky and bisexual, I always felt like an outsider. There is nothing wrong with traditional relationships, but my partners have always sought to control me. My most recent relationship was with an incredibly controlling woman with a thick undertone of jealousy. I had spent so long understanding my own bisexuality and now this was a cause for conflict- even though I am very capable and comfortable with monogamy.
I am a highly sexual person; I view it as a form of self-expression and a place for physical, emotional release. When I became an escort at 18-years-old, I had always been turned on by it, but I knew the very real dangers. I loved the power dynamic, and this was my first clue to discovering my dominant streak. I loved that people would assume I was a naive eighteen-year-old when I felt I was a wolf in a teenage body; I fully understood my power and the financial opportunities it presented me with.
My experiences meant that I viewed sex through a very different lens to most people. I didn't view it as something sacred or special; it's simply a positive part of life like eating luxurious food. Just because I don't fall in love with every person I am intimate with, it doesn't mean that I don't value my body, my sexuality and access to me. Instead, it means I fully understand and appreciate it. Intimacy and friendship are much more of an intellectual and emotional connection for me and reserved for people I genuinely trust and care for.
Secrecy went from exciting to anxiety inducing
When the pandemic hit, I started spending way more time with my real-world friends and family. Olivia was on pause for a few months and I slipped back into my old friendships and became closer to them. Unfortunately, some of my sex work friends either left the industry, relocated or changed their offering and we slipped apart. I also invested time and money into other endeavours. When I started working again, I mostly saw my established clients and it seemed like duos and group dates that used to decorate my calendar were no longer as popular. My business as Olivia was financially blossoming as more stable regulars invested in more extended time frames and booked months and months in advance, but my connection to the industry itself and mostly the women within it became a distant memory.
Now I was spending so much more time with my friends and family, I started experiencing anxiety about them discovering Olivia. I was now two-and-half years in and feeling a bit disconnected from an industry that took up a huge part of my life. I started worrying that my mum and friends would be shocked, repulsed and angry that I had lied to them for all this time. It became harder not to mention when I was disappearing overnight or for a weekend and whereas in the past I would simply never mention my Olivia escapades, I was now actively lying.
I, therefore, started avoiding too much one-to-one time with my friends because I didn't want them to ask if I was dating or had been to see any shows since the pandemic or had thought about travelling. So many of these innocent conversations intertwined with my life as Olivia, and it was getting so hard not to mention it. I wanted to confide in my friends but I was just sure that I would lose some of them.
While my mum was visiting recently and I was feeling anxious about not wanting to slip up, I blurted out that I had a sugar daddy. Her reaction was surprisingly unsurprised! She said there had been clear signs that my relationships had that angle. Feeling relieved and shocked that she hadn't got angry, emotional or demanded loads of information, I felt empowered to tell a close friend. We were going out for dinner a few nights later, and I got myself mentally prepared on the drive over to open up about this side of my life. Would I test the waters with sugar daddies or go straight in with 'escort', a term I'd become certain would be misunderstood. "I've got a bit of a bomb to drop on you, I'm afraid", I began while we drank at the bar while awaiting our table.
"Gosh, go on..." she looked nervous.
"I've been working as an escort since 2019 and it's a huge, positive part of my life that I've not shared with you."
No response from my friend.
We were shown to our table and she said, "so um, I feel like I already knew this about you, but I never asked because it was for you to tell me. You've always got lavish gifts, and you've mentioned that you like dating successful men, so what's the difference?"
Shocked and feeling my anxiety dissipate, I began to laugh.
She went on to say that she knows how self-assured, independent and confident I am, so felt no risk that I was doing anything degrading or mentally damaging and just wanted some detail on my safety and security measures. I couldn't believe that I had spent so long imagining some enormous reveal and response. She also opened up to me about her own life in ways she hadn't before, and I felt our friendship deepen with this new understanding of one another.
The next day my mum invited herself over for a coffee, she wanted to know more about this sugar daddy situation. I felt empowered by the prior conversation with my friend so I told her the truth. I remained calm, confident and articulate and told her that I felt no shame over what I do and in fact, was proud of the successful and empowering business I'd built. Once the initial shock wore off she expressed that she understood how this endeavour suited my unconventional and open-minded personality and told me that she was proud of the independent and self-assured woman that I am.
The conversation was still tough and uncomfertable, it was similar to coming out as bisexual at 15; although not what my mum wanted to hear, it didn't tarnish or ruin our relationship. Her concern comes from a place of "don't let this ruin or define your life" rather than "what on earth are you thinking?". I think anything sexual is always an odd and awkward conversation to have with your parents.
Once my mum knew, I went on a spree of telling my close friends. I didn't always know if I would go into the conversations telling them, but if it felt right, I did. I was nervous to tell a friend who knew me throughout my controlling relationship in case she thought it all stemmed from that.
"So um I've been working as an escort in London for the last three years" I began. "Love that for you" was her instant reply. "What?! I have been so nervous and anxious about telling people and no one has yet reacted how I thought they would". She explained how she didn't at all feel annoyed or sad that I hadn't told her and fully supported and understood my decision to keep it private. She had lots of questions about my business model, the industry nuances, and how I operate from a very privileged position and what could be done to empower survival workers. I explained that in my position, although danger is always a risk, as a woman, simply existing is dangerous. Even in normal relationships, I do as much as I can to be as safe, and as Olivia I take this a step further. I prioritise a regular, quality clients that I genuinely connect with and care for. And safety is a primary reason that I do not encourage an endless stream of one-off dates.
I am so shocked and liberated from the conversations I had. Living in fear of reaction is such a debilitating and scary place to be. I didn't attend the recent KLE photoshoots and why I've turned down countless sex worker socials because I feared my idenity being leaked and every encounter I would have I would obsess over how my mum or my friends might find out. Now that they know, I know how irrational and ridiculous my anxiety was leading me to be. I hope that I can now be more open with my friends and build new friendships within this industry without constantly worrying that someone might be linked to someone in my real life or have bad intentions.
If you're a sex worker, trans, queer, kinky, or have some other kind of secrecy surrounding your sexuality and you live in fear of reaction, know that I understand how that feels and send you endless love. It may not be appropriate or safe for you to tell your friends or family, and only you can decide when you're ready to do that. When I started working in this industry a stripper who knew my ex threatened to tell her and all our mutual friends. For all I know, she did tell people but it didn't spread like wildfire. However that experience of someone taking something that I willingly chose to do and turning it into some shameful secret was quite difficult for me to overcome. The way she taunted me with this information as though it would ruin my life was unsettling and is likely the route of all that anxiety around people finding out.
Now I feel free; I am not going to start showing my face in ads or sharing details my real life with everyone I meet because secrecy and seperation remains an alluring side of this work. Also the reality is that the world is a dangerous space for sexually liberated women and as someone with a small client base who doesn't do porn there simply isn't a compelling argument for me to do that. However, when I have incredible moments, build genuine, relationships with clients or have a rubbish day I can now share these wins and losses with my nearest and dearest.