A Sex Worker can be many different things: a prostitute,
an internet or newspaper escort, a street worker, an exotic dancer,
a phone sex operator, an internet cam girl, a porn actor/actress,
a professional dominatrix, fetish model, etc. A Sex Worker can be
female, male, or transgendered.
What Are the Advantages of Sex Work? Money. Prices range from $200-$500+ per hour for
internet escorts to $20-$100 per act for street workers, depending
on your city/region; $2.99-$9.99 per minute for phone sex / cam
Independence. You set your own hours,
rates, and boundaries. You are your own boss, unless you work for
an agency, pimp, booker or other management.
Financial Freedom. As an Independent
Professional, you can typically make a minimum of $1000-2000 per
week by only working four to eight hours. The demand for quality
services are high and sex work remains one of the few recession-proof
Pursuit of Dreams. The flexibility
and financial freedom of sex work offers many opportunities to pursue
priorities that are truly meaningful to you: family, school, volunteering,
creative endeavors, political activism, etc.
Personal Empowerment. It’s
extremely empowering for a woman in today’s society to earn
high dollar wages without an expensive education or years climbing
the corprorate ladder. It’s also empowering to enjoy sexual
freedom without the baggage of societal standards that don’t
necessarily apply to the way you define your own sexuality.
Community. The sex worker community
is very supportive of each other. We are family! We look out for
each other: we have an intricate system of communication to alert
each other of bad clients and possible legal entrapments; we gather
together at SWOP meetings and events; and we’re happy to share
clients and resources with each other.
What I Love About Being A Sex Worker
What Are the Disadvantages?
Criminalization & Legal Exposure. It’s illegal
to be a prostitute or "commit lewd or obscene acts" in
America except for certain places in Nevada. In Michigan, if you
get convicted of prostitution, solicitation, indecent exposure,
lewd or obscene act, simulation of a sex act, it is a misdemeanor
charge. You will owe fines and face mandatory registry on the public
Sex Offenders list. 3rd offense is a Felony which includes a mandatory
It is Important to Know Your Rights!
Social stigma. Sex workers are notoriously
maligned in our culture. We dream of the day when sex work is once
again widely perceived as an honorable, important and vital contribution
to the emotional, physical, spiritual and mental health of both
the sex workers and the clients.
Workplace Safety. Whether it’s
on the streets, in our homes or in five star resorts, the fact is
that sex workers do not enjoy the same rights as other Americans
when it comes to their work (which by the way, is a PRIVATE and
CONSENSUAL act between two adults.) Because we are criminalized
and stigmatized, we are vulnerable to violence and exploitation.
Street workers have a higher chance of running into
clients who may rob or harm them. Internet escorting tends to be
much safer; however, the threat is always present because business
must be conducted off-the-radar.
Burn out. Sex workers are prone to
burn out like everyone else, but there are steps you can take to
keep yourself healthy and safe.
Competition. Just like any other
business where top dollar earnings are at stake, the competition
can be fierce in certain cities. But fear not: there’s a niche
market for every type of sex worker.
What about STD’s? As far as sexually transmitted diseases go, studies done
by the Center for Disease Control and in various scientific and
medical journals have shown that among the sex worker community,
the incidence of transmitting STD’s is actually LOWER than
the general population. Every time we insist on safe sex, we’re
educating the public.
Would I Make a Good Sex Worker? You don’t have to look like a porn star to be a sex
worker. You do need to be sexually experienced and know how to take
care of yourself in all sorts of situations. You need to be able
to stick to your rules (no unsafe sex, for instance) and it helps
if you keep yourself physically and emotionally healthy and drug-free.
Like John Cusack’s character said in the movie Gross Pointe,
it also helps to have a certain “moral flexibility.”
How Can I Find Out More? Some of us mentor those interested in sex work. Working
at an agency is another way to learn about sex work. It’s
generally not advisable to do it on your own without any help because
you need to learn about safety and security methods. And, it’s
important to keep in mind that working on the streets is more dangerous
because of the lack of control you have with regard to your safety.
There are also a few good books written by former sex workers out
Our Goal of Decriminalization
Decriminalization seems to be the best answer for all stakeholders.
We view New Zealand's legislation as the model system to which we
aspire. A point-by-point break-down of what their law reform means
is available here.
Basically you remove prostitution from the criminal code and place
health and safety regulations on it. The penalty for the crime of
hiring an underage prostitute is increased for sex business operators
and clients. So, in effect, it is regulated, but the regulators
are not the police; rather, they are health, OSHA, and labor inspectors.
And we believe that, as in New Zealand, the main stakeholders (sex
workers themselves) have a place at the table when writing these