Lola Davina (she/her) is the author of the Thriving in Sex Work series, self-help books for sex workers, including the upcoming Thriving in Sex Work: Sex Work and Money, a personal finance book for sex workers.
She has spent more than 25 years in and around the sex industry, working as a stripper, dominatrix, porn actress, and escort over a fifteen-year period. She has earned an M.A. in Human Sexuality and an M.S. in Nonprofit Fundraising, and writes a self-care and wellness column for YNOTcam.com.
Lola Davina graciously agreed to answer some questions about her experiences in the adult industry, and we’re delighted to have her. Let’s get started!
Question: “Let’s talk about the early days and learning how to run your business. What were some of your biggest challenges?”
Lola: “I started as a stripper mostly out of curiosity, and because at that time, making $20/hour seemed like an unholy amount of money– I could barely believe it. I was only 22, and it was hard for me to take the work seriously– it seemed more like a sexy game.
It was only after I returned to escorting in my early thirties, after a divorce and personal bankruptcy, that I treated sex work like a real job.”
Question: “Can you identify any ideas you once held about the adult industry, and how your own work has changed or affected these?”
Lola: “Certainly the stereotype that I grew up with that sex workers (not that I would have used that term) had to be conventionally attractive, young, thin, with “perfect” bodies and huge breasts or dicks has been completely blown up.
Folks of every conceivable size, age, shape, gender, etc. do this work, looking all kinds of ways.
The sex industry is expanding the collective imagination for what it means to be a sexual being, undoubtedly a good thing.”
Question: “How has your work in the adult industry changed you as a person or affected your personality?”
Lola: “Oh, for sure. I had to stretch in all kinds of ways doing sex work. I had to learn to be assertive, to set boundaries and to hold them, to ask for money in ways that were new to my experience.
I learned to judge myself less harshly (although that took a long time), and to have more compassion for other people’s insecurities and pain.”
Question: “How has your work changed or affected your personal relationships with family and friends?”
Lola: “Most of my very best friends are current or former sex workers, and I married a client.
You can say that sex work has completely shaped my personal life.”
Question: “What do you love and hate about your choice of occupation?”
Lola: “Well, I’m a writer now, writing self-help books for sex workers, which is my true calling. I love what I do, even as I don’t love what I have to do every day.
But I never lose sight of how incredibly blessed I am to get to do what I love.”
Question: “Our society has a lot opinions about sex work. Tell us something about you or your work that would surprise someone who doesn’t know better.”
“Sex workers are just ordinary people with ordinary lives.
There’s nothing especially special about them. Sex workers often occupy this strange space in the collective imagination as either damaged and boundaryless and hopeless, or hypersexual and rolling in money. For most sex workers, sex work is just a job, and certainly they have the same problems, joys, and journeys as anybody else.”
Question: “What do you think is the most important piece of wisdom you could possibly impart on someone just getting started in the industry?”
Lola: “Sex work, regardless of the job title, can be emotionally overwhelming at first. For most of us, it takes a while to get one’s balance, to know what we’re good at and want to do, and what feels out-of-bounds.
My advice is two-fold:
1) Trust your gut.
Your gut never lies, and if something feels off to you, for any reason, walk away, don’t look back, don’t beat yourself up.
2) Support is essential.
As soon as you are able, find community, whether it’s IRL, or online. Support is essential.”
Wanna connect with Lola Davina?
You can listen to free samples of “Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry” on SoundCloud!
Sexy Workers– I know this is a stressful time. I'm offering the ebooks of "Thriving" and the workbook for 50% at my website, https://t.co/DkprGEDE3S and the full audiobook for $5 at https://t.co/AJYHDsiU2J pic.twitter.com/ajeKcjl4PG— loladavina (@Lola_Davina) March 13, 2020