1. There is no such thing as a psychologically healthy sex worker. There just isn’t. Many of these relationships begin as rescue missions. “Oh, she’s had such a rough life. I’m going to love her and treat her well and we’ll live happily after.” No, no you won’t. Ask the other nice men and women who came before you.
No such thing? Really?
By all means, prior to embarking on a relationship with a sex worker or sexual adventurer, ask for references!
Not all sex workers require “rescuing”, Doctor. However, it is unlikely in your practice that you’ve encountered one at her very best, coming to see you for help. Besides, that’s not the client you’re gunning for now, is it?
In fact, some “rescuers” are sociopaths themselves. I know. I married one. He never stopped reminding me of my “inferiority” while he embezzled my hard-earned money (from technical writing in The Silicon Valley and investments).
Full disclosure: I am not a sex worker; however, many of my friends are and have been sex workers and some are even in happy, healthy, long term relationships! I am however a sexual pioneer and adventurer with admittedly a pretty tame lifestyle in the present—probably tamer than Dr. Palmatier’s. My sexual history is the reverse of that of the typical Western woman—I started out really strong and then faded into extreme selectivity. I am however not in the least bit ashamed of my past nor my peculiarly long list of sexual skills. I’m a connoisseur not a glutton. However I have tried it all. It was instrumental in my emancipation from my abusive family. I am a two-actor incest survivor. I know, I know, there’s no such thing as a psychologically healthy incest survivor. Poo. I’m also a former bisexual. I don’t talk much about why because I do not mean to use my incest history as a means to titillate.
I think it’s safe to say that a sex worker would be ill advised to come to Dr. Palmatier for professional help. Whereas a man who regularly finds himself victimized by female sex workers may indeed be helped by her. However, judging by her tone, I’m going to say that even not all men who fit in this category are going to be a good fit for her even if “the chemistry feels right”. For example, I would steer away from her a man who has had positive experiences in the fringes of sexual experimentation unless that sexual experimentation is somehow negatively impacting his life.
Strippers, prostitutes, sex workers, et al may indeed be problematic for most men. However, “most men” don’t get emotionally involved with them. Those who do, may be “unusual” themselves. I think of a sexually flexible woman with “a past” as a good partner for an advanced student of human nature with unusual experiences himself. I’ll even go so far as to say that a woman who is open about herself and her past is probably a better bet than one who hides her juicy past behind a mask of professional demeanor. I also have to wonder about one who instead of a mask of cool professionalism chooses a hip and fashionable hairdo, say, as a way of exuding “approachability” or “good times” to her “client” of choice.
Is there a pole in your office, Doctor Palmatier?
Psychiatrists, who are paid to be good listeners, to even “validate” and “encourage” behavior while critically examining destructive and self-destructive behavior, often have a hard time putting aside the professional mask for benefit of an intimate relationship. Learning whether such a person is behaving professionally or personally is not a job for the näive.
Men: Can you handle midnight phone calls from the suicidal “patient”? Can you handle those moments of angst when her attention is with her practice and not on you? How about the seemingly warm and intimate comment that “feels like” you are being analyzed? The pitfalls of a relationship with one in “the helping professions” deserve to be discussed!
A person who professionally counsels and has 50-minute weekly relationships with near strangers is in many ways akin to an actress or prostitute. Some sex workers are therapists. My guess is that Dr. Palmatier doesn’t actually avail herself of sexual surrogates, for instance; or if she does, her article pretty well kills that professional relationship.
There’s a general misconception held by many that psychiatrists are themselves of superior mental health and are otherwise more capable of intimate bonding and reciprocal relationships than other people; however, that’s not only not true but is a dangerous fallacy. Some people actually go into the profession for the purpose of healing themselves. Others have less than stellar motivations; however brilliant narcissists find their way into just about every prestigious profession.
Self-awareness and acceptance of uncomfortable feelings like shame is not guaranteed by the presence of letters after the name.
Are there crazy women in the alternative sexuality communities? Of course there are. I’d even go so far to say that most of them are off their rocker, narcissists, borderlines, and all sorts of personality disorders. However, one could easily say the same thing about women in general today. For example, there’s nothing particularly savory about the University of Virginia student known as “Jackie”. There is no 100% safe refuge from “crazy”.
However, zealots and bigots aren’t generally considered the Gold Standard of “sane” either. I’m disappointed in you, Dr. Palmatier.