It should go without saying that I’m a huge supporter of a woman’s right to do whatever she’d like with her body, including participating in sex work. I’ve been in the industry on and off for about five years now and it was originally a means of survival for me. My mental health was at an all-time low after I graduated University. Depression and anxiety were taking over my life and I couldn’t hold down a “regular” 9-5 job because getting out of bed or taking care of myself was simply impossible some days. Sex work saved my life during this period. I was working with an agency and it was great being able to support myself during such an emotionally and financially difficult point in my life.
I took a break for a few years but now I’m back in the industry from a healthier place. I have a “regular” job now but I enjoy sex work too much to give it up. The main difference is I work independently now and I’ve never felt more empowered. I love being in charge of who I see, when I see them, what we do and how much I take home at the end of the day. I have made so many genuine friends and connections through sex work and met so many amazing men and women who I’d otherwise have never had to chance to get to know.
I’m tired of society painting us with a wide paintbrush and saying we’re all victims or that sex work shouldn’t be decriminalized. Who exactly are we hurting by doing the work that we do? Contrary to what society would have you believe, the industry is NOT just junkies and trafficking victims. Countless women choose sex work as a career and actually enjoy it, from the extra money to the extra free time and flexibility it affords, to the connections that are formed.
Sex work is like any other form of labor to me and deserves to be seen as such. To those who see it as demeaning: I personally don’t see anything especially empowering about working minimum wage retail or food service and struggling to get by, but it’s up to each person to choose their own path. Sex work is not for everyone, but it certainly deserves the respect of everyone.
Things I Wished I Knew Before Starting Out
I wish I’d transitioned into working independently sooner. I was intimidated by the idea of it when I first began, but now I can’t imagine ever working for an agency again. It’s just not for me. There are certainly positives to working for an agency: it was nice having incall locations available last minute, as well as having a driver and free photoshoots and advertising, but having the agency take almost half of my earnings got really old really fast. I wish I’d done my research and had the confidence to be my own boss sooner.
I also wish someone had told me it was okay to say no. I started out with the mindset that since the gentlemen were paying for my time, that I had to do whatever they wanted during our time together to keep them happy and wanting to come back again. I endured way too many clients who were either under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which made me uncomfortable, or those who had bad hygiene, or those who’d pressure me for my real name and personal details I was not comfortable sharing. At the agency I worked for, we’d never discussed how to turn down a client which made me feel like it wasn’t okay to turn down a client.
How It Felt Like Initially
I was so nervous on my very first day! It was Halloween night and I had no idea what to expect. I was with an agency, so the driver picked me up at home and dropped me off at the incall location, which was a condo building in downtown Toronto. Luckily my first client was very nice. I shared with him that it was my first time and he thankfully took charge of the situation — I love when dates do this in my personal life as well. He did not become a regular of mine, but we had a lovely time together.
How To Stand Out & Be Unique
All you can really do is be yourself. Ultimately, if you try too hard or come up with a gimmick to stand out, it’s going to get you noticed but for all the wrong reasons. Personality wins every time. Just be yourself on your social media and website, and when interacting via email. Don’t feel like you have to curate yourself, because when you meet that client in the real world, they’re going to see who you really are anyway.
Don’t let them fall for an illusion or some photoshopped pictures. It’s okay to listen to Taylor Swift instead of classical. It’s okay to like beer instead of whiskey. It’s okay to not be the “cool girl”. These gentlemen are paying for time with YOU, not with a false and idealized version of you.
How I See The Escorting Industry Evolving
I hope the industry continues to evolve and I hope the stigma surrounding sex work and sex workers begins to fade. It’s an honest job and should be seen as such. We are not just selling sex. We are selling our time, our energy, our companionship, a tender touch, a devilish glance, an escape from your real life and a vacation into the dreamworld we’ve created for you. We’re selling a collection of uncrushed moments you can replay in your mind for a lifetime after our time together is actually over.
I’d also like to change the way certain sex workers see their peers who are perhaps not doing as well as they are. It’s great if you’re a high-end companion and going on extravagant trips and receiving luxury gifts, but please, don’t look down on those who are working the street, working out of their cars, or offering quickie sessions or lower rates. At the end of the day, we are all sex workers and we have to stand by each other if we’re ever going to survive as an industry. Society is already trying to dismantle us — let’s not help them by creating divides between us.
7 Tips For Aspiring Sex Workers
Don’t get into this industry expecting it to be easy money. It’s a lot of work behind the scenes, especially if you’re working independently without the assistance of an agency. You need to build a website, you need quality photos and constantly updated photos — I’d say hire a professional photographer who is sex-worker-friendly for your initial photos, but also invest in a selfie stick and tripod. They’re cheap and they’re a great way to update your site or your socials with new pictures, without spending an arm and a leg.
Figure out what your rates will be! Have a look at what other providers in your area are charging. Remember: it’s always easier to raise your rates than to lower them. And work that new-girl energy!
Be active on social media. Don’t just post ads — actually engage in conversations and let your personality shine through. A lot of clients will lurk your social media for awhile to get a feel for who you are, and they can’t do that if all you’re posting is ads. I personally prefer switter.at and twitter.com
Decide whether you’ll be offering both incall and outcall service, and, if you’re offering incall, will you host in your own space or will you go the route of Airbnb and hotels? If you are in a larger city like New York or San Francisco, find apps that will offer you cheap day rates or pay-per-minute. They’re out there and they exist.
Will you be touring? This is a great way to expand your network of clients, and also a nice way to see more of the world if you’re so inclined. Sign up for an air miles card and / or a hotel loyalty card that offers rewards when you use them. Research online beforehand to see which hotels are more provider-friendly. For discretion, I tend to choose large hotels where everyone just blends in.
Screening! Figure out how you’re going to make sure your potential new client is a safe client. I like to get at least two references from past providers. Get familiar with the blacklist sites for your area as well. Will you be seeing newbies who do not have past provider references? That’s fine, just make sure you have other ways to thoroughly screen, such as: getting their full legal name, government ID, real-world employment information, and go from there.
Don’t forget to also take care of yourself. It’s easy to get burnt out when your job revolves around taking care of others, but it’s like the airplane adage that everyone repeats these days: you need to put your own mask on before helping others. Take a day off, or take a week off. Check in with yourself regularly and don’t be afraid to turn down a date if you need that extra you-time.
Hadley Darling – Hadley Darling is a companion based in Toronto, Canada, but also tours regularly to visit her friends worldwide. She graduated from university with a major in Communications, minor in English, but now chooses sex work instead, because of the companionship, income, and free time it affords her to do other good things, like volunteering with animals and the less fortunate. When she’s not on dates with refined gentlemen, she can usually be found experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen, tending to her garden, binge watching Law and Order SVU, or fawning over her kitty.
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Article images courtesy of Hadley Darling
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