Editor’s Note: For this year’s annual sex issue, OC Weekly spoke to three sex workers in Orange County. Their stories are gritty and graphic, but they also reveal a sense of personal pride, dignity and even humor in a profession that, despite being known as the world’s oldest, remains tainted with shame, scorn and, perhaps worse, ignorance. We share these stories to highlight the personal experiences of three workers as they navigate the challenges and perils of Orange County’s underground sex industry.
Ruby is a 28-year-old masseuse who holds a state certificate to give massages but also provides handjobs to clients. She is in a long-term committed relationship and is the mother of a 4-year-old son. Katy, 23, is currently a topless stripper but has previously worked at a full-nude club where she performed “full service” sex work. She has also worked as an escort. A full-time student at a Cal State university, she hopes to go to law school, but she also has two side businesses she hopes to concentrate on as soon as she leaves the sex industry. Tricia was born a male but identifies as a female. A 25-year-old call girl, her sex work began on the streets at age 15.
OC WEEKLY: What is the most expensive service someone has asked you to perform?
RUBY: For sex, the most is, like, $1,200, but I never do it ’cause most of the time, they’re full of shit. Or, like, one time, some guy goes, “Here, let me eat you out; I have all this money right here,” and I was like, “You’re not going to give me that money; give me the money, and I’ll definitely let you do it.” He’s like, “No, no, just . . .” I’m all like, “Just nothing, motherfucker. You think I’m stupid? Keep your money in your pocket ’cause it’s probably your rent. Stop bullshitting me and hurry the fuck up ’cause your time is almost up.”
KATY: The weirdest thing I got asked to do was insult a guy with a micropenis. He came into the club, and he was all tweaked out, and he was like, “I want you; I want you,” and I said, “I need at least $120 to touch you, otherwise I can’t.” He only had, like, $80. He’s like, “I’ll pay you more; I’ll give you my necklace.” He was so weird and desperate. And then he asked if he could pay me to see me get fucked by someone else with a bigger dick than him, but he wanted to see the picture of the dick first. He wanted to be shame-fucked; he said that turns him on.
Do you still enjoy and have sex when you aren’t getting paid?
RUBY: Fuck, yeah. I still find enjoyment in sex because I have only one partner. Yeah, there’s sometimes hot guys that go in there, but I’m not turned on by them. Because they can be the cutest fuckin’ guy, but when they’re saying, “Oh, you’re going to waste this dick,” and I’m looking at them, thinking, “Motherfucker, your dick isn’t even that big. I have a bigger one at home and you’re insulting me by telling me this, so shut the fuck up because you’re paying for my hands.”
KATY: Yeah, I enjoy sex more when I’m not getting paid because I feel like it’s actually a deeper connection. When I get paid for sex or a lap dance or whatever, it was literally a business transaction. You’re paying me to give you this service. I’ll give it to you, I’ll make sure you’re happy, and then you come back for some more. Sometimes, they would get attached and fall in love, but I didn’t enjoy that. Even if they’d pay me a lot or even if they were hot, I prefer having sex with someone I want to give my body to physically and emotionally.
TRICIA: It depends who I’m with. I enjoy having sex, but if I don’t have a relationship and it’s, like, a one-night stand, I don’t enjoy it nor will I have sex with you if I don’t see money coming in.
What’s the oldest guy you’ve been with?
RUBY: He was 82, and I thought he was so cute ’cause he looked like that old dude from The Simpsons, and I’m like, “Aww, how cute; sit down”—like, trying to be nice to this motherfucker—and he sits next to me, and he fuckin’ pushed me on the bed. This fucker was stronger than half my other clients, and he tried to stick his tongue in my mouth, and [gags] I almost threw up, and I yelled, “Get the fuck off me! The fuck is wrong with you?” I told him to back away and never do that shit again. He ended up being nice and tipping me $100.
KATY: I think maybe he was in his 80s, but he was a really sweet guy. He had adopted children from Thailand, and he was sweet, and he always wanted handjobs. He would give me $100 for a lap dance and $100 for a handjob.
TRICIA: I’d say 60, but some of them don’t even look their age. I get a lot of men who say they’re 50, but I’m sure most of them lie, so I’d say about 60 years old.
What’s the smallest dick you’ve ever seen?
RUBY: My toe is bigger. Like, it was a nub. This was a grown-ass, 7-foot-tall-ass, big, huge guy, and he had a nub, and I can’t jack that off. Like, even using the tips of my two fingers, it would slip out. There’s a head: It looks like a tiny, little mushroom just sitting there, and I can’t jack him off, so I have to, like, rub it like a clit. He came. He has regular-sized balls, just no dick. And I’ve seen guys with huge dicks and marble-sized balls.
KATY: A nub. Probably the size of my thumb. This guy is, like, 200 pounds, really big, super-successful, owns, like, all these companies, and he’s balling with a BMW, all suited up like a boss, and then he busts out his tiny dick. Strippers actually prefer small dicks, though, because you don’t have to work with it a lot. Like, big dicks get in the way, and a lot of the times, they’ll try to fuck you. To make them cum, you just have to rub it, or you put your fingers around the head and just twist your fingers like you’re tuning a radio but really fast.
TRICIA: The guy last night, he was, like, 3 inches, but I think it was because he was very thick, like fat. I’m not trying to be rude, but he was heavy, so I’m assuming that’s why he had a small dick, but you’d be surprised: There’s some fat people that have decent, big dicks. When I see a small dick, I just think to myself, “I just gotta do what I gotta do,” but sometimes it’s impossible. I still charge the same amount. I try to not get impatient and be like, “Can you hurry? I got shit to do.” But I try to be fair, and a lot of clients come back to me.
Have you ever had a female client?
RUBY: I had one boss bitch—she was, like, a CEO of a company, and she was very discreet because she didn’t want anyone to know she was a lesbian because they would kick her out of the board. She had some nice, huge, perky-ass tits and a banging body. I was doing the massage, and I turned her over, and she grabs my hand, and she just starts fingering herself. So I was grabbing her tits, but she kept moaning and shit, and that’s the thing: Women are too loud, way too vocal. I just told her to shut up, put a pillow over, told her to bite it, and then she released a big moan, and she was done. This stupid bitch only left me $20.
KATY: Yeah, she was my favorite; I haven’t seen her in a while. She’s an engineer and has a lot of money. She was really respectful and nice, and she was kind of like a tomboy, and she had long hair and was in her early 50s. I asked her if she wanted a dance; she said, yes. So then I asked her if I could grab her and play with her tits, out of respect. Just ’cause I’m a sex worker doesn’t mean I don’t know that people have boundaries, so I still ask. She had natural, like, triple-D tits, and I was like, “Oh, my god, how are they so perky?” She’s an old lady, but she was turning me on, so I started touching her and fingering her. I still remember thinking, “Damn, that was not bad. Like her pussy was pretty tight and bomb. I’ll probably eat her out next time.”
TRICIA: Not only women, but a lot of couples. Men who will say their partner wants to join or just observe, and I’m open to it, but it’s not necessarily my cup of tea.
How do you work while you are on your period?
RUBY: I feel like we get way more perverts coming in because we are on our period because, for some reason, that bloated feeling, it attracts them like they can sense the pheromones. Every time I’m on my period, no matter what time of the month it is, I still get more clients. I always feel like crap during that time, and I think they aren’t going to want me and I don’t even want to take clients, but then I go in the room, and I turn on like a light switch, and I do my thing. I don’t know what the hell it is, but they also get grosser when you’re on your period. Like, once, one guy kept telling me, “I want to taste you,” and I was like, “No, I’m on my period.” He ended up sticking his finger in me and pulled it out quickly and stuck it in his mouth. I literally gagged and said, “You’re disgusting.” He’s like, “No, fuck no. It still tastes good, and I don’t care.” He was so fuckin’ gross.
KATY: I usually wear pads because it’s healthier than having the fibers of a tampon inside you or risk getting toxic shock syndrome, but when I go to work, I use tampons, and I cut half of the string and tuck the rest in. I usually wear the super-heavy ones depending on my flow and how long my shift is. I always make more money while I’m on my period. I guess ’cause I get hornier and really turned on, and they can see that I’m genuinely enjoying it, and they’ll tip me more. I just feel so much more feminine and sexy while I’m menstruating. I just constantly have to be checking that I don’t stain myself ’cause there’s been situations where strippers are giving guys a lap dance, and then they get up and the guy has a bunch of blood on their pants.
The only period horror story I have is once I was onstage, and I was dancing, and I was so drunk I forgot that I didn’t tuck in my tampon string. That was so embarrassing. I even had guys onstage, and I made a really good amount of money that night. After I got off, the bartender was like, “Hey, your string is sticking out.” I was like, “Ugh, why didn’t you tell me before?” Like, “You decide to tell me now?” I left the stage so disappointed, but the girls in the back were all very supportive and told me it has happened to several of them.
TRICIA: Clearly, I don’t get a period. [Laughs.]
What is the most disturbing service someone has asked of you?
RUBY: One guy, we were really busy, and he was just desperate to come in, so he told me, “Just watch me jack off in the bathroom really quick, and I’ll give you 40 bucks.” He’s jacking off, and he says, “Come here; hold it in your hand.” I say, “Give me an extra $20.” He agrees. He then cums in my hands and says, “Feed it to me.” I fed him all his cum, everything that came out, and he ate it all.
KATY: I was at the strip club, and some guy walked in after partying at Angel Stadium. He came in minutes before closing time, so I told him I’d charge him more since he specifically requested me and I was ready to leave. I charged him $300, but after giving him a couple of dances, he was like, “Let me suck on your toes.” I replied, “My feet are pretty stinky and sweaty; I’ve been dancing all night. Are you sure?” Often, when strippers are giving dances, your feet get tired, so you take your shoes off on the carpet, and the carpet is dirty—you don’t know if there’s cum, or if they wash or vacuum it. Anyways, I took my shoes off and put both my feet in his mouth, and the rest of the time, he was just sucking my feet. It was so gross, but to me, it was like, “Fuck, yeah, I’m making $300 just to sit and get my feet licked.”
TRICIA: When they tell me to eat their ass, I don’t fuckin’ like that. But I don’t mind if they eat me out. [Laughs.] I’ve had guys ask if they could pee all over me. Guys will want to spit on my face while I’m giving them a blowjob, like, “Hell, no, no.”
What is the most hurtful thing someone has said or done to you?
RUBY: Sometimes, guys treat us [sex workers] like we are trash, like they are disgusted by us, but they still want our service. People are hardly mean, but when they are, I make it a point to fight back because they want to treat me like I’m some fuckin’ dumb bitch. All sex workers have rights. We are human beings, and I’m a citizen.
KATY: I once had a guy dressed as a FedEx guy come in, and he had me jack him off. He then asked to have sex, so I stepped out to grab a condom, and when I came back, I heard yells in the hall: “Santa Ana Police Department.” And the FedEx guy was an undercover cop, [and he] started playing the victim, yelling out that I was entrapping him. He then told me, “You know I get to take my money back.” He was horny; he was hard. He had let me jack him off for a long time before he called backup. He was taking enjoyment in scamming me, and I felt so used. Cops are the worst: They verbally harass you and dehumanize you during raids, but outside of work, they flirt with you and take pictures of you and demand acts without pay. But as soon as you say no, they criminalize you and make you feel inferior.
Another time, I had a guy who I met with at a hotel, and before having sex, he asked to turn on the lights, so he could check me. He told me, “Sorry, I’m just a really clean guy, and I don’t want you to touch me and infect me. Don’t touch yourself; just use one hand for my dick, and don’t do anything with the other.” He was a germaphobe, which is good, but at the same time, I felt insulted, like people don’t understand that I could fuck 10 guys and still be cleaner than someone who has fucked three.
TRICIA: Very rarely will I have people insult me or say rude comments. Sometimes, when I go out to bars or clubs, but usually, it’s girls because they’re hating that I just look that good.
How often do you get tested?
RUBY: I get tested once a year because I only have one partner.
KATY: I get tested, like, once every four months, so quarterly.
TRICIA: Every six months. I recently got tested in January, and I came out clean—thank God.
Do you have your clients wear condoms every time?
RUBY: No, because I only do handjobs, and I only have one partner, so we don’t use condoms.
KATY: I always wear a condom, except when I’m fucking someone and there’s feeling involved. But I have the implant, so it’s still a contraceptive.
TRICIA: Oh, girl, you want to see my stash? [Pulls out a grocery bag full of different sizes, colors, flavors and brands.] I always take care of myself.