Being Open About Sex Work

This shouldn't be weird!

Apr 10 2018 17 comments 1,513

One day I was at the post office. Posting a pair of my underwear to a customer in the UK (my own country) when, to my surprise, I was asked “What are you sending?” as the woman mauled my neatly packaged item. I was a little taken aback. I am used to being asked this when sending internationally, but not a domestic large letter. My first response was to blush and stutter.

“Umm….a gift item.”

When I realized this was not enough information for the lady behind the desk I offered “textiles.” At that point, I think she noted my awkwardness and appeared satisfied with my answer.

I left the post office, bemused, wondering what the response would have been had I answered plainly and said ‘a pair of knickers’. It probably would have been a bit embarrassing, but it would have been honest and unambiguous. Perhaps a little empowering too.

Though I like to think of myself as forward-thinking and proud of my small involvement in adult entertainment, when it comes down to it, I choke. Here's another example. I was involved in some voluntary work a couple of days per week. The subject of fetishes came up in conversation at tea break. I said that I found fetishes fascinating and “Did you know that there is a fetish for being wrapped in clingfilm?”

This piqued further interest and I was asked suspiciously. “How on earth do you know that?”

Oops! I now had to decide whether to give the honest answer or quickly find a believable lie. I went for the lie. How can we begin to live in a world where adult work is socially acceptable when we can’t even admit to being a part of it. The people in question probably wouldn’t think less of me but I didn’t want to risk making them feel uncomfortable.

How would it be received if asked in a job interview to ‘Tell me about a time where you had to develop a rapport with a customer.’ or ‘What experience do you have taking phone calls/ keeping records/working to deadlines?’ Would you draw on your experience in adult entertainment? I have been in this situation and fortunately, I have other experiences I could talk about. Would you include cam-girl/porn actress/phone sex operator etc on your CV? Or try to explain a feasible reason for a gap in your employment history spanning many months or years? Talking about working in adult entertainment under these sort of circumstances could be a great way to inform people about what it actually involves. It could be a great way to begin shattering stereotypes and prejudice. Or, it could be a great way to talk yourself out of a job.

I ask because I am genuinely curious and, much as I love adult work, there are other kinds of work I want to do too. I want to know how other people answer similar questions. I would love to be able to talk openly with friends and strangers about what I do. For one thing, I don’t like people thinking I sit around doing nothing all day. But also, I LIKE talking about it. Fetishes are interesting, so is the infinite diversity of sexual desire.

Many people I know will happily have giggle-some tea-break conversations about sex and fetishes but squirm if the conversation gets personal and you ask them ‘do you watch porn?’ I hope one day this will change. One of many reasons I am hopeful for this change is it will make my trips to the post office much less awkward.


DarlingRosette Apr 13 2018

Last week I "came out" to nearly everyone who knew me before I began in sex work, and a couple days ago I answered honestly when another customer at the dispensary asked what I do. Nobody ever said that I *had* to lie, but I did not know how to bring it up. I also have the privilege of being able to be open about being a sex worker, so I feel I can (and should) take these small steps in destigmatizing it.

I do agree that bringing it up as past work experience can be tricky. The response will almost always have to do with the interviewer's personal beliefs. There are so many transferable skills in sex work!

Brooke Dillinger Apr 13 2018

I've always said just said clothing!  I don't think I'd ever be able to walk in and be like "Dirty panties, are you interested in your own pair?" :H

Ebonycamgirl Apr 12 2018

Great article, love this. (V))

CaseyCameron Apr 11 2018

Haha, I just did that exact awkward post office trip last night 😊 (I usually say “a piece of clothing”, because technically they don’t need to know what kind of clothing)! And thank you for your honesty in this article, I really feel this! My attitude is generally that I don’t want to work a job that wouldn’t hire me for selling clips, just as I don’t want to work anywhere where I can’t have tattoos and be queer and trans, and I have been lucky to have the privilege to choose that for myself. YES to more open conversations about sex, representation, porn, and the broad umbrella of sex work as a way of mitigating the awkwardness!! 😊💕🙌

LittleTabby Apr 13 2018

Hehe, one day I'm going to say 'knickers' I think ill enjoy it once I've summoned the courage.
And yeah I get you about not wanting to work somewhere that wouldn't accept you for selling clips ect. At the moment I'm working somewhere that doesn't know about my internet life. Yet. Once I tell them They will already have a good impression of me and Boom! Any preconceived views they may have had about sex work will have been obliterated. Hopefully.

KittykatKate Apr 11 2018

i used to sell sex toys and they were in large packages and it was always the same size box. one day the lady behind the desk asked, what do i sell? I siad to her, if i told her she was gonna blush... she blushed anyway and said well does the recipient needed in a hurry? lol

LittleTabby Apr 13 2018

Hahaha That brilliant! and true!
I keep asking for random days off work for my 'personal projects'. my manager asked the other day what these projects are and i blushed and told him:
 'It's probably not something you want me to go into at work'
he then said.
'OK I'll have to buy you a beer and you can tell me at the pub'
That has happened yet but I don't think he'll be surprised by the answer now.

CalliRose Apr 11 2018

"textiles" :H:H:H love it.

LittleTabby Apr 13 2018

Over complicating things to the max. 'Clothing' would make a lot more sense. lol

Arikajira Apr 11 2018

Great post, seriously we have to be ourselves, there is nowt to be ashamed of

JulietaVelezz Apr 10 2018

I get my current job telling the truth about what I do so I truly believe that things are changing for us

LittleTabby Apr 13 2018

Awesome!!! I'm really pleased to hear that. Are there any overlaps in the skills you use?

Goddess Siham Apr 10 2018

Love where you’re going with all this. You’re right, how can we live in a world where it’s socially acceptable if we can’t talk about it. Touches home to because I recently lost someone who I thought was a friend due to me being in the industry. I’ve reached a point in my life to where I don’t care what people think. Most who ask what I do, know. They just want to see what I say. And I sure don’t hold back! Lol

LittleTabby Apr 13 2018

I'm sorry to hear you lost a friend over it. I'm shocked that someone can care about you and have all the knowledge about how it is a suitable and ok thing for you to do and still be against it.

GoddessLucy Apr 10 2018

Great article! Yeah even though human sexuality and fetishes are fascinating, socially people are afraid or don't want to discuss it for various reasons. The fact that we live in a sex-negative society descended from puritans and we only give very minimal or harmful sexual education has to be a part of it. Personally I have always loved talking about sex in all its iterations that so that is a freedom within this job that is really great for me.

Dirty Myrtle
Dirty Myrtle deleted Apr 10 2018

The whole world knows what I do now #SexWork #WeAreMany #SexPositivity

LittleTabby Apr 13 2018

Damn!!! You are fucking epic!!! I want to cheer for your existence as a human being. I'll finish watching this later. I love how comfortable you seem talking about the cam stuff.

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