The Financials and Industry: How Sex Work Works

Sex work is not just prostitution!

I’ve done several different types of sex work, these are: erotic massage, domination, stripping, and sugar daddy-ing. I haven’t done: prostitution, phone sex, cam girl work, live sex shows and pornography.

Erotic Masseur: This was my first foray into the exciting world of sex work. I was looking for jobs on Craigslist and I answered an ad looking for “open-minded girls.” I’ll tell you more about the interview process in a later post. The service is a 1-hour massage with a happy ending. They charged the customer around $160/hour. You saw $40 of that. $20 went to the phone operator for booking the appointment. $100 went to the agency. There was this implicit understanding that the customer would tip you at least $40 so you’d get around $80 per session. But then you had to factor in taxi, which they’d also generally pay for if you asked them. Most of the time I walked out with around $100 per appointment. If you did 2-3 appointments a day 3-4 nights a week, you could make a living on par with working full-time at a cafe. It certainly wasn’t a good living, but it gave you a lot of time to yourself.

When you were on call, you had to be available on 30 minutes notice. So you could be at appointments on time, the agency suggested you hang out during the day at their midtown office, close to their midtown in-call location. The office was a depressing scene. Lots of average-looking-to-pretty but downtrodden mostly immigrant and lower-socio-economic-level girls from the boroughs watching talk TV and reading tabloid magazines all afternoon. I lived in Manhattan at the time, so I had the luxury of hanging out at home and only going into the office when I had to pay the agency. Because of the subway and Midtown traffic, it was hard to get to appointments on time during the day. I stopped working afternoons in lieu of nights and evenings, when I could take a taxi from my apartment and be at an appointment in 20 minutes.

After the in-call location got raided by the police, I stopped working there. It always felt sketchy anyways. I did out-calls only at hotels and private residences, mostly upscale. This sounds like it would be unsafe, but I never had a problem. When it comes down to it, professional men have a lot to lose, and that protects you.

Pros:

  1. Flexible schedule.
  2. Cash income.
  3. Potential to steal customers from the agency.
  4. Potential to acquire high net worth individuals as benefactors.
  5. It’s a relatively low-risk behaviour.

Cons:

  1. You’re on call most of the time.
  2. Potential to get busted by undercover police–doing massage without a license is a misdemeanor!
  3. The work was seasonal; summer sucked. You could be doing fine in the colder months, then once summer came around you were broke.
  4. Erotic massage was never profitable enough to save money or have bad months. I was still making ends meet with credit cards.

Dominatrix: I knew nothing about BDSM, other than the fact that self-labeled submissive men admired me and said I was dominant. When I was 25, I started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I became friends with the handful of girls at my studio. A few were into the fetish scene. As we became closer, they told me I could make $300 per hour wrestling men. I had been working as an erotic masseur for the past 2-3 years making $100/hour sporadically, so this looked like a much better deal. I liked wrestling and was very good at it, why not give physical domination a try?

I put up a profile on the internet and immediately started getting work. I began as a wrestling domme, then my repertoire expanded as I got more requests for other services: trampling, muscle worship, fantasy scenes, foot smothering, verbal humiliation, scissoring… Domination is very straight forward and I have only worked independently. I charge $300-$400 per hour, which is the going rate for an experienced and/or specialized domme. I still do domination work for select customers, but wrestling is no longer part of my repertory because it’s too hard on my body.

Most pro-dommes work independently because working for a dungeon is rip off. The dungeon charges the customer $300 per hour and the domme only sees $80 of that. What true dominant would put up with that? Furthermore, a lot of dungeons, especially the ones with inexperienced girls are known for sexually servicing the customers–mostly giving hand jobs, sometimes fellatio or sexual intercourse. That is generally not done in legit domination sessions because a dominant does not service a submissive; the submissive serves the domme. If a domme is servicing a submissive, the submissive is not being dominated and therefore it is not domination.

Pros:

  1. Flexible schedule.
  2. Cash income.
  3. Being dominant is fun and natural for me.
  4. Clients tend to be very respectful.

Cons:

  1. Work is inconsistent.
  2. Wrestling with people larger than you can be dangerous.
  3. Some of your clients are broken people working out serious issues. I’m a natural empath and I vibed dark and painful things from not all, but a handful of my clients.
  4. Domination can be emotionally heavy.
  5. Some of your clients are very needy, obnoxious and draining.

Stripper: I got out of sex work for awhile, but after I losing the business that I co-founded with my abusive, sociopathic ex boyfriend, I needed to work again. I was confused, anxious and financially ruined. My ex had broken my spirit, so I didn’t have the emotional strength and confidence necessary to be a dominatrix. Erotic massage wasn’t enough money to support myself and pay down credit card debt. I was dealing with an anxiety disorder, which had me randomly in bed, crying and incapable of moving for hours at a time. For this reason, holding down a job with a schedule was out of the question. I was running out of money until an ex-stripper girlfriend of mine suggested I become a stripper.

I first auditioned to be a a stripper was when I was 23. But at 23, my body wasn’t toned enough and I didn’t know how to get the “stripper look” I needed to get hired. Fortunately, at 30, I was in excellent shape from my breakup diet and tonnes of yoga. My friend coached me on my stripper look. She also taught me how to dance, walk and carry myself. I auditioned at an upscale Gentlemen’s Club in NYC two years ago, and stripping has been my primary method of supporting myself since then.

Every night when you arrive at work, you pay a house fee to the club. Depending on the club and the time you get in, this can be anywhere from $40-$200 in NYC upscale gentlemen’s clubs. Then, at the end of the night, each club has a tip-out scheme which is usually mandatory and can range from $20-$80 (DJ, Housemom, Hair/Makeup, and sometimes even Management takes a cash tip out from every girl which is extortionate and shady). Add in a taxi home and dinner, a dancer should expect that at least $200-$300 of her nightly earnings will go directly to the club and work-related expenses before she sees a penny. Some nights you make $1000+, some nights you go home negative.

Stripping isn’t what it was in the 90s. In the 90s, allegedly girls used to go home with $1000 a night, without selling the customers drugs or having sex with them. This isn’t the case anymore. I don’t make anywhere near that much. The girls that are better hustlers do better (I don’t have their nerve)… the girls that sell drugs and sex do the best (I don’t want to have run-ins with the cops or owe the VIP hosts anything or ever have to deal with the politics). The money in stripping isn’t what it used to be, but it’s still pretty consistent and more fun and less back-breaking than standing behind a bar all night taking drink orders and having an inflexible work schedule.

Pros:

  1. Most clubs that are worth working for have flexible schedules.
  2. You make a lot of your money in cash.
  3. It can be a lot of fun and sexually empowering.
  4. You can have very profitable nights.
  5. It’s more consistent than other types of sex work.
  6. It’s legal work.
  7. I like most of my co-workers.

Cons:

  1. Clubs with VIP/Champagne Rooms where big money is made have a lot of politics.
  2. Because the club takes so much money from you, on bad nights you work for the club for no pay.
  3. It’s unhealthy, exhausting, and draining to be drinking and dancing until 5am several nights a week.
  4. Customers can be very disrespectful, especially in the VIP rooms.
  5. Stripping is legal, but most of the big money is made from illegal activities (drugs and prostitution).
  6. Stripping is legal, but when clubs get raided, girls often get charged with “solicitation” by undercover cops.
  7. In the eyes of the management, you are always wrong and you are extremely expendable.
  8. After reading “Orange is the New Black,” I’ve determined that the culture of strip clubs is a lot like being in prison.
  9. Objectification.
  10. Despite exorbitant house fees and tip-outs, managers do not protect you nor act in your interest; they do what’s best for their bottom line and the club.

Sugar Daddy: I recently decided that I needed more time to work towards my career. Dancing is exhausting and I’m often too tired the day after I work to concentrate or get anything meaningful done the following day. Plus, running around in heels, staying up till 5am on work nights, and drinking with customers is hard on my body.

I decided to give SeekingArrangement.com a try. The website says the average sugar baby gets $3000 per month, but most of the guys I’ve spoken with offer around $300-$500 each time you “hang out” (have sex) with them. That works out to around $1000-$2000 per month, which isn’t enough money for me to entertain the idea of sleeping with someone I’m not particularly attracted to. Plus, you have to see them a lot and put up with them. And many of which are needy, self-centered, insufferable and/or cheating on their wives. (I’m a big advocate of open relationships. There are exceptions, but I generally do not respect cheaters.)

There are, however, exceptions to the $1-2K per month I’m consistently offered. Some SDs agree to more generous arrangements, which is what I’m after. I won’t settle for less than $3-5K/month and I don’t want to hang out more than once a week. If someone pays my bills and makes my life easier while I work towards my career goals, I’ll happily fulfill their sexual desires in return. That’s a fair trade. If they’re a good person that treats me well, then looks aren’t even that important to me after a few glasses of wine. With any luck, I’ll find a sugar daddy that understands my industry and can give me career guidance and connections too.

Pros:

  1. High earning potential.
  2. Potential for nice gifts, dinners, and travel.
  3. Socializing with powerful high-net-worth individuals is inherently valuable.
  4. Sugar Daddying gives me more time for me to rest, take care of myself, see friends, and, most importantly, work on my career and personal projects.
  5. Legal; It’s not prostitution if you have a relationship with the person.
  6. Many Sugar Daddies are powerful men, many of them are also married, so they have to be on good behaviour when with you. They have more to lose than you do.
  7. Sugar Daddies treat you better than men in strip clubs.

Cons:

  1. It takes time and patience to find the right arrangement.
  2. Sugar Daddies’ careers and families come first; they tend to be flaky and cancel appointments with you on short notice.
  3. Many sugar daddies are needy and/or insufferable and/or have poor social skills and/or are cheaters.
  4. Cheaters that disrespect their wives can’t be trusted to respect their mistresses. (Not all SDs are cheaters.)
  5. You become very aware of the imbalance of wealth distribution. It’s unfair and depressing.
  6. It’s insulting to get offered $200 for sex from multi-millionaires.
  7. Objectification.
  8. A lot of SDs say they want someone intelligent that they can talk to, but when it comes down to it most just want something attractive to fuck.
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