by Furry Girl

02.27.16

I had two conversations in the last week that involved talk of memoirs. I still get asked sometimes if I'm planning to write a memoir about my experiences in sex work, and my answer is no. The reason why has changed over time, however.

I seriously thought about it several years ago, read a couple of books on getting nonfiction published, and talked to people who have written books (that weren't self-published). The conclusion I made was that the effort simply wasn't worth the money. Unless you're already famous and can secure a good advance, you write a memoir for personal satisfaction, not because you want to get paid. I was told that I would be lucky to get $5000 for a first time nonfiction book, and that was maybe 5 years ago. Even with borrowing already-written material from my blog, let's say that writing new material, doing research, and revising would be a full-time project for 6 months. (And then all the time that goes into promoting a book once it's released.) $5000 for 6 months of work? Nope, my time is worth more than that And since my end game with sex work was never to write a book about it, the bragging rights didn't offset the financial loss of taking time away from work that pays decently to do work that pays poorly.

My reason for not wanting to write a memoir is also about the pointlessness of such an endeavor. Let's get real: there are already too many sex work memoirs written by intelligent white chicks in their 20s and 30s from major cities in the English-speaking world. We are not beautiful and unique snowflakes. We as a civilization already have sufficient "I was a sex worker, but here's the big twist! I am also smart!" books. There is no stone that has been left unturned. Even though yes, I think I have my own slightly different spin on things, I'm self-aware enough to know that my views are not so unique that I could possibly truly break new ground.

As someone now working in science, there's a process one goes through before starting any project. It's called a literature review, and the point is twofold: to familiarize yourself with the existing knowledge and methods in an area so you know the norm for the field, and so that you can justify that your project will be doing something new and noteworthy that someone else hasn't done before. Otherwise, what's the point of spending years on a project if someone already published what is essentially the same thing? Science (and its limited funding) forces one to do some ruthlessly honest introspection and ask, "is my clever idea actually that special?" I wish that same level of rigor was applied by people who are considering doing anything. Few sex work books pass this test in 2016.

I remember 10-15 years ago when there were only a handful of books in the genre. I devoured memoirs, anthologies, and nonfiction excitedly back in the day when it was as easy task to read all the books written by and about sex workers. Times have changed, and for the better. Sex work is no less interesting, but holy fuck, we have enough contributions from people like me. I hope that other white middle class (former) sex workers from major cities will step back and realize their stories have already been told. Ad nauseam. I hope to read more memoirs from sex workers who don't fit the cliche of "sex work memoirist." Those are the stories that I want to see told. Not mine.





by Furry Girl

01.09.16

I rarely update my blog now that I am no longer in the jizz biz in any shape or form, but I'm planning to keep it online for now. I am glad that people still find value in some of the content and appreciate the nice emails I receive, and I'd also hate to delete my blog and have my detractors take that a victory. I launched this blog in 2009, making some of the content 7 years old at this point. While I'd love to have the free time to make my blog a dynamic living masterpiece that I can update, expand upon, revise, and improve, my writings are a snapshot of what I was thinking on a particular day. I occasionally receive email or comments on Twitter where someone tries to throw a "gotcha" question in my face which demonstrates their inability to notice the publication date on the post they're currently angry about. Since I was not a time traveler in my younger days (alas!), and since I rarely revise or update a post, my writings do not address things that had not yet happened at the time of the posting. This goes doubly so for the "if only you'd read [new dumb feminist book], you'd think completely differently!" comments. One of the benefits of leaving the sex industry is knowing I'll never again feel obliged to waste my time reading the latest recycled drivel so that I can rebuke it.





by Furry Girl

04.13.15

"One of the most common – and offensive – questions that porn performers get from viewers is, 'what are you going to do after this?' It’s as if porn star can’t exist, be looked at and wished upon, without viewers imagining that same star collapsing. Or perhaps better said, some fans have trouble meeting porn stars without expressing their anxieties of having watched. Another way of saying, 'What will you do after this' is 'I’ll stop watching you some day!' or 'One day you won’t be desirable anymore!'

It’s just rude for fans to ask that question. But it is important for performers to be able to have an answer."

-- Conner Habib in How To Be an Ex-Porn Star: 10 Tips on Taking a Break on connerhabib.wordpress.com





by Furry Girl

04.11.15

firstshoot-1

The first sex work I did was a solo porn shoot for a big "naughty teen" company based out of Los Angeles.  That photo is from my very first shoot, taken in a park in LA that I've since recognized in many movies and TV shows as a generic "wooded area".  (We worked fast, because the photographer would have gotten fined if he'd been caught shooting there without a permit.)  I've seen the park several times in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and it always makes me laugh to see it.  "Hey, look at Picard and Riker on the alien world/holodeck where I first dropped my panties for cash!"  I've never really written about my first experience in porn because it's embarrassing, tacky, kinda gross, and not very interesting.  And besides, memoir-y shit isn't really my thing.

That first day of porning was in 2002, when I was freshly 18 years old, and at a time that I would have been a senior in high school had I not dropped out years earlier.  (High school porn star!)  I'd started exploring the idea of working in the jiz bizz when I was 17, browsing "amateur teen girls" web site for casting calls, trying to get a handle on how much money I could make in the sex industry.  Porn seemed like a good balance - far safer seeming than prostitution, but still paying a hell of a lot more than the jobs I was qualified for.  I wouldn't say that I was "financially coerced" - that term is silly and obtuse, but feminists love it because they thrive on denying agency to other women.  I made a choice for a job I found far less repellant than the idea of community college or waiting tables.  I was comfortable with my body, ballsy, exhibitionistic, and "sex-positive" before I'd been aware there was a label for it.  I was going to find a way to have a cool job in the sex industry, make money, and have lots of free time.

I'd spent my last two "high school" years bouncing around the west coast after my violent nutball mother kicked me out when I was 15.  There were great times, like when I cobbled the money together to rent a rustic cabin on a river in the middle of nowhere for a couple of months.  And then there were times when I just stayed up all night, wandering around and cold because I had no place to go, listening to music on a Sony Discman CD player.  Everything worked out in the end, I learned a lot about the world and read a ton of books, and the one time I ever felt in real danger while hitchiking, the guy was too drunk to chase me after I fled from his car.  I accepted at a young age that we are totally alone in the universe and can't depend on other people.  That the sort of radical self-accountability I felt was both terrifying and liberating.  It's because of my teenage background that I always found "naughty teen" websites to be especially absurd in their portrayals of "teen life."

After emailing various companies, and getting some rejections, I found a company that wanted to hire me for the day.  Much to my happiness, I learned that hairy pussy is actually appealing to some porn consumers, so I wouldn't even have to shave.  Bonus!  The rate was $750 for 20 photo shoots, which was all done in an insanely long day where I looked exhausted and pissed off by the end.  I've always hated it when someone recognizes me from that web site, because the photos aren't very good.  "Hey, aren't you ____ from _____!?"  I'd get it occasionally from cam customers and web site fans, since the hairy pussy market is small enough that you might actually be able to remember the models.

As a photographer, I shoot many more photos than I need, whether I'm shooting myself or other people.  Then I delete the ones that aren't good.  I think that's how basically every photographer operates.  My first porn photographer - a balding, profusely sweaty, middle aged white dude whose photo should have been in the dictionary under "creepy pervert" - shot only the minimum number of photos required by his boss for a publishable photo set.  He'd count to 80 or 100 (or whatever it was) and then we'd stop and set up for a different shoot.  Oh, how embarrassing it was to see some of the things that made it online.  I didn't even save the worst ones because I was ashamed of how bad I looked, but here's one example:

firstshoot-4

There were so many unflattering photos: of me blinking, looking tired, looking angry, or mouth agape oddly because I was in the middle of speaking.  By the time we got to the following set on his balcony, I hadn't eaten in 8 or 9 hours, and I just wanted to leave so badly.  Isn't that the face of a teen who desperately wants your cock?  Look how horny and excited she is!

firstshoot-5

That's why I describe my first foray into porn as an "anti-sexual" experience.  I wasn't oppressed or molested or anything exciting, but it was just so tedious to go through the poses the photographer requested, all while he kept asking me, "Why aren't you wet yet?  Are you wet now?"  Yes, so wet.  So horny.  The photographer reminded me every so often that "most" of the girls he photographed got so excited being naked that they just had to give him a blowjob.  Yeah fucking right, weirdo, I thought to myself.

One thing that embarrasses me to this day is the fucking panties the photographer required me to wear.  I'd brought a bag of my own clothing, but he declared almost all of it to not be what a teen girl wears, so in most of the shoots, I'm wearing these hideous floral granny panties.  I was also wearing one of the gross photographer's shirts in several photo sets, because yeah - a large men's polo shirt and granny panties is totally a normal outfit you'd expect of an 18-year-old.  It still creeps me out that he saved the ugly panties from each shoot as his trophy from each model.  I wish I'd gone and caught scabies before the shoot.

firstshoot-2

He tried to talk me down to $600 at the end of the day even though we agreed to $750, but I held firm, and he acted like I was the one being rude.  I googled the photographer just now, and it looks like he's still employed by the same porn site, still taking the same old photos of bored young women.  [Update: in looking for an email from someone else, I found this message from my photographer from 2011: "furry girl, you want another shoot? can get you $1000-$1200 for 2 short easy days you still hairy etc.."  Wow, what a deal!  I could make less than I did the first time!  I like how he considered having a sweaty dude pester me to get wet while trying to get me to suck his dick as a "short easy day".  I never replied to his email.]

My first day as a sex worker was long, boring, and fairly uneventful.  I realized, though, that this was not what I wanted to do for a living.  Maybe I would have gone into mainstream porn if I'd had a better first experience, rather than being in some weird dude's ugly apartment all day hoping he didn't try to stick a finger inside me.  I started researching how to build your own porn site, and decided to go that route.  I taught myself everything.  It worked out pretty well for me, and I don't regret it.  I built a rad little business that sustained me for over a decade.  I'm proud of what I accomplished in the porn industry.

Yesterday, I concluded my porn career.  I didn't even plan for it to be the last time, so there was no big blow-out sale on my pussy.  After I stopped updating my porn site regularly so I could focus on building my second career, I'd pop in and do some cam shows when I had the time and needed the extra money.  But, as time went on, and I logged in less frequently, so disappeared my regulars, and therefore, my reliable income.  (My websites are staying online for now, since there's no sense in not receiving a trickle of residual income.)  I'm currently between jobs for a month before things really kick in with my awesome new career and consume my life (in a good way), and I planned to spend a bunch of time camming.  Things had been going slowly, and I wasn't making much money.  On my final night on cam, I had one guy gush about how he was excited to see me, tell me how much he loved my web site, and he thanked me for blazing trails for unshaved porn.  There were half a dozen forgettable striptease sessions, and one with some pushy prick who signed off, "FUCK YOU!" because I wouldn't comply with his requests.  Fairly uneventful, just like my first time.  I meant to log in again tonight, but I just couldn't do it.  I don't want to spend my last couple of weeks of free time entertaining other people for barely more than minimum wage.  I want to read some books, binge watch some TV, ride my bike around and enjoy the springtime weather, and do basically anything that's not sitting at my desk being flirty and cute for spare change.  I sat down and wrote this blog post instead, and now I'm going to go enjoy some wine and Netflix with my cat.

 

Don't worry, internet, I'll be your naughty cheerleader (in the world's ugliest panties) forever.

firstshoot-3





by Furry Girl

12.01.13

Like many other things of major cultural significance - Hooters, War Games, and My Little Pony - I'm turning 30 this year.  As a December baby whose birthday was always overshadowed by Christmas, I now celebrate my momentous occasion for the entire month.  So, happy 30th birthday to me!

I can't say I feel old quite yet.  I definitely haven't "mellowed out" over time, but I have spent less time blogging about sex work related topics.  After a decade in the industry, every "new" debate/issue that comes up feels like a rehash of something that was argued about years ago.  I feel like I've covered every angle of these debates myself, dozens of times, and it gets boring, even though I still feel engaged by a desire to improve life for sex workers everywhere.  At the end of the day, you either believe that humans must be free to make their own choices that fit their individual needs and circumstances, or you believe that people need to be herded like cattle and subjected to violence for moral/ideological noncompliance "for their own good."  (Which is a major source of why I just can't identify with the left as I get older.  Too much of the intellectual foundation of the left is based on an imperialist attitude that "we enlightened" need to "help" and take control of the lives of  "victims"- notably women, especially those in developing countries, whether they want "help" or not.  Mistress Matisse phrased it best in a 2007 blog post when she said, "sometimes help is just the nice word for control."  A chasm almost always exists between genuine solidarity and what outsiders think of as "saving" others.)

I'm still working on career two, a challenging field that combines my interests in both science and helping others (in an effective and constructive way).  I think I'll probably completely retire from the jizz biz in a couple of years, though I plan to keep all of my sites online forever.  I've learned a lot of awesome new things, and every time I'm trusted to do something more skilled or important, it feels like such a big step forward.  My supervisor praises me for being such a meticulous and organized person, which is great, considering that I have no formal training at anything I'm doing.  If you've been an independent sex worker/small business owner, that tenacity and work ethic will carry over into other lines of work, even if you have a radically different skill set to master.  I really believe that successful sex workers are people who have the ability to be successful at anything.  If you can make it work in such a weird and stigmatized industry where so many cards are stacked against you, relying on your own creativity, cunning, and boldness, you can do all sorts of things.

My mate and I are going to Fiji for a scuba diving trip from mid-December to New Years.  I'm really excited to get away from cold rainy Seattle, even though it's during the busy holiday travel season.  (I'm getting accustomed to planning around the fact that most jobs only let you get away with taking significant time off around Christmas.)  I spent a lot of time rounding up the best budget hotels to stay with great reefs nearby, including a day at Beqa Lagoon, which is supposed to be one of the best shark dives in the world.

If you miss me from the peak of my blogging days, I still tweet a few times a day, often with news items you'd find interesting.  And plenty of stupid funny shit, too.

I'm planning to spend some time camming from January 2-5, because I don't need to work and will feel cute after getting getting a good tan in Fiji.  If you've been missing naked me, that's your next chance to catch me live.

Want to wish me a happy birthday?  I have an Amazon wishlist, and I would especially love anything marked "highest priority," like the SeaLife underwater digital camera, or if you want to be crowned my best fan ever, the $1400 underwater housing for my DSLR camera.  (I'd love to get into underwater wildlife photography, but I can't justify spending that much on a hobby when I'm making so little money right now.)  You can also help me while getting something great for yourself by buying closeout items - like lube, books, candles, washable menstrual pads, and strapon harnesses - from my sexy store.  And since SWAAY is still running at a net loss that I'm closer to erasing, you could also buy a pro-sex worker shirt or cute stickers from that store as a present to yourself or your favorite friends.





by Furry Girl

11.22.13

"I cried on the way to the hospital. It was the third time I ended up there on account of my erection. I'd considered myself drug-free for the latter half of my life. But I'd spent my entire twenties consuming erectile dysfunction pharmaceuticals. Over the past two years, on a more-than-frequent basis.

It was normal by default. To be a male porn star meant that you swallowed pills or shot up your dick.

I didn't think of it as fake. I'd found my process of arousal and allowed a sense of sincerity into much of my work. But the fear of failure always loomed. The work-flow of modern porn did not allow for the unpredictability of human performance. My psyche didn't allow for it either. I'd wrapped up my identity in the ability to fuck anyone under most any condition.

The choice came to either fuck like a god until I couldn't fuck at all, or to bring my sex back down to earth. An emergency room doctor had my attention once he'd opened a hole in my penis and let it bleed out. 'You keep doing this and you're not going to be able to get an erection, period.' There was something in his voice. It suggested that I'd already gone too far.

'What the fuck am I going to do?' I said out loud while driving home. It was meant for something greater than myself - a god I didn't believe in."

-- Danny Wylde in Transition on trvewestcoastfiction.blogspot.com  Also see his post, RIP Danny Wylde

Danny dislikes me, but I wish him all the best in his transition into new things, because I'm sure he'll be great at at.





by Furry Girl

07.25.13

"Here's what I, personally, have observed about the sex industry: If, before she ever enters the sex industry, a woman is an emotionally troubled person with poor self-esteem and a history of bad decisions, she'll continue making bad decisions and suffering the negative consequences while she's in the business.  But now, some of them will be sex-work-related decisions and consequences, so it's easy for people to say, "Well, obviously it's because she's a sex worker.  See what an unhappy, damaging life it is?"  And she'll probably agree with them, because it's easy for a troubled, low-self-esteem person to buy into the victim mentality.  That way, she can then avoid taking any responsibility for her choices.  So she's tucked neatly into the victim pigeon-hole, and everyone thanks goodness they don't have to examine any potentially unsettling ideas any further.  Their pre-existing beliefs have been confirmed and they feel righteous.

Now, she could fuck up her life just as badly if she were a waitress at Denny's.  But that's not as sexy, so no one writes newspaper articles about that.

You see, the work itself doesn't fuck you up - it just magnifies what's already there."

-- Mistress Matisse in an untitled post on mistressmatisse.blogspot.com

This is probably my favorite thing that she's ever written.  It's from 2004, and these observations completely match my experiences in the sex industry as well.





by Furry Girl

This little scene from Half Baked has played in my head many times over the last year.





by Furry Girl

07.24.13

"Famous" former sex worker Melissa Petro has thrust herself back into the media again this week, and seeing her re-tell her tale of woe with increasing levels of dramatic self-pity hits a nerve for me.  It also reminded me of the serious need for a project that I've been meaning to announce as I transition out of sex work myself.

I must preface this post by declaring that self-pity is utterly repugnant to me, in part because it's the chief byproduct of white, over-educated, first world ennui, and in part because it's about denying that one has agency in their lives.  The amount of options and privileges one has is irritatingly proportional to the amount of time one spends whining about one's life.  I was volunteering in rural West Africa last summer, interacting with people who didn't have the greatest options, but I recall not one iota of self-pity from any of them.  Self-pity disgusts me, which is why I recoil so strongly when I see it.

For those of you who don't remember Melissa Petro - and you're in the vast majority of Americans, since she's not actually all that famous - she was a public school teacher in New York City who was fired for coming out as a former sex worker.  She wrote a piece in The Huffington Post (one of the most popular web sites online) about her experiences as a prostitute (her choice of term) during grad school, and then reacted in exasperated shock that there are people who don't want an ex-prostitute working with children.  Petro was briefly a local scandal as her story spun out of her control in tabloids, and "hooker teacher" headlines appeared in gossip rags that published photos of her without her permission.  The situation sucked, it was unfair, and being a (former) sex worker shouldn't mean that can't be trusted to be around kids.  On this we can all agree.

Since her little scandal in three years ago, Petro has been on a pity tour of writing essays for seemingly any web site that will publish her, each iteration of her story gets more and more sad and self-pitying, all the while reinforcing The Big Lie told by visible ex sex workers like herself: that sex work is something from which one can never move on.  This lie reinforces so many stigmas, stokes the fires of so much shame and uncertainty for sex workers thinking about leaving the industry, and sends this horrible, cruel, completely inaccurate message to current sex workers: you can never escape a naughty past, you are doomed!  Doomed for life!  Forever tainted and shunned!

That's fucking bullshit.

I am so sick of the Petro and others like her acting like their choice to wallow publicly in self-pity is the only option for former sex workers.  Petro is just an upscale, liberal version of anti-porn ex-porn star Shelley Lubben, but rather than overtly attack the sex industry and campaign against it, Petro is far more insidious.  She isn't calling for the end of the sex industry, or for further criminalization of sex workers.  She's "one of the good guys."  She just wants sex workers to know that there's no hope of ever living a normal life again, and that it will cause your life to spiral out of control and destroy your soul.  And for this, Petro is a hero to white, feminist, educated (former) sex workers who also plan to stay firmly rooted in their pasts.

I refuse to give Melissa Petro the pity she craves.   After all, she was the one who purposefully sought out attention from the press, and did so under her legal name.  As much as I deeply, angrily disagree with social stigmas against having done sex work, the fact remains that we live in a world where they exist.  If you work with kids (and there are doubtless many teachers out there with sex work pasts), and you value keeping that job, you don't run to the media with your story about being proud of having been a law-breaking, cash-for-sex prostitute.  Is this Madonna/whore dynamic fair?  Not at all, but sometimes, it's not about shame, it's about discretion.

Call me wacky, but if I desperately wanted to escape the fate of being known as a former sex worker, I'd probably stop writing articles about how I used to be a sex worker for major media outlets.

So, with the announcement of disgraced prostitute-patronising politician Elliot Spitzer getting back into politics, Petro has flagged down the media again and reminded them that she exists.  She published a piece this week about how unfair it is that "we" "allow" men to move on with their lives after a sex scandal, but that women "like her" aren't "allowed" to move on.  Allowed by who?  It's a laughable premise.  Petro has spent three years hollering and waving her arms wildly at anyone who will listen so she can tell them that while she is a former sex worker, she doesn't want to be thought of as a former sex worker.  Those are not the actions of someone who's trying to turn a new leaf.

The reason Spitzer is successfully moving on from his past is because he's moving on from his past.  He hasn't spent several years penning sob-story op-eds about how sad he is that he was caught being a client of an escort service.  Spitzer did what people do when they actually want to move forward in their lives, and that's to move forward.  It's not sexist oppression, it's not the patriarchy, it's not even whorephobia.  Petro actively refuses to move on with her life, and actively tries to become better-known as a "famous" former sex worker, and then blames society, sexism, and sex work for the fact that she apparently has no life skills other than self-pity and seeking out media attention.  I've followed her story from the sidelines, and even I don't think I would recognize her if I had a casual interaction with her.  She's not so famous that she has no choice but to not move on, she doesn't have so recognizable a face that she can't walk down the street without attracting throngs of attention.  (As someone who has spent 10 years making a living in porn precisely by getting my photos seen by as many people as possible, I hardly ever get recognized in public.)

At the end of the day, Melissa Petro is only person who thinks that Melissa Petro will never be able to move on from her titillating past.  And that's her problem, it's certainly not emblematic of the experiences of all sex workers.

There are a ton of sex workers out there, and the vast, vast majority bow out quietly, without press releases or book deals.  Sex work is a rather transient occupation, one that a person may do during college, or during a period of unemployment, or until they age out of their part of the industry.  Most people don't stay in it for life, yet somehow, we forget that sex workers don't die or disappear upon retirement, they move on.  You interact with retired sex workers every day of your life, you just don't know it because they choose to not make it the focus of everything they do for the rest of their lives.  Despite the big lie pushed by former sex workers like Petro, you're not actually branded with "whore" on your forehead as you collect a final paycheck and clock out for the last time. (The exceptions are sex workers with criminal convictions, of course.  Those really do stay with you life and hurt your abilities to get jobs and housing.  But thankfully, most sex workers come out without any baggage that comes up in a credit report or search of court records.)

What I'm annoyed with is not just Petro's latest cries for attention, but the fact that within sex worker activisty and blogging circles, the only visible former sex workers are white, educated, middle/upperclass women who are now trying to make careers out of talking about how they used to be sex workers.  They may not want to be held as representative former sex workers, but they're all we have, so they become the de facto standard.

It's a sad catch-22: the only visible former sex workers are people who want to be known for being former sex workers.  If you're an isolated sex worker without a lot of friends or community support, you don't have anyone to talk to about the process of leaving the sex industry for something else.  There are no good role models for retiring sex workers who don't want to be memoirists, naughty media personalities, or work for sex work-related NGOs.  Which means there are no easy-to-find role models for the 99.999% of sex workers who will one day start a truly new chapter in their lives.  Sure, if you want to write the 62,958th book about how you used to be a stripper in college, there are tons of people to look up to.  I regularly see former sex worker-led workshops advertised to teach you how you can fulfill your dreams of writing about your experiences as a sex worker, but what if you don't want a book deal?  (Or, what do you do when the whopping $3000 you got for that precious book deal is all gone?)  What if you don't want to be famous as a former sex worker?  Where are the people for you to turn to?  Where's your support group and success stories?

And that's exactly the gaping void I want to address with the final project I want to do as a part of the sex workers' rights movement, and as I transition out of the industry myself.  I want to create a resource for people leaving sex work for a life that isn't all about how they used to be a sex worker.  Stay tuned!





by Furry Girl

06.03.13

There's been a distinct annoyance that has subtly and not-so-subtly been plaguing me since I decided to start moving out of the porn industry and into a new career.  There's a new belief held about me by my family, and even a few of my acquaintances.

I'm talking about the belief that I'm finally getting my shit together, as evidenced by the fact that I'm becoming an adult and getting a real job.  No longer am I frittering away my talents and intellect on something as stupid as porn, I'm now working on making something of myself.

I don't think anyone has phrased it quite like that, but there's been a pervasive, condescending sort of encouragement (very loudly from family members) that can really get to me at times.  My dad and two of my cousins think it's awesome that I run porn sites, but the rest of my family has always had varying degrees of quiet embarrassment about the issue.  During the holidays, I might have been asked in an obligatory manner, "So, how's that, uh, business of yours?", but I know they don't really care about the answer.  Today, though, everyone seems proud of my big decision.  I'm a big girl now!

This "support" is part of our cultural narrative that says sex work is a career of last resort, laziness, and above all, a refusal to "grow up."  I ran my own successful small business for a decade, traveled the world, and even bought a home, but these typical markers of middle-class American success aren't considered sufficient evidence that my job was "real."  No, it's only real work if it doesn't involve taking off your clothes.  I didn't magically win the lottery, I've worked hard for what I have, and I'll always be incredibly proud of that.  The flexible schedule and freedom that comes with being a sex worker is treated not like something I earned through tenacity and smart business planning, but is somehow emblematic of a refusal to make serious decisions.

I have grown to loathe the stereotype that leaving sex work means that you're getting your shit together, because for me, it's so hilariously ironic.  Starting over at the bottom, learning an entirely new set of skills, taking a pay cut, stressing out about money and career opportunities?  To me, that's not getting my shit together; leaving sex work is letting my shit completely fall apart.  I know that mine is the right choice and that all the grunt work now is going to pay off well in the long-term, but I don't like how my decision is framed (both by family and society) as mature and responsible solely because I'm moving from a sexual related career to a nonsexual one.  I don't like having this extra moral dimension projected onto my transition, one that I certainly wouldn't attract were I switching from being a chef to a librarian, or a lawyer to an investment banker.

This isn't to say that it's wrong to be happy for a sex worker friend who has made a decision to switch a new career.  Be happy for them, be supportive, be encouraging - just be conscious of how you frame that support.  Respect that for many sex workers, each of our careers are equally awesome and valid, and that our leaving sex work shouldn't be treated like breaking free from a harmful habit or childish diversion.





Go back to older posts »

Furry Girl: legs now closed for business.

My adult sites

More of me online

Enjoy my writing? I enjoy presents!

Browse by topic

New to my blog? Some favorite posts

Vaguely similar blogs

Sex workers' rights info

Search

RSS