To my knowledge, no longitudinal study capable of addressing the causality issue has been conducted, but there is another, related issue that often goes unaddressed — the type of sex work.
Not all sex work is created equal — hustling on the street to feed a drug addiction and having sex in a car or a shady motel by the hour carries very different levels of risk and stigma than does advertising online and meeting your clients at a private studio or high-end hotel.
These differences are bound to leave different marks on your mental health. Unfortunately, no published U. But this Swiss study offers a rare glimpse. In Switzerland, sex work is not illegal, and in in Zurich, there were about 4, legally registered female sex workers. For this study, researchers recruited of them, contacted through a variety of locations outdoors, studios, bars, cabarets, parlors, brothels and escort services , and interviewed them at length about their mental health and experiences with sex work.
But were some sex workers at higher mental health risk than others? And, when they further looked at the mental health profiles of the women in the different clusters, they saw marked differences.
They were of mixed European origin, worked mostly in studios or as escorts, experienced high levels of social support, and relatively little violence, pressure or rape outside of work, and little to none within sex work.
Their mental health was quite admirable. They were very similar to the general U. The two other groups were somewhere in between these extremes on their mental health. Over half of them 58 percent had mental health problems. Their mental health was somewhat better than of Cluster 1, but still 42 percent reported at least one psychiatric diagnosis. Like all studies, this one has its limitations.
It also likely underrepresents women who were entirely forced into sex work or who were working illegally whose mental health is probably on par with, if not worse than, that of Cluster 4.
Nonetheless, this study demonstrates the incredible diversity that characterizes the world of sex work and its mental health correlates. Ignoring this diversity and treating all sex workers as one homogeneous group when forming attitudes or making policy decisions is bound to lead us to wrong conclusions, even when most well-intentioned. Or want to read other people's hookup experiences?
The mental health of female sex workers. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, , — Yes, it always seemed like a case of "closed mind" thinking when people assume sex workers all have the same motivation. Just like some people lump all lawyers into the same category of being sleazeballs. But both of these groups have people with a wide variety of motivations, intentions and backgrounds. Some lawyers are in it for the money, some want to fix social injustices, some are in it because a childhood mentor was, and some people simply like the details of the process.
And some have even grown to hate it but are stuck in it because the money is good and they don't have other equivalent opportunities. So, for example, some high-end sex workers consider themselves healers and actually enjoy many aspects of their jobs.
For some of these, it's actually a case of getting paid to do something they enjoy. Of course, this is either incredible or morally unacceptable to some who insist on finding some pathology with it. Even worse, there are plenty of people who insist that virtually all sex workers, including virtually all porn actors, are trafficked and forced to do their work.
In fact, people who hold those misguided beliefs, or want others to think they are true, have posted comments many time in this section of the PT blog. There are long-term relationships between a courtesan and a client where a friendship and even emotional attachment has developed, but in which money for sex is still exchanged as a matter of support, courtesy, respect, and knowledge that the courtesan depends on it for a living.
Strictly speaking, even some marriages are that way when one person doesn't work. But people would say a marriage is not because there are so many other aspects involved at that point. Well, could it then be said that if a client and escort develop a relationship that has nonsexual aspects, then the money he is paying her is no longer for sex? The same could be asked of a mistress who stays in an apartment paid by a mean. Lots of people always think this is clear-cut. The graph of reasons why someone chooses sex work all have one thing in common.
No girl or teenage girl dreams of being a sex worker when they grow-up to be an adult. Would you tell your boss you hate your job?
What percent of the general population is completely satisfied with their work? I would say a large percent dislike or hate their work. I was told face-to-face by an escort that she hated her clients. Even though the environment was on the better end of the spectrum. She still hated it. Her behaviour after knowing her for a year was definitely influenced by mental illness. It would not a psychologist to see that her behaviour was completely erratic. In a typical booking, you meet, chat for a bit, sort out business, ask the client to shower then get down to business.
For me, that generally includes a massage, foreplay, sex and a fair bit of conversation. The girl who booked me then drops this bombshell on me:. I do my best to remain calm and collected and we all enjoy ourselves before the birthday girl shows up.
They all turn out to be lovely girls and we all had a fun night. No actual sex but there were a few shenanigans that went on. I used to hair model from time to time for wedding photographers and hair salons, so I have a few headshots floating around on different modeling websites and stock images. One day, I got an e-mail from a photographer that said he was practicing drawing and needed a nude male model to practice form. I was saving up for a plane ticket to come home to surprise my parents for spring break, so figured this would be an easy way to make a connection in the art industry as well as pick up some cash.
We agreed on a time, he gave me his number and we talked on the phone to voice verify, as well as the studio that we would be working at. When I arrived at the location, he was waiting there and said that the studio had been booked out to the night, and so he asked if I wanted to grab some food and then head to a hotel so we could just pose and draw there. We had dinner, made small talk about church and what I was studying at my University, and eventually got a cheap hotel room in downtown Nashville.
Eventually I got naked, and he asked if I thought I could get an erection so he could draw it. I said maybe, and he asked if he could help. I declined at first and attempted to get an erection, but eventually he said that he wanted to help and came over to me and started jerking me off. I gave up struggling and he gave me a blowjob while he laid on me and kept me down. I was so scared that I came in about 2 minutes. I went back to my dorm and cried, not knowing if I just became a prostitute or got sexually assaulted.
Sometimes I get contacted by him, and got a couple messages from him while he was drunk, but I just ignore them and try to forget about it. This sounds awful, but I was so desperate for money that I posted on Craigslist.
I basically asked people to bid to see who I would go with. I ended up driving 45 minutes to meet a guy who then drove me to his house. This dude was like 50, heavy cigarette smoker, smelled like booze. I told him I was He smoked a few bowls, talked about jazz, and then very creepily went on and on about my boobs.
I jerked him for like 30 minutes with this horrible rose-scented lotion, blew him, and eventually we had sex. I was impressed he could get it up with how high he was and figured he must be on something else. When I got off him there was no condom on his dick and I freaked until I realized it was still inside me. All in all, not a horrible first experience, but also not wonderful. I was studying med at the time and I was short on money.
So one time, this guy made me what seemed like a lucrative offer and I agreed. We initially met in a park at night, sat in his very, very nice car, had a bit of a flirty chat, then made an appointment.
He said he was 58 years old, but I think he was about years older than that. A week or two later, I drove over to his apartment. I was petrified, but I needed the money so I rang the doorbell.
It was a lovely apartment, and he paid upfront. He was nice enough. Had a shower, bit of a chat afterwards, and then he kissed me goodbye on the cheek. I think the fact that I said no to rimming annoyed him a little, but he texted later and asked if I would like to do a threesome with another working girl. Things proceeded from there. I drank a heap of wine before I went to the agency. This was about 2. I did booking after booking and went home with a massive wad of cash.
I just loved the rush of being booked and making so much money. The industry is dead over here now and I have no idea why. I thought my heart was going to burst out of my chest.
But it ended up very well. The first guy was really nice. It was somewhat… boring. We started out with small talk, he offered me a bowl, which I refused. He smoked a little and then eventually kissed me. He had a bit of an ass fetish, I let him eat my asshole and lightly spank me, and then I let him put it in my ass- I figured that it was my first client, I should do a good job.
I still see him from time to time, and he always tips very well. Along with the occasional gift of art or books. He paid me for an hour without question and I never saw him again. I still escort from time to time. Fucked twice, I gave him a blowjob while he was on the phone talking with people he was working with. Immediately afterwards, on the drive back, I was just so utterly dumbfounded that I got paid that much to fuck a guy that was theoretically dating material if he had the time to date.
When I was 18 I was tight on cash and decided, fuck it. I need a sugar daddy. I went on craigslist and found a guy. He wanted to meet me first and needed a new girl to replace his old one, he was willing to pay 4 figures per date. I drove to meet him and was stuck in traffic on the way for an hour or two. I sat at a Starbucks for a while waiting, he got lost because he was only there on a business trip.
I was shaking by the time he came. We got burgers and drinks and sat at a table waiting for everything, talking. He was sweet but not my type, I was so nervous and shaking. We got to his hotel and sat and talked and ate, then started getting frisky. He would not stop talking about how amazing I looked and was and I know he was trying to flatter me but after a while it got really old. I stayed the night and left in the morning.
He gave me money for gas. Then I found this married guy. We talked, I sent him pictures of myself and he was hooked. I was an anal virgin and reaaallly hesitant about it. Drove an hour to a motel in his town to see him. The way everyone looked at me, I knew they knew what I was there for. I knocked on the door, it opened. I stepped inside where the lights were off, kept my eyes to the ground.
He came up to me and started stroking my arms, my face. He instructed me to put the blindfold on and I did. I hated every minute of it. I lost my anal virginity to him and it was painful and I cried. I could feel his fat slapping against my stomach, he kissed me with his bushy beard tickling my face and I fucking hated it, I wanted to vomit.
I cried all the way home. He was nuts about me, wanted to take me on trips and buy me an apartment in his town and all that.
I agreed to meet him again, but no anal and no kissing. The second time he was coked out and had a hard time keeping it up. I had to awkwardly console him while he beat himself up over it, and suck his flaccid dick several times. Once he gave up on the whole thing and admitted defeat, I packed everything up and sat at the edge of the bed.
He brought my money and placed it in my hands, and told me to look at him. I was still wearing the blindfold and I shook my head. He took it off of me and told me to look at him. He was wearing a bandana that covered most of his face except his eyes.
He had lovely eyes, and it made me want to cry when I thought of his wife. I had a sick mind, I had a dirty side, and only he could fulfill it. He messaged me a few times over the next year but I kept telling him no, no matter what price he gave me.
Just after high school, my girlfriend got a job as an escort. It was back when pagers were cool, for reference. I dropped her off at work on her first night. The place was in a strip mall, just a little spot that looked like a half-empty travel agency or insurance shop.
She paged me pretty quick. I picked her up and we drove to a McDonalds and got coffee. She was a wreck. She said that she told them she was going on a break, but that she wanted me to take her home. The customer obviously wanted to have sex, and she was totally blindsided by this. She even wore one of her nicest dresses.
Long story short, she ended up just watching the guy masturbate before fleeing the place and getting driven back to the office. Then I picked her up and she never went back. The thing I remember most clearly was when she was describing it to me. She was disillusioned, incredulous. Pictures of his family! I remember the first time I accepted money for sex.
A guy messaged me on a gay dating site. I knew I was down immediately. So I went to his place. As a 28 year old adult now, I think — what the fuck… that guy could have murdered me. He could have raped me. He could have cut my skin off to wear it like a dress. I pulled out my dick, started jacking off, and once I was hard he sucked me to completion. Thank you very much. I never had to make them cum. They just wanted to make me cum. It was all about letting these guys fantasize that they had gotten me without paying for me.
He wanted someone to cuddle with, rub against. We stayed in our underwear. A year before I had been approached by a friend of my sister who offered me a job as an escort. I have no idea what I was thinking. Looking back, my first appointment was a disaster. John was exceptionally patient but I was so anxious. We had a drink, smoked a bowl, and he offered me some coke. Never have done coke before, I hoped it would help my nerves and obliged myself to his offer.
I had brought a bag of lingerie and offered to model it for him. Somehow this was sufficient for him and the drive home later was to this day one of the most fun drives I have ever had. Of all the things in life I am thankful for, few rate higher than my dislike of coke. Instead of getting sucked into all that, I got myself out of debt, bought a house and went back to school. Graduated two weeks ago debt free with one of the most sought after degrees from a prestigious school.
It has been a lifestyle that has served me well, I have met amazing people and had unforgettable experiences that would otherwise been impossible. Retiring is one of the harder things I have to do but in three months I hang up my heels and am walking away.
I still see John, of course I fuck him now. I have spent a third of my life as a prostitute but I have a beautiful home with big diploma on the wall, happy kid, multiple vehicles in my garage, and the world an open possibility. I am a very lucky lady. It was in a Travelodge classy! And I was super nervous. The guy was around 50 I was twenty at the time and he mainly wanted to make out and cuddle. The thing that weirded me out a little was he kept talking about how young I was and asked me for my real name several times I had a fake name for obvious reasons.
I was reluctant to give him my real name and instead just gave him another fake name — I told him my real name was Elizabeth but my friends called me Lizzie and he called me Lizzie for the remainder of the appointment — then had the cheek to try and haggle me down for an extra hour which I declined.
I was 22, just graduated with a BA in a major that would make me no money. Moved in with my parents and was on a downward spiral. We sat on the couch and talked a little bit. He ran a small business, divorced, overweight, 40s.
Really ordinary and quite nice, actually. He took me into the bedroom and there were lit candles and a bottle of lube on the nightstand. I liked him, so I kept going until he finished — maybe another 20 minutes? After we finished he thanked me and we hugged.
He suggested that next time he make a spaghetti dinner and we could eat and get to know each other. It all happened over Thanksgiving break my freshman year college. After weeding through all of the messages I got, I found a guy that was actually attractive and had chemistry with. So we decide to meet up at his place. The drive over I almost turned around 5 times, I was so nervous.
I know on his door and he looks mostly like his pics, just a little older and shorter than I was led to believe haha. Its both of our first times so we have no idea what to do.... After that, we just went to sleep and I left in the morning. I have a very genuine personality and am very down to earth. All-in-all, he was a super nice guy but ended up getting too attached: I sat at a Starbucks for a while waiting, he got lost because he was only there on a business trip. I still see him from time to time, and he always tips very .