In the February edition of their monthly column for Document, Liara Roux answers readers’ questions about OnlyFans burnout, living in Paris, and high-achieving lesbians
Where are all the badass, single, thirtysomething lesbians?
I’m a lesbian who has a great career, apartment, and many friends, but no sex life. I feel completely lost in finding partners who are driven and want to be in a relationship.These days, it feels like an accomplishment just getting to the first date.
I go out fairly often, but now I’m starting to feel cynical, restless, and lonely. I come from a background where I have seen and experienced a lot of the ugly side of life. But as I’ve grown, I’m now at a place where I have a hard time fitting in with other queer people who were in my social group.
What dating advice do you have for high-achieving lesbians?
To be honest, what you’re describing is something a lot of my queer friends are going through at the moment. Post-COVID, almost everyone I know went through a slutty phase. Now, everyone is thinking a little more seriously about dating again, but they’re having trouble negotiating it—maybe we’ve all forgotten how to date.
Dating as a queer person is extra hard. Many people meet prospective partners through work; it’s a good way to meet someone who’s in a similar place to you, who wants similar things, who has a similar rhythm. But when you’re queer, flirting on the job becomes a bit extra fraught. I’m sure you know that.
I really relate to what you’re saying about coming from a rough place, expanding and flourishing a bit, and then having trouble relating to the people you used to struggle with. It’s hard to hang out with friends who haven’t seemed to change at all in the decade I’ve known them, still bitterly complaining about the same things.
Maybe the first step for you is working on finding really solid friendships with people who you can relate to a bit more. That doesn’t mean ditching your old friends—I think it’s super important to stay in touch with your roots—but finding someone who can split the bill with you at a nice restaurant without stress might make you feel a little less isolated. And then, when you hang out with your beloved, slightly more punky queer angels, you may find that you feel a little less resentful.
I don’t really recommend going on dating apps. Personally, I loved OkCupid back in the day, but Tinder has always felt obnoxious to me and I haven’t even tried downloading Hinge. It’s nice meeting people who are already in your circle. What are your hobbies? I know it’s cliché, but focusing on those might help you find people you really click with. The unfortunate thing about a lot of queer friend groups is that so much of the bonding can happen over drugs or alcohol. While fun, this can give you a false sense of belonging that dissolves when you realize you don’t actually share many of the same values.
It seems like you want a relationship that feels steady and grown-up. What makes you feel steady and grown-up? What activities make you feel enriched, grounded, and centered? Do more of those. Maybe it’s hiking, or going to museums or concerts, painting, bird watching, learning an instrument or a language! Making candles! Reading comics! These shared activities are great, because I’ve found that similar people are drawn to similar things. Just like with work. People who see the world in the same way will often be drawn together.
I don’t know if you’re into magic at all, but sometimes using ritual to set an intention can be really powerful. My friend Snakes for Hair makes beautiful candles that you can burn to invite a different energy into your life. It might be too corny for you, but I find the practice of lighting a candle every day and watching it slowly burn down to be a potent reminder that change takes time.
Lots of love,
“People who see the world in the same way will often be drawn together.”
I’ve been doing sex work in one form or another for over a decade now. To be honest, I’m completely burnt out. I was very excited about work at first, but now I find it unbearable. I’m beginning to think the industry is inherently flawed, but I don’t know if that’s because I’m just tired. I’m only on OnlyFans these days, but I think if I see another dick pic I’m going to have a complete meltdown.
I want to quit, but I don’t know what other work I can do to pay the bills. My friends who don’t do sex work struggle to pay their rent even though they bust their asses working hard for shitty bosses. I tried bartending for a bit, but after a week I had to quit. I’ve thought about going back to school, but I’m in my 30s now and I think I’m too old, and I don’t even know what I could study that would pay the bills.
Every day, life feels just a little more hopeless.
I’m so sorry to hear you’ve been struggling like this. It’s true that sex work is very hard work. Every time I hear someone joke that All you have to do is lay there, I roll my eyes. It’s taxing emotionally and physically.
Let’s talk first about how to get you to a better place now. Can you afford to take a month off? And I mean a month. If you have savings, now is the time to use them. This is what they are for. Do you have a self-care routine? Please get yourself to a spa and get a massage. Try cooking a nice meal for yourself, or take a very indulgent bath. Reach out to friends and tell them what you’re going through. Try to find a therapist who understands the work and talk to them.
In the long term, you need to figure out how to keep yourself from ever getting to this place again. Maybe that does mean quitting sex work and starting on a new career. But if you’ve been in the biz for over a decade, maybe it suits you. Taking time off will allow you to evaluate your current relationship to your work, and figure out how to make it work for you.
It’s always good to have more than one income source. OnlyFans can seem minimally taxing, but the reality is that it can be very invasive. You can do it from anywhere and you’re managing your own schedule. It’s easy for it to take over your life. Making a schedule for yourself, with time-off built in, could help it feel more sustainable. Work boundaries are important. Most OnlyFans people I know work from home; a separate room, a home office essentially, that you work out of can be really important. It seems ridiculous, but if you train yourself to only work in that room during certain hours, it can be really great for preventing burnout.
Maybe sex work is no longer a good fit for you. Maybe you’ve changed. Going back to school could be a good option. A lot of sex workers seem to find nursing a good fit—it’s similar in many ways, and it pays well. It seems like, based on your message, you might want a job that’s relatively focused on some sort of craft, something you can clock in and out of.
At the end of the day, being a successful sex worker requires developing a multitude of skills. Marketing, self-direction, being empathetic, and maintaining connections with clients. These are skills that will help you if you decide to move to another industry. You won’t be starting from scratch.
That being said, if you want to stay connected to the industry, there are other options, too. You could work as another sex worker’s assistant. You could move towards directing or producing content, instead of starring in it. Maybe take a videography class, or reach out to a larger production company.
Most importantly, please take care of yourself. Let yourself lean on others. No one is an island! When you’re deep in it, it can seem impossible to ever feel better—but as someone who’s experienced extreme burnout, I promise you, you will recover.
“At the end of the day, being a successful sex worker requires developing a multitude of skills. Marketing, self-direction, being empathetic, and maintaining connections with clients.”
I’m living in New York and I just got notice that my rent will be increasing over 50 percent next year. I love the city, but I’ve moved nine times in the last 10 years and I don’t know if I can continue living this way. How do you like Paris? I’ve thought about moving, but can’t see myself anywhere else in the States.
New York is really crazy right now. The States are really crazy right now in general. Whenever I read the headlines, I feel terrified and grateful that I’m not there. Of course, there are issues in Paris, as well—but overall it feels a little less shitty, at least for me personally. I’m also a total weirdo who loves learning languages, doesn’t mind being a bit of a hermit, and makes friends relatively easily. Living in a new city isn’t too much of a dramatic change for me—any culture shock I’ve felt has been relatively minor.
Paris has long been a city that artists and intellectuals escape to when the States start getting a little too racist, homophobic, fascist. That’s not to say that French people aren’t racist or homophobic or reactionary; it’s just that it seems to be expressed in slightly less shitty ways, especially in Paris.
The structure of the French government does more to protect the rights and desires of the people, whereas the structure of the American government seems fully devoted to preventing revolution. The French aristocracy, who still occupy most official positions in France, remember the happenings of the previous revolution in France, and thus are a little more likely to give in to demands once Parisians start setting cars on fire.
There are other cities in Europe, too! If you’re serious about moving, I recommend visiting a few that appeal to you, and maybe even a few that don’t. I thought I’d be more of a fan of Berlin, but it rubbed me the wrong way. Before I visited Paris, I thought I would hate it, but it actually really suited me.
I’m sorry about your rent! I hope, one way or another, you’re able to find a stable living situation that makes you feel safe and comfortable soon. A lot of people have been moving to Europe lately—if it feels right, maybe you’ll join us.
Send your questions for Liara to email@example.com to have them answered in future columns. They can also be found on Instagram, Twitter, and OnlyFans.