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.
Vanessa D’Alessio wrote a great piece over at TitsandSass around the issue of showing your face in conjunction with your online escort work. My response got eaten by the Intertubes, I think. Instead of reposting, I decided to expand on it a little here.
This article has been at the back of my mind since I read it last week. My arc has been slightly different than hers. When I started stripping, I was fairly out and allowed myself to be photographed, topless, for one of my club’s websites (back when the Internet was indeed tubes that connected computers using gerbils and string). They never removed the picture despite repeated requests, even after I left stripping and began escorting. (It was later removed only because they redid their site.)
Though I’ve made efforts to maintain my smartphone-virginity, that may change. I killed my beloved Nokia 3600 Slide worldphone that I’ve had for years. I can’t buy a replacement anymore because they don’t make them. I will likely have to get some sort of damn touchscreen thing. I like my electronics as simple as possible. And I have fingernails. Studying Nokia models as we speak. I still require an unlocked quad-band GSM phone.
facebook vs sex workers (again)
I’m not the only one getting kicked off Facebook. Porn stars are too. Facebook is fine with violence, not with sex. Got it.
This essay by a real-life virgin shows how unhealthy an absolute focus on virginity is for a woman. History is full of tales of women who were seduced or raped and then had to turn to prostitution because they had no societal value as an unmarried non-virgin. It would be nice if we were beyond that, but clearly not. There’s nothing wrong with saving good sex for someone you love, but putting your whole value as a woman and human being into a state you’re unlikely to maintain if you live your life is whacked. It doesn’t lead to a better sex life if you’re told how horrible and dirty sex is until that magic day when it isn’t. Human emotions and self-image don’t work that way.
If you know someone who wants to take an abstinence pledge, please show them this article and talk to them about it (if you can). And don’t encourage them to faux-marry their father. Ick.
One woman has decided to draw the men who irritate her online. I have no problem with that done a personal level to vent, but then she shares it online (with the men and the world). I think that’s a bit much for the level of offense given. It does make me wonder if an escort completely fed up with hobbyists is going to start doing this? It would not be pretty.
male escorts as therapists
A woman who hired male escorts, lost weight, and felt better about herself throughout it. Female escorts have essentially been saying this for years — how we often end up being therapists. I like that it shows professional companionship can be good for either gender. It’s also a great weight-loss plan.
escort photographers are better
After spending the last couple years purusing boudoir photographers and escort photographers, I’ve come to the conclusion that (good) escort photographers are better. I can think of one boudoir photographer I would like to have a session with. Escort photographers not only understand sexy better, they’re more creative on the whole. They’re more into showcasing the individual woman in front of their camera because of how important it is to that woman to have unique pictures. Plus, when you know the pictures you take are going to be plastered all over the Internet, you probably work a little bit harder to impress random viewers. There are a fair number of good escort photographers scattered over the country, each with a unique style, capable of producing beautiful, individualized photos for every escort in their portfolio. I can’t say the same for boudoir photographers.
There’s an escort-photo trend that’s taken off to the point where it’s become…strange. That would be the escort-at-the-window picture. Most of the time, they’re staring wistfully off into the distance. Worse is when their hands are on the glass, actively trying to escape. Or at least that’s how it looks.
I view tons of ads and websites and the trend continues to grow and all I see are women trapped in hotel rooms, wearing lingerie and heels, trying like hell to get out. Usually there’s a cityscape in the background, far back, blurred and indistinct. These poor women are trapped in the here and now, forever stuck trying to reach vibrant life rather than the undersaturated room around them, yearning to breathe non-canned air, take off their shoes and really stretch their legs.
Window shots look great — the lighting is natural and superb and it doesn’t take much photographic talent to take a good photo. With strong talent the photo turns into magazine-quality work. A little figure-flattering posing and you have a beautiful, artistic shot that doesn’t require much editing.
Except…when you have seen hundreds of these shots, as I have, the claustrophobia descends and it actually starts to get disturbing. I start to wonder if anti-trafficking crusaders have also OD’ed on these “woman at the window” shots and base their entire perspective of escort work on them.
There are some shots where a window is in the background, giving light to the scene, but the woman isn’t interacting with the window or smashing herself against it. These shots are just your basic “room” shots and don’t have that “I’m dying to escape this boutique hotel” feeling. I’d like to see some escorts breaking the glass and getting free of the hotel, though I guess they probably wouldn’t be allowed to ever stay in that hotel again. And escaping the window might lead to a trend of “woman on the ledge” photos, which would be even worse.
I enjoyed this SEO article because, buried in the middle, was a nugget of gold for escorts. The section on cohorts, segments and personas is an easy breakdown of how to figure out who you are. It’s not that you have to fit yourself into the Smurfland example, only that you figure out what land you do belong to, then see where you fit.
The true beauty of this section is reversing this process gives you your ideal client. Yes, we’re talking broad strokes here but most people live their lives very broadly and very routinely, most especially clients. It’s nothing I haven’t mentioned in Book 2, but this guy does a better job of explaining the process, as well as using pictures.
A porn actress found Jesus and now finds Jesus for others. She provides helpful hints for parents as to why their little girls might become a porn actress. She and I agree that bad parenting (especially abuse), contributes to problems. She almost gets it in #4, except she decides to define prostitution vs pornography (in order to let everyone know she’s not a prostitute), instead of focusing on the fact that juvenile prostitution is nearly always caused by abusive parents or parents who have kicked their children out of their home. I’ve said it for years: underage prostitution could be eradicated almost entirely by focusing the law on abusive parents and having more readily available resources for abused or homeless children. (This would also remove underage trafficking and lots of people would be out of well-paying jobs and grant money.)