When I met Elle in San Francisco, we were sleeping with the same tattooed Puerto Rican stripper in AA. Ten years later, she contacted me on Facebook and asked if I’d like to work with her. “Work” would mean erotic sensual massage: naked strangers, happy endings, making out with Elle and cash. Remembering the dejection that permeated the strip clubs in LA, I replied, “Hell yes.”
I showed up outside Elle’s downtown loft, where she met me outside. Her plush lips sucked a cigarette voraciously and her skin glowed with minimal makeup. Ten years had been good to her. She guzzled coffee between drags, leaving a pink jelly stain on the white rim of the paper cup. She was a bawdy pixie in fishnets and a short skirt, velvet hipster jacket and black vintage heels. She pointed to an Armenian boy who worked at the food court near her building.
“That’s my virgin stalker,” she said.
Everyone knows what Elle does for a living, including members of her family and the Armenian virgin stalker. This is part of Elle’s innocence. As private as she is about her upbringing, she’s very open about sex. In fact, she custom-designed a type of sex work to suit her exact specifications. We took an elevator up to her loft to negotiate and choreograph the three-way in our near future. Electronic dance music shook Elle’s industrial loft, which was all gray except for Christmas lights that hung from snaky pipes on her ceiling. A massage table was covered with light blue fabric. Next to it on the floor was a large glass jar of coconut oil.
Elle described the job we were about to do as “our party,” and her regular clients as “lovely.” I wondered if she was selling Avon or hand jobs. But as I peeled away Elle’s layers, I heard a new paradigm of sex work that removed jaded hustling from the equation. She told me about female orgasm and that she wanted to pay attention to my “orgasmic frequency.” I had no idea what this meant and was clearly galaxies away from my comfort zone, where clients are tightly scheduled and conversations are constricted to football teams and the weather. In Elle’s “party” I was somehow rendered defenseless. Erotic massage is Elle’s playpen where naked bodies intertwine, money is exchanged and no one gets hurt. My only sensible move was to take off my bra and follow her lead.
[Editor’s note: Some photographs are NSFW.]
The Rumpus: Where did you grow up and what were your early sexual experiences?
Elle Rocket: I grew up outside Philadelphia. My mom was a radio DJ and would walk around the house naked and singing. She was the center of attention at parties because she was so sexy. My dad was a roofer. They divorced when I was ten. My dad was worried because I was a sensual child. He was always saying, “put a towel on.” Later he told me that boys were going to try to touch me. “Don’t let them do it,” he said. But I was kissing girls and boys by age 5. All I wanted to do was go to the bathroom with them and see their breasts and genitals and kiss them. But I didn’t want to upset my dad, so I felt guilty.
After the divorce, I lived with my mom for a year then my dad, who put me in an inner city school. The boys were black and I really liked them. They would grab me and threaten me when I made out with them because I wouldn’t do any more. My dad got scared when I complained and stuck me into a Catholic school. My friends were all having sex by sophomore year but I found drugs instead. I got into coke, dust (PCP), pot, pills, acid and alcohol. But there was a lot of peer pressure to have sex so I finally did it with a boy I was dating. I was amazed at how boring it was.
Rumpus: Did sex get interesting to you?
Elle: When I started dating women I felt I could express myself more and felt less guilty. My first girlfriend was a bisexual dancer with dark hair and eyes. We moved in together and became girlfriends for a while. Then we decided to open our relationship to men because we didn’t want to hold each other back from cock. I would date women for a few weeks then date men.
I got sober and found Anna, a massage therapist. I was really under her spell. She told me to go to massage school, so I did. My massage teacher, Becca, was really confrontational and would look deep into my eyes while she was teaching me and say, “I don’t believe you,” or, “Say it.” She was talented at going into blocked parts of your body and going in deeper. She would always use me for demonstrations and gave me a lot of sexual attention. I would drop her off at a sex commune, where she lived, every day. When she was done training me I got depressed, so I called her up.
Sex got interesting again in the commune. It started in the 70s because some guy had a dream about a certain way to stroke the clitoris in order to extend the female orgasm. He started to research orgasm and found that he could create more intensity and duration by learning how to do this technique so he started the commune where classes and workshops were held.
Rumpus: How and when did you start doing sensual massage?
Elle: A friend who I lived with in the commune asked me if I’d like to earn money doing sensual massage and seeing her clients with her. I agreed. FBSM (full body sensual massage) was a natural segue from Swedish massage three years ago. Our first client came over and was a stiff and nervous businessman who was thrilled to have two girls massage him and give him a hand job. My friend was very instructive and methodical about it. She was bossy. She’d say, “come over here, lay like this.” I started seeing clients on my own so I could create my own vibe. I learned that I wanted an intimate experience. She had a certain way of dealing with clients and I’m more of an intensity junkie. I wanted to explore that.
Rumpus: How are you different than other sex workers?
Elle: I wouldn’t say I’m different than other sex workers. We have a lot in common. I have extensive training in sensuality, orgasm and male-female dynamics. I studied sexual communication so my approach is unique. Doing massage is fun. It’s also been challenging, like any job, but it’s also an opportunity to learn and inspire people. I deliberately design my ads to attract the exact type of man/client I want. I attract lovely men who can take a lot of intensity and connection. I really know them and they really know me.
Rumpus: What type of men are you procuring?
Elle: In my ad I always start with, “Hello gentlemen.” It sets the tone of politeness and respect. I want generous, loving businessmen. My philosophy is “I’m hot. So are you.” Men are biologically designed to produce. Just like they produce semen, they want to produce, serve and please women. Men want to give to women, they want to succeed and they want to win. That said, it’s a game and I figure out what kind of game he could win, what would make him feel successful.
Rumpus: Why did you join the sex commune?
Elle: Becca, my massage instructor had been seducing me into the commune. She invited me to take a course there and said that she’d be attending. I was drawn to her. She was living in a house with twenty people. It intrigued me so I asked her questions about it.
I ended up taking the class and studying the art of female orgasm for 2 and a half years, where I learned about deliberate and extended female orgasm. We watched videos and had confrontational group sessions where people who were joining would be in the “hot seat.” Then I started to host the groups. The groups consisted of men and women in various leadership roles to share about their orgasm in a group setting. A lot of it had to do with learning a language with which to talk about orgasm and sex. Like going up on peaks and coming down, pulling someone up and their hiding or sharing. If I were bitchy or tense, someone in the group would say, “Elle, go use the hose to come down.” This meant that I had to go make myself orgasm with this uniquely designed hose in the bathroom before I could join the group meetings. I had to “come down” so I was a better participant. We trained ourselves to come more and we’d have “do-dates” four times a day, where four different people would make you come four times per day. I learned about the peaks of orgasm and eventually found that I could be in a constant state of orgasm.
Rumpus: Did you have a leadership role in the sex commune?
Elle: My role in the first, main commune was the young firecracker. The other woman running the groups was a few years older, wiser and calm. We’d initiate people into the commune and they would be in the “hot seat.” That means we’d ask them questions like “So, what about learning about female orgasm interests you?” “When was the last time you had sex?” If they blushed we’d respond with “thank you” because in the blushing was the honesty and they shared that with us. It was a forum to reveal fantasies out in the open to a group. I moved up in rank and eventually ran my own groups. I started my own house/commune where I lived with a bunch of men for a while.
Rumpus: Do you talk to your clients about the commune or female orgasm?
Elle: I figured they were coming to me to learn more. Sometimes I tell them to watch videos about the female orgasm from the commune. Sensual massage is an art form. I get bored if I don’t feel like I’m creating something and helping my clients move toward a higher orgasmic frequency. I’m inspired to teach them how to serve. Sensual massage is a collaborative meditation.
Rumpus: Who was your most difficult client?
Elle: I had a client for over a year that wanted more from me than I was willing to give. He would text me like 40 times before we met. I wanted to take him to the next level and I offered to train him in the deliberate orgasm technique or bring you into our sessions because I felt we were at a lull and he’s a chauvinist. He wrote me back and said neither option would work. He did see us together and was resistant and played games with me for hours beforehand. I think he was jealous or maybe he started to have feelings for me. I ended it with him by saying that our work together was done and wished him well.
Rumpus: Tell me about your most surprising client?
Elle: There was an overweight man who happened to be a Hassidic Jew. I saw him in a hotel. He stunk and he had foot fungus. I went to a hotel and it was when I just started. I was tentative and didn’t know I could ask him to shower. He had really bad B.O. I actually got used to the smell, and he ended up being the most beautiful love machine. He wanted to hug me and he kept putting his heart on my heart and when I went home I didn’t even want to shower.
Rumpus: How is the current recession affecting your income?
Elle: I got triggered by the news and my phone wouldn’t ring. I flipped out. When I first heard about the recession I felt the fear that a lot of people were feeling. After reading “Creating Money” I knew that it was up to me to create abundance.
So I made a decision to strengthen the abundance and gratitude that I feel and I wanted to share it with others. I’ve made more money than I have ever made in my life. My overhead is pretty high. In this business I would go through times that were lean, but it’s up to me to invite clients into my space.
Rumpus: Do you ever want to do anything else as a career?
Elle: I write songs and play four instruments. I’m looking to record an album in 2010. I’m trying to learn the piano right now. I want to contribute to music industry in a big way.
Rumpus: Any safety tips for new erotic massage girls?
Elle: I feel that a woman should meditate on this and see if she’s called to do it. Is this what you really want to do for work? Ask for what you want in your ad and be specific. Use as much screening as possible to make sure you’re safe and trust your intuition over your need of money.
Photos by Romy Suskin
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