Language is something that is constantly fascinating to me. The way we use it, the way it shapes us, the way we can choose to shape it. Language is particularly fascinating when it comes to “sex work”.
The term sex worker can be polarizing, both within the sex work community and outside of it. There are many individuals who operate as a sex worker at least how mainstream society would classify it , whether they chose the term for themselves or not. It’s a broad term used to describe a varied and incredibly misunderstood industry.
I claim the term sex-worker, although I have never had physical intercourse for money. I have been a stripper, a phone-sex operator, a Professional Dominatrix and a BDSM educator. All of these experiences have shaped my view of the world and the way I interact with it. For me, what started off as a fun (ie taboo) and profitable job has now become a career, a lifestyle and a calling. As my focus shifts more completely to BDSM education I feel strongly about never severing my ties to the “sex worker” portion of my identity and my life experience.
I know many women who work in this field but fiercely hate the term, especially Pro Dommes, most of whom don’t have any traditionally sexual interaction with their clients. They tend to give a rather stern look or lecture. Every single person as the right to assert their own identity over others labels of them.
So now I pose some questions to you, fair reader.
Do you identify as a sex worker? Why?
Are there particular jobs that “should” be classified as sex work?
What do you think “sex work” is?
I would agree with your definition. I think it aptly describes the industry, and gives the appropriate amount of respect to those engaged in it. Sex workers are just like any other workers, and once they identify as such, they can organize to use their collective power to improve conditions. I feel like this is particularly hard in the US, in part because we have such an individualistic society.