While this job can be fun, glamorous, and profitable- don’t we know it comes with its downsides. Sex workers, unfortunately, are public enemy number 1. We are the group that almost all other groups- even those usually at odds- can agree deserve to be criticized and ridiculed. Facing constant judgment from people in our lives and even complete strangers if you’re out- or working to hide your job if you’re not because of the ways it can negatively affect other areas of your life- is draining.
It is natural to want to defend ourselves, as humans often feel a deep need to prove that we are worthy, good, and righteous in the face of criticism. But martyring yourself for the sake of fools will burn the precious energy you have right up- which will affect both your mental health and your pockets.
Here are a few things that helped me protect my own energy above all else and feel more peaceful while working in an often chaotic, always stigmatized industry:
1. Know that Your Worth is Intrinsic, and is not determined by someone else’s ability or willingness to pay. If you have been in the biz for oh say, 37 seconds or more than you’ve likely already had someone say at the club or online “oh that’s too much,” and offer less or try to haggle when you tell them prices for dances/VIPs/custom content. Or had someone insult you/you looks to try to trigger an insecurity that you are asking too much. This is very devious work, as the person is trying to get you to feel as ugly about yourself as they feel about themselves, and to experience you while you're in a state of self doubt (aka, easier to take advantage of). When this happens- just walk away. Just block them. Whatever you need to do, resist the urge to convince them that you are “worth it.” This type of engagement is a trap from which you will gain NOTHING, but you will lose precious time.
If you need to vent, do so in the locker room or text a friend. It’s human and normal to need to let off steam. But do not give someone access to what they’ve already proven they can’t afford by arguing with them. While I am not always a “take the high road” type of gal (I am from New Jersey lol), I have no problem looking down at those who wish to make me feel bad about myself from up there. Imagine how dumb they’ll feel when you do not engage- right, as dumb as they actually are.
The next time this happens, imagine the person shouting these things at you while standing knee deep in shit. Are you gonna go wade in the knee deep shit to reply to them? You drag your energy through shit by engaging with these stooges. You are too precious for that!
2. Know that it is not your job to change people’s minds, and your top priority should be protecting your own feeling of safety and peace. Related to the above, but this is more about people in your personal life or in public who judge you for your work. When this happens- it is not your responsibility to make them SEE you wholly. People's beliefs about sex work are rooted in a lifetime of conditioning. We as a society have extremely complex and often hypocritical beliefs around money, sex, and intimacy- most people are raised believing that outwardly wanting any of them is “bad.” So it is no wonder that the full force of people’s weird ass convictions rain down on those of us who work in a business that commingles them all.
This is very difficult when it comes to our families or people we are close with irl. It stings to know that people you love treat you differently, believe you deserve less and/or are immoral. But when someone kicks you down, would you expect them to help you up? The healthiest thing you can do for everyone involved is to get up and walk away YOURSELF, proving that you will not accept less than being fully loved and seen.
The thing nobody tells you when you get into this industry is that you are now the villain in a lot of people's story by default- so embrace it. Have the courage to be disliked. Let those people have their delusional little think piece circle jerks, it’s really all they’ve got.
3. Know your own boundaries as far as what you’ll allow with treatment and language. “Objectification” is a word with a bad rap, but it is a form of what we choose to do in this work. And that is okay! Pretty much anyone who works becomes the “object” their job requires of them while they are working. The issue we face is that customers often think THEY get to set the boundaries of “objectification” since they are paying (and the idiotically bold ones, even when they are not!) But it should ALWAYS be you who is aware of what you are and aren’t okay with, and trusting your intuition when something feels off. It is never okay for a customer to disregard consent, or do whatever they want to without discussing it. So be sure to check in with yourself- what words are you okay with being called at work? What type of treatment are you willing to accept and what not?
There is no right or wrong answer here. Some women don’t mind being called “slut” in the context of the job, some do. Some don’t mind having their ass smacked, some do. I also considered that my boundaries varied depending on the type of customer I was with- a man who walks in the club who got 2 dances from me a month ago best not call me a slut, or smack my ass. But a consistent regular who does multi hour VIPs and always tips $500/hour? I would allow more leeway, being that this is work and he clearly understands that and pays me well for it.
Knowing your own boundaries and learning to speak up/walk away when they are violated will conserve your energy and mood for customers and experiences that ARE compatible with you. From experience I can say- I do not remember how much money I made the shifts I allowed my boundaries to be stomped on because I felt I “had” to, but I do remember feeling harmed in some way, and how much of my time off I spent recovering from that. Enforcing boundaries allowed me to have a much better work/life balance and eventually, make wayyyyy more money.
4. Make Time for the Relationships, Hobbies, and Rituals that make you feel WHOLE. A most difficult aspect of work for me was the dissociation that comes with always playing a “character,” and being worshiped for that Hollywood-ized version of myself/my looks. It can be hard to remember that though our charisma and beauty are important- they are not the MOST important parts of us. I often felt weird and out of body on my days off, like I wasn’t sure how to collect all the pieces of me and put them back together. This job is also super physically draining, and we all deserve time off to simply rot in bed and eat snacks (true decompression!)
But it helped me immensely to take time to do things I wanted to just for the sake of them. With this biz, we spend so much time discussing money/time that it’s easy to fall into the habit of seeing things you can’t profit from as a “waste” of time. Even a lot of my “off” time was spent doing things I related to my ability to make money (nails/hair/extra working out etc).
But BABES, those are the things that make us human! Spending focused time with your kids, nieces/nephews, your friends, your partner. Going for little walks and noticing what plants and birds and people you see. Looking through your favorite coffee table book. Going to an art gallery, to the botanical garden, to see a show.
Now, our lives have cycles and it is natural that some periods are for HUSTLING , some are for being a mess, and others are for indulging, enjoying, and resting. But indulging, enjoying, and resting are things we should do our best to integrate into our lives in all her cycles, because no amount of money can buy back the time as it passes.
Put some eucalyptus in your shower, hand write a letter to your bestie and mail it with a lipstick print kiss, go run around the city all night long with your most goblin mode coded friend. Whatever! Your God put you on this planet to have an EXPERIENCE as YOUR UNIQUE SELF, you do not have to earn your right to enjoy your life. So do your lil’ stretches and prayers or whatever brings you Home to yourself, as a priority.
Hope y’all enjoyed these and feel free to comment any more you have found below!