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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Faking it for a living

My Tale of Degradation

It’s not easy being a sex worker rights advocate, although I am growing accustomed to hearing “but it’s so degrading to women!” on a daily basis. Yeah, I get it- you’re outraged that a woman could even suggest that sex workers have a CHOICE in the matter. You tell me that there is no such thing as choice when it comes to sex work, and that porn performers/strippers/prostitutes are all victims. You assume that you know what’s best for every single woman in the world, and if she doesn’t agree with you, then she’s just ill with the fever of patriarchy.

It’s the same song over and over again, I get it.

Are there victims of sex trafficking out there in the world? Of course there are, and sex worker rights advocates aren’t blind to this. We just want everyone else to realize that sex trafficking is NOT THE SAME as sex work. Rather than working against one another, perhaps the sex worker rights advocates & prostitution abolitionists should come together and build on common ground.

Additionally, are there sex workers who feel degraded by their occupation? Women who would choose another line of work if they had the option? OF COURSE. Please stop assuming that all sex workers feel this way.

Now we have Santorum running around talking about the dangers of porn, give me a fucking break. Seriously, is the world ending? Are politicians growing stupider by the hour? #STFUsantorum

Now, let me tell you my own story of degradation. Yup, self-disclosure. Ready? I hope you don’t judge me for the story that I am about to tell you…

I’ll set the stage for you- a typical night at work. I worked there a couple of years ago, when I was in my early twenties and broke as hell. I didn’t enjoy what I was doing, but it was the best way that I knew how to make money at the time. Quick, fast cash in my hand at the end of every shift.

I will never forget the way my stomach used to feel as I’d drive to work. Dread, pure fucking dread. Even as I write this, I can feel the bowling ball forming in the pit of my stomach. Fuck that job. Fuck those awful customers.

Anyways, it was good money, and that’s why I did it. Night after night, breasts hanging out, catering to my customers, trying to just focus on the dollar bills that were being flung my way. I can’t emphasize to you enough how much I fucking hated it, but when I’d leave work with $400 worth  of damp dollar bills in my hand, it’d be worth it. Sort of.

Guys would talk to me, and I would feign interest. I didn’t give a fuck about their lives, jobs, wives, worries. I just wanted them to disappear, but I had to act interested to get those dollar bills. I faked it well; that was my job.

There was a lot of petty drama between the other girls, I tried to not get involved. It all seemed so catty and ridiculous. I would go in, make my money, and get the fuck out. When people asked me where I worked, I would lie; I didn’t want them to know that I worked in such a shithole. I felt embarrassed. I felt degraded.

Those were the worst years of my life. I am so happy that I got out of that industry. Now that I look back, I wish I’d been a stripper instead. I would have felt less degraded than being…a bartender.

Yeah, a bartender, not a sex worker. I know…you think only sex workers feel degraded, but I would have felt less degraded as a sex worker.

Open your eyes, open your mind. Stop speaking for sex workers. 


  1. Thanks for sharing.

    I guess I just have a quick comment. I do a highly paid job, wear a suit and shut my mouth against all the idiots who get paid more than me. Hate my job, get home every day and rip off my clothes, put on my trackies and relax. What's so different between me and you?

  2. So AdvocateGrrl,
    Why is this issue so close to your heart?
    Are you a sex worker now?

    You know the label sex worker
    is very limited. I think
    happiness coach is better.
    Because many workers are better
    therapists than so called licensed
    therapists. They work with the body
    and all the emotions that become
    trapped in the cells. They often are
    wounded healers who have a lot of
    compassion and heart.

    Just like with anything there are
    those who are "on the take",
    but many want to "make a contribution"

    I wonder how many rapes and assaults
    by men who feel powerless would not happen
    if they had someone who could take care
    of their needs?

    What consenting adults do should be their
    private business. We don't need the
    self-righteous Sanctimonious bible
    thumpers shoving their ideas of
    denial of life in our faces.

    Keep up the good work. ;-)

  3. I prefer the term "sex worker," as it is a great umbrella term that includes escorts, prostitutes, exotic dancers, porn performers, etc. I believe that happiness coach would be very vague, and I also don't want to discredit the work of trained professionals; people who go to school for years to become psychologists- that's what I do :). Like any profession, there are plenty of good and bad therapists, and good/bad sex workers. The two jobs are quite different and difficult to compare. Anyways, I've always been interested in working with stigmatized populations, and am doing my doctoral dissertation on the stigma around stripping. This led me to my interest in sex worker advocacy. :)

  4. You are doing a great thing, & it is difficult defending the sex industry. This week, I was defending Sasha Grey (online) to people against porn. One person said she was nothing more than a cum-dumpster & the other sent me millions of "facts" about porn, which were not actually "facts" (he was a Shelly Lubben fan). All & all, some people are very judgmental about the porn industry & will believe anything they are told.

  5. Carrie- I agree. I have had people quote the bible of Lubben in the past, and as soon as they do, I tell them that they have absolutely no credibility if they are citing her. At that point, I started to send them videos from Michael's youtube channel.