The upside of sex work
My mum has been asking questions lately that are getting harder and harder to answer. Over a year ago I told her that I was a sex worker. When she asked what that involved, I said nude massage and handjobs which, at that specific time, was the majority of my work, so it wasn't entirely untrue. While she is an incredibly loving mother who would never disown me or anything like that, she said a few things that were a little hurtful to both me and my husband and made it clear it was something that upset her (which is interesting because I owe a lot of my sex positivity and sexual confidence to the way she raised me, but that’s another story for another time). I decided to leave it and we basically never addressed it until recently it became more and more of an elephant in the room.
A few emails back and forth and we got to the point where she told me she was interested in hearing about all of the aspects of my life - the good and the bad. The issue there of course is that the parts of my life that I consider to be the best are the parts she thinks are the worst. She told me that she cannot understand how it is something that I could be passionate about and cannot think of any positives.
So, in the interests of promoting understanding, I set about putting a list together. She wanted to know, and I think that has to be better than not wanting to know, so I chose to embrace it. I wanted my list to be comprehensive - I didn’t want to leave anything off and so I turned to Twitter to ask sex workers and clients alike to share what they considered the positives of sex work. The response was overwhelming and only served to strengthen my conviction about this industry and the beautiful people in it. It is devastating to think of workers who have been disowned by family members as a result of their work, but I realised that they very much have a second family, and that is the sex industry itself. There’s bitchiness and gossip, of course, and there are differences of opinions and heated arguments about emotional subjects, but at the end of the day we are a group of people who understand a world a lot of others don’t, and that brings us together.
I did receive a few responses from people telling me that it shouldn’t matter, that my mum should trust that I am safe and happy when I say I am and respect my choices, and I agree with all of that in theory. But in reality a mother is going to worry. She’s going to worry no matter what I do. I believe that if she is reaching out and trying to understand my position, the least I can do is help her to do so. Others thought I shouldn’t be looking to others to hear about their positives and only use my own, but I was merely using this as a brainstorming exercise and, as a result, I learnt about some of the aspects of the sex industry that don’t apply to me and I see that as a positive too. I spend a lot of my spare time learning about human trafficking and sex slavery as I believe if it is something I have chosen to be passionate about, I need to know everything I can about it, so I am always open to learning more about the sex industry.
Below is the list that I sent to my mum:
I meet so many people I would never have the chance to encounter normally and am constantly learning about things I never even knew existed. Some of my clients I consider my friends and they add a lot of value to my life.
I meet people who can help me - I’m in the process of buying a car and a trusted client of mine is a mechanic and has been a massive help.
I work with a lot of disabled people. It is emotionally exhausting, but extraordinarily rewarding work. Many of my clients are on the spectrum, as well as some that have MS, Spina Bifida, and HEAPS that just have social difficulties, particularly anxiety and depression. These people deserve to feel loved and you can see that they do not take it for granted. It means so much to them and to me.
As well as people who have disabilities, there are lots of people who are just incredibly lonely. I believe human contact is so important, people need to feel desired and loved.
People going through long term relationship breakups or marriage divorces need support getting through that, as they often don’t have many people in their personal lives who can be there for them. I have helped many men through this difficult period and to regain their confidence.
People who wish to lose their virginity in a safe environment where they will not be judged and are able to learn.
There is so much variety - I am kept on my toes, constantly meeting new people and fulfilling different needs.
I’m proud of it. I’ve worked a few jobs now and never have I been so proud of the work I do. Every single person I meet ends up feeling more confident and better about themselves and that is an extraordinary skill.
A greater understanding and empathy for all humans. My compassion continues to grow through this work and I like the person that makes me.
Confidence - confidence in my appearance, my abilities, my intelligence, myself
Flexibility - I work the hours that suit me and allows me to put as much time into my hobbies as I want to and still earn enough to live comfortably.
It is a way to have casual (and enjoyable) sex in an environment that has strict protocols, etiquette and boundaries.
Excellent job security. It’s as close to recession-proof as you can get.
I get to travel - I could travel more than I do if it weren’t for me balancing other jobs, hobbies, and family.
It’s hard work. It may be quick money, but it is certainly not easy money. And I like that. I like working hard and succeeding - it pushes me in a positive way.
I’m very good at it. I have a good reputation and a well run business.
It makes me really happy. I’ve spent a lot of time seeking jobs that will sound good, but that just isn’t enough. A job making me happy is way more important than a job that sounds impressive. And, somewhat surprisingly, a lot of people I’ve spoken to have actually been impressed by it. So perhaps I managed to get both of those things.
For the people that are cheating, they’re going to cheat (as I’ve already established given my thoughts on monogamy). Going to a sex worker to cheat allows them to do it in a way that is disease, pregnancy and emotion-free, which is safer for all involved, including their family.
All of the sex workers I know are the most caring, generous, beautiful people I know. I’m proud to call them colleagues.
Below I have included some of the responses that were suggested by fellow providers and clients that did not apply to my circumstances, but that are still worth saying. I've also included some of the reasons why I didn't include these:
It helps you understand relationships and strengthens your own (I wish I had included this one, but I only saw the comment after having already responding to my mum -Jen)
Ability to provide sex therapy to couples (Another I wish I’d included! -Jen)
It clearly defines the people who are your friends (@rubywild000) (I’ve been incredibly lucky that all of my friends have been nothing but supportive about my work -Jen)
Satisfaction of helping people feel wanted and loved (@KeiraEscort)
Orgasms (@KeiraEscort) (I fully endorse this one, just didn’t know if mum really needed it shoved in her face! -Jen)
Being paid to do something I’d do for free anyway (lotsa sex!) (@KeiraEscort)
One word - Freedom. If you need more words - sweet f*cking freedom! Beholden to nothing and no one (@SwintonCharlie) (Freedom was a common theme, and I don't disagree, but I’ve always had a lot of freedom in any job I've worked -Jen)
Independence (again, I’ve always had a huge amount of independence -Jen)
Inspires and funds personal and professional development, self-education and business ideas (@Eden_Elite)
Good customer service experience (@Eden_Elite)
Relationships of clients has made me appreciate mine more and definitely appreciate how precarious life is, so now I live more presently (@Eden_Elite)
Marketing and branding skills
There is a lot of support in the SW industry (@AnyaSonder)
Human relations skills
More free time (@PersephoneSins) (something I definitely don’t have! -Jen)
Financial stability (@PersephoneSins)
Not working for a corporation (@PersephoneSins)
Teaching men how to pleasure their wives, how to interact with women better, how to engage in safe BDSM practice, etc (@PersephoneSins)
Doing sex work empowers me. I am mature and while not voluptuous I am not as fit and trim as I would prefer either. I'm not a 25 yr old Barbie Doll. Media has drummed into me my entire life that I would not be desirable. Yet my sex work proves that wrong daily (@sensualbrie)
It's paid for all the health care that I need (@MsCharlotteRain)
It’s all consensual (@HelloFromElle)
I enjoy being a confidante and I only do what I want to (@HelloFromElle)
Getting to engage creativity in new ways
Doesn’t just provide the money but also the time to pursue your dreams/hobbies (@ladyalyssarose)
Sex Work is liberating because of the control you have over your sexuality (@EratosMuse)
To create a persona dedicated to the world of pleasure is a matter of creativity and brilliance. (@EratosMuse)
Ability to travel and see the country
Feeling sexy (@EroticAsha)
Being comfortable in your own skin
In today’s society you can arrive to meet someone you met on the internet, have a drink, make small talk, have sex and then leave - this is a Tinder date but could be an escort booking. The difference? The quality of men in escorting can be much higher. (@katebbouvier)
Things like screening processes and reference checks allow you to actually know more about a date than an online Tinder meet
Lots of love, respect and good in the industry, and there is bad and good in everything in life (@missmadz2)
It makes me happier than any other civvie job has (@billie_moore104)
What I’ve discovered is you become more intuitive. You pick up on red flags & have databases to help screen people. You become more aware of your body’s way of making you aware of your surroundings & internal functions to keep you safe. SW has made me feel safer. (@elle_fyred)
No expensive schooling necessary (@ingodwetryst) (I’ve already done far too much expensive schooling, so that would actually probably be a negative in my case! -Jen)
Of course, with anything that brings huge positives, comes the potential for huge negatives. I don’t think I need to write the list of negatives - they’ve been well covered by the media. They absolutely exist, as I know all too well, but it isn’t often you come across an article about the positives, so I felt this needed to be said.
As for my mum? Well, my work has pretty much just gone back to being the elephant in the room. We've spoken since I sent her the ridiculously long email pouring out my heart about every aspect of my life, but not about any of the contents. We talked about dinner, we talked about my spinal injury, our relationship is no worse off and no better off. But I'm glad I said what I needed to say and she can choose to take that information however she likes.