Burnout. Every career has its version and sex work probably has higher rates because the work is so much more personal, because sex workers shoulder such a huge portion of the work individually. A stripper cannot outsource her work and make a living. An escort can outsource some of her administrative work, but has to make more money in order to pay for that luxury. We cannot clone our selves to go meet clients. Scaling up or out is impossible. At best, we can make and sell content for passive income, or raise our rates. We still have to do the actual work though, whether writing, photographing, interacting, and showing up.
This is a novella-length essay of my journey into and out of burnout. I’m still in the process but am through the worst and on my way out. Take what you find valuable, if anything, and I sincerely hope it helps you. This is not a “poor Amanda” essay, some of these issues have been self-caused and it has taken solid moments of clarity to realize this. Avoid my mistakes and do better.
There are many ways to organize this and I felt chronologically would be best for you. It’s not how the feelings and experiences are organized in my head, but you don’t live in my head. I’ve done my best to make the steps of the journey clear to both of us.
This particular rant is something I’ve been wanting to say for years (and has been sitting in my Drafts folder for a while; written in 2010 in Singapore so many of the things I say here don’t apply to the US). Other than a few adjustments to reflect the passage of time, the essay is unchanged.
What sparked it was two things happening on a discussion board in one week. One was a thread where some hobbyists reacted badly to a touring escort charging $350USD/hr (the nerve! the gall! the audacity! the envy!) and another was a PM to me, an attempt by a hobbyist to “help” me navigate the Singapore scene and make sure I’m not charging too much. (Russian girls at Brix are the “cream of the crop” and I’m not so I can’t charge more than they do, which was $300SGD/hr according to him. I wonder if he knew there were two non-Russian indies charging right at $1000SGD/hr in Singapore at that time. I charged a minimum $500SGD/hr or $800SGD/2hrs, depending.)
Despite the hand-wringing and general disbelief of hobbyists, my clients are usually pretty happy with me. I’m personable, intelligent, interesting, beautiful, mentally-mature and fully focused on their needs. I don’t have a pimp hiding in the corner, I won’t phone-stalk them at 4am, I don’t try to manipulate them into becoming my “boyfriend” or desperately taking risks to make a few extra bucks to support my starving extended family in some poverty-stricken country. I don’t chase extra money or presents: clients pay my fee and that’s it. Their responsibility ends (sometimes they’re spontaneously moved to extremely kind generosity). I’m with them because I want to be — they’re with me for exactly the same reason. To me, that’s all cream. For everyone. [Insert sex joke here, if you must.]
Just because hobbyists can’t imagine something doesn’t mean it can’t exist. I’ve been fighting this stupid battle since 2002. The narrow vision and nosy desire to control a stubborn, independent cuss of a woman just keeps on keeping on. Sigh.