The Healing Power of Sex Work

My first memory is of me sitting in a pitch black, dank, concrete crawlspace at three years old. I was barricaded in there. All day long. Every day.

You may think- “oh, well, THAT’s why she gravitated to sex work as an adult.” And in fact, I’m sure the abuse I endured as a child did leave me more vulnerable to further instances of abuse via the lifelong effects that trauma has on the brain; as any social worker (like myself) or therapist could tell you.

I’m not into pandering to the pressure of my sex working community OR that of people who support the criminalization and further stigmatization of sex work. Being a sex worker- and the trajectory by which people come to this work- is neither a panacea nor purgatory, but through a diverse set of complex experiences and choices that cannot simply be polarized into “good” and “bad.”

Though I believe – in my case- I came into the industry through a myriad of constrained choices, and have been at one time both a “trafficking victim” and a sex worker of my own designation, I fully believe that the act of sex work is very much like the life force itself. Yin and yang, good and bad, the shamanistic upper world, lower world and the underworld.

After coming out of a situation in which I was forced into prostitution by my boyfriend and pimp, I deeply desired a way in which to re-write what had been done to me. To turn the negative, exploitative side of the sex industry and reincarnate that energy into healing.

As a sex worker, working only for myself, being my own boss I got to harness my own goddess power. My feminine sexual energy. And I learned how to have a relationship with my own sexuality- my needs and desires, my fetishes and fantasies, and my own naked body. This was truly a revelation for someone whose body had only previously been used for others, and whose sexual desires were made irrelevant.

With all my intimate relationships with boyfriends or pseudo-boyfriends I had learned that my body wasn’t okay. From having a butt that was too big, or being too fat, or having to tailor whether or not I had pubic hair and whether I would do a full Brazilian or a landing strip depending upon what that specific boyfriend liked. To be able to dress how I wanted for clients and do my makeup how I wanted and be like- this is my pussy, this is my ass, these are my tits. If you don’t like it, don’t call me again. This was the catharsis I needed from patriarchal American culture. And nobody I worked with ever complained about my body or my looks. men would come see me just to give me pleasure. I would get gifts of perfume, clothes, dinners, help with bills… Everything I would wait for with baited breath from my lineage of douche bag boyfriends. Guys worshipped at the altar of my body. I was “beautiful, gorgeous” I had amazing tits, beautiful curves, and a bomb ass pussy.

I saw a meme recently. It said “sex work: like dating only more honest.” There was a simplicity I found in sex work, an honesty, that was so healing for me. Truly I have had a dynamic relationship to sex work throughout my life. I believe that it is a neutral entity at it’s core, that can take on a trajectory of earthly manifestations- from the hellish and horrible, to the amazingly healing. This complexity of sex work is not often enough acknowledged in both sex workers’ rights and anti-sex work circles alike. Which consequently, keeps us in a battle of locked horns against those who oppose us and stalemates our ability to talk in a real way about the lived complexities of our work both with others and amongst ourselves.