In and Out – A Sex Worker’s Story

By Kendra Holliday | August 16, 2013

This is a guest post by Mia, a woman in the Pacific Northwest who has been doing sex work for the past five years…

Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.

Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

My story and reasons for getting into the hooker business are familiar and common and mostly about desperation, but also about missing sex.

After my separation from my husband of 17 years, there was no child support coming from him and I had not worked at a full-time job in years. I started doing housecleaning jobs here and there for some quick cash, but was still not able to pay my bills and was on food stamps.

After a couple of years of this and when I no longer wanted to ask family for help, desperation planted that one crazy thought in my mind. It started with the idea of charging more by being a naughty maid, and just wearing sexy clothes while cleaning someone’s house. I put an ad on Craigslist casual encounters and was shocked at the number of responses I got.

Then I glanced over to the Adult Services section and saw the escort link. Hmm…I was also missing sex — a lot. I clicked on it, a move that would change my life profoundly and forever. The evolution from crazy thought to actually leaving a hotel room with three Benjamins in my purse took about a week. What I made with two outcall clients in a few hours would have taken me twelve hours of hard physical labor.

I left my first client that day with a strange cocktail of feelings — overwhelming relief initially; oh my god what did I just do now I’m actually a prostitute; and giddiness from the endorphins and excitement of living on the edge, as well as the prospect of not being broke all the time. I did not feel shame, although I’m starting to now, five years later, and I’m not quite sure why.

I made good money from Craigslist, and now Backpage, as well as other escort sites. If I were single with no kids and not focused on also raising my teenagers, I would have made more money, but one of the things I liked about being an escort was the time it gave me to be a mom. I usually worked three days a week and we began to live comfortably; bills were getting paid, I got off of food stamps and there was actually spending money. Looking back, I wish I would have saved more. The problem with turning tricks is the money is quick and easy and it seems it will always just be flowing, so why worry about it.

I figured out screening and the importance of it pretty quickly and my current screening method is not that much different from when I began. I knew that getting either arrested or outted was NOT an option. I never took chances with my safety or my secret. I still don’t. I am in constant worry of being found out.

The first year was fantastic, which is common for “new girls”. I was booked solid for my three to four days of work pretty much every week, seeing six to eight clients. Some months I grossed 8K (although an escort’s overhead is high, especially if you want a nice hotel or incall). Having the burden of poverty lifted from me made all the downsides of escorting worth it. Now, however, the downsides outweigh the good and I am trying to get out of the business, which is proving to be much harder than I thought it would be.

I thought I would just wake up one day and say, I’m done with being an escort, I think I’ll quit. And I would just fade away into the memories of all of my clients, and my memory of them will fade away, too. I had this somewhat romantic image of me walking into the sunset and waving goodbye to this life. It seemed like it would be easy and almost effortless. How wrong I was.

The thing about escorting is, you do have to somewhat enjoy it to get you through all the effort needed for making ads and seducing men online, and having new pictures taken, and constantly marketing yourself. There has to be some real desire, either for money or sex or both, on your end of that computer while promoting yourself.

My desire to fuck men for money is fading along with my excitement to get work. I want the money but I don’t want to do this work anymore. I have this theory that in no other business is the “law of attraction” more real than in the escorting business. When you no longer want to do it, even if it is just temporarily, the clients dry up. Perhaps they sense it, but the universe quickly responds to where you are in your head with this work.

If you met me out in public, you would never consider that I was an escort. Any stereotypes are about as far away from me as possible. I’m not young or thin, nor do I have a perfect body. I am overweight (or “curvy”, as my ads would say), but with an attractive face and good personality. I live a normal life in the suburbs with my older kids and dogs. I worry all the time lately about my family and friends finding out. I am growing tired of living with such a secret and having to be constantly diligent about hiding things like condoms and lube and lingerie, and making sure my laptop and phone are always locked up.

Paranoia is creeping in. Before I had a healthy paranoia, just enough to keep me safe and secret. There is more now, and I recently started taking some medication to calm the anxiety and depression that is creeping in. I also want to have a relationship and have love sex again. For me, being a prostitute and having a relationship do not seem to be compatible.

There are things I want to say about this way of life…about the loneliness…about the clients…about the faceless wives I never meet but who are there in the appointment somehow…about the cattiness between the providers…about the dishonesty and the dysfunctional relationships we may get involved in through this work…about the acting that we must do to fuck these men…about the occasional client that we have great sex with and a real connection. We want our clients to think we enjoy it, and sometimes we do, but most of it, almost all of it, is about the money.

After I finish writing here, I will close this file and open my email, something that I do many, many times during each day. I will see if there is any work for me today. August is typically slow due to vacations and back to school expenses. But September will pick up, as it always has for the past five years and money will be made. My goal right now is to save more, and get out. I do not know when that will happen yet.


V . Petite 2013-08-17 05:24:49

I’m going to assume the lady who wrote this is American. I just wanted to say that this happens even in a country where it is perfectly legal to be a sex worker. I also wanted to say that there are other workers (myself included) who relate very well to the above. When I’m loving it, yes the money does come and it can be hard to ever think of leaving. Yet when you really want to do other things, have other ambitions, thus it becomes MORE about the money … I have to agree.. law of attraction (or scarcity!).

I’m also similar in that I decided to pursue this line of work for a sex life. I was kinda ‘over’ having ‘free sex’… and now that I know I can ‘get something’ (monetary or other things) for sex… it has impacted my capacity to want to give it away ‘free’. I chose to stay single as I also agree that (for me) I find it hard to find someone genuine whilst also ‘working’ (even if by working it is only a couple of times a month for me).

Anyway, in the end, just wanted to say this ladies’ feelings are felt “a world away” 🙂


ChasH 2013-08-17 12:53:04

A very good, honest testament. Sex workers have blogs now, so you can read that there are a lot of women in the same position. It looks like the main problem with sex work– besides the stigma and illegality– is the resume it leaves you with. Even if you start with a very high sex drive, your body and brain are bound to change. The sex isn’t exciting anymore, and the burnout in sex work could be rough. If you haven’t prepared for this, you’re left with no education, no work experience, and no contacts you can use.

I would suggest to anyone beginning in sex work, save, further your education, and have a network prepared for the day you need to get out.

I also have to point out just how poor opportunities are for women. If more things paid as well sex work not as man people would be going into it. Definitely the ones who hate it wouldn’t be in it. But our economy, for some reason, can’t provide those jobs.


    Kendra Holliday 2013-08-18 20:22:16

    The best piece of job advice I can give my daughter is not, “get a degree,” “go to college,” “learn a skill,” or “follow your passion,” but to have at least two ways of making money. For instance, I have a day job, I do sex work, I do consultations, I figure model, I do patient medical work, and I’m a writer. Be good at more than one thing. Keep your options open, have something you can fall back on.


The Lusty Chick 2013-08-18 14:52:45

This post almost brought tears to my eyes because what she writes is 100% truth. There IS this weird “Law of attraction” energy that happens when you no longer want to see clients, they DO mysteriously dry up. reading this made me realize that retirement was the BEST decision I’ve made no matter how much I miss it!


Anna 2013-08-19 09:30:08

Thanks for writing. I found being able to get into your thoughts for a bit quite interesting.


fuzzilla 2013-08-21 12:06:10

Interesting, well written, and straightforward. You could try your hand at freelance writing, Mia.

I’m not a sex worker, but I understand the freelance lifestyle of workflow ebbing and flowing.


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