As a sex worker, getting your period can SUCK. Taking a week off every month isn’t a viable option for many sex workers (no work means no money – there isn’t any sick pay here!) So, let me share my top tips for working while you have your period.
If you don’t track your period, it’s time to start.
We live in the digital age, so there’s no need for pen and paper here. I use the Clue app. Over time, the app learns your cycle and will predict the days your flow is heaviest, and when you commonly experience other symptoms such as cramping. Through Clue, I have learnt that my period is heaviest on day 2 and 3. On these days I will bleed through a sponge (more info on sponges in a sec) in about 90 minutes. I pop these days in my calendar and will only accept bookings of a maximum of one hour on these days to ensure no leakage occurs.
Once you get to know your cycle, you will be able to plan work around your symptoms. Is there a day of your period that you absolutely CAN’T work each month? Maybe you can pre-plan that as an admin day, your day off or a day to catch up on university assignments.
If you’ve never heard of a sponge, prepare to have your mind blown. Before I started sex work, I had NO IDEA what a menstrual sponge was. At my first brothel shift, my manager explained it to me, and I was ECSTATIC. I thought I would have to take time off when I got my period, but behold, the magic of the sponge.
A sponge is a soft sponge (do I get points if I say sponge more times in this sentence?) about the size of a golf ball. You insert it into your vagina to stop the blood from coming out while you are working. It acts just like a tampon and absorbs the blood, except it’s soft – sometimes sponges are referred to as soft tampons. There are HEAPS of different brands and types of sponges.
The most common brands of sponges are Sax and Beppy. They are usually individually wrapped, so they are sterile. Sax sponges are a small cylindrical shape, while Beppy sponges are more of an oval with a hole in it to assist with removal. Sponges can also come pre-lubricated to help with insertion.
Other types of sponges, such as sea sponges, make-up sponges and cup-up household cleaning sponges, are also commonly used by sex workers. These methods might be effective and seem attractive because they are more easily accessible and cheap, but pleaseeeeeeeeeee I beg you, spend the few dollars on the individually wrapped, sterile sponges. Sea sponges, make-up and household sponges are NOT sterile or made for this purpose, and they increase the risk of vaginal issues such as thrush and bacterial vaginosis. Sea sponges can also have rough particles in them (I mean, they literally come from the sea) so they may create microtears or even break the condom. Seriously, buy a proper sponge. Please.
To use a sponge, wash your hands thoroughly and remove the sponge from its packaging. Wet the sponge with water or lube (I prefer water, as I find lube makes the sponge less absorbent), and then squeeze out the excess liquid. Scrunch or fold the sponge, and then insert it into your vagina, as you would a tampon. If you are finding it difficult to get the sponge inside, you can use a dildo to push it up further.
To remove the sponge, get in a comfortable position and bare down your muscles as though you are going to the toilet. Hook one finger around the sponge and gently pull it out. If you are unable to reach the sponge straight away, don’t freak out. There’s nowhere for the sponge to go (it’s wayyyy too big to be going anywhere other than your vagina), so you can’t lose it, promise. It will come out eventually, it just takes some practice. The more you tense up, the more difficult it will be to remove. Try removing the sponge in different positions and using different fingers. If you are absolutely unable to remove it, you can always visit a GP who will assist you.
If you work in a brothel, your workplace probably sells sponges. This is super convenient, but sponges are WAY cheaper online. Invest in a bulk pack and bring your own sponge to work. You’ll save heaps.
There are also now flat menstrual cups you can wear during sex, but I’m yet to try one. Let me know if you have!
If your period is heavy, you might be concerned blood leaking through, even if you are using a sponge. This is when it’s time to whip out the black sheets (or any dark colour). A bit of blood is super obvious on white sheets but on black sheets? Not so much. Black coloured condoms are also a lifesaver, as any blood is less visible than on regular condoms.
Hot tip: keep some tissues or baby wipes within reach, and when your client pulls out or ejaculates, practice your ninja skills by quickly grabbing a tissue and removing the condom before the client can see any residual blood. You’ll get crazy fast at this and be a ninja in no time. Trust me.
You can track your period for months, wear two sponges, paint your entire incall black and still have an absolute period disaster with a client. Sometimes it just happens. And honestly? It’s no big deal. I’ve had this happen a handful of times and clients generally have a care factor of zero. If a man cares that there is a tiny bit of blood, then they probably aren’t mature enough to have sex. If you have accidental leakage and your client does seem bothered, my go-to is just pretending I had no idea (e.g., “I’m so sorry! My period must have come early. Give me a second and I’ll go clean up.”) and then finish with a blow job or a hand job. If you act like it’s no biggie, then they will act like it’s no biggie.
If you can’t (or don’t want to) work during your period, but you still want to make bank, it’s time to get creative. If you are usually a full-service sex worker, you could explore other services that don’t involve your genitals, such as a blow job service or erotic massage. Many sex workers perform erotic massages while clothed or wearing lingerie, eliminating the need for a sponge if you have your period. If you want to offer a nude massage but don’t want to use a sponge, you can always use a tampon and tuck the string inside your vagina.
Photo by Unsplash.
Disclaimer: I cannot, and do not, speak for all sex workers. I speak from my experience of working in a legal brothel and as an independent escort in Australia. Where possible I try to be inclusive. However, I can’t relay every experience of sex work – especially if I haven’t experienced it myself.
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