What it's like to live a double life

To begin this post I will admit that this is a rewrite. When I started asking those of you who read my blog what subjects you'd like me to explore, living a double life and having a second identity came up time and again. To begin with I dismissed it as not being interesting enough, although, in reality I was avoiding it because it is such a knotty and complex topic. I also feared it might interrupt my branding of escapism and positivity, how could I do such a provoking topic justice while keeping it lighthearted? The answer is I couldn't without lying throughout. I found myself trying to constantly reassure my reader while denying both identities of their chance to breathe.

After sitting unpublished in my drafts, I allowed myself to explore the reality of the topic in the safety of my own thoughts while on a long walk. What I came to realise is that most of my readers will feel the same way. You likely found me because you buy or sell sexuality and companionship yourself, I therefore can be far more relatable by speaking my truth than I can with a witty piece of fiction. I also know that many of you won't feel the constraints the 'real world' puts on us, because you have carved a space for yourself to live out your fantasies, like me.

So let's try again.

We live in a culture where sexuality is seen as an identifying factor in a person's self esteem. There is a stark difference in the way we view male and female sexuality which in it's most simple form comes down to a woman giving and a man taking. If a woman 'gives' too much she is labelled for it, why when sex should be a healthy and positive part of life? Obviously, in reality, sex and gender have infinite shades, by ignoring that in mainstream society we breed a population of people who feel a deep sense of shame or frustration surrounding their own desires.

For me, shame and sexuality were hand in hand, I am bisexual and spent a lot of my formative years thinking that there was something wrong with me. Times have changed a lot in the last fifteen years and I know those older than me will have had it even harder. But in my home it was presumed that I would marry a nice boy from school and have a child by now. I could never relate to this ideal and so as a young woman I created separate spaces for me to explore. I met my first girlfriend when I was about fifteen, neither of us told our families and when we met each other we did so in complete secrecy. I remember her dad catching us kissing once and he didn't speak to her again for about ten years, barely even looking at her over dinner while they inhabited the same home. My own secrecy made my family worry about what I was doing and I experienced consistent invasion of privacy as a result, which only made my desire to hide things from them greater.

I began escorting at just 19-years-old. I was in part rebelling against the narrative I'd been raised in but also creating a second person to live out the things I had been told were wrong. At the time I had a boyfriend in my real life and this was around the time I began discovering my preference for dominance. I also loved the thrill I'd get from being paid. I find it disappointing that a lot of mainstream depictions of being paid for sex end in the woman feeling ashamed or even sad, I always found that it gives me a high, it makes me feel good and I have never related being paid for companionship or sexuality an emotional activity. Paying someone for sex needn't mean that mutual pleasure is not the goal. Obviously, there is an element in having not chosen my clients, they have chosen me and sometimes I don't like them. Depending on the problem I may decide to end the date there and then or just never to see them again, money does not take away choice, consent, preferences or boundaries, and I've come to learn that being turned on by being paid is just another of my kinks.

Just like people may believe the fact I am an educated, confident and successful woman working as a paid companion to be rare, they may also assume the fact my clients are attractive, respectful and desirable to be rare too. Again this makes people feel like there is something 'wrong' with them by participating in this world. There isn't. We all have different perspectives and journeys that led us here. There is no 'average' income, age, weight, personality or occupation of clients, and that's the same on both sides of the fence.

Living a double life allows me to do and experience things I couldn't in my normal life. I am essentially the same person of course, but the goals are different. You only see me when I am looking and feeling fabulous and whatever is happening in my real life never comes to the surface. I remember last year having to face a difficult career hurdle at work which threatened make me change direction entirely. I took two weeks off to reflect and within that time I had a three-day date with a fabulous client. As soon as I entered I left all the anxiety of the real world behind and 'had a holiday' from having to think about it. I didn't tell him what I'd been facing until months later when it was dealt with. I know that clients often use companionship for similar reasons, although you may confide in us, you may also use the time to escape reality.

I was led to this world the second time because I had just been in a monogamous relationship for almost four years and I knew that I didn't want another one. When dating in the real world, there would be talk of being 'exclusive' or meeting the family and there was almost this invisible staircase to climb together, we couldn't just enjoy now, it was a constant conversation about the future. I knew that before I settled down again I wanted to explore my sexuality more, have some fun and not be judged because of it. Creating a new identity meant I could do these things in a world where sexual liberation was celebrated and there were no consequences.

Comedic experiences can be born from living a double life

Although marriage to a beige schoolfriend didn't appeal, I have always loved dating. In the past I may have divulged my dating escapades with friends over a few glasses of wine, but now for obvious reasons I don't do that. To quench the need of my friends and family to hear about my relationship status I invented a man that I had been seeing. This then became the cover story of person I was travelling with, who I was going to nice places with and who was gifting me all this lovely stuff, some of which I was buying for myself.

In the beginning this worked out well, but over time they wanted more than just a first name and occupation, they wanted an age, a location, a photo. They wanted to know what university he went to, what his opinions were on different topics, and before I knew it, I'd invented a fictional character with one main problem; I couldn't remember the answers to all those questions. I'd find myself saying that my imaginary boyfriend still couldn't meet them because he was a lot older than me, and I wasn't sure how long it would last. Somehow my family conspired that he was married with two kids and I was an affair. I got lost in the narrative and had to invent two children whose names and ages couldn't remember and who I said that I had no interest meeting.

In the end it all got out of hand and I had to have a faux breakup. I would then say I was with a female friend when travelling but they'd ask to see photo of us, so I would then say I travelled alone. This makes odd conversations occur when people would ask me "have you got tips on dining alone in this city?". And I would have to make it up while actually having no idea.

It's been interesting to see the level of information people ask me, although I know I would like it less if people didn't ask about my life, but I have been in some tricky conversations. I've also learned that it's far harder to remember a lie than the truth.

I hope you enjoyed my double life post and it gave you an insight on why someone might live one. Do you think you could keep things separate or would you trip up?

Olivia Xx