Jan 11 2017 A "Real" Job? An Open Letter About Choosing Sex WorkCategory: General     01:48PM   1

You’d think that in a city like Las Vegas, being an independent escort would be easy. Tourists come from all over the world, excited to get a taste of Sin City. But what many people don’t realize is that just beyond the glitz and glam of the strip, Las Vegas is very much a moralistic town like many others. It might be OK to be a showgirl or an acrobatics performer, but a GFE companion? “Go get a real job. Being a sex worker isn’t a real career!”

When I hear these jabs, I have a hard time not feeling defensive. I am not lacking life skills or professional qualifications. I’d put my resume up against just about anyone who’s likely to say things similar to the lines above. I am a well-decorated military veteran. I have 3 graduate degrees and worked professionally in various levels of government for over 15 years before deciding to earn a 4th. I am capable, I am employable...

And I choose sex work.

No, there’s nothing “wrong with me.” I’m probably much like you in a lot of the ways that really matter. I’m an emotionally intelligent, driven, well-intentioned woman. I am a deep thinker who’s preoccupied with wellness and self-development. I have overcome more challenges than my smile lets on, and I have grown to be quite grateful for them. I set SMART goals; love Pinterest, DIY projects, and cooking healthy meals; and I go for walks with my partner every day. You and I have probably passed by and smiled at each other in the local grocery store, Home Depot, or Starbucks.

When I was in my early 20’s, my Neuro-Linguistic Programming coach shared with me, “People are not their behaviors.” I try to live by that mantra, even with the preponderance of Las Vegas “vices” floating in the background of this city. I wonder if you know what it means to see a person for who they are, rather than to judge them for what they do? My hope is that someday you’ll be able to see sex workers as people first; people with dreams, goals, ambitions, emotions, relationships, and other human experiences.

Unlike most people who crusade against the “ills” of sex work and seek to delegitimize sex workers, I know what sex work really entails. My take on the matter is based on more than my own moralistic judgments and secondhand information.

And I still choose sex work.

No, being an independent Las Vegas escort is not my life-long plan. Sex work helps me work towards my goal of owning multi-million dollar retreat center in the mountains. It’s a big goal, at least for a gal who was raised in working-class, middle-income America. You should see the vision board I have for it; it’s truly beautiful: a large fire pit for campfire songs, a lake for canoeing, and a huge library and presentation room for hosting workshops. Who knows, maybe you’ll be one of my guests someday? Don’t worry, there won’t be a sign that says, “This facility is owned and operated by a former sex worker,” so you don’t have to worry about that.

I know that the media has come to use the white-girl-college-student-paying-her-way-through-grad-school trope as a way of painting a more inclusive picture of sex work, but that "normalizing" the business of escorting in this way often does just as much damage as focusing solely on the person-of-color-with-a-habit-trying-to-survive-on-the-streets tropes that have historically dominated public attitudes . The reality is, sex work exists in all segments of society, and those who engage in erotic exchanges constitute a group as diverse as the general population.

There are many, many women who are not as privileged as I am. They choose sex work for different reasons than I do, and that’s OK. In fact, any reason for choosing sex work is OK, as long as it is done on one’s own accord; I don’t know a single sex worker who would argue against the importance of personal agency. Sexual exploitation is not the same thing as sex work. Sex workers know the difference; I wonder if you do?

Maybe it was a catastrophic illness in the family, or a retirement account that evaporated in the 2008 recession; maybe it was a desire to pay for a child’s college education, or to have more time to stay home with the kids instead of handing them over to an expensive childcare provider; maybe it was a longing to travel the world, to live on one’s own terms, and to experience other cultures in ways too many Americans don’t because we’re too busy in the rat-race of life; maybe it was simply to put food on the table or to pay the electric bill. Whatever the impetus, sex work can be an effective, efficient option for some women; I’m one of them.

You know the skills necessary in a “real” job? Believe it or not, sex work requires many of the exact same ones. What do doctors, lawyers, architects, politicians, mail clerks, accountants, teachers, social workers, or any other type of “legitimate” workers have in common? They perform tasks for money. Sometimes that task is to share expertise; sometimes to draft a plan or deliver a hard-copy product; sometimes to provide a service. Sex work is no different. Courtesans, companions, and escorts use their bodies (as do professional football players, construction workers, or fisherman) and minds (as do counselors, writers, or dieticians) in exchange for money. This is how capitalism works. Here in Las Vegas, people perform all sorts of interesting labor; entertainment is a lucrative business!

Yes, there are risks associated with my work. There were far more risks to my life and safety when I was deployed to combat zones for months at a time. I wonder why you didn’t engage in a moral crusade to “save” me then? At least now I get to screen potential clients and decide which ones I’m willing to see; I didn’t have that option when doing my duty in the name of “freedom.” I wonder, “What exactly is this ‘freedom’ you so patriotically rallied behind?” Because if I’m honest, sex work gives me more freedom than I ever had in any 9-5 career.

I know it’s difficult to accept, given all the hang-ups and contradictions about sex and relationships that are so prevalent in our society, but what I do does not feel “gross” to me. I get to meet interesting and often wonderful people, many of whom I can laugh with and learn from. In fact, if it weren’t for the stigma associated with sex work, I’d call myself lucky to be able to do what I do. I wonder if you can say the same?


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Comments: (add)

Vivian Vanderbuilt said on 01-11-2017 at 4:42 pm:
Very well written post:) I also get annoyed when suitors, ask me "So what is your real career?" Or "You're too nice to be doing this".

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