I’m having a bad night. I spent some time talking with a few of my pals. They happen to be sex workers. I regularly come across the attitude that sex workers must be bad people. They must be somehow tainted.
Clearly, you don’t know any. These are some bright, capable, fabulous folks. They make life choices you may not make… but that’s because we are all needed.
I sincerely believe that sex work is respectable work. Sexual connection is a big deal. Not everyone is capable of finding a romantic relationship. Many sex workers have long careers and form deep bonds with clients.
Are some people abused?
Should we go through every industry, every occupation, every endeavor of human existence? Guess what. The way to decrease abuse is to increase protection, not to criminalize. If we acted like it mattered when a sex worker was abused, less of it would happen.
But instead we, as a society, act like people who engage in sex work deserve whatever they get. Because we have no understanding of consent and ownership of bodies.
I’m trying to be gender neutral. Why? Because I know sex workers of every gender configuration including no gender at all. People do sex work for lots of reasons. Can it be unhealthy? Shit dude. Sewing can be unhealthy. Drinking too much water can be unhealthy. (It can kill you.)
Sex work is not inherently more degrading than any other profession.
Just like people who have been extremely promiscuous without pay are not necessarily bad people. Nor even bad for children. Many of us have a much finer sense of boundaries.
I was reminded recently how fuzzy some people are about sexual exposure boundaries. Like, whoa. People, uhm, have different thought processes around this than me.
But dude. The people who have a lot of sex behind closed doors with careful boundaries around that are not societal problems.
We know we only want adults in our sex lives. We know we only want truly consenting people in our sex lives.
How in the fuck are we the problem?
Sex workers have a much lower rate of STDs than the normal population. Did you know that? Do you know why? Because they are more educated than almost anyone else about sexual health. It is their job to know. Yes, there is a certain slice of the sex worker population who is much more at risk.
But it isn’t the whole industry. Nothing like.
With every new intersection of marginalization the risks go up. The access to education and resources go down.
That’s why I believe in reparations. We have documented that women of color are trying to do more with less than anyone else.
That’s not fair. I understand that throughout most of history people were able to be ignorant about the lives of the people around them. There was a lot more “Well you deserve ___” that went on.
We are to the point where we have studied this shit so exhaustively across so many mediums for so many years…
We need to help fix hundreds of years of trauma. We did this. As a country. We created this damage. We need to help fix it. Just like we have to clean up oil spills. Just like we have to clean up what the hell we are doing in Flint.
We need to act like the purpose of having money is so you can do shit with it to make the world better not so you can have more expensive shit than everyone else put together.
But my values aren’t everyones values.
More the pity.