A Culture of Touch under Threat

„I need weight on my body, otherwise I have the feeling it’s going to burst.“: a sex worker describes her life in a time lacking touch. 

„I need weight on my body, otherwise I have the feeling it’s going to burst.“: a sex worker describes her life in a time lacking touch. 

We’re living through a time in which touch and bodily contact is a little like gold dust. Rare and valuable.

Touch has always been important to me. Touch, Closeness, Intimacy, and Healing are so existential for me that I abandoned my law studies and a career behind a desk for them. Most people love sex, but it’s enough for them to practice it as a hobby, often even with just one other person. That’s totally okay. As for me, I wanted to spend more time on Touch, Closeness, and all the emotions connected to them, to delve into the topic, know more about it, practice and professionalize it. Since I, too, need to make a living, it was clear that time needs to be paid. And voilà: that’s how I became a sex worker.

Giving intimacy in a world lacking touch already deserved credit long before Corona. The fact that I make a very good living is only one of the ways I can tell people value it. Some of my clients‘ letters of thanks are deeply touching. Many colleagues describe one of the most wonderful aspects of our profession as being the gratitude we receive from people who have experienced contact, desire, and sex which has made them happy.

The Privilege of Touch

Now we’re all at home, and we’re told to keep two meters distance from each other. The privilege of touch is reserved for monogamous couples. Those in relationships can consider themselves fortunate. Not a good time for all those for whom family is not a safe space, for singles, or for loose subjects (like myself). I follow all the rules, talk on the phone until my ears hurt, go jogging, meditate and do yoga, put my mother’s groceries in front of her door and only touch, if at all, my cat, my self, and from time to time, my loved one.

Now and then, I roll around on the carpet, to assure my body it still has boundaries. My own body weight isn’t enough to transmit that meaningfully. I touch myself and also masturbate, but even before, I only did that with a moderate amount of passion. As a sex educator, I’m familiar with all the theories that the prerequisite for good sex is the ability to have fabulous solo sex. I agree with that pedagogically, and regularly maintain it towards all my clients, in order to be professional. I hereby for the first time admit publicly that it was never really the case for me.

I desire to pounce on somebody or be grabbed. I love fingers other than mine on my body, on and in my pussy. And I considerably prefer hands, cocks, and tongues to any fucking sex toy, no matter what fancy outer space material it’s made of, how utopically large its price tag was, and how streamlined the way is that it cuddles up to my g-spot.

My body doesn’t understand the withdrawal of adrenalin, serotonin, and oxytocin. It misses the deep relaxation that comes from lying in close contact with someone with whom you’ve just dared to go on a wild ride through ecstasy. My chocolate consumption is increasing in proportion to the published numbers of infections.

At my Desk in a Latex Dress?

On the radio, I hear advice for the „home office“. Most important: maintain your usual everyday work routine. What does that mean for me? Sit at my desk in a latex dress and boots and answer customers‘ emails who aren’t booking appointments? Tie myself up and suspend myself in my living room? Sitting on stuffed animals faces? Talk dirty to my cat? My work routine has been disturbed.

Neither am I a particularly visual person, nor am I generally into disciplinary games. I’m joyfully exhibitionistic, but I don’t necessarily need to be naked on the web. Talking during sex is great, but I find talking about sex without actually having it pretty dreary. I prefer to feel than to talk. Sounding and breathing and even singing and whooping is no problem, but is anyone going to pay for that?

Online Courses instead of Open-Ended Closeness

Everyone’s saying to me:  but you give workshops! Why don’t you offer an online course? But I’ve always fallen into a sudden deep sleep at the thought of online courses. I’ve never understood my work as being able to explain „the way to Y in 7 steps“ to you. I’ve led countless groups and guided people in one-on-one sessions. I don’t have any solutions, I only offer processes and pathfinding.

What I can do is hold people when they have been touched, when they open themselves, when they’re vulnerable. I can do improvisation, I can do ecstasy, and I can do desire, whether it’s wet, open, and ready, or standing shyly in the hallway. I can listen to bodies but not tell them how to optimize themselves in five steps. I can do closeness that is not result-oriented.

And I can bring people together. I can create a space for them to experiment. For them to touch each other. I don’t like explaining the world. I would rather let them discover it. By „world“, I mean the one beyond our own living rooms and beyond the paths of the couple relationship. But that’s exactly where the online courses go. We become private. We tell Ole and Uschi how to do it.

Public sex and your achievements – how long will it take until we reclaim you?

I’m sorry, my dears, today I don’t have any constructive solutions for you. I’m sad and frustrated, because I’m worried about what will become of our culture of touch, I’m worried about what will become of our sexual culture. And not least about what will become of me and my colleagues in sex work.

A Financial Predicament that Some Take Advantage of

My savings are enough for about two to three months. Some need to continue working, despite the severe danger to themselves and others. The reason is economic hardship: these people wouldn’t qualify for any of the aid programs for freelancers, and have no claim to social security, maybe because they don’t have a secure residential status and aren’t registered.

Some clients take extra advantage of this emergency situation and push prices downwards. Violence against sex workers is on the rise. The Corona crisis offers a new promise for the long-discussed „ban against purchasing sexual services“: if sex work is criminalized, it will mostly hit marginalized colleagues and those working precariously. In order for them not to have to continue working, the professional association for erotic and sexual services has set up an emergency relief fund and is calling on politicians to include sex workers in the rescue measures who aren’t registered or have no health insurance.

Whores provide touch and closeness. I don’t want our sexual culture to happen online, perhaps I’m the last hopelessly analog, tactile generation. I became a whore precisely because I didn’t want to do „something in the media“. And I stand by that. 

Keep your distance, my dears. Think your hot thoughts. Share them with each other. Masturbate.

Watching each other is also hot, by the way. Orgasms and a sensual way of being are good for your immune system. Fear isn’t.

Please stay healthy!

TAZ AM WOCHENENDE

This article is from taz am wochenende (taz weekend edition). Every Saturday at the newsstand, at the eKiosk or through the practical weekend subscription. And on Facebook and Twitter