By Elle Stanger (October 9, 2019)
I’m a sex worker who recognizes that many of my man clients are afraid to express their discomfort or pain because it makes them seem less “manly”.
Before I begin touching someone of any gender presentation I always say,
“Let me know if something is uncomfortable or you need to adjust”, and cis men usually are the ones who scoff,
“You can’t hurt me”, which is untrue because I could very easily and accidentally hurt someone; like pinch your scrotal skin under my body if I shift a certain way on your lap. Or what if you have a fresh tattoo?
I have met so many men who would rather suffer pain silently (and do) than vocalize their needs for comfort and safety and security, because they’ve been raised to believe that expressing those needs makes them less valuable in a society that praises stoicism and aggression in men.
Quite often these same men will thank me after the touch interaction, for allowing them space to express their needs.
“I actually do have a bad knee” or “I kinda hate my ears being touched, honestly.”
I truly believe through experience that ending rape culture in this country is about allowing people to be vulnerable and communicate their needs, and that this is teachable and healing.