Id make u do it
I started doing sex work at the age of 18 years old. It began with selling my underwear via craigslist ads, and continued on through clip selling, web cam modeling, stripping, and mainstream porn.
A few months ago I decided to leave the porn industry and discontinue any clip selling, webcam modeling, and stripping. My decision to move on from these aspects of my life (parts which I’d spent the last two years building my life around) had been a long time coming.
I got into sex work as a way to make quick money. I’d heard that selling panties was an easy way to make decent money on a time crunch, went for it, and kept it up for a while.
A few months down the road, I had left my job (for unrelated reasons), and wanted to see what my options were until I could figure something else out. I signed up for a website that advertised opportunity to make good money on your own time and your own terms. It boasted of the power you had over the content you sold: no need to get naked, every model set their own boundaries, and could make great money doing it.
I went into this line of work not really knowing where my boundaries were, and decided I’d figure that out as I went. I quickly learned I could expand my income further the further I was willing to go into the industry, and with the financial stability I was quickly attaining, I found it easier and easier to say, “okay.” to doing new things on camera.
Around the time I started to consider the possibility of pursuing a career in porn, I fell in love with myself and the world around me. I found a passion and hope for life through the knowledge and connections I made with our planet’s biome – my first tastes of this found in permaculture, mycology, and herbalism. Not that I hadn’t had a love or hope before, but these things gave that love and hope power, and purpose. I quickly decided I wanted to use the financial opportunities I had before me to build a life around the things that I loved. I had a goal to work toward, and that gave me good reason to take advantage of the financial pull I would soon attain.
I decided to dedicate all of my time and energy into making enough money to buy and develop a piece of land. I knew the life I wanted, and immersing myself in the mainstream porn industry was a way to get there.
But getting closer to the life I wanted to live brought me deeper into that which I was working to distance myself from.
From the very beginning of my journey into the industry my heart and mind ached for a lifestyle I wasn’t betting on finding there. Building my life around my career constantly contradicted what my heart and mind were yearning for, and living in that paradox was a constant struggle, but one I held to be a sacrifice for the better of my future.
Porn was my means to an end, and I knew there was an expiration date on how much I could tolerate. I wasn’t sure when that would be, and decided I’d go for it as long as I could. And if I was doing it, I’d go all the way. I wanted to get in, get out, and move on as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Quickly after becoming a part of the industry I became aware of the long list of issues it portrayed and perpetuated (as most industries do). I wanted change, and I wanted to share that with as many people as I could, but porn wasn’t my platform – it was a stepping stone.
I battled with myself daily on whether or not I was making the right choices. For myself, for my community, and for my peers. As long as I felt I was working toward something meaningful, and making progress, I decided to stick it out.
I did all I could to be extremely thoughtful and present in the choices I made while in the industry, but looking back now, I made a lot of decisions that were not good for my health.
A huge portion of porn is all about pushing the envelope, and a huge portion of the scenes I performed in did not align with my personal and moral preferences. I did my best to sway dialogue and scenarios into directions I felt more comfortable with whenever I saw the chance, but at the end of the day, I wasn’t in control of the themes, or the finished products. I would always go back to the rationalization that I didn’t get into the industry to change it. I had a plan to try and better our world, and porn was getting me there. But that didn’t keep the mental, emotional, and physical toll from taking.
I gave so much of myself to my work. To performing partners, to directors, to my agent, and to the audience. Sex work never harbored a safe space for me to share my sexuality and affection wholly. I constantly gave my tenderness and presence in return for financial capital, and I was constantly urged to share more than I did the time before. All for the sake of their views, their shock value, and all for the sake of my future, my want to create something completely contrary to the cycle I had become a part of.
A few months ago I reached my breaking point. I was exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally by my work and the lifestyle that came along with it. Over the course of a few weeks the battle I’d been struggling to keep at bay unraveled, and I was no longer able to rationalize staying in the industry.
For the sake of my health, I walked away from what I spent 2+ years building my life around.
Leaving that part of my life was the best decision I could make for myself. The space I now have to fill my heart and mind with the things that I love has brought me a joy and fulfillment that my career made nearly impossible.
Further still, I now have the space to look back upon an industry and my experiences in it without the bias my financial stability being put on the line ensues.
I do not support the industry as it stands today. A huge majority of porn being produced and consumed perpetuates ideas and stereotypes targeting and harming multiple minorities. There are deep-seeded issues still very present in the industry, and I do believe that extreme reform is necessary if it’s ever to be a safe environment for those involved – especially the performers.
The issue of harmful media being created does not stop with porn. Many; if not all industries in a capitalist economy take on strategies that push for profit and ignore any accountability for the threat that those strategies more often than not pose to the health of both workers, and consumers.
My intention with this article has been to touch base with all interested in where I’m at and why I left the industry, and that is deeply connected to problems I think need to be confronted within it. As I continue to process and think critically upon my experiences, I feel a strong responsibility to speak more honestly and explicitly upon these issues.
I appreciate you taking the time to read through what I have to say today, and I hope that, if nothing more, it inspires you to think more critically of what you consume, and how it got to you. It ain’t all bad, but it sure as frick ain’t all good, either.