Sex Work Empowers Me as a Disabled Woman – VICE

When people talk about sex work, the consensus from those who don’t do it is often that sex workers must be desperate for money and that clients must be losers. Let me clear up both of those assumptions right now: One, I live on permanent disability benefits and never have to work again; and two, the clients I get are handsome business professionals who don’t need help in the dating department. As an independent escort with the neurological disorder dyspraxia, I’ve always had trouble keeping a job because of my poor working memory, processing speed, and anxiety from sensory overload. Now, I get a high knowing that wealthy men will pay me more than I’ve ever made to take me out for steak dinners, have sex, and tell me how amazing I am.

I started sex work because it intrigued me, and I wanted some extra money. I joined a sugar daddy site about a year ago when a man invited me to his hotel room to play with my feet. My career in sex work slowly progressed from there. Having disability benefits to cover my rent and bills every month allows me to make sure I’m not doing anything I’m uncomfortable with. By working independently, I have all the power in terms of who I see, when I see them, how much I charge, and what I do when we’re together. It’s harder than working for an agency, but because of my job history, I know that I work better alone.

I’m good at this job because it’s all about getting to know people and enjoying my sexuality, which are two of my favorite things. I’ve never felt degraded doing sex work—but you know what has been degrading? Every single time I lost my job because I wasn’t “picking things up fast enough.” Years of not being able to support myself shattered my confidence. Now, I’m regularly meeting new people, having new experiences, and learning new things. Sex work is both challenging and rewarding, and for the first time in my life, I’m doing a job that makes me feel empowered.

But as much as I enjoy it, it’s still work. Clients pay me to be the best version of myself—not complain to them about how tired or sick I might be feeling. It doesn’t matter if I spent all day in bed because of anxiety or would prefer to spend my night binge-watching Netflix as opposed to having a threesome—if I booked those hours, I’m headed to work like any other job. The best part is when I’m in an Uber headed home, exhausted from the past few hours, and my anxiety has disappeared because I was forced to get out and have some fun. If I need to take a break from work because I’m burned out, I’m fortunate enough to do it because I work for myself and just made a wad of cash that will cover me for a while.

Sex work has taught me that my time is valuable. While there’s no price tag for someone’s worth, I’m practiced in declaring what my companionship costs. I never thought I’d be able to find a job that worked for me—but being an escort allows me to work around my health issues and save up for when I’m not feeling well. Sex work has provided things for myself and my loved ones that I never thought would be possible while only surviving off of disability benefits—like Christmas gifts and traveling. And because I’m legally able to work while living on disability, I’m happy to report my earnings just like anyone else would.

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