3 myths surrounding sex work


Jason Pier

“NYC Pride Parade 2011 – ‘Sex work is real work!'” by Jason Pier in DC


Sex work is very stigmatized. Most people see it as easy money, sleazy, and even degrading. Many believe that only people who are poor, desperate, or lack respect for themselves choose to participate in sex work. However, this is not the case. The Open Society Foundation defines sex workers as “adults who receive money or goods in exchange for consensual sexual services or erotic performances, either regularly or occasionally.” In this article, I hope to break some of the myths about sex work.

Sex work is not easy money. It’s not just about having a pretty face and generous body parts. Being a sex worker is about so much more than that. First, you have to be able to talk to people and forge a connection. This requires strong interpersonal skills and a lot of emotional labor. You might be asking, how does a sex worker have to put forth emotional labor? Isn’t it just sex? No, it isn’t just sex. People purchase services from escorts, strippers, camgirls, Onlyfans models, and any other form of sex worker, do so because they desire connection. They want to feel intimate with a pretty girl and enjoy the company of a smart, young woman. Most people don’t want sex without a feeling of intimacy and connection, meaning that the sex worker has to do their best to make their client feel as though they do have a connection. They have to be able to put on a “girlfriend” act. Many sex workers do form real connections with their clients. However, these connections are professional in nature and will end once the money is no longer there (sex workers may even feel sad when they can no longer see a regular, much like a barista, dentist, or therapist might).

In order to be a successful sex worker, you have to be good at time management, money management, marketing, and be highly charismatic. Let me paint you a picture:

You’ve been working on Onlyfans for almost 8 months now. You were persuaded to do this after you saw a girl claim she made $30,000 within her first month. However, it has not been that easy. You wake up, check your messages on Onlyfans. You respond to as many as you can while drinking coffee. Your scheduled post goes out and you watch as you begin getting notifications and more messages. It took so long to get to this point; you finally have over 500 fans. After working multiple 60+ hour work weeks, you finally have a following. You had to do so much! In order to market yourself, you posted on Reddit multiple times a day. You interacted with other models and possible clients on Twitter (however, you had to interact in a way that didn’t get you shadowbanned). You even made some content for Pornhub. You watched hours of videos on how to take good photos and videos. You spent hours upon hours reading content on the best marketing practices, and ways to engage with your audience. When the money began flowing in, you read countless articles on how to manage your money, do taxes, and what it meant to be an independent contractor. You even paid some already established models to give you guides on how to be successful in this industry. You don’t have to work as hard anymore, but the fight isn’t over yet. You’re only in the top 6% of models, so you know there is room for improvement.

Sex work requires you to be highly dedicated, hardworking, and resilient. If you are an independent sex worker, you’ll have to spend hours being your own receptionist and marketer—then perhaps when you are established, you can hire people to do those tasks for you. It’s like running a business!

Sex workers aren’t broken or looking for you to “save” them. Yes, many people have had terrible pasts. Just like in any other job, there are those that bear trauma. But there are also many who were raised by wonderful parents and have had wonderful friends and relationships. Many sex workers enjoy their jobs. it gives them the freedom to do stuff they love because they may have a more flexible schedule than at a 9-5 job. It empowers them and they feel more confident in themselves and their interpersonal skills. Some even like the connection they for with clients and love sex. Of course, there are some who participate in survival sex work, but the fact remains that these people decided that this option was the best option for them. There are some dangers to sex work, especially in the US. Street prostitutes are more likely to be murdered. Data also suggest that escorts are also more likely to be murdered. Sex workers are more likely to encounter infectious diseases. With online sex work, models can be doxxed. People may be stalked and harassed. There is a higher chance of sexual abuse. Sex workers may even consider the possibility of getting thrown in prison dangerous. Most of these dangers lie in the fact that sex work lies unregulated and illegal. If sex work was decriminalized and sex workers had more protections, many sex workers would be able to work in a safer environment where they could report abuses.

Sex work is not trafficking. Sex trafficking and sex work are two different things. While they both involve sexual services, trafficking involves force, coercion, and/or deceit, while sex work is defined by a willing engagement in a commercial activity. The best way to combat this stigma is to educate people on what human trafficking is. Human trafficking does not always mean sex trafficking. In fact, most believe that labor trafficking is more common than sex trafficking. It is a common misconception that trafficking always happens in faraway places and that those who are trafficked are transported very long distances and smuggled over borders While this happens, that is not always the case. Reliable statistics about human trafficking are hard to come by due to the illegality of it and fear of survivors, but trafficking can happen anywhere, even within a person’s own home with their traffickers being people they know. Go here to find out more about how people get lured into human trafficking, as well as who is at risk. Learning these indicators can help protect you, your friends, and your family from sex trafficking. Many victims of sex trafficking also live in fear of being persecuted, so decriminalization may also provide relief and assurance to victims who wish to escape.