People don’t have a clue how to distinguish voluntary sex workers from exploited trafficking victims.
Being a sex worker can be a blast. Easy money that’s fun to make, partying for a living, getting a great workout, and sometimes even having great sex on the job. Going to great restaurants and staying at nice hotels on someone else’s dime, meeting lots of cool people and making them feel great, fulfilling clients’ fantasies while escaping your own troubles, and having the opportunity to travel all over the country and even the world, while remaining gainfully employed and recouping any costs incurred.
One of the biggest perks is a high-earning to time-expended ratio. Students, single mothers and aspiring artists can literally buy themselves time to live the other aspects of their lives, such as supporting dependents and pursuing a higher education.
Writing has always been my greatest talent and I have the sensitive writer’s temperament. Stripping and escorting have helped inspire and sustain my writing, but they’ve also exposed me to genuinely heartbreaking things. Here are the ten most heartbreaking aspects of being a sex worker…
1. We see clients (mainly men) at their most vulnerable.
Guys really spill their guts to you and it can be quite draining. Sometimes you just smile and nod at inane rambling, but other times the conversation gets pretty damn real. You see some who are mentally disturbed, addicts and physically disabled. Most of all, you see men who want to vent about their marriage issues or drink their pain away, using you as an enabler.
2. Law enforcement treats murdered or raped sex workers as sub-human.
There’s a degrading expression among cops. ‘No humans involved’ is used when a murder victim is a sex worker, especially if she’s a Black trans woman. We don’t get the Natalee Holloway media treatment if we go missing, and crimes where we are victims only make the news when someone like Eliot Spitzer, Charlie Sheen, or an intriguing serial killer is involved with us.
3. Feminists don’t have our backs and drown out our voices with their own.
I’m a bit sick of Tina Fey being lauded as a feminist when she thrives on jokes that shame and dehumanize sex workers. If you watch 30 Rock or read Bossypants from a sex worker’s point of view, you’d be shocked at how little she thinks of us. Other feminists who hold higher degrees and teach at prestigious institutions have gotten the general public and federal government on board with the conflation of sex trafficking and consensual sex work.
You’ve noticed what a trendy topic sex trafficking (modern slavery) is, right? It’s really hit the mainstream; but feminists, law enforcement, and federal lawmakers don’t have a damn clue how to actually distinguish voluntary sex workers from exploited trafficking victims. Instead, they’re letting the bad apples make it harder for the rest of us to do things such as bank and avoid housing discrimination.
4. We are disenfranchised from mainstream society.
Chase Bank started shutting down the accounts of sex workers last year and made the news for declining to do business with porn stars, whose work is legal.
Sex workers have used things like Paypal, Bitcoin, GreenDot Cards, MoneyPaks and more to obtain deposits from clients, and law enforcement keeps catching on to us and shutting down various resources. The closure of the Craiglist adult section, plus websites like MyRedbook.com (where sex workers could advertise), has forced some of us onto the streets to survive.
Federal authorities are portraying these moves as ways to protect underage sex trafficking victims and bust money-laundering pimps, but they’re endangering consenting adult sex workers in the process. This kind of discrimination is why a lot of girls, including myself for a time, literally live out of hotels.
5. We will forever be defined by our time as sex workers.
I’m not fame-obsessed like most Americans. I don’t care about celebrities and I don’t care to become one. However, now that I’ve worked — not only as a stripper, but as a full-blown hooker — I’m terrified of becoming a successful writer or public figure. I’m worried that a single tweet or viral blog post could put me under the microscope and do me in.
Aside from careers in entertainment, where a sex worker’s past isn’t such a big deal, our career options can be severely limited. People like Diablo Cody are burdened with having to forever field interview questions about stripping. The Olympic runner Suzy Favor Hamilton, who was briefly an escort, is also burdened with having to explain that part of her life, using another stigmatized subject (mental health) as a significant alibi.
6. We watch people do themselves in with drug addictions.
You meet a great deal of proud recovering alcoholics and addicts as a sex worker, but you also meet tons of clients and colleagues looking for an enabler or place to drink or do drugs with someone. I lost one stripper friend to a heroin overdose, and she had a somewhat rapid unraveling. Her first relapse was booze, and the needle soon followed.
Hearing girls in the dressing room boast about being off ‘H’ for a few days was depressing to watch, and so was seeing girls zoned out of their mind on Xanax or booze, just moving about like numb zombies. I abuse Adderall for stripping and can act strung out, but I’ll see people taking higher stakes chances with their lives.
7. We lead double lives and have to lie all the time.
There are some very ‘out’ and proud prostitutes, while others have been outed against their will. Lying is both exhausting and something that doesn’t come easily. I gloss over discussions of work with my family and steer conversation ASAP toward my hobbies: volunteering, pop culture consumption, and inquiries about other family members.
When it comes to dating, I’ve disclosed to several men that I stripped (and even met some at the clubs), but I never disclosed being an escort. Not getting really serious with guys is a defense mechanism; I fear domestic violence or retribution like online shaming. On a day-to-day basis, I’m always fudging my work situation a bit, sometimes in front of people who know the truth.
8. There’s rampant racism.
There’s tremendous pressure for escorts to lower their price points and sell themselves short, thanks to the internet keeping prices so ‘competitive’ like it does for other industries. Minority women are often under more pressure to resort to this than their white counterparts.
When I work at the strip club, it seems like guys consider the minority girls more ‘attainable’ if they’re thinking strictly with their dick. On the flip side, tons of white escorts have ‘no Blacks allowed’ policies, in the same way many escorts don’t ‘see’ men under 30.
9. People feel entitled to our bodies outside of respectful parameters.
There are a ton of guys out there who think buying a $20 lap dance entitles them to finger-f*ck us, suck our tits, whip their dicks out, or even get a quick blow job or hand job.
All sex workers have different boundaries, but guys seem to find out what they are by crossing them instead of asking first. As a sex worker, I provide companionship with a side of mostly vanilla sex acts for money. If a client forces anal sex on me, that’s a form of rape. If he forces sex without a condom on me, that’s a form of rape. If he threatens to write a bad review about me if I don’t perform a certain sex act or forego a condom, that’s a form of rape. I’m able to use the internet to weed out bad guys, but this behavior knows no class or race.
10. There’s constant cyber-bullying.
The site TheEroticReview.com is my arch-nemesis. Since I began escorting in 2010, that site has gotten even worse at bullying escorts into compromising our boundaries, namely whether or not we allow reviews, and how we let the threat of bad reviews impact our appointments, our price points and our self-esteem.
To earn a 10/10 on ‘performance,’ unsafe sex is required. The term BBBJ (bareback blow job, ie: condomless) is extremely in demand and that already sucks. But now, clients can report when girls allow BBFS (bareback full service, as in condomless sex, perhaps even condomless anal sex).
Girls who are naive, uneducated or rely on sites like these for free advertising, pander to these assholes, and escort agencies are the worst perpetrators. The guys who pay less expect more, and they bitch and moan when they don’t get it. The guys who pay more tend to be more discreet.
I’ve worked with four agencies, all female-owned, and found that the owners are invariably in it for themselves, which means offering competitive prices and catering to review board culture. Thankfully, my agency work has never compromised my independent brand.
This article has been republished from Your Tango with full permission. You can view the original article here: I’m A Prostitute – These 10 Things Break My Heat About My Job
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Comment: Do any of these things surprise you about prostitution?