CW: This article contains discussions of sex work, which may be triggering to some.
I find that even in a modern society, there is a high degree of taboo around sex work. The first time I found out a friend did sex work, I found out by a mere slip of the tongue and was met with her immediate fear – she thought I would find her “disgusting” or somehow less worthy of my love and care.
While the concept of shunning someone for their work is foreign to me, this is unfortunately something that many in the sex work industry face. This lack of knowledge and understanding can make their job even riskier for them in terms of speaking up about abuse within their industry, as well as being emotionally and mentally detrimental by way of isolation.
I am a person who believes that the first step to acceptance is exposure. In that line of thinking, I’ve talked to a sex worker about her experiences in the New Zealand industry, and what she’s learnt and is willing to share from her times.
Anonymous, New Zealand (She/Her)
What lead you into sex work and how did you find out about your current position?
I’ve always been interested in sex and wanted to explore but not necessarily in a conventional way. I went onto lots of forums and heard a load of different perspectives and thought I could do that. There was a lot of warnings that I kinda thought that I as a person could handle, and it didn’t seem like a big deal to me. I mostly found out about it through Google and just searching things up.
In a broad sense, how have you personally felt about your time spent as a sex worker? Has it been positive experience overall?
I enjoyed it. I felt empowered and I gained a lot of confidence with my body. I have stretch marks and scars and it’s just not the ideal perfect body. Doing this and having people admire and get off to my body gave a lot of confidence and appreciation for my body. It gave me a boost knowing that to most, my flaws do not matter and sometimes are regarded as sexy. Meeting and interacting with different kinds of people, you learn a lot about people and it gives you insight on how people live their lives. Most people were respectful and it did give me a new view of the people using these services. There were the few that wanted to take advantage and also it was exhausting. It was hard setting boundaries without harming my income or my relationship with the client.
Do you have a partner? How have you ever experienced judgement from them, or friends and family about your occupation?
I don’t have a partner and I haven’t told my family. I got into this straight after one relationship ended but I probably wouldn’t have if I was still in it. I joke a lot about sex work without letting people know the full extent and this usually gets mixed responses. Most people are supportive until they find out that you are actually serious about it and then they get a bit weird. I recently talked about the idea of it with a potential partner without disclosing my history and they were quite hesitant. I feel people want to [be] supportive and not tell you how to live your life and do with your body, but you can tell that they are uncomfortable by it.
I would never tell my parents. That’s just not the relationship I have with them.
What’s the most memorable experience you’ve had in your line of work?
Memorable experience? Scat was pretty interesting. Also getting a butt plug stuck up my arse while making a video and carrying on since I didn’t want to restart the video.
Any advice to someone interested in sex work or just starting out?
Start slow and make sure you’re comfortable with what you are doing. Make sure boundaries are clear and established before starting anything. Don’t give out any personal information and be careful on how you portray yourself. Make sure to have supportive people around you that you can rant to when things start getting to you or just to joke about what you got up to that day.
For those interested or currently involved in the sex work industry, resources and support are always available from the New Zealand Prostitutes' Collective | New Zealand Sex Workers' Collective – visit www.nzpc.org.nz for your local branch.