So, here is the thing about sex work: it takes place and happens in many ways. Sometimes people trade sex for straight up cash. Other times, people might trade for another item or resource. This is also the beauty of sex work: it is diverse and unique.
Ever since entering law school, I met many people who understood that people needed to be given the tools to sell/trade sex safely (whatever safe means to that person selling/trading sex). I know, unfortunately, that there is also a huge resistance to even allow people who sell/trade sex on their own terms or give them the tools and resources to do sex work safely. For some, safe(r) just does not exist.
While it may appear that this post is about how to make sex work safe(r), I really want to write about the skills that sex work taught me. For instance, I am really trying to get into the groove of marketing my own skills as a non-sex worker. At first, I felt lost and unsure about where to start. Yet, I only had to look into my past experiences on website development, copywriting, or client development—to name a few.
During my time as an independent sex worker, I learned many skills relating to these few named experiences. I learned how to target my ads/website to a specific type of client (a client I knew I would have a good working and lasting relationship). From these client interactions, I learned how to read what type of client was a good fit for my work persona. I also had to learn how to read and check in during our more intimate interactions to ensure all parties left feeling satisfied (make of that what you will). As an independent sex worker, it is important to maintain good working relationships with other sex workers. Sex workers, especially those who sell or trade the same sexual services, build intricate and detailed safety networks—these networks are literally a lifeline.
The list of the skills I have developed could go on… conflict resolution, negotiation, client management, business management, researching (yes, researching), communication, creative thinking.
One day, my dream is for sex workers to live and work without fear of criminalization, violence and harassment. Part of this dream is realizing the many skills and experiences that demonstrates sex workers’ bad ass resiliency.