Out About Being a Sex Worker

By Kendra Holliday | November 15, 2013

Workin’ it! Photo by Connie LaFlam

I received an interesting letter the other day:

Dear Kendra,

I was reading an article on your website where you talked about what life was like for you when you lost your job and the whole legal issues with your marriage. I was going through the list of jobs you have done to pay your bills and one caught my attention: ‘sex work’.

What were your thoughts about being a sex worker before you actually found yourself in the profession, and now that you’ve been through that what do you think of it?

Was it an easy transition for you to make?

I’m glad that you have a job now and can pay your bills and take care of other things but I was wondering if you could make more money being a sex worker, would you leave you current job?”

Such a good question!

Well, here’s the long and short of it: I have a full-time day job. After taxes and benefits, each paycheck is about $1000. My monthly expenses are about $3000.

That means I need a part-time job to supplement my income. It’s hard to swing that when you have a kid, as your schedule needs to remain flexible. I do some writing and consulting gigs, but to be honest with you, I couldn’t get by without a couple of intimate sessions a month.

In other words, I still do sex work.

I tell you what – I love having the best of both worlds – a steady paycheck, direct deposit, benefits – as well as an unconventional, sexy lifestyle.Β  I personally wouldn’t want to do sex work, aka healing/whoring/helping more than a couple times a month. For one thing, it’s giving a lot of yourself – mentally and physically. For another, it’s unreliable, with a cancellation rate of about 50%. That sucks when you were hoping that money went to your kid’s camp bill, but it sucks WAY worse when you were counting on it for your mortgage payment.

Administrative headaches aside, once I get to the actual session part, I LOVE IT. I love assuming the goddess role and treating a man like a king, recharging his battery so he can go back out into the real world feeling relieved and ready to face the daily grind. I think it’s very similar to being a massage therapist. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have sex and intimacy whenever they like, so it’s nice they are able to find an outlet.

Should I be out about being a sex worker? I don’t know. It’s such a taboo topic in our society. Personally, I don’t believe I’m doing anything wrong, and am in fact helping people and offering a valuable service. There is most certainly a need for it, and not that many people who can do it in a safe, sane, and sensual manner. I am very discreet and professional. That it’s illegal is

RIDICULOUS.

I can’t stand when people get fired for doing sex work – it just forces them to do even more sex work. How does that help society?!

I have no idea how to advertise my services; Craigslist and Backpage were pains in the ass even before they succumbed to the pressure of society. There’s this Eros St. Louis page – hey I see some of my friends listed! I guess I rely on word-of-mouth.

My friend Erika is out about being a sex worker, she has a blog here.

I hope my personal experience and candidness will help destigmatize this topic. If you know me, then you know a whore. Whores can be great moms, good workers, and invaluable volunteers.

Are you out about being a sex worker? Or are you out about going to strip clubs or paying people for sex?

UPDATE: I quit my day job in May 2015 to devote myself full-time toΒ my sex-positive activism – counseling, hosting events, projects, and more sex work! I like to say it’s what I do for a loving. πŸ™‚

Comments

Thelustychick 2012-05-15 06:48:15

For the most part being out has been positive. Every so often a person will have something negative to say! I try not to let it bother me though!

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Jay 2012-05-15 09:04:55

I am really happy to see honesty and passion about this. Those who choose and enjoy this line of work should be allowed to practice legally. It does serve a great role in our society, although I haven’t ever had the opportunity to experience it personally. As with anything there are two sides to the coin. Some are forced into this profession out of necessity, others by force. I think it is extremely unfortunate that it is very hard to tell if the person whose services you desire were due to the latter two situations. If ours were a more open, honest society the opportunities for people to be abused in this business would be far fewer and many like me would feel much more comfortable about seeking out such a service.
Perhaps next time I am in 314 I may be lucky enough to find you!

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    cosmo pinciotti 2013-11-20 09:16:42

    “if ours were a more open, honest society”
    what do you think is the main reason why it’s not?

    Reply

      Kendra Holliday 2013-11-20 10:51:31

      Fear.

      Reply

        cosmo pinciotti 2013-11-20 16:05:56

        fear plays a big role, no doubt about that, but I think there’s a bigger game in town because everybody believes what he wants to believe and what he has to believe. fear is a mood, a feeling, an instinct. the basis of a personality, that what defines a more fearless or fearful character is however a spiritual compound. try to blind out everything but this mental essence of people, everything seeable, everything trivial, focus only on their innermost core, on the pure shape of their very own minds. walk in thoughts through the sheer realm of thoughts and meet your neighborhood completely naked up to their ghost form… what will you see blindfolded that way?

        Reply

William 2012-05-16 14:15:57

Considering how in our society we willingly take young adults / kids who just turned 18, welcome them into military service where they kill other adults without their victims’ consent (recognizing this as patriotism) – and then proclaim those who perform sexual acts between two consenting adults as illegal is, well, somewhat contradictory. One path kills while the other tends not to.

BTW: Holland or Great Britain, anyone?

To be certain, there is a terribly dark side of the sex industry: abused runaways, illegal immigrants turned into sex slaves and the such. But then again, recalling the repeal of Prohibition on alcohol, I would argue that decriminalization of certain ‘immorality’ and ‘illegal drugs’ is also something increasingly worth looking into. TO be blunt, given the lack of funds for many local governments, perhaps licensing ‘sex professionals’ would be a good way to raise additional revenue,…

(Heh: it’s also worth noting how many of us are routinely ‘screwed’ by the financial industry – and yet this is not only tolerated; rather, the bankers are actually rewarded for this ‘immoral’ behavior!)

And bankers certainly don’t bother using any lubricant when they act.

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Swedishskier 2012-05-16 22:07:00

You’re fucking nuts and awesome and brave! I’m never sure what risk you’ll take and I’m sure this one’s calculated, but it scares me. I’m nervous for you that this will be the one toe over the line. For me, though, I think there are far worse ways to earn extra money or even your main source of income than prostitution. See also- chemical companies, politics, financial corporations. It’s an honest living really. Sex work fascinates me in the way that all experience outside my purview does. (oh man, perv view… hahaha! I’m such a dork.) Thanks for sharing this.

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    Kendra Holliday 2012-05-17 18:53:43

    Aww thanks! You are not the only one to feel this way. I was nervous to share, but decided it was an important step to take in fighting for sexual civil rights. I also want to take on Topless Equality this summer.

    Even though the law and our society finds these things wrong and in need of punishment, I do not think they are wrong. I am an ethical person, and I am not ashamed.

    I hope if anything happens to me I have the support of the community, like I did when I was fired and sued for my sexuality.

    Reply

      Charlie 2013-11-19 01:22:15

      You probably already know this but without a lot of hooplah or any ultimate major impact on mainstream life, the New York courts ruled several years ago that distinguishing between men and women with respect to toplessness violated the New York State constutuion….

      Reply

Buddha 2012-05-17 10:00:14

I’ve never understood the issue with prostitution. It’s consensual and no one gets hurt. Hookers on a street corner? Yeah, ok… I get that. Brings down property values. What goes on behind closed doors, though, is a different matter. My girlfriend and I dated for a little over 5 years. I paid for every meal, every movie, every vacation. How is that any different than me paying a woman for sex? Oh, yeah… she didn’t “charge” me. I think all relationships are negotiated. A boyfriend/girlfriend will feel each other out those first few weeks. Is this person going to satisfy my needs? Is it worth the cost? Is the sex good? Same thing. Escorts just cut through all the bullshit. Their time is valuable. You want what they have (sex) and they want what you have (money). No biggie. I’ve been to strip clubs. I’ve been jacked off by a cute masseuse in the Philippines. I’ve never been with an escort, but would I? Sure… if I weren’t so poor. I need that loaf of bread. Sure… I’d worry about STD’s a little more than I normally would, but the lack of drama would be a plus. In fact, I think a fuck buddy relationship is the way to go. No expectations. No mixed signals. I’ve done it before and it was nice.

Wow… that was one long, rambling paragraph. It’s 7:55 a.m. and I haven’t had any coffee. Be a sex worker. Nothing wrong with it. You’re giving someone an amazing experience. He wins. You win. End of story.

Now I need coffee… and a blowjob.

Reply

    WD 2012-05-22 19:27:48

    Buddha, nice! LOL.
    WD

    Reply

Devysciple 2012-05-27 18:01:22

Well, I am one of the men who have never paid for the services of a prostitute. The reason for this is rather simple (and has already been mentioned by William): While in our country prostitution is legal, there’s still a huge problem of forced sex workers (mostly from Eastern Europe), while there are also a lot of them who work voluntarily. So you have basically no way to tell if you are supporting organized crime and adding to the suffering of someone, or simply paying for a service.

The other thing that bothers me is the fact that I cannot tell how voluntarily a women is doing her job. Does she like it? Is she in a situation where she is financially dependent on the income? Does she work on her own, or does a pimp grab most of her money for dubious “security”?
It is true that many people work in jobs they don’t like, and they do it just for the money. But in my opinion as a male who never did nor accepted any sex work, I still think it is different from working in the office or in a garage or on a waste dump.

Don’t get me wrong, a prostitute gets the same respect from me as any other person. They are doing a job, and that’s that. I do not frown upon people who seek these services (unless they use it as an opportunity to cheat on their partners). Personally, I’ve just decided to not take the risk and end up with a woman who can’t say ‘No’ to me, for whatever reason.

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Mandy 2013-11-19 15:00:10

I’m Aussie, and depending on the state/ territory here, sex work is mostly legal, within parameters.
In my home state, brothels have been legal for many years, but street work isn’t.
Where I live now, sex workers may work individually- no more than one at a time out of a private home, or may do outcalls, and there are legal brothels that are strictly regulated.
Brothels here are more recently legal, as in early this century.
I think for a sex workers safety, brothels are the way forward. People will continue to work in prostitution, and it has it’s place In society.
My own husband used to see prostitutes when he was single and needed sex. He was a single Dad, with full time custody of his kids, and it was a simple way for him to have his needs met. He didn’t wish to enter into a relationship at that time.
He also had occasional casual sexual encounters as well, but there were times when this required effort and time that he didn’t have.
Was I a little shocked when I first met him and he told me? Yup. I’d never had a man admit to paying for sex. Did his reasons make sense to me? Yes. Am I older, wiser and more open about these things now? For sure.
I went through a stage where I barely wanted sex because of some mental health issues, and I gave him permission to see a prostitute if he wanted. He declined; like me, sex is intertwined with love when he is in a relationship, and he is monogamous by nature, like me.
However, it wasn’t a test. I remember being in the same position and being horny as hell and miserable about it in a prior relationship, and didn’t want him to feel that way as well.
The up side of him refusing is that it made me do something about my lack of sex drive. Sometimes one has to get back on the horse, and it’s fantastic to be back in the saddle πŸ˜‰

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cosmo pinciotti 2013-11-20 09:46:59

in my opinion, to a certain degree, voluntary sex is always intertwined with love. even when you masturbate. it simply has to because of the romantic nature of the human soul. you’re offering some sort of partnership as whore with more or less intimacy involved. and intimacy as such, I think, seems to be the key in this case… no matter from whose perspective.

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Spiro 2013-11-30 19:09:10

I have taken comfort, companionship, and fun with sex workers a few times in my life. Two I remember that I’d like to share. the first of these happened when I was very upset after a break up. I needed something to take away the hurt. I was 22 at the time. I met a really cute and friendly woman at a brothel, and she comforted me. I found that the more I opened up, the more sad I became. Not working, right? well hse never shwed hesitation that she could bring me through, she never mentioned it. she was a smaller woman and playfully climbed all over me, encouraging, and didn’t spend long with me in any position. so I experienced as many positions as I could have and look back on it as enlightening as well. I was going somewhere else with this, but will just repeat, she brought me through. It allow me to step past that part of the hurt and start getting over that ended relationship.
The other time, now you folks can judge, this (small j) asI threw it in as a blue herring… I had a friend who had her food stamps, but no rent money. so I sent a cab for her. We went shopping at midnight and she paid well over $200 for all the food I could happily see in my cabinets fridge and freezer. I gave her the money. She stayed after we cooked a big bunch of food and went to bed. I was sharing my bed with someone who I didn’t fear who did a great job (her 35 years to my 25 years) helped fill my kitchen with what I knew I’d love.
the amount she paid in food stamps was so close to what she needed in rent cash (new job wait 2 weeks etc) I gave her the rest and said that after a coffee and small breakfast I wanted to laze around that day. She lazed around with me. she did what she cchose, I was not feeling horny, but very happy and didn’t want as a hesitant younger guy to wreck a good thing. but what she wanted to do was to see how many times she could make me climax. Well who was I to complain? I will remember that as one of the few times I did, 5 times. was it obligation? I joked that I didn’t buy enough food and put 3 more twenties near her folded clothes. I assume she was happy and thought I was nice. I know I was grateful.
Is it just me, or does our society have a problem with guys being grateful? What I have to conquer everything?

I think you are doing what works for you, is a great contribution to guy-kind, and to me is barter. You need green paper, I need to relax.

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dhawal 2013-12-11 03:21:32

Fantastic!

Reply

Angela Goodnight 2013-12-29 08:01:44

I don’t think I could ever offer my vagina for payment, but it sounds to me as if you do so as a counsellor and I have no problem with that. Could I meet a troubled person and get that person through his problems by allowing him to have intercourse with me? I don’t think so, but then I am in a long term relationship. I think you are brave to undertake such work and as long as it is serving a real purpose i.e. your virgin male story, then I think it is fine.

As regards sex work in general, if it was legalised then it would drive the girls off the street corners, get rid of the pimps and give the workers much more security – safety and financial. As usual it is the do-gooders in our societies which prevent such changes in the law.

A long time ago I had a friend who was a call-girl in London and she was one of the nicest women I ever met. I also met another one last year who was trying to become a tour guide, but still had to take ‘other work’ and she praised a website called AdultWork, but I don’t know if it was co.uk or .com. You might like to try and find it as she said it was very safe.

Anyway, good luck, and if you can have enjoyable sex, help someone and earn money from it at the same time then I would certainly support your right to do so.

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