We’ve all heard it before: “If I lose my job, I’ll just ______”. Become a stripper. Become a camgirl. Start an OnlyFans. Become an escort. It’s a tired joke but sometimes non-industry folk think that they can do it. Is this you? Do you have the strength, resilience, work ethic and knowledge to become involved in the sex industry? If this is you, feel free to continue to read ahead.
First thing’s first: sex work is work.
It’s a real, legitimized profession that often receives the brunt end from greater society and comes intertwined with stigmatization, negative stereotypes and backlash. It’s often looked down upon and generally unaccepted as a viable career choice. Inconsistent wages when starting out, similar to those in the gig economy, can make it difficult to achieve goals such as buying a vehicle, a home or saving for retirement.
Have you considered that…
Basic needs such as finding accommodation, opening up a bank account or using other financial services like PayPal or Venmo may be denied due to the nature of our work. Depending on type of sex work that you decide to engage in, the content created may go against many popular platforms and payment methods’ terms and services such as Mastercard which may make collecting payment challenging and may risk your account getting banned or suspended without being able to withdraw funds if you’re not careful or if your account is flagged.
There are many different types of sex work available and the umbrella and scope of the industry continues to grow.
Are you a performer? Perhaps you might be interested in entertaining a live crowd so becoming a stripper may be right down your alley. Do you like entertaining but prefer a more intimate environment? You might want to consider
livestreaming, camming, pornography or starting a fan page. If the dynamic of power play is your thing, you can certainly divulge into dominatrix work or cater to niche fetishes which involve various body parts, fluids, and role play within the greater BDSM communities. If fostering and building great relationships is your thing, you might want to consider being a sugar baby or full service sex worker. There are so many other forms of sex work that have gone unmentioned here – the point is that the opportunities are practically endless.
Does this sound promising? Great! But let’s be transparent.
I haven’t mentioned the aspect of money at all in this article because using money as a motivator can be dangerous, causing people to fall prey to various scams from fake sugar daddies, cryptocurrency scams or making rookie mistakes like not receiving payment upfront.
Before getting involved in any type of work, whether it’s sex work or not, it’s important to weigh the pros and the cons to see if the job would be a good fit. Just like how you would conduct research on a company before you commit or go to a job interview, you’d probably Google them and read the reviews on Glassdoor or look up their website or LinkedIn page. The same thing applies here. It’s a great idea to do your due diligence and read blogs, books, listen to podcasts (like mine!) and speak to people who are already in the industry. There are so many
free resources that are available and accessible if you don’t know anyone personally who would be happy to give you insight. Join Twitter, Reddit, or a Discord group to receive first-hand insight from sex workers in various capacities. Ask them about the potential risks, how to screen and filter, what equipment you might need, how they market to their clients, how they practice self-care. Are you a person of colour, identify as part of the LGBTQIA2s+ community, or live in a country where sex work is outlawed? Consider these factors and intersectionalities and
your experience may vary vastly and may be faced with more difficulty and less privilege than our cis, white counterparts.
What you put into the work is what you’re going to get out of it.
If you’re still reading up to this point, consider and treat your foray into sex work just like any “conventional” job. Commit to it. Treat it like your own business. Do your taxes. Build a website, take professional photos and videos, collaborate with your peers, use social media and SEO to market your brand. Most importantly, enjoy the work! There will be ups and downs as with any job. There will be amazingly fruitful days where you make bank and other days where you barely break even. Know the inconsistencies of this work, have a backup plan and save some of that money for a rainy day, just in case.
Maybe you’ll be in this for the long haul and make a career out of it, others will see this as a temporary stepping stone to save up for college or to prepare for a large purchase or retirement. Whatever it is that you do and despite the reasoning, know that there is an incredibly helpful and supportive community behind it all who’s willing to root you on, hoping for your success.
Steph Sia is a stripper, digital content creator and pole dance instructor based in Vancouver, Canada. She is the host of the sex worker podcast, Stripped by SIA, that shares the stories of the lived experiences of sex workers with an aim to destigmatize the sex industry. She always enjoys a good bowl of noodles.