There was a time when I actually did climax during lap dances. In fact, the first time I ever made myself come was in front of a customer. I didn’t even mean to. It was at The Lusty Lady, a peep show and jack-off joint. Customers stood or sat in small, Plexiglas-windowed private booths and put money in a machine. A window opened for a limited time while they watched naked girls on the other side. A real-life scene played out like in Madonna’s “Open Your Heart” video (a concept stemming from such clubs, no doubt). In addition to the live girls, similar coin-operated booths that showed adult videos were also available. We got paid an hourly rate. The only place we could earn tips was in a separate, single booth called the Private Pleasures, which was down the narrow hall from the main stage. Dancers had to request to work in this room. If our requests were approved, we worked the main room for two hours and then the Private Pleasures for two hours.

One night, I was in the Private Pleasures when a club regular solicited a private show. I had heard about this guy but hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting him yet. His thing was to have the girl turn off the lights, lie back, and message her clit while he rattled off some ridiculous sex fantasy. Pretty generic shit, like sex on a plane with a stranger, et cetera. So there I was, lying back on a bunch of pillows like a genie in a bottle, fingers on my clitoris, trying to block him out. And suddenly, I came. I couldn’t believe it. I was shocked because although I’d been having orgasms with my lovers for years, I had never done so on my own. Apparently, it wasn’t convincing enough for him.

“You just faked that,” he said, annoyed.

“Actually, I didn’t,” I told him.

“Yeah you did. I can tell,” he said.

Not really giving a shit whether he believed me or not, I told him to piss off. I was twenty-three and it was my first self-induced orgasm. I had tried a couple times when I was younger, but I just felt embarrassed and gave up. My self-esteem was messed up when I was young, and making yourself come is a rather loving thing to do. But all of a sudden and completely out of nowhere, it had happened.

From that night on, whenever I worked the Private Pleasures room, I’d close the curtain and make myself come instead of going to the dressing room during my ten-minute break; it was my little secret. I could hear people milling around outside my booth, people who essentially paid us to fake orgasms, and here I was doing it in private for free. Unwittingly, that guy opened up a whole new world for me.

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