Harlotry: The Retirement Age For A Hooker Isn’t As Young As You Think

Harlotry: The Retirement Age For A Hooker Isn't As Young As You Think

Mamma Roma (1962)

Cate is something of a renaissance sex worker and has held numerous interesting jobs in the adult industry. Each week, she shares her stories in Harlotry.

Lots of people see sex work as a complete and total dead end. They assume that, especially for women, the clock of your desirability ticks down so fast that you’ll have to retire by the time you’re thirty-five.

I used to think this too, back when I was a baby hooker who’d never worked in a group environment other than a sleazy strip club where the oldest woman was 32 and looked at least 50. There is such a premium placed on female youth, and advertising and media are so adamant about this that youth and beauty have become practically synonymous. Therefore, it’s only natural to assume the time one can be a sex worker is limited.

The reality is not that simple. Of course most women don’t end up doing sex work at sixty and, like most physical labor, retirement does tend to come sooner for most sex workers than it would were they working some kind of office job. Nevertheless, it isn’t as if you become automatically disqualified from whoring once you’re 35. We all age at varying rates and grow into ourselves differently. One woman might reach the peak of her beauty at 18, for another it might be 25, and for another it might be 35. Then there are those inexplicable goddesses who just seem to get more beautiful every year and will probably only be stopped by death–and this is only when you’re talking about conventional, socially endorsed beauty.

The things men are looking for when they hire escorts are often much more complex than just youth or beauty.

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    • Anne Marie Hawkins

      “Then there are those inexplicable goddesses who just seem to get more beautiful every year and will probably only be stopped by death” I think you mean Dita Von Teese.

      • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cathryn Berarobitch

        I do! Also Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep. It’s sorcery, I swear!

        I met Dita once, and good god, she looks better than I do, and is nearly twice my age. If she weren’t so incredibly nice and generally perfect in every way it would be really disgusting.

    • Tinyfaeri

      And here we have reasons 5999, 6000, 6001 and 6002 for why prostitution should be legal: 401k and retirement benefits, health and dental plans, and paths for upward mobility or other departments within an organization like marketing, recruitment, on-location health screening (ex: we used to have in-house health screenings at my old office that was free to all employees and contractors), etc. It would benefit everyone if these women and men were properly taken care of, and create so many jobs in several fields at the same time.

      • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cathryn Berarobitch

        Yes and no. I’m actually NOT pro-legalization, I’m pro-decriminalization. While it would be really nice to have a 401(k) and to not have to worry about my health insurance, I have zero interest in dealing with the incredibly restrictive regulations placed on legalized sex work. In most legalized systems it is illegal to work independently, and that’s only the beginning. People make freelancing work for them all the time, often on a budget much smaller than what most sex workers make.

        This is a pretty great article about the Nevada system, which, in the US is often held up as the golden model of legal sex work. Unfortunately it’s not that great. http://titsandsass.com/nevadas-brothels-legalization-serves-the-man/

      • Tinyfaeri

        Fair enough. I mean legal as in recognize it as a business like any other. If you want to work for a company, cool. If you want to start your own, cool. From a business sense there’s no difference between selling sex and computer repairs.

      • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cathryn Berarobitch

        Oh! Yes, I understand what you meant. I also support regulation of adult business, but only so far as other businesses are regulated. There’s a big divide between the decrim camp (usually sex workers fall into this) and the legalization camp (often very misguided allies) so I can get touchy about language.

    • http://SommelierinSneakers.blogspot.com/ SomminSneakers

      Excellent, sweetheart.

    • Casual observer

      Good article and enjoyable as always. On the subject of legalization, I was wondering if you could share your views on what would be your ideal system of regulation for sex workers? I ask because many countries have legalized prostitution to varying degrees, and with varying degrees of success. On the one hand you have the UK and France, which have kind of “it’s legal as long as you’re not bothering anyone” policies which seem to work well. On the other hand, you have Germany, where prostitution, brothels, and pimping were all legalized ostensibly to protect prostitutes, but in reality has turned into something of a disaster where foreign women are lured and trapped into the business and almost no one files for the government benefits for which they qualify.

      What do think the ideal situation would be for our country?

      Thanks

      • http://toyboxkiller.tumblr.com/ Cathryn Berarobitch

        I’m all about the New Zealand model. They have full decriminalization, and adult businesses are regulated like any other service business. So far it’s been working pretty well for them and I think other countries would do well to follow suit.
        That is the short version, but this is a great idea! Expect a piece on legalization versus decrim in the next few weeks!