sex is business and business is... well, none of yours

Sitting here in the Berkeley hills, hanging out at my grandmother’s house, I feel frustrated. Frustrated because my application for my visa can’t mention what I do for work, or even that I’m employed- why? Because my work is socially stigmatized- it’s more socially acceptable for me to be unemployed than a sex worker. What the fuck.

I’m always trying to explain how I view sex work like any other work, at least for myself. At least I see it like other types of physically/emotionally intimate work, like massage, or being a carer, or a therapist- not everyone’s cut out for it. The only reason sex work is easier to start doing is because there’s no training or certificate to be earned required before getting into it. And you know, that wouldn’t be a terrible idea?

I wonder how you could pull that off, actually, without it being somehow seen as classist. I mean, it could be a free certificate- you go to classes and “graduate” after… maybe a massage one, and a sex work basics one. What would be covered in sex work basics? Safer sex, conflict resolution, negotiating boundaries, taking care of yourself, self defense… possibly another class on sex work economics, or another on sex worker writing/journaling/blogging, basic BDSM, roleplay/acting?

I wonder if that would be beneficial, both for the sex workers, giving them a skill set they might not otherwise have, or even have access to… but also for the clients, if it was a recognized thing. A client could say, “oh, this girl has gotten her cert in safer sex, she’s probably pretty well informed”. It could indicate a measure of care. I mean, it’s like the difference between being a burger griller at a fast food joint and a sous chef at a nice restaurant. Both involve cooking, sure, and both satisfy at different times- but one involves caring enough about the work to study for it, to try to become better and more well-rounded. I don’t know, but I think that would help people respect it as an actual job.

With that said, sex work will never be treated like regular work until we socially treat sexuality as natural, and desire as ok, in its variety. Whether with clients, lovers, or people who spanned the gap, the struggle to accept the desires they held really put a strain on them, on me, and I’m guessing on the lovers they had before and after me. I try to extend my hands and reassure them, tell them it’s ok to experiment with a consenting partner, to be risk-aware but not risk-adverse… but… it’s hard to fight back against years and years of conditioning.

It’s hard to not be broken.

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