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Nobody would hire me because I was a sex worker.  So I started my own business.

 | News Today

Nobody would hire me because I was a sex worker. So I started my own business.

| Latest News Headlines | News Today


When people ask me how I started working in sex, I say it happened. To be honest, sex work scared me. My sexuality and self-confidence were in shambles due to trauma, and the idea that they would suddenly become my main source of income seemed ludicrous. But I was desperate.

I’d like to say I put on my latex catsuit, 6 inch Pleaser rigs, and a sharp, sharp riding crop, all in the name of sexual freedom, feminism, or just being a badass. The fact is, I started my career as a dominatrix with terror.

I have a lot of privilege in this society (I’m white, cisgender, able-bodied, etc.), but I had trouble keeping a job because of my immigration status and my mental health. I was living paycheck to paycheck, in a windowless room away from the L train in Brooklyn. My panic attacks came as often as the rats in my kitchen (frequently).

My life was vibrant with queer parties and provocative art projects, but it lacked purpose and direction. Sex work gave me that direction. In fact, it changed my whole life.

I couldn’t imagine the obstacles sex work would create in my future, but I was finally able to free myself from the anxiety of my credit card being declined while trying to buy food.

I moved to Manhattan, was able to afford health care, and was finally financially stable. And despite the fact that most of my nights were spent waiting in a dungeon to step on some guy’s balls for a few hours, I actually got a whole lot happier.

I was now an independent contractor setting my working hours and limits, and I had full control of my career. I began to see myself in a powerful and attractive light that I had never had before.

But after a few years, that light began to fade. I have experienced sex worker burnout, a term used to describe emotional and physical exhaustion and stress from overwork in the sex industry. The job itself was tough at times, but it wasn’t necessarily the job or the clients that made me feel that way. The feelings of isolation and loneliness related to the way I was perceived and treated by others really affected me.

I became an almost unreal character for others. To them, my job defined who I was and I didn’t feel respected as a nuanced individual. I was either perceived as stupid for having used my body to earn money, or as immoral for having such a job, or as a novelty, like a clown at a party.

All of this, combined with the fear of being arrested, injured or killed, made me feel trapped.

I started scouring hiring websites looking for a job that could help me out. It was ultimately a horrific act of sexual violence perpetrated against me by a police officer that got me arrested completely.

Around this time, I started dating Nick. His life had also been difficult. His father had been killed in prison after being wrongfully incarcerated, and Nick had to pick up the pieces. He was one of those types of independent geniuses. He hadn’t gone to college, but he had taught himself everything from computer engineering to business management, and he had risen through the ranks of New York’s tech industry. He was sweet, rational, and a megababe.

“I am also grateful that my work now reaches more people and that I can work with my partner in work and in life, Nick.”

The beginning of our relationship was a beautiful train wreck of new relationship energy and deep post-sex work depression. It turns out that when you’ve built your self-esteem being a dominatrix who gets paid to have men worship her, adjusting to more “normal” circumstances takes time.

This slump was exaggerated by the fact that “friends” abandoned my life – I was less interesting to them now and could no longer afford to pay the check. I also felt rejected by many of my sex worker friends, as if I had committed the ultimate sin of jumping ship.

I started looking for a new job to refocus my life and finances. But no matter where I applied, even to “feminist” sex shops or progressive establishments, I was rejected. No matter how I arranged my resume, highlighting my business degree or over eight years of management experience, putophobia followed me.

I had friends who guaranteed me I could get a job at their workplace, only to later come back and say their manager considered my previous job a “responsibility”. When I got an interview, I quickly realized that my interviewers just didn’t understand what my previous job was about. An audible gasp came from one interviewer as I explained what a dominatrix is, while another simply ended the conversation on the spot. I found it infuriating that in a society that constantly tells sex workers they need to get a “real” job, no one would actually give me a chance.

“As a society, we are obsessed with sex workers, but we don’t treat them like humans. We hijack their aesthetics, use their services, and imitate their work, but we don’t give them the respect they deserve.

As my savings dwindled and all of my applications were rejected, Nick began to encourage me to consider what would make me truly happy and motivated. I loved helping people, was intrigued by sexuality, and had first-hand experience of our culture’s issues around sex and shame. I longed for a career where I could make more people feel good about sex. One where I could redefine myself as someone who had learned from her experience as a sex worker and was determined to challenge the shame the world had placed on her.

That’s why we created Wild Flower, which fused a space for sexual learning with resources and products to support it in a non-binary, gay-centric, and inclusive environment.

It seemed overwhelming at first. But with a few hundred dollars, hours spent creating educational videos and giant papier-mâché diagrams, a website built and designed by Nick, and a passion for helping themselves and others, Wild Flower emerged and s is flourishing. It grew to not only support us financially, but also to reflect the essence of who I am and what I consider my life’s purpose. We hope to show people that you don’t have to be perfect or rich to be successful.

Nobody would hire me because I was a sex worker.  So I started my own business.

 | News Today
“Every day, I refer to a skill or knowledge that I have acquired during my time as a sex worker and I am grateful for it.

Managing the day-to-day operations of a sex toy business turned out to be more similar to my job as a dominatrix than I thought. The level of self-management and self-motivation is about the same, I work with many of the same tools and toys, and I exercise similar compassion as I continue to help others with their sexual needs.

I also struggle with a lot of the same aspects―not overworking myself, maintaining my limits, and avoiding getting too emotionally involved in my work. However, I refer back every day to a skill or knowledge that I have acquired during my time as a sex worker, and I am grateful for it.

I certainly wouldn’t be so confident and charismatic if I didn’t have the experience of fulfilling the sexual fantasies of strangers mere moments after meeting them. I am also grateful that my work now reaches more people and that I can work with my partner in work and in life, Nick.

As an immigrant with no family support, wealth or connections, I believe my vulnerability and determination have been the reason for my success. I am also very lucky. If I hadn’t had Nick’s support and access to a few hundred dollars in credit, Wild Flower wouldn’t exist. I don’t think so either.

My situation is not typical. Many sex workers, especially those who are transgender and/or of color, face even worse discrimination and treatment if they choose to leave the industry. As a society, we are obsessed with sex workers, but we don’t treat them like humans. We hijack their aesthetics, use their services, and imitate their work, but don’t give them the respect they deserve. We must do better.

By decreasing the stigma around sex work and eliminating putophobia, we create more options for sex workers, increase their safety, empower them in their careers, and treat them with the humanity they deserve.

Some labels seem to carry weight that diminishes all other elements of a person – such as immigrant, survivor, and most importantly, sex worker. I hope to change that notion by showing that while all of these things describe me, I am so much more.

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Nobody would hire me because I was a sex worker. So I started my own business.

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