I’m a sex worker and I love it
India, 21, has been a sex worker for two years. She's had a positive experience in the industry and wants to combat the negative stereotypes and myths of sex work.
I’ve always been in touch with my sexuality and, as bizarre as it sounds, I’ve wanted to be a stripper since I was little! When I was 19, I made the leap and did a lot of Googling. I went out and bought some fancy lingerie and heels, and auditioned at my local table dancing club. I had my first shift the next day and I loved it.
It wasn’t a decision I made lightly
I was brought up in a religious family and was still living at home at the time. I had to keep this new venture a secret from them, but that didn’t last long. When my parents found out, it was pretty horrendous. They didn’t understand it at all. Time has helped, but I’ve had to rely on my friends and support from other dancers a lot.
My friends, however, were always super supportive. One even came with me to my first ever audition, and visited me in the club a few times when I was having a slow night. Now I’ve been doing this for two years, most people know what I do. I’m proud of it, but it was never a decision I made lightly.
Lots of girls choose to arrange their own work
I started in the sex work industry by stripping in clubs, but now I do all kinds of work. I strip at stag dos or invite-only parties, do topless/nude waitressing, have been a dominatrix, do webcam sex, porn, and escorting. But I do have boundaries that I won’t cross, and I make them very clear.
The rights sex workers have can be a very grey area. If you’re working in a strip club, you’re technically still self-employed because you don’t get paid by the club. You have to pay THEM a ‘house fee’ for each shift, which can range from £10 to £80+, and they take commission off anything we make from customers, which can be up to 60%. There aren’t laws in place to limit how much of your earnings a manager can take. They can even fine you for small things like having chipped nail varnish. It’s pretty ruthless.
The industry is very tough and lots of girls are choosing to arrange their own work, or organise to meet their regular clients outside of the club to avoid the huge fees.
I find sex work to be very empowering!
I have a lot of control when I work in the clubs. I feel safer dancing naked for a guy in a strip club knowing there’s a strict ‘no touching’ policy than I do just walking down the street at night. I have the power to kick any guys out and the security at clubs is tough.
When it comes to private work, I’m putting myself at greater risk. I have to know my boundaries and be very thorough when checking the jobs I’m offered. Fortunately I’ve not had any bad experiences, but I know I’m strong enough to handle a difficult situation if it happens. I always tell someone where I’m going and who I’m with, and try to work with other sex workers if I can.
I’m aware of the risks I’m taking, and have to be smart. I find sex work to be very empowering and I love doing it!
I‘ve made some amazing friendships
The most important thing I love about sex work is… the outfits! I love lingerie, glitter, massive eight-inch heels and mini dresses. The dressing up and trying out new things is so fun.
But seriously, I’ve met some amazing people and made some amazing friends. I have an incredible support network and it’s so valuable to have met people who understand and appreciate what I do. I love the freedom of being able to work whenever and wherever I like, and can always take time out if I need to.
Most of the customers I meet are quite unremarkable, but every now and then I’ll meet someone who’s really interesting or funny. One guy used to bring me food and book me for an hour just to watch me eat it, which was bloody brilliant, and another used to pay me to kick him in the balls. What a gig.
Don’t go into it thinking it’s easy
To anyone thinking about going into sex work, I’d recommend thinking very carefully about it and considering what you want out of it. Don’t let the thought of money make you do anything you find uncomfortable.
As much as it can be amazing, sex work is extremely difficult both physically and emotionally. If you decide to start stripping, talk to some people who already do it. There are dedicated groups on Facebook, like the Women’s Network, full of strong women offering support and tips.
If you’re doing online work, remember that anyone could record you and post it anywhere. So just be aware of where your face is shown and the name you’re using.
We’re working to improve sex worker rights
If you’re being treated badly or unfairly, you can always go to the police. Don’t be ashamed. National Ugly Mugs (NUM) also provides a reporting service and supports sex workers with filing police reports.
Online communities are also great for support when something goes wrong. I’m a part of the East London Strippers Collective and we’re working to improve working rights and conditions for dancers.
Strippers are people too, just a bit more fabulous.
- National Ugly Mugs (NUM) provides greater access to justice and protection for sex workers. You can find a wealth of information and support on their website.
- Call the Sexual Violence Alliance on 01603 667687 for support and advice for women and men who are victims of sexual or domestic violence.
- Brook provides free sexual health and wellbeing services for young people in the UK. Brook's services include local clinics and online digital sex and relationships tool.
- Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
- Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.
Updated on 06-Feb-2018
Photo by Bruce Dixon.
No featured article