Whenever I hear about sex work, it’s often through the prism of negativity. The current narrative ignores those that choose to do sex work and enjoy it. People like me. I did my first lap dance in 1999. What initially seemed like a quick and simple way to fund student life soon became a legitimate career – one that lasted for 16 years.
Previously, I had viewed my femininity as a weakness or something that should be repressed. In the strip club, it was my power; my source of creativity and a way to define my sexual agency. Sure there were bad days — what job doesn’t have its ups and downs — but essentially my experience as a stripper was a positive one. Pretty soon after starting the job, I realized that the way striptease is packaged and promoted by those that profit from it doesn’t reflect the reality of the job. The poster imagery of naked female bodies displayed in submissive and sexual poses portrays workers as physical objects.
The truth is that although taking your clothes off is a part of the job, you also have to be an intuitive, emotionally intelligent creature that is able to listen, absorb, soothe and advise clients on the things they disclose in private. It disappoints me that workers and those who use their services are so demonized, especially when sex work is such a widespread and integral part of society.
Often sex workers are respected confidantes, making sex work one of the most acceptable forms of therapy for stressed out professionals. When I worked in this capacity I always felt valued and respected by my clients, and those I worked alongside. I keep company with many different types of sex workers including hookers, cam girls and pro-dommes, and most agree that clients all want the same thing: a private space to express themselves honestly where someone else can be in control of their existence for a while.