Breaking Stereotypes: A Sex Worker’s Perspective on Misconceptions Surrounding the Industry
Over time, I’ve come to realize how many misconceptions people have about sex work. Often, those who are not part of the industry rely on the media, movies, TV shows, and books to form their ideas about the job. While it’s understandable if they haven’t interacted with the industry much, it’s important to recognize that these perceptions don’t apply to every person in the industry.
I often hear people make assumptions such as:
- All sex workers are drug users.
- Sex workers have no other job options.
- Sex workers are uneducated or have limited educational opportunities.
- All sex workers have pimps or are trafficked.
- All sex workers have mental health issues.
- They must have been in an abusive relationship or were abused as children.
However, these misconceptions are not always accurate. While some sex workers may be drug users or have limited job options, education, or mental health issues, it’s important to recognize that not every person in the industry fits these stereotypes. We need to move beyond the broad assumptions and recognize that sex workers are a diverse group of individuals with unique experiences and circumstances.
As a sex worker, I know that I cannot speak for every individual in this industry as everyone has unique experiences. However, I can share my own experiences of working in various Australian states such as Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and Western Australia.
Contrary to misconceptions, I do not use illicit drugs, but only take pain relief medication for body aches and pains. I have a range of job options based on my previous work experience outside of the sex industry. Additionally, I have extensive education from TAFE and University, as well as various life experiences. I want to clarify that I am not a victim of trafficking, and I do not have a pimp.
Although I have mental health issues, they stem from my life experiences since I was 17, and I have access to the resources I need to manage them. I also want to address the misconception that sex workers are always abused as children or in relationships. In my case, I have never been abused in any way.
I believe that it is not accurate to apply generalizations and misconceptions about sex workers to such a diverse group of people with varying backgrounds, cultures, and lived experiences. Like those who work at Woolworths, doctors, accountants, teachers, or nurses, people choose to enter the sex industry for various reasons. The types of people who enter this industry are just as varied as any other profession. Therefore, it’s crucial to reduce the stigma surrounding sex work and ensure that sex workers can work safely, be treated well, and have the same rights to a safe work environment without feeling criminalized or marginalized.
I know a lot of people in the sex work industry who are smart, intelligent, independent, strong, and wonderful people, and some of them are my friends. Of course, I don’t know every sex worker out there, but I have respect for them regardless. It takes a strong person to be able to handle this job, and many fight every day to try and improve conditions for all those who enter this industry.
For me, I choose to work in this industry because it suits my lifestyle and my needs. It’s my choice. I could go on and on, but ultimately it’s because it fits around the things I enjoy doing in my life and gives me a sense of freedom to explore new experiences and meet a range of interesting people that I wouldn’t have contact with otherwise. So, I just ask that people understand that we are individual, independent people who do not always fit the stereotypes or misconceptions that may exist about sex work. We are unique, and it’s important to remember that.
Some further reading that you might find interesting
I’m a sex worker in a legal brothel: here are the 5 biggest misconceptions about what I do – Sarah Greenmore (15/10/2015) Independent.co.uk
Sex Talk Realness: What It’s Really Like to Be a Sex Worker – cosmopolitan.com – (1/12/2014) – Rachel Hills
True Story – I’m a Sex Worker – Yes and Yes – (10/10/2011)
Student to Sex Worker: My life as an escort – Feminspire – (13/09/2012) – By Anonymous
Scarlet Blue Guest Blog – Various Writters
11 Secrets of a Sex Worker – Ditch the Label
Celine Bisette: The real life of a sex worker – National Post – Celine Bisette – (28/04/2014)
Why I’m happy I became a sex worker – Charlotte Shane – The Good Men Project – AlterNet – (17/03/2015)
Sex worker & mother: ‘Yes, I AM empowered by my job.’ – Mamamia – Eva Sless – (23/11/2012)
So you’ve met a hooker… – Because I’m a Whore blog – (28/01/2012)