Letter to the guys who send me private essays but never share any of my work

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

Hey there! Thanks so much for getting in touch off the back of one of my tweets. It’s flattering that you want to tell me your opinions/feelings/experiences when it comes to sex. I’m not gonna shame you for what you’re confessing, but please note: this isn’t actually a confessional.

Just saw your latest blog post on [sex thing]. Really great post, I can’t share it because my wife follows me but when I was younger… [commence long story]

I am not a priest, and I’m not qualified to help you process your story. I’m not your therapist, although if you’ve got a hundred quid an hour I’ll happily grab a notebook and pretend. I’m not your girlfriend. Not your mother or your doctor or your friend. I’m just a random stranger on the internet, and although I’m desperate to please, there really are limits to what I have time and headspace to do.

So when you send me long missives about your sexual experiences, your thoughts and feelings and woes and worries, I can’t help but wonder: what is it that you want me to do?

Really interesting blog about fisting – can’t share it obviously haha! I have to confess I’ve never seen the appeal myself, although this one time… [commence long story]. 

My standard response when someone does this is to ask: are you pitching a guest blog? Because although it’s not my job to hear confession, it is my job to share stories with the world. And if you’re pitching me a story I will embrace you and pay you – I am far from rich but I know your time is worth something, because it’s finite. Every minute you spend writing is a minute you could have spent doing something else instead. Seeing your friends, calling your Mum, watching your favourite TV show, doing important admin, having a wank.

The same is true of me. So every minute spent replying to your private confession is a minute I could have spent earning money I sorely need.

I know this sounds ludicrous but when I’m on Twitter, I am technically ‘working’. OK, a lot of my ‘work’ looks like pissing about, or just randomly spaffing sexual fantasies at my followers like someone who can’t control their horn but that’s what happens when you turn your hobby into your day job… if your hobby is ‘randomly spaffing sexual fantasies at anyone who’ll listen.’

My work is a fuzzy mixture of passion and pragmatism. Combine that with the fact that I often chat on Twitter to people who are truly good friends, it can be confusing. You might see me being flirty or jokey with someone and think ‘A-ha! This is how GOTN enjoys interacting with her followers! She is a friend to them! So she surely won’t mind that instead of retweeting her work and genuinely helping her out, I instead send her a private message which does fuck-all for her exposure but eats up her time as she worries about how best to respond to me, a total stranger!’

Loved your piece on butt plugs! Obviously I can’t say this publicly but… [commence long story]

I understand that you’re messaging privately because you don’t want to associate with me publicly, which is fair enough: we all have boundaries. So I get that many people can’t discuss sex things publicly – part of my work is telling stories that others might be unable to share, in the hope that the world can change a teeny tiny bit and become easier for others to share their stories too. So why are you pulling me to one side and insisting on a private discussion? My job – the thing I do to pay my bills – is public as fuck, and heavily reliant on:

  1. people sharing my work
  2. having the time to produce more work

When you refuse to publicly interact with me, but still insist on treating my private messages like a confessional, you’re essentially saying ‘I can’t do this thing that will help you, but I CAN do this thing that will hinder you!’

This sounds mean, I know. And I’m sorry. I genuinely don’t want to shit on whatever it is you’ve got going on here, and I don’t blame you for thinking this will be well received. After all, I really do like talking about sex – I turned it into my job! And if I had never done that, I might still be up for messages from strangers wanting to talk about shagging. Because crucially, in that case, I wouldn’t have loads of them trying to do it all at once. I’d get three or four, max, which is a more than manageable amount of sex chat for an averagely busy girl.

It’s not just about my own time either: it’s also about yours. I don’t want to waste your time and effort composing long missives which will likely never receive the kind of response you want.

Really interesting guest blog you posted today, sorry I can’t retweet it because my boss follows me! I’ve never told anyone this before, but… [long story]

As you say in your message, you don’t really talk about this sex stuff much, and you don’t have anyone else with whom to discuss it. It’s great to talk – I want to encourage you to do it, and I also want to be friendly. But even if you feel you know me like you’d know a friend, I can’t perform the same role as a friend who knows you in return. There’s a huge knowledge imbalance here, and often – especially when your messages are intense and troubling – you’re asking me to a kind of emotional labour that sends me into a tailspin of panic as I worry that I may not do it right.

I can try to be friendly, but I do not have the time to be a genuinely good friend to you, stranger. No matter how desperate I am to have infinite time, I simply don’t. There are plenty of websites where you can join forum discussions with others who’ll happily chat to you. But I can’t be your sex confessional, or the person who picks you up and reassures you when you’re down, or the fun mate with whom you share shag stories. If I did it for you, I’d do it for everyone, and then I wouldn’t have any time to work.

This is my job. This, the public bit of what I do. The tweets and the blog posts and the Patreon stuff. One of the benefits of having Patreon is I can allow myself a bit more time to get to know, and chat to, the people who support me on there – because they’re helping to fund my work so I can justify doing a bit more messaging/chatting/hosting Zoom calls where we come up with ideas for improv erotica.

I fully understand that not everyone has the cash for Patreon or buying sex toys, and many can’t share my sexy posts (although you could at least retweet some of the rantier, SFW posts when you get the chance? Right?). That’s cool. You’re welcome to comment on blog posts with a fake name and email if you need to respond and want to be anonymous, or simply read and let the posts wash over you without saying anything at all if you’re shy. Bookmark links for later, go listen to some audio porn, or unfollow me completely if the knowledge that we can’t be best friends makes you too upset to read more. All that is A-OK.

I will never demand that you do things to help me, but if you enjoy my work as much as you say, could you at least please try not to hinder me?



  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    Ooh, do you get actually famous people sending you their private sex secrets sometimes? That must be fun! Someone less moral would consider taking advantage of that… :)

    More seriously: I totally understand what you’re saying here. Basically, you get people expecting you to be a free agony aunt / counsellor / sex therapist. One does wonder if the people who send such missives genuinely expect you to take the time to reply to them; maybe not, and they just feel the need to dump their load on somebody (so to speak). If they do, it shows how little people value that kind of support service, that they expect to get it for free.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Haha not *famous* famous, but I am followed by a fair few ppl with a high follower count. Some of them interact with me, some have literally never even shared a single post or said anything which makes me wonder why they’re following me at all. I definitely wouldn’t take advantage of that though because I like to keep the dream alive that one day [REDACTED NAME OF MINOR-LEAGUE CELEB] might actually RT a post =)

  • K says:

    I’m actually getting strong ‘yeah, that sounds like retail/hospitality, but WAY worse’ vibes from this post.

    I imagine it’s men with a similar mindset – here is a woman who seems nice & approachable (that’s us doing our jobs!), to which they have easy (free!), all-day, instant access to, to whom they can spout the sort of things they should be spouting to a paid professional, to their diary, or to a space/audience which welcomes that sort of spouting. You’re just right in that it’s the type of emotional labour which gets paddled onto women, and we’re supposed to smile, and be polite, be friendly, be a kind, listening ear, to whatever these men drag towards us and dump in our laps.

    I don’t have a solution to this, if you discover one please share with the class. Instead my coworkers take it in turns to hide whenever ‘our’ spouters come in, hunting us like bloodhounds, desperately needing to tell a very particular stranger the mundanities and problems in their lives.

    At least in our case, if they come in spouting about sex stuff we’re allowed to call the police. It must be exhausting to have that up in your inbox every day.

  • PLJ says:

    this is a great post, so true, and so glad you say it. We should all think about this more. It is hard to know what the balance should be in writing new stuff and just reacting to how people react to the stuff already written. Both are important.

  • tk says:

    > Really great post, I can’t share it because my wife follows me

    TBH, that sounds like the saddest excuse ever. Why does this person feel the need to go out of their way to actively hide their sexual interests from their spouse? Sharing a blogpost about something that you find arousing/interesting/appealing might prove to be a good opening for a vulnerable conversation.

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