Why A “Nice” Girl Like Me Became A Sex Worker

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Why a “Nice” Girl Like Me Became a Sex Worker
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Sex

When Celia, a dominatrix I met at a writer’s group, told me how much money she earned per hour, I was astonished. What she made in an hour on the job took me a couple of days to earn.

Effusively friendly, Celia quickly earned my trust. I told her about how unhappy I was at my corporate gig. She told me about the amazing outfits she got to wear for her sessions with her “slaves” — the wealthy and powerful men who paid her to torture them.

As a joke, I asked if she thought I could do her job.

“Sure,” she said.

I was stunned. Me? Work as a dominatrix? Never.

It was okay to fantasize about doing sex work, but I was a “nice girl” from the suburbs with a college education.

My family was conservative. My parents would not be okay with me working in the sex industry.

I wouldn’t be okay with it, either.

I stereotyped sex workers. Sure, Celia seemed fine and her job sounded cushy, but I viewed her as the exception.

I believed that most sex workers had been molested as children and that they were acting out some trauma through their jobs.

I believed that strippers disrespected themselves by taking off their clothes for money. Prostitution was something I couldn’t even wrap my head around.

It was disgusting and the only way I could ever see a woman prostituting herself was to feed a drug problem. I thought that all johns were evil and all prostitutes were victims who needed rescuing.

These women didn’t have the education to get other jobs like I did. They didn’t have my privileges. They hadn’t grown up as I had. They were either single mothers, just doing their job to make money to support their children — or worse, a man had forced them into sex work.

They’d been coerced into selling their bodies by some pimp.

I eventually stopped going to that writer’s group, and Celia and I lost touch. I didn’t stop meeting dominatrixes though.

Little did I know that just a few months later, one of these dommes would invite me to a BDSM event and I’d actually take her up on her offer to attend.

And what’s more, I’d shock myself by tossing out every stereotype that my family and society had taught me about sex work.

I’d become a dominatrix myself.

But still, you might still ask why? Why would a “nice” girl like me ever do sex work? Did it just come down to the money?

Yes and no.

If I’d stuck around in the corporate world, I could have made money there eventually. But the thing is, what I really wanted was freedom.

I wanted the freedom to become the person I thought I was truly meant to be: an unfettered creative.

I didn’t think I could ever do that as a corporate “worker bee.”

That’s why a “nice” girl like me started working in the sex industry.

And that’s exactly what sex work afforded me.

After college, I landed a corporate “dream” job but was miserable.

When I met Celia at that writer’s group, I was employed as a proofreader for a multinational publishing giant. I had an interest in writing, so a job in publishing made sense.

As a recent graduate of UCLA, my corporate gig made my parents happy. I also now had something to tell my friends, who kept asking what I was doing since I’d earned my coveted degree.

Everyone was satisfied with my job but me.

All my life I’d been told that working in the corporate world was the pinnacle of success. Sure, I was proud to be bringing in a salary, meager as it was, but I still couldn’t believe this was how I’d ended up.

All that studying and this was my prize? A life sentence in corporate “prison”?

After an hour stuck in commuter traffic every morning, I’d arrive at the office, already annoyed. Once in my cubicle, I’d toil away until break time.

Intent on the simple pleasure of a pod coffee, I’d saunter into the break room only to have my nostrils assaulted by the stink of a freshly made Cup of Noodle or a bag of microwave popcorn.

Nauseated, I’d retreat downstairs to the building café to buy a pre-made cappuccino from a machine, all the while wishing I was drinking a real cappuccino in Italy.

But no, I couldn’t travel because I had landed myself a “dream job” and now I was stuck working it.

Once break was over I’d return to my cubicle until lunch when a group of us walked to a nearby grill. There, I’d order some hunk of charbroiled meat that would sit low in my gut for the rest of the afternoon.

After lunch, it was back to the grind. How I wished I could look out and see the world while I worked. The part of the office where my desk was located didn’t have windows. Only the top brass had windows in their offices.

I sometimes dreamt of climbing the ranks at the company just to get that window. Then I’d think about all the work it would take for me to reach that point.

How many hours, months, years of my life shackled to this job just so I could have a window in my office?

In exchange for that window, I’d accept more responsibility and stress only to help someone else profit off their creativity. What about my own creative work? Is this what I really wanted out of life?

No.

But if I knew what I didn’t want — what did I want?

At home in the evenings, I started staying up later and later to write poetry or study the works of the great artists in the books I checked out from the library. Maybe I’d go back to school to study art history. But wait — wasn’t I the one who wanted to be the artist?

As the result of staying up so late, I’d show up for my day job increasingly exhausted. My output suffered. My coworkers started to joke that I was walking around the office with a sign around my neck that said: “Fire me.”

Yes, please, fire me. Then I’d get severance pay and unemployment and I’d finally have the time to figure out how I really wanted to spend my life.

If this was the dream that so many people wanted, they could have my share.

I didn’t want this “dream.” All I really wanted was freedom.

My mother got to create because my father supported her.

I come by the desire to create honestly. All through my childhood, I watched my mother make beautiful things with her hands.

A retired schoolteacher, she spent her days engaged in her own creative pursuits while my dad was hard at work.

She sewed fashionable clothing for both of us to wear. She would make her own patterns, even design her own fabric.

She did all the landscaping for our house. She planted all sorts of trees and plants herself.

When she wasn’t gardening, she beautified our home. She was always changing the paint on our walls, sewing new curtains, reupholstering the furniture. She taught herself to refinish antiques.

Being creative made her happy.

My father, on the other hand, was miserable.

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Yes, he made good money as an aerospace engineer, but that didn’t seem to satisfy him.

When he was home from work, all he did was complain. Our family dinner conversations consisted of him bemoaning his jerk boss and irritating coworkers.

He hated the demands of his job, feeling at the constant mercy of the higher-ups. All I knew was that I didn’t want to end up like him, bitter and resentful.

But I ended up like him nonetheless. Now that I had my own corporate job, I understood why he always seemed so dejected.

There had to be a solution. How could I make money like my father but be like my mother — free at home, creating?

Or more importantly, how could I be like my mother but not have to depend on a man to support me?

Little did I know, I’d find my solution in sex work.

A dominatrix invited me to a BDSM event.

After meeting Celia, I crossed paths with another domme at an art opening. We got to talking and once again I listened to her stories.

She was also an aspiring artist, and yet she was dressed from head to toe in haute couture. If I tried to dress like her I’d just incur more credit card debt.

As it was, with my low salary and the expense of living in the city, my debt was increasing. But again, I told myself I could never work as a dominatrix. A young woman like me didn’t do sex work.

Then I met another domme at an indie rock show. She also had a college degree.

Her name was Shawna. Once again I voiced interest in her job, asking her question after question.

In response, Shawna did something that none of the other women I had met had done.

She actually invited me to attend a BDSM event.

I challenged my identity at a BDSM party.

I told myself I’d go just to see what it was like. Maybe I would write about it.

I arrived at the address Shawna gave me, shocked to find myself standing before a single-family home in a quiet city neighborhood.

This was the “dungeon” where this party was taking place? When I imagined a dungeon, I imagined something out of the Inquisition. A dark basement with cold, stone floors, filled with medieval torture devices.

I certainly hadn’t expected a modest home with a lawn out front amidst other houses where families lived.

The curtains were drawn over the windows so I couldn’t see inside the house. However, I could see a glow around the edges of the curtains. Something was going on inside there, I just didn’t know what.

I knocked on the door and when it opened, I found myself face-to-face with a beautiful woman dressed in latex. I immediately felt ridiculous.

Sure, I was wearing vinyl. However, my clothing was still something I could get away with wearing on the street. Her latex pieces were microscopic, more like rubber lingerie on her stunning figure.

I realized at once that I didn’t fit in here. I was an imposter, a nerd from the suburbs. Why had I come? I should just go home.

But the woman in latex was waiting for me to enter so I felt obligated to go through with it. I was knocked off-kilter again when I stepped inside the house and nearly tripped over a naked man kneeling on all fours on the carpeting.

I regained my balance only to be hit again by the smell of the place. It was the odor of sweaty bodies and that smell was coming from the not just one naked man kneeling on the carpet but the many naked men all over the house — er, “dungeon.”

I had no idea that the men at the party would be naked but they most certainly were as they crouched before the dominatrixes in attendance or bent over furniture, allowing their butts to be whipped.

One naked man was tied down to a bondage table and a domme whom I’d later find out was the headmistress of the “dungeon” was in the midst of piercing his penis.

To say I was out of place in this setting was an understatement. I wasn’t just a fish out of water — I was a fish that had been shot off Earth, onto Venus.

I’d always pictured myself this liberal chick who got off wandering outside the constraints of my conservative upbringing. I realized I hadn’t really explored the world at all.

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I was still a mirror of my conservative family just with different politics. Now I was truly stretching the boundaries of my identity.

I found my friend Shawna just as one of the naked men at the party was handing her several hundred to urinate on him.

Yes, dollar signs popped over my eyes. I thought about how miserable I was at my corporate “dream” job. I thought about how all I really wanted was freedom.

I thought about how I could have that freedom if I did this job. I could make money quickly and open up my life to explore my creativity.

The lure of easy money and free time finally broke through the walls I’d placed between me and sex work.

I shocked myself by whipping a man that night. Though I only made $50 for it, I realized I’d be good at this.

And I was. Cut to years later and I look back on my career in the sex industry. Namely, I look back on what sex work has allowed me to do.

My various jobs in the sex industry have afforded me the time (and financial cushion) to pursue my creative dreams.

I’ve studied creative writing, paid my way through graduate school, made independent (non-pornographic) films, and traveled the world, all thanks to sex work.

Say what you want about my choice of generating livelihood, but you can’t say it hasn’t given me the ability to do what I want in life.

Sex work is hard work — still it afforded me freedoms I didn’t have in the corporate realm.

Learning the literal ropes of how to be a dominatrix wasn’t easy. I ended up having to put in much more work than I ever expected to make money at it.

I learned quickly that a dominatrix is never really off the job. The same is true now that I work as a high-class escort.

Independent sex workers, who advertise online, have to be constantly marketing themselves, constantly out there on social media and at industry events.

This means working much more than just the hours we clock in session. Besides getting the word out about our services, we also have to sift through the vast number of men who contact us with no intention of ever paying for a session.

And yet, from the beginning of my career as a sex worker, I did find I had much more freedom than I ever had as a corporate employee.

Maybe it was I felt freer because I was happier. I felt like I was finally being paid my worth. My schedule was finally mine to make on my own. Though I still had to work hard to earn money, it was possible to take off time when I wanted.

This meant I now also had the freedom (and money) to pursue my creative goals.

Sex work changed me for the better.

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This isn’t to say that ditching the corporate world for a job as an independent sex worker hasn’t been without its drawbacks.

In the beginning, I was honest with people about my newfound way of earning a living and was judged relentlessly for it.

If my friends didn’t understand my new job then strangers were horrified.

I’d meet someone new and they’d ask what I did for a living. I’d tell them the truth and suddenly this stranger was narrating my story for me, parroting every stereotype about sex workers I once had.

I’d find myself being lectured about how I’d been traumatized as a child, sexually molested, and that I had a pimp, some man who had forced me into sex work.

These strangers were always stunned when I finally got a word in edgewise to say that none of that was true.

And yet, these strangers still treated me like a freak and an outcast. I’ve learned that people just aren’t interested in challenging themselves to change their minds. They’re not interested in letting sex workers speak for ourselves.

Most people prefer to maintain their own narratives about who we are. They’re more concerned with keeping us in boxes so we fit in neatly with their own expectations and prejudices about our choice of work.

While I feel for sex workers who have suffered sexual trauma, that’s simply not my story. But still, I have suffered as a sex worker — just not in the way that most people imagine.

I’ve suffered because of social stigma. Long ago I stopped being honest about my job with anyone new I met. Keeping secrets and telling lies has also taken its toll on me.

For these reasons, there was a time when I regretted ever having become a sex worker. This was before I finally accepted that my life had irrevocably changed as a result of my decision to enter the sex industry.

I used to wish I could go back to being that innocent young woman again, standing on the threshold of my first BDSM party.

Maybe if I’d turned around and gone back home that night, today I’d enjoy the privilege of still being a mainstream member of society.

But then I wonder what my life would have been like had I continued to mold away at my corporate job. Would I have ever climbed up the ranks to get my own window office?

Maybe. But would that have made me happy? Would I have still been free to pursue my creative goals?

I doubt it, and the truth is, besides giving me the free time and money to explore the arts, working in the sex industry has also forced me to grow as a person.

My job has completely revolutionized my identity, pushing me to see the world in a new way.

I’m no longer so judgmental. I’m much more compassionate and less prejudiced in general, if only because I’ve experienced what it is to live on the margins.

Maybe I never was such a “nice” girl, after all. Maybe I was just elitist and close-minded. Leaving behind all that classism and snobbery really has been for the best.

Who knew that besides providing me with the time and money to be creative, sex work would also make me a better person.

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Mysterious Witt is an escort and a writer. Follow her on Twitter: @sexworkerwriter. Read more of her work at sexworkerwriter.com. Sign up for her newsletter to keep in touch. 

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.