Take it from the team at FUN FACTORY—working in the sex industry is exciting and raunchy most of the time. But it’s also hard work, like any other research-heavy job; it forces you to contend with stereotypes; and it changes your approach to sex and dating.
We sat down with five people who work in our field to see how their jobs affect their sex lives, and vice versa. They shared six realities about dating a sex industry pro, plus some tips on seducing them—they might have you updating your online dating profiles!
SEX INDUSTRY PROS CAN COMMUNICATE.
Sex educators and journalists describe acts, emotions, and erogenous zones that others ignore. Those professional skills make it easier for them to describe their preferences in the bedroom, which benefits everyone.
“We define things. We explain things. We are articulate about sexuality,” says Susan Bratton, a publisher, public speaker, and author. She finds that giving respectful, well-timed feedback to a partner builds their confidence and helps them both have passionate sex together.
Journalist Bobby Box says that open, honest sexual communication is the best part of dating someone in his field. “Being a sexuality professional kind of breaks that ice immediately, so you’re open to discussing boundaries, turn-ons, kinks, and things of that nature right from the beginning,” he says.
SEX INDUSTRY PROS LOVE AN OPEN MIND.
If you want to win the heart of someone in the sex industry, show that you can see beyond stereotypes, like that of the airheaded sex fiend.
As Cy Smash, the toy reviewer behind SuperSmashCache.com, says, “I want a sanctuary from how harsh the world can be towards a woman advocating for pleasure for women.”
Beyond having a sex-positive, feminist outlook, it never hurts to have adventurous taste in the bedroom.
Susan sometimes involves her dates in her sexual experimentation, and appreciates someone with a game attitude. “If you're going to date me, you have to be willing to be my research partner,” she says. Most recently, she tried giving her husband a blowjob with MANTA, which she describes as “so much fun.”
SEX INDUSTRY PROS HAVE THE HOOKUP.
Sometimes, the perks of the job are exactly what you think they are. Susan says that the best part of dating someone in her field is “trying new FUN FACTORY toys on a regular basis.” (Check out this list of her favorites.)
Carly S., the pleasure educator and toy tester also known as @MakeupAndSin, gets free toys for reviewing—and she shares the wealth. “When you're nice to me, you get to go home with free vibrators and lube and orgasms. And I love to cook, so it's a fun time at my house,” she says.
SEX INDUSTRY PROS DON’T WANT TO WORK ALL THE TIME.
It turns out that sex industry pros don’t like doing unpaid work any more than the rest of the world. Just ask Jimanekia Eborn, a sex educator and trauma specialist. Sometimes, when her dates learn that she works in mental health, they start trauma-dumping on her. They tell stories that are best shared with a therapist or close friend, expecting Jimanekia to go into work mode.
“I like to say, ‘Thank you for sharing with me, but I am not in the headspace to have this conversation with you. I came here to have a date with you and get to know you as a person,’” Jimanekia says.
Carly has similar work-for-free stories, where strangers on the apps have asked her to give personalized toy recommendations.
“I'm totally down to do that, but I don't want to do that before I've even met you,” she says. “It's my job, and I don't want to work before we've even gone on a date.”
SEX INDUSTRY PROS ARE OFTEN KINDA NERDY.
When you think of a sex industry pro, do you think of a fearless siren in designer lingerie? Sometimes, that’s the job—but sometimes, it’s sitting behind a laptop in sweatpants, Googling “hemorrhoid cream + lube."
“Even after a day of administrative work—organizing my spreadsheets, doing reviews, no sexy stuff at all—people will assume that I spend all day only testing toys. It’s very frustrating to not be taken seriously,” says Carly.
Cy agrees. “Like, I’m not a party animal. I’m a sex writer. Much of my work day is spent seated in front of a computer screen. And I’d argue that most of us are introverted,” she says.
Jimanekia, who spends too much time watching pro wrestling to be a 24/7 socialite, says something similar. To her, the most misunderstood aspect of her field is “that we're regular-ass people. We don't just hang out and talk about sex all day.”
SEX INDUSTRY PROS DON’T JUDGE.
All our colleagues agreed about one thing: They’d never write someone off just because of their sexual tastes. Contrary to the misconception that they’re hard to impress and harshly critical—“like some caricature of a Romanian gym coach,” quips Cy—sexperts are a pretty accepting group.
“Your kinks and sexual vices are safe with me; I won’t judge you,” says Cy. “I’ve heard it all, and I’ve resolved not to kill the part of me that is cringe, but to kill the part that cringes.”
“People tend to assume we’re all sex fiends with scoreboards who will judge others on their performance,” Bobby says, reacting to the same misconception. “The truth is, sexuality professionals understand better than anybody else that sex is subjective, making us the least judgmental bunch you could ever meet.”