• Mon, Nov 11 - 12:00 pm ET

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

Image of $100 bills strewn with handcuffsThere’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.

(Photo: Shutterstock)

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  • Julia Sonenshein

    Honestly, this just sounds like any freelancing job! And it is.

    • Pam

      Agreed. While I’m sure there is a unique viewpoint because the product is actually “you”, in ANY job where you are super passionate about your work, these highs and lows occur with regularity. ex: they obviously didn’t pick my proposal because I am stupid/not as good as my peers/whatever. It’s sad, but I mostly consider the highs worth it the constant self doubt. I would also say that I think this occurs more often with women, because our failure is so often linked to what we have “done” to cause it, where male failure is more often attributed to outside circumstances.

  • Suz Orozco

    Cermak and kedzie? Sounds like south side Chicago to me!

    • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cate

      Damn right, I’m a South Side girl! I mean, I grew up in Hyde Park, but it counts. (Or so I tell myself)