What I’ve Learned About Money (And Self Worth) From Sex Work

Nov 13, 2013
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There’s a common assumption that all sex workers are very rich or very poor. You hear about poor, put-upon street workers or ballin’ out of control escorts and dominatrices. Neither of these is the norm, in my experience. Most of us are comfortably middle class.

Granted, we do achieve that coveted dying privilege earlier in life than many of our peers, but it doesn’t change the fact that we mostly live pretty normal lives. The thing that sex work does give us, though, is great money management skills. The thing about sex work is that one week you can take home multiple thousands of dollars, but the next week you can make nothing at all.


This means a few things.

Firstly, it means you have to grow some budgeting and self-control skills. You can’t go out and buy a pair of Louboutins or a fur coat or whatever on a week you made three grand, because who knows what the hell you’ll be making the next week. You have to save, for taxes, rainy days, and dry spells. It may be tempting to look at all the zeros in your bank account and decide you can afford to splurge on something ridiculous, but it isn’t a good idea to make a habit of it because you don’t know when you’re going to need those zeros to survive.

Secondly, and most importantly, it means that one absolutely can not tie earnings to self worth or self perception.

It’s an easy trap to fall into, “Holy shit I can make this much money by just putting a guy over my lap and spanking him?” “Hot damn, I can make this much by lying on my back with my legs in the air? I’m the greatest!”

These things are true, to an extent. Yeah, it’s pretty cool to be able to make money off things most people do for free (or are too grossed out to even entertain) but you can’t let it dictate your worth. In sex work, you are objectifying and commoditizing yourself. You are a product, and your job is to sell that product. This is true for most sales jobs, and almost all client-centered jobs, it’s just slightly more intimate in sex work.

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