On Supporting Sex Workers

Hey, I want to remind y’all that when we talk about supporting sex workers that means street-based sex workers too and part of that includes not mocking sex workers for having prices lower than we would imagine/ set for ourselves.  I see a lot of jokes about sex work where the punchline comes down to ‘cheapness’ what you’ve gotta understand is that sex work not only covers a wide area of actions but costs as well. Some people are gonna charge prices you consider ‘too low’ some people are gonna trade sex for housing.  Some people are going to exchange sex for transportation, for drugs, for whatever you can imagine. We don’t need to shame folks for sexual barter, or for charging a price under what we would imagine sex is worth.  One of the many perks of sex work is that you’re often able to set your own prices- this, like anything, is influenced by demand, location, demographics, etc. Some sex workers are not in a position to charge as much as others- while we can critique the systems that inform THAT, and I would argue we should, we need to make sure those critiques stay with those systems and are not aimed at workers. I am not interested in shaming anyone because they have ‘low’ prices.

Furthermore how much you charge per service is not an indication of your sense of worth, self-esteem or value. One of the constant attacks sex workers receive from civilians is that accepting money for sex automatically ties monetary value to personal worth.  This comes from the ways anti-sex worker sentiment is deliberately gendered and rooted in misogyny. Society says that women and femmes worth comes from sex and sexuality and charging for sex infringes on that- if you have sex for 75$ you’re only ‘worth’ 75$.  Sex workers are business savvy, they analyze market trends and understand economics. Setting a price is not an indication of low-self esteem or whatever the fuck else misogynistic bullshit, it’s a response to market trends.  Honestly, unless you are offering consultations to sex workers about their business model and are giving them SOLICITED advice about how to improve their business then it’s not your place, or mine, or anyone’s to comment as to price or mock them for it.  If someone wants to have sex for a hotel room, or suck dick for a ride home, or have sex for 50$ and a meal then they can. If someone wants to have sex in exchange for drugs or alcohol that’s fine too- move away from respectability politics and ‘acceptable sex work.’  There are folks who will engage in sexual acts for money, for housing, for transportation, for extra income, so that they can travel to places they might not otherwise be able to, to network, to support their families, it’s all acceptable and it’s all for them to decide.  Supporting sex workers means just that- supporting sex workers and their decisions, agency, and autonomy

 

This is an unrolled twitter thread I did earlier, you can check it out on my twitter page which is linked on the side or, for the original unrolled version check here

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2 comments

  1. I see your point, but… If you’re trying to support yourself and maybe a family as a freelance / independent contractor in a profession, it gets rather difficult if others in the field are charging less than a living wage. Shaming is one thing, but asking for some degree of solidarity is not unreasonable, no?

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    • Sure, but I am less talking about someone undercutting your prices and more about others being shamed. It’s one thing to say “hey please don’t undercut my rates so we can all survive” and “wow, you only charge $50? you must be cheap.” Having a constructive dialogue about the market and economics is different than mocking someone for ‘being cheap’

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