What Stresses Us Out

“On the whole most clients are great and the hour is easy as pie. Sometimes though, I get clients who want to work me to the bone for the entire hour. It is difficult to maintain energy, enthusiasm, and interest when you’re trying to suck off a 400 lb asshole who keeps telling you to ‘suck harder.'”

“The most stressful aspect of stripping for me is having to lie to friends and family about what I do for a living.”

“I supported my addiction and the addictions of other guys I hung around with. We kind of took turns with this role depending on who had the dates and how much each of us was pulling in. It was very stressful not knowing how you were going to survive minute to minute, hour to hour.”

“For me, the hardest part of the work was “playing dumb.” I’m a well-educated feminist and it was very hard for me to have my clients believe I was a nymphomaniac bimbo.”

Interestingly, most adult entertainers feel that working in other common occupations, such as retail or hospitality, is far more stressful because of the low pay and poor treatment.

However, sex industry workers have unique stresses not experienced by mainstream workers. They worry about people finding out what they do, how their parents feel about their jobs, and what their friends and families back home are saying about them.

More things that stress us out in the words of Trade Secrets contributors:

  • Uncertainty of confirmed work.
  • Lack of professionalism.
  • Not making any money.
  • Standing out there where everyone can see me. (on the street)
  • Fighting with other workers.
  • Fighting with clients.
  • Working outside in the cold.
  • Wondering if I am going to have a safe night.
  • The stress of always keeping thin, looking hot, and having a deep enough tan line.
  • Pressure to perform.
  • Competition.
  • Hate crimes.
  • Internalized homophobia (my own and clients).
  • Health.
  • Emotional and mental health issues.
  • Shame and stigma.
  • Not knowing if I’m going to get busted for solicitation.
  • Gay bashing on the street.
  • Knowing that the residents do not want us working on their streets.
  • Being asked personal questions by clients.
  • Fear of getting caught doing sex work in my own home.
  • Fear of using public transit late at night while coming or going to outcalls.
  • Aging.
  • Language barriers.
  • Not having enough clients.
  • Robbery.
  • Police and building manager.
  • I am afraid of no money at the end of a day.
  • The long hours.
  • Physically and mentally strenuous nature of performing and interacting with customers.
  • The preferential treatment of some dancers, and not getting paid what I know I’m worth.
  • Threat of violence or arrest.
  • Witnessing drug use, violence, and other destructive behaviours.
  • Talking to and sharing emotional experiences with clients.
  • Negotiating rates.
  • You can’t predict whether it’s going to be feast or famine.
  • Fear of losing my children.
  • Fear of losing my straight job if found out.
  • Fear of my children finding out and how they might react.
  • Constantly answering the phone.
  • Consumers who just call and waste your time or even book an appointment and no show.
  • Having things thrown at me when I’m working on the street.

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