Reader Question: Is Sex Work Empowering or Degrading?

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Last night, I invited y’all to suggest topics or questions for blog posts via my contact page. The first question landed in my inbox this morning. It’s a complicated one.

Rebecca H. writes:

“My question to you and one I’ve struggled with in the past is the line between feeling gorgeous and sexually empowered and the feelings of being a vessel men use and abuse for their own gain . . . In the U.K., stripping is one of those ever growing things and more and more clubs and bars are opening. It’s one of those topics that most women cannot agree on. Is this degrading or are we showing how strong and beautiful we are by getting naked for paying men?”

This is a difficult question to answer because it’s one that must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. There’s no single opinion about sex work among sex workers. Our stories and experiences are too varied. Some people are forced into sex work. Many enter the industry by choice. Others do so out of desperation. And these factors are just the tip of the iceberg. Sex work comes in a multitude of forms — stripping, fetish work, camming, prostitution, the list goes on — which makes it impossible to pin down.

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Creative Nonfiction: Motel with a Pool

Hi. This is a fairly intense story that takes place in the middle of my prostitution career. I have never publicly shared anything this personal. Please be gentle.

Oh, and FYI: I am not a prostitute anymore. I have not come remotely close to doing sex work for the past three years.

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