“I was born in Switzerland, in Geneva, into a normal family. But as a child I already felt different. Since I was a little girl I didn’t want to live. I remember that when I went to bed, I prayed not to wake up the next day. I was not at all gifted at school. I liked freedom, being outside, far from the classroom. I couldn’t project myself into the future and I had the feeling that nobody believed in me. As time went on, the feeling of being outside the norm only grew stronger. From the age of 14, I started to have suicidal thoughts. I was quite determined. For me, life wasn’t worth living. I needed help but I couldn’t ask for it at all. I didn’t tell anyone about all these thoughts. Then one day when I wasn’t feeling well, I swallowed some poison on a whim.
I was 18 years old. I didn’t really know if it would work. It was more like flipping a coin, not choosing, leaving it to fate. I lay down on my bed, and I started to feel very clear cuts with reality. I would suddenly find myself in another environment with friends, then it would cut off and I would find myself somewhere else. At one point, my bed became like a coffin. I could hardly breathe. I thought I was going to die and that my family would find me like that, suffocated. But I managed to calm down and eventually fell asleep. When I woke up the next day, I couldn’t see anything. All the side effects disappeared after about 3 weeks. But the suicidal thoughts persisted.
Besides all this, I had never had a relationship. I always hated seduction games, I never wanted to be in a relationship. And that also fed my general feeling of inadequacy. So at 20, I was suicidal, failing at school, and still a virgin… Then one day, I had a crazy idea. I had read on the internet about a woman who had sold her virginity for one million. It was a fake, but the idea stuck with me. And one night I told my friends: “I’ll sell my virginity for a million, I’ll buy a flat and we’ll all live together!” At first it was just a joke between friends. But that night in bed, I thought I could really do it. That it would be horrible but it would be a one-off. And maybe it would help me with my emotional blockage…
I put an ad on a sugar dating site, where wealthy men look for young women. At first I didn’t believe it would work, but several people were interested. At first I asked for 60’000 francs, but it didn’t work out. Finally, a guy accepted for 15’000. I met him first to discuss. He wanted 4 dates, and to take it step by step. He was a 50 year old guy. I was a bit disgusted with him, but he seemed nice so it was fine. When I got to the hotel for the first date… Oh my God, it was horrible! One of the most stressful moments of my life. And when I left the hotel, I felt like everyone knew what I had done. But I didn’t care, I felt invincible. I felt I was capable of anything. And from that day on, I was never suicidal again.
After the four appointments, he said he wanted to continue seeing me. I accepted for 400 francs per meeting. And I said to myself: if I’m going to see him, I might as well see others! And that’s how it really started. But I didn’t even feel like a prostitute. On these sites, people are looking for a relationship. So you talk a lot, you make them think you’re not seeing anyone else. I was pretending to be in love, pretending to come, and so on. For them, what flattered their ego was pleasing a 20-year-old girl. They felt so proud! And they all have this same posture: I’m not like the others, you’re really lucky to have me. Really all of them! With some of them, I felt that there were real feelings. But I always asked to be paid. For me, it was really about the money.
That didn’t stop me from having affection for some. I had one who was very gruff but very sweet. He took me to luxury hotels, starred restaurants, spas. This part of sex work is cool! But I didn’t know anything about it and I took a lot of risks because I didn’t use condoms. After a year and a half I contacted the non-profit Aspasie, and that’s when I realised that I was doing shit: I wasn’t using protection, I was charging low prices, and I was working illegally. So I registered with the police and went for an audition at a luxury escort agency. I’ve been working there for a few months now, and it pays much better! So I stopped with most of the sugar daddies except for some of my favourites.
When I started two years ago, I had a very positive view of sex work, that it was emancipating. I had this feeling that I had reclaimed my life. But since then, my vision has changed. In the short term it seems to help, like when you take drugs, but not in the long term. There are self-destructive patterns that go with it. At first I was really disgusted, and I managed to protect myself by disassociating myself, by creating a character who goes through these experiences for me. My character is a girl who takes charge of her life, who is not afraid of anything, she has no limits. And next to her, there’s always this little girl who studies and doesn’t achieve anything. I started to hate this girl and to love my character. But I also started to feel that I could have a manipulative side through my character…
I have no moral limits anymore, I am capable of anything. I’ve even betrayed friends for money. Sometimes, there are evenings I could spend with friends, but I go to work instead. Without even knowing why. I think I’ve become a bit addicted to the money. Working with the agency, I soon found myself with a lot of money stashed under my bed. Most women do this job out of economic necessity, but I still live with my parents. So I don’t really need the money. But it gives me this feeling of power, of invincibility. This adrenaline of always wanting more. A feeling of guilt starts to grow in me. Sometimes I think: oh my God, who have I become?
The thing that hurts me the most is having to hide everything. It makes me lie about so many things. The hardest thing is to lie to my parents. I have a good relationship with them. And sometimes I look them in the eye and imagine telling them everything. But I’m too afraid of their reaction. So why do I continue? My character still represents my ideal, at one point I almost wanted to become only her. And I’m afraid that if I let her go, I’ll go back to being the suicidal little girl I was. But I’m starting to think that there aren’t two identities, and that these strengths won’t disappear. But I’m not quite there yet. And I like to experience things that are out of the ordinary, and the feeling of limitlessness that money brings me. Thanks to that, I’m not suicidal anymore and I feel that life is worth living!”
Published as part of the mini-series “90’000 things in my head“, produced in partnership with Aspasie. | translated from French