Interview to a sex worker and activist who lives and works in Berlin.
What does it mean to you to be a sex worker?
It means that I earn money or other physical, material things for my sexual services. Normally people think that all situations related to sex must happen for free. That is just the difference between a sex worker and the rest of the people. That we charge for that, what society thinks we should do for free.
How long have you been doing this work?
Almost ten years, with breaks. From time to time I did other things, I was traveling or I wanted to take a break because the work was no longer useful to me at that time, but yes, I have been doing it for almost ten years.
Can you name three motivations that led you to choose to be a sex worker?
The biggest motivation is that I wanted to be independent. To have an independent life. For example, from the men in my family, or from the men who said they loved me, but in the end wanted me to make decisions according to what they wanted. That’s why I started sex work. It was a way to get the independence I lacked in my life.
The second reason is that I don’t like that in the society we live in, a patriarchal society, it is thought that women’s work is always free. As women we do many things that men don’t do and men think that this is normal. That it’s our duty. For me it was a feminist cause, that I can say NO, that nobody is going to take free work from me, if I don’t want to do it. It was a way of finding like recognition, acknowledgment, appreciation for the things that we as women do. It gave me respect. I wanted to take the respect that I lacked in my life.
The third reason is that I always liked sexual things, sex itself, and for many years I did it for free. I was very curious, I liked having sex with people… For me it was never a question of love, it was always a question of respect, of course it was, but in the end I thought: why do I do it for free? Why don’t I charge money with all the experiences and skills I have? Because I like sex. And always in society they tell you that you have to find something that you can and like to do, that’s the best way you can work. And I thought, well, I like sex, why don’t I do it as a job? And well…
Those are the three biggest motivations why I started this job.
That is, economic independence, empowerment, that is, something more ethical, to take respect.
Are you legalized?
I registered last year, now I am outed and I wanted to be protected from the State. Even though I was already paying taxes before, but I wanted to protect myself in case the police or the State looked to see if I was legalized, registered, and that’s why I did it. For a matter of protection.
What kind of sexual services do you generally offer, and in a general sense, in your opinion, what would be the practices or services that clients in Berlin require or request the most?
Well, I do some services online, for Onlyfans, and things like that, but I don’t show my face. It’s a matter of protection for me, because there are a lot of clients who then put it in groups on Telegram, or client forums and things like that. And I’m never going to know who’s going to post the stuff I send them, so that’s why I don’t show my face. To protect my privacy. But in the full service, the escorting that I do, I offer almost everything, except age play. That means when clients want to play or pretend they are kids, or they ask me to pretend I am a girl. I don’t do that. I don’t do anything with blood, or with very strong pain, or things with poop (shit) or vomit, or things like that, that disgusts me. I don’t want to say it’s not okay if other colleagues offer it, but for me it’s one of my limits. I don’t like it and that’s why I don’t do it.
But what is very popular and what clients ask for, like the girlfriend experience, that is, they don’t just want penetration or an act, they want an atmosphere, an experience, like spending time with someone who loves them. I think that’s what most of them ask for. They want to feel humanity with us. They want to feel that they are important to me. That I have a good time too, and so on. And of course, a lot of people also ask for anal services, and I like anal practices too, they do it with me or I do it to clients, but I always say that anal practices depend on many factors, that is, if I want to do it. That’s why I don’t charge more for those services, but I always say that if at the moment I don’t feel good to do it, I don’t do it. I tell them: if it is very important to you, maybe you should ask another colleague because I cannot promise that it will happen.
You mention something: the humanity of the clients. It’s something someone mentioned in an earlier interview as well. It is generally thought that clients (about whom there is also a stigma) only come to pay, or are aggressive, or that they treat sex workers as objects… But this vision, that many times the client is also a vulnerable figure, that he opens up, that you can touch his emotions, that he wants to feel loved, is something that you have also experienced. So you can say that the client is not necessarily a pragmatic and aggressive figure.
Well, I am a sex worker who has a lot of privileges. I can say NO to a client I don’t want. For example, maybe 80 percent of the clients who ask me for a date, I say no, because I don’t like the way they talk, or something else. But in general I can say that the clients I have treat me much better than the men or guys I meet in my private life. Because the clients who ask me for a date know what they want, they ask for my services, they pay for that, and that’s already a way of appreciation, because they know that they don’t have the right to ask women (for free), and they are ready to pay already. And of course, my clients like me or want to see me because they know and feel that I am a professional. We talk about what are the limits, what are their desires, what are the things I don’t do. And they don’t have to worry that maybe later I’ll get pregnant, or that I’ll fall in love or that I’ll create problems for them, or that I’ll tell some people about their private life. Especially with fetish, or with their desires that may not be so “vanilla”. Of course they get very vulnerable. And sure, there are clients who are sexist, who think they can do whatever they want, but those are clients I don’t accept.
Immediately when you talk to them you understand what kind of customers they are?
Of course I do. From the 10 years of experience I have, I can tell immediately. By the way a man talks to me, if his manner is good or not, if he wants to play games in which he can stress me out, or force me to do things I don’t want to do. I can tell very quickly. And also my clients know… They always pay at the beginning of the date. Never after. And they know that if they don’t respect me or if they lack hygiene or if they do things that I don’t want to do, then I leave with the money. That’s why they are careful with me too. Because they feel that I have confidence, that I do it because I want to do it, and because when I don’t like something, I tell them. And if they don’t respect it, I leave. Also because I am legalised. They know I’m not afraid of the police or the Immigration Bureau.
I already had a situation with a client who was trying to find out if I am afraid of the police. It was one time I had an appointment for like 3 or 4 hours. And he asked me if I could stay for 3 more hours. I tell him: sure, no problem, but my mistake at that time was that I didn’t ask him for the money immediately. Because I thought: well, we are in the middle of doing some things, so let him pay me later. And then he told me that he didn’t want to pay for those three hours. And he asked me: “what are you going to do now”? And I told him: “if you don’t pay me I’m going to call the police”. And he said: “Yes? You’re going to call the police?” He didn’t believe me. And he waited until I had the police on the phone. I called them, and I told them: I am here in such and such a hotel, in such and such a room, with a client who doesn’t want to pay. And he realized: it’s true, she is calling the police, and he was telling me: “ok, it’s ok, it’s ok”. And he paid.
I told the police, “ok, now he wants to pay, maybe I’ll call you back in a minute. If I don’t call, it’s all right. Thank you very much.” And he paid me. But I insulted him. And he realized he couldn’t play those games with me.
And in the hypothetical case that the police would have come, to understand how protection works, and he would have denied what you were saying. He would have said he did pay you…
That’s a good point. It never happened to me. But I imagine it’s complicated. Clients usually pay me in cash. Also because of the stigma about them, that they don’t want to do bank transfers, and I, for privacy also don’t have an account that I give to clients to send me money there, because they see my name. That’s why they usually pay you in cash. In that situation, if the police come, I can show how much cash I have with me, I can show my profile, what my prices are, etc., I can also say: “well, this was a message I sent when I arrived here”, because always when I arrive at an appointment I send a message to someone, a friend or colleague… I can show that. And show that I’m short of money for the time I’ve been there.
But clients are also afraid that someone realizes that they are clients. Because there is also a stigma. And if you pay for a room in a hotel, they have your name. And if they are people who have a public life, politicians or lawyers, they are afraid. And it’s a shame for them the situation that the police has to come to the hotel that they paid for. But of course, sex workers who are not legalized, of course they are afraid of the police, because in those cases the police do not ask: what happened? They only ask if you have paid your taxes. But when you are legalized the police can’t really do so many things. They may disrespect you, and that is not nice either, but I don’t have children and I am outed. They cannot terrorize me so much that I will let a client get away with robbing me or stealing from me. And in those cases it is the client who is afraid. Because of the stigma, and because the situation is not clear.
Have you done street work?
Never. I tried once in Frankfurt. I was in Italy before on a private vacation, and I came back to Frankfurt, and I was very tired. And I decided to take a room in a hotel there, to come back the day after to Berlin. I didn’t have the energy for a train ride that day. I slept two-three hours in the afternoon in the hotel, the energy came back, and I thought: well, what am I going to do? I went out to eat but the hotel was very close to the district where the sex workers work on the street. After dinner I tried to work the street, but there was a lot of competition, because it was during Covid, when the brothels were still closed. And the competition was very strong. And I felt that the other girls on the street didn’t want me to be there, they didn’t look at me well. And I left, I didn’t want to force myself to be in a place where my colleagues didn’t want me to be.
Do you think it’s possible to do this work and at the same time protect your privacy?
Of course it is. There’s always a danger that, for example, I’m with a client and I go to the bathroom and I leave my coat in the room, so he could look through my things, etc., and that whore-pass which is the ID they give you after registration, which you always have to carry with you, because it has your picture on it, and he can take a picture of that. But in general it is very possible to protect your identity.
To what extent does this job offer you social, emotional and physical security? Do you find these securities here?
This job gives me emotional protection because it offers me the privilege of financial independence. So emotionally it protects me, because I have the economic privilege to say: well, I have the money to eat anywhere, order a pizza. Or if I’m really tired at night I can call an Uber. Sex work is protection through financial independence. And also, it gives you intimacy, so you feel less lonely. It’s very important to protect and care for your emotions, so it is not so easy to say you only get emotional security. But loneliness is worse than having to manage the tricky parts about sex work. But social protection, you can’t really find it. Because being a sex worker is so stigmatized and it’s difficult. Specifically outside of Berlin it’s hard to find a society that accepts you. Usually society wants to see you as a one-dimensional victim. That you are nothing more than that victim status. On the other hand people think that they can’t trust you because you do everything for money, that you have no principles, that you are not a moral person, so you can’t be trusted, that you are a bad person. There is also a lot of sexism or misogyny from some men who think that you should find a real job, a real work, because you take money from the poor men who work so hard, that they work very hard and you take money from them. They accuse you that you are lazy, that you don’t want to work and that’s why you charge the men who work so hard. That’s part of the stigma, of course. You’re not a good woman because you’re lazy. And that you use men who just want attention from a woman. It sucks but it’s real.
Occasionally men hate me because they realize I’m a sex worker who is confident, who has no shame, and they realize they don’t have the right to women’s bodies and services, and that’s why they get mad at me.
What is the stimulating or attractive part of the work you do and where is the most difficult part?
The attractive part is that I can earn a lot of money in a short time. I can choose when, where and for how long I want to work. And I like sex, it also excites me every time I have an encounter with another person, it’s something else, something new, exciting. You meet a lot of different people, with different lives and thoughts. I learn a lot from my clients in general, and I think that every person who wants to come to work in the business would be very good because you learn so much about people, about how they work. It’s very exciting because here you have to learn how to read people, people you don’t know well but you have to realize what they want, what they are looking for, what things they are ashamed to say. A lot of times I have to help my clients talk about what they want. Because not only do they feel the stigma of being a sex worker’s client, but the stigma of sexuality in general. For example: men who like sissification, who want to be submissive, who want humiliation play, or also more vanilla things, a lot of times men have never learned how to talk about what they want. That’s also attractive and exciting, to have that power over people who maybe are more adult or have a lot of power or money in their life, but when they meet me I have the power and I have to help them understand what they want and teach them that it’s okay to talk about what they want. That’s very exciting. I like to feel that there are people who want me. They want me so much that they pay me, they give me money, they think about me, they send me messages, “I will never forget you,” or, “That night was so wow. OMG”, etc. Sure, it’s very attractive.
I have more orgasms from this job, than with the dates I used to have. I hardly ever orgasmed before with private dates. But with my clients, it’s also very important to them that I also have an orgasm. My clients treat me better than the men I know in my private life. These are very attractive and exciting things.
And well, what is not so good is the stigma. And the situations where my clients think they don’t have to respect me. That doesn’t happen so much, but from time to time I also make mistakes in my ways of screening some people, or I forget some detail, or I didn’t see some moment of danger before. Those moments are hard, of course. And it’s the stigma, really. The first few years I had a double life, and alone. You feel very lonely because even though I didn’t have many experiences of violence with my clients, what made me suffer the most was that I always had to ask myself with the people who were close to me: family, friends, etc.: “if you knew what I do, would you still respect me”? That made me feel very isolated. I didn’t know who I could trust and who I couldn’t trust. When could I believe if someone said to me: “I love you” or “I respect you”. I always thought: if you knew I was a whore, what would you say then. That was the hardest thing. Now when I’m outed, it felt like a liberation. I have the privilege of living my life authentically. I am proud that I had the courage and strength of character to say: fuck other people. If they want to see me as a victim or a bad person because I am a sex worker, well, my life is better without them. But sometimes, you also feel like an animal in a cage, when new people find out about what you do, and then they are sooooo curious and keep on asking the same questions over and over again. It gets tiring too. Sometimes I don’t feel like to be the “entertainment” of the evening for people who never talked to a whore. There are ups and downs to being an outed sex worker.
I don’t feel shame for the things I do at work. Before I was outed, I had some moments when I was talking to a person who has some ideas about prostitution: that she thinks it is a violation thing… And in those situations, which happened in group contexts, we talked about: “nobody does it because they want to, because they like it.” And I didn’t have the strength of character to open my mouth and say that this is bullshit, that they are not right. And I felt ashamed in those moments. For days I kept thinking: why didn’t you open your mouth, why didn’t you say something? And it was out of fear. And then I didn’t want to live inauthentically anymore, because I was afraid of what would happen if society knew… And now that I said ciao to that fear, I do what I do, I don’t feel shame, I have pride in being a sex worker, I feel much better.
Could you relate a memorable, important experience with a client?
One client… the time with him was very impressive. He is a very gentle man. Very intelligent and kind. Very empathetic to everybody. His family were Holocaust survivors, he’s a Jewish man who was like 50 something, and what happened with him was that when he was like 20, he was already married, and he implemented an electronic security system in his house, and when he went to work one day, there was a fire in his house and his wife and his two children died, because the electronic system didn’t work properly because of the fire. To this day he feels it is his fault. So for twelve years after that he didn’t even masturbate, because he felt he had no right to enjoy his life. After about 30 years I was the first person he tried to have sex with after the death of his family. The first time we met, we met for four hours, and almost nothing happened. A little cuddling, we were naked, but we didn’t even have penetration. I thought maybe I had done something wrong, but he said, “No, you are perfect. Everything you do is right. Thank you very much”. But after the four hours when I left, well, it was good money but I felt sorry for him because I thought I didn’t do everything to make him happy. The next time he contacted me he told me if I wanted to see him near Frankfurt for 24 hours. In a very nice hotel, and I said, “Sure, sure I do. Give me the money haha”. And I went to see him. And he told me his life story. That touched me in my soul. I realized that he was a man for whom I felt a lot of respect, for his empathy, for his calmness, his very soft way of speaking. And I felt sorry for the suffering he had in his life, poor man. He had to forgive himself, to have the right to feel love and pleasure in his life. And in those 24 hours the focus was not the penetration or the act itself, although we did it. It was more talking, it was like therapy. I was the first woman after decades to offer him a safe place: sexually but also emotionally. Because he also said he didn’t want to use another woman’s body for his pleasure, but he also knew he couldn’t offer love to another woman because he still loved his wife. That’s why he wanted to see a sex worker, because he thought maybe then he wouldn’t hurt another woman for the things he needed. And it was like that. That doesn’t hurt me, obviously, that the client doesn’t want to have a romantic relationship with me. Then we walked, and we were talking about many things, his family, about the time of the Nazis, also about the things that my family did. I’m German, and of course, part of my family were Nazis. And he had so much empathy also about my family, and that touched me a lot. The immense amount of empathy that this man has for everybody but not for himself. And those 24 h were therapeutic for him, because it was the first time he had sex. And also for me, because I really realized the power and the strength that I had, and how important it can be to have workers like me… because this sex work has the potential to heal, sex work has healing power. Because you work with basic human needs.
What would be the connection between this work and fragility? If you think there is a connection… And the violence you receive comes more from the system or from the clients?
I have the privileges that I have, so I can protect myself against most of the violence that comes from the clients. But I must also say that the experiences with sexual violence that I have had in my life happened outside of sex work. This work has helped me to accept my fragility, and has offered me many moments of empowerment. Most of the violence I receive comes from the system and society. Because we as women are susceptible to others wanting to commit sexual violence or sexism against us. There is always a risk: with family, with friends, in other jobs, in public places… We are always at “risk” of others wanting to hurt us. And of course, in sex work it’s the same. But at least it gives me more agency, more power, more empowerment to speak clearly and in detail about what I want to do, what I don’t want to do, what I accept and what I don’t accept. And why I accept some things and not others. Gratuitously does NOT work, it doesn’t work for me. Society is the problem.
And do you feel that you become fragile at some point, that you have days of fragility, or that there is something of your intimacy that is exposed, that opens up, or at an emotional level do you control your emotions very well?
Well, it’s not just a work thing, in that I don’t feel anything. I am a human being. But because I have the boundaries of my job very clear, I can feel fragility emotionally, but knowing that there are boundaries, and when I leave that situation, I leave and it’s okay. Because all of us involved know that we have that appointment that may just be work and I don’t care about the person because maybe they don’t want to talk much, or they don’t want to open up, and I don’t care. Well, in that case it’s an easy win. It’s just the act and nothing else. That’s easier than going on a date with a client who is very emotionally intense. But it doesn’t get me out of my fragility, although this job gives me the opportunity to have many human encounters that, of course, make me feel things. But I learn from those things, from those encounters. I carry a lot of strength, a lot of impressions with me from that. And sure, from time to time it touches me emotionally, but not in ways where I feel used or anything like that. It’s work and yes, very intense. I might say to myself after an intense appointment: now I need a break, or: I don’t see other clients the next day, because I have to recover from that emotional work as well, but I like to do that work as well. In my other job I am a social worker, I do the same thing.
No sex but emotional work. I have to show empathy to my clients in social work, I have to listen to their stories, their problems, and that touches me too. From time to time I get a little fragile. I go home and at night I think: now I have to turn off my head, do nice, good, softer things. I don’t want to hear more problems now. But for me sex and social work have almost the same form, only in sex work I also have orgasms sometimes.
Do you think there would have been any circumstances in which you would never have chosen to be a sex worker, or would you have chosen it anyway?
It’s hard to answer that. Because it has to do with so many ifs. I don’t know. Maybe if I had had enough money, maybe I never would have decided. And maybe I would still have a lot of free sex. But… I don’t know.
It’s not only the money in this job. Before, for example, when I hadn’t started doing this job, I was worried because I wasn’t very thin, and maybe I have hairs, etc. And I was breaking my head about what guys thought of me… and now there are men who pay me hundreds or thousands of euros to spend time with me. I have more awareness that I don’t have to be perfect, my thinking has changed. Now I don’t worry if I’m not that thin or have hair somewhere. I don’t break my head. Because if you don’t even pay me, I don’t care if I’m not the woman of your dreams. I have the awareness that if people want to spend private time with me, they can’t put that much pressure on me. Maybe clients can do that, suggest what they would like, but it’s up to me.
I think sex work has empowered me and helped me to be the woman I want to be. Who knows her value.
How have sex work conditions changed since the pandemic?
It was outlawed for a while, and because of this the best clients left. Most of the customers don’t want to hurt anyone, they don’t want to break the law, so the good customers left for a while. Those who didn’t care much about the law stayed, and it also happened that there are more trolls. That is, people who just want to waste your time. For example, in this period where many have gone through economic or emotional crisis, there are more men who go to these websites, looking for sex workers to insult us. Because they think we are social shit and that they can abuse us with their messages, and they project their frustrations on us, just because. For example, the messages I received during the lockdown were much more aggressive than before. Now the situation has changed again because we are coming out of the crisis, but in those moments, when sex work was criminalized, it was very hard. Because sex workers are not the easy victims that trolls or time wasters think. They feel frustration, they want to project it onto someone, and they’re going to write bad things to a whore. Again, a sexism and racism issue. Maybe they’ve lost their job, or they can’t make much money, and they see sex workers, who in their mind don’t work because we’re lazy, and they insult us. And I actually received a lot more written abuse in that time than I did before or after. I received from time to time clients on my profile, that I had never seen, I didn’t know them. But they were men who saw my pictures and thought I was coming from Eastern Europe, Romania, Poland, and they would say, “yeah, you have to bend over so your kids can eat but they (the clients) will laugh at me when they rape me, blah blah.” And that was bullshit.
And I was thinking about my colleagues who don’t have the privileges that I have, who still had to work on the street, and they couldn’t say NO to so many clients maybe. That they didn’t have that possibility, and they had to go to work to pay for their apartment, for their children’s food. At that time I truly realized why I don’t want to have children, because in this world, I don’t. I realized that having children in this world is not possible. I realized that having children in this world means that you always make yourself more vulnerable. Because if you have the responsibility of children, maybe you don’t have the privilege to say NO to anyone who wants to abuse you. Because you have to earn money. With a lot of money or less, I know I’m going to survive. I know I’m going to be okay. But in those moments I realized that it is a great privilege not to have children in this situation.
In the case of the sex workers that make up the LGBTIQ+ community, do you think there are differences or more marginalization or stigmatization towards people from these communities than towards you, who define yourself as a straight woman?
I think it is a question of passing privileges, especially with trans, inter or non binary workers. Because they are fetishized, their bodies are fetishized in a different way than I am fetishized. I am a CIS woman, I have the passing privileges, and of course men fetishize me as a woman, sex worker, but a trans sex worker suffers another kind of fetishisation. Also with colleagues who are racialized. They have other dangers of being insulted or fetishized in situations they have to handle with clients that I don’t have. That is also one of the privileges: being a white woman and CIS. I have several friends who are BIPOC and sex workers and the (sexualized) racism or misogynoir they have to navigate is nothing I have to deal with directly. This kind of thing obviously touches you, it’s really disgusting. And I don’t have to handle those situations. They may not accept certain clients or have to do a lot more emotional labor to protect their triggers. Also, the extra burden of having to navigate racism with clients, colleagues and the system. It can be quite horrendous. And with trans people it’s similar. And with trans and bipoc, who are sex workers, it’s even more. It (the violence) is all heightened, it’s double and double, in all the forms of stigma, discrimination and insults that you have to deal with.
In your experience, where is the field, the place, the space in which a stronger struggle should be waged in the sex work sector to achieve more rights and eliminate stigmas in Berlin?
Society, definitely. It’s a bit like other dimensions of discrimination, when people ask: “what can we change to fight against racism against Bipoc communities, or what can we change to fight against homophobia, transphobia against the LGBTIQ+ community”, and so on. But the problem is not of the people who receive or we receive that stigmatization. The problem that has to be changed is in the rest of society. Racism is a problem of us white people. LGBTIQ+ phobia is a problem of CIS-straight people, and stigma and discrimination against sex workers is not a problem of us whores, it’s a problem of society. We have to change that. So that we can feel more empowerment, so that we can live our lives more freely and with more pride and acceptance, and mental health. But of course, what is also very important is to change the law. Because legalization serves only the sex workers who already come with privileges. People who can’t register because they don’t have health insurance, a house or apartment here, or who are illegalized or criminalized in other ways, who have children or are dependent on state aid, can’t register. The law excludes them. The law excludes all the people who need it most. And then we are left with “good” whores, who register, because they can, and “bad” whores, who don’t for whatever reason. And that’s not a way to help, it’s a way to create artificial categories between good whores and bad whores. That has to change. People coming from outside the European Union don’t have the opportunity to get a work visa for sex work. Maybe you get it if you want to clean the street, or clean toilets. Maybe they do. But if you say you want to work in this sector, the state is not going to give you a visa. They exclude you.
The political field is the field where you have to make strong changes. Change laws. And change, of course, the part of society that has prejudices, and its conservative sexual morality.
If you had to offer a space and an image that on a poetic or concrete level would relate to this work, to your experience, to everything we have talked about here today, an image that could connect with this reality, what would it be?
I really like the symbol of Lillith. In the Bible she was the first woman. She is not Eve. If you read the original Bible, it talks about the first woman being Lillith. But she didn’t want to be submissive, or to be a servant, she wanted to be on top during sex, she didn’t want to be subservient, and she was also made not from a rib of Adam, but independently. She was created independently. Adam then talks to God and tells him that she wasn’t doing what he wanted, and God said, “well, we take her out of Paradise then, and I make you a new woman.” And Lillith came out of Paradise because she wouldn’t accept the rules of Adam and God, and then she became a demonic creature. And then God took Adam’s rib and made Eve, who had no problem being subservient to Adam. Because Adam couldn’t control Lillith. I relate a lot to Lillith. I feel that maybe there are some people who love me as a demonic femme fatale, but it only answers the question that I don’t want to live my life serving or subservient to a society that thinks I can be abused, or that I should do free labor all my life. This is a symbol that I identify with as a sex worker. I have no problem being outside of Paradise, outside of “respectable” society perhaps, but better this way, that I have my own rules, and I then find my own paradise. Not a paradise for cis-men, but a paradise for me and Lillith and the other fellow sex workers and women and non-binary siblings, who have realized that god’s paradise sucks.