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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Age: 64
Gender: Male
Posts: 25,948
Location: Long Island, New York

01 May 2021, 7:38 am

I’m An Autistic Sex Worker, And Here’s Why It Works For Me

I came out as autistic during the pandemic. Being isolated for so long finally revealed that I had been “masking,” or performing social behaviors that are considered neurotypical, my entire life. And the less I masked, the happier I became.

I have this theory that autistic people know they’re autistic just like gay people know they’re gay. As a bisexual woman, I didn’t have to go to the psychologist to take a test and have an old white man tell me whether or not I’m into women. But for some reason, this is what society requires of autistic people. Without a diagnosis on paper, we’re not recognized ― even though a diagnosis still rarely helps us in society. But for much of my life, I knew I was different, even though I didn’t know why.

After hours of telling my psychologist my life story, doing multiple-choice personality tests and emailing him traits I identified with, I was devastated when he told me he didn’t think I was autistic. I tried to keep eye contact and look calm while I dissociated.

I asked him why he didn’t think I was autistic when I had been so certain. I had stayed up until 3 a.m. watching TikTok videos of other people around the world who made me feel less alone ― and suddenly my whole life made sense. Suddenly I knew why being diagnosed late with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) didn’t feel like the complete answer. I had suspected I was autistic for years ― but now I knew I was.

“Oh, I just don’t think someone who’s autistic would be able to do your job,” he said, like it made perfect sense.

I had told my psychologist that I had been working as an escort for the last few years. Unable to keep a job in my 20s, I went on disability and started escorting to make some extra money. I found it incredible that men would pay hundreds of dollars an hour to spend time with me and that the more I was myself, the more they wanted to see me.

Disabled, chronically ill and mentally ill people could relate to me ― and I loved being able to work my own hours while giving others the affection they desired. I knew how it felt to feel lonely in your own skin.

Instead, the doctor diagnosed me with avoidant personality disorder ― because I’m a 31-year-old woman who doesn’t want “a family.”

I went home and stopped myself from throwing furniture. Sobbing, I paced around my house and yelled, “I don’t have a personality disorder!” I didn’t know how to deal with the psychological pain of a professional telling me that my experience didn’t fit his expertise. Who was I to argue with someone who literally went to school for this?

If it wasn’t for other sex workers, I honestly don’t know what I would have done.

“My psychologist doesn’t believe I’m autistic because I’m a sex worker,” I desperately wrote on Twitter. “If you’re an autistic sex worker can you please get in contact with me?”

I wasn’t sure if anyone would respond. Maybe my psychologist was right. Maybe being an escort was too social of a job for someone who was autistic.

“My psychologist said the same,” commented one woman. “At our next appointment, I showed her Reese Piper’s writing.”

“It’s absolutely absurd to think that autistic people can’t be in jobs where they have to socialize,” another autistic sex worker DMed me. “I have a Masters in Clinical Psychology and nowhere in the DSM does it have exclusionary criteria about a person’s profession.”

Numerous sex workers came out one by one ― either in the comments or in my DMs. Suddenly I had more confidence. I made a TikTok video talking about my experience, and thousands of people replied that they had a similar experience. They had been told they were too smart, too good at socializing, too good at eye contact ― even too pretty.

All my years of masking made me perfect for providing the Girlfriend Experience. While dating in my civilian life gives me extreme anxiety, when I’m working as Hayley I know exactly what to do and when. I greet clients at the door in lingerie and a robe, take their coat and their cash, excuse myself while I count and put it away ― and then join them on the couch for refreshments I’ve laid out.

Since my misdiagnosis, I’ve emailed my psychologist evidence that autistic people can be sex workers. He’s said he’s going to consult with other psychologists who specialize in autism and get back to me. It’s been over a month and I haven’t heard from him.

Though I would love a diagnosis, I’ve accepted that I don’t need one to be fulfilled. I’m currently waiting to receive the COVID-19 vaccine so I can see clients again, and, in the meantime, I’m writing a book about being autistic and hoping to have it published.

After a year of unmasking alone in my house, I’m not sure how I feel about going back to masking as an escort. Part of me wants to completely unmask and brand myself as an autistic sex worker ― in all my awkward glory. And part of me doesn’t know how to do this job without masking.

If Hayley wants or needs a diagnosis instead of waiting for the doctor to consult a specialist she do it herself despite how hard is for her to do.

Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity.

“My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person”. - Sara Luterman