Advice,  How To,  Listicles,  Sex Work and Disability

Sex Work 101

Sex Work 101

I started working in the adult industry in 2013, since then I’ve been a cam model, Dominatrix, clip producer, freelancer, phone sex operator, and custom content producer. My skill set is wide and varied, and I’m proud of the work I do. Sex work allows me my own schedule, and it lets me deal with multiple chronic illnesses and disabilities without worrying when I’m going to be able to work again. Due to my backlog of content, I can earn money even on my sickest days and it can keep me afloat when months are hard.

Below, I’ve noted down a few key points anyone should take into consideration before thinking about jumping into the adult industry. I could write for hours on the topic, which is why this will be something of a series. A short ‘Intro to Sex Work’, if you will. To kick things off, the basics; things you should keep in mind, and future implications if you chose this career. I’ll go into each topic further at a later date.

1. There’s no such thing as a ‘typical’ sex worker.

I’ve met so many diverse people in this line of work, and no one sex worker is the same.

Some sex workers produce clips with fetishes people think of as common like CEI, masturbation, FemDom, jerk off instruction, and some produce clips of belly button poking, lawn mower riding, and ignoring the camera. There really does seem to be a fetish for everyone. Likewise, some people never get nude, whilst some bare all. If clips aren’t your forte then there’s live camming, phone calls, custom content, and even erotica.

There’s no one true way or ‘right way’ to be a sex worker. It’s that diversity and range of content on offer that make sex work a flexible job for many.

There’s a market out there for nearly anything and everything. Capitalise on it.

2. Know your boundaries.

Though there are many different fetishes to play with, you should only do what you’re completely comfortable with. There’s no hard and fast rule on how to make money within the industry. Sure, there are many people who use toys, masturbate, and play out the girl next door fantasy, however that doesn’t mean to say you have to. For example, if you’re not comfortable getting nude, maybe fetish work or Domination is for you!

Along a similar thread, it’s best to know what you will and will not do in terms of fetishes before you jump in. There are a number of controversial fetishes many people stay away from due to their own personal feelings or how it’s viewed by many, for example, homewrecking. There are also some fetishes that are illegal in certain countries (there will more on this in later posts).

Lastly, if a client comes to you saying that another person will do it, it doesn’t mean you have to. That client is more than likely trying to push your buttons, get a discounted rate, or just trying to rile you up. They’re not worth the energy.

3. Information leaks will probably happen.

The allure of the forbidden draws people in, but it also makes them hungry for more. Even now, people still ask me what ‘my real name is’ or where I ‘really live’. Because you’re displaying yourself as either more emotionally or physically available to people – even if it’s a part of your hustle, they seem to think that they’re entitled to know your whole life story. They’re not, no matter what they say or if they try to guilt you into telling them.

Your personal security is paramount. Before you sign up to any site, figure out your stage name. A name you’ll use only for sex work. Don’t make it a nickname or something personal to you. If you’re stuck look at your favourite TV shows, a map, a most popular name list etc. Try to pick something you like as your name will become your work persona, brand and part of your USP (unique selling point).

After you’ve picked a name, create an email. Never use the same email for an adult site under your pseudonym as your personal accounts. Always back up your data, and be mindful of all the information you accidentally give away – change your pet’s name, lie about where you live, change your appearance. Of course, some people are comfortable revealing some of these things – there’s no one way that suits all! However, if you are new to the industry, I’d edge more on the side of caution. It’s better to be careful early on if you’re unsure if it’s a career you really want to develop, then jump in the deep end and regret it later.

4. It’s not for everyone.

If you want a future in politics, teaching, law and such, then sex work probably isn’t for you. Unfortunately, many people hold the belief that sex work is demeaning work, and you should be ashamed of yourself for doing it. If you’re teaching pre-school children and it comes out that you used to work on cam sites, parents start to worry you’ll “corrupt” their children or the school could decide it would “damage their repatriation”. It happens. Many still see sex workers as the butt of a joke, a Halloween costume or the absolute worst thing in the world.

Sex workers are real humans, and sex work is real work – though unfortunately, a lot of people don’t get that.

5. It’s not fast, and easy money.

Contrary to how the media portrays sex work, and how people talk about it in the pub around their mates, sex work isn’t easy money.

Within the job, sex workers juggle many roles. Anything from a girlfriend, a stand-in therapist, an entertainer, a DJ, a professional photographer, editor, director, writer, make up artist … I could go on. The skillset involved in being a full-time cam model, clip producer, Dominatrix, escort etc is far more varied than people think. We have to be constantly aware of our own hustle, how we can improve it, and figure out how to work in a world that constantly wants to put us down, and discredit what we do.

If you look at the classic elements of online sex work, you’ll start to see it creep into everyday life. You’ll see apps use classic adult site structures and Twitch streamers have the same hustle.

6. No job security.

If you’re hired by a reputable company, there’s a good chance you’ll have a benefit scheme, pension, a contract, and know where you stand. There’s no such thing in sex work.

You’re completely at the mercy of the market, and if you only work on one site or take part in one hustle that fails, and you have no back up you might not be able to pay rent that month. Diversification within sex work is the key to keeping your head above water. It’s also a good idea to know what skills you have to offer. Have some spare time on your hand and a wiz at coding? Offer to make websites. An expert with editing? Offer to edit clips for a fee. The skills you learn through sex work are valuable, make sure you treat them as such.

Before deciding to do sex work full time make sure you’ve got at least 3-6 months saved just in case it doesn’t work out, and always know that part-time work is an option.

Figure out what works best for you.

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  • Self-professed 'Professional (Disabled) Internet Human' Ruby Rousson runs Arousibility, The Ruby Umbrella and a number of other sites that all aim to help disabled and chronically ill people in some way shape or form. Twitter and Instagram: @MissRubyRousson

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