For most of us, sex work involves close in-person contact with our clients during a session, and the servicing of both their physical and emotional needs. The nature of providing such intimate services places heavy demands on our bodies, minds, and spirits, and we therefore must take charge of our health care and general wellness if we want to have long healthy careers in the sex industry. Because of this, I’ve compiled a list of 8 health care and wellness tips for sex workers to help you along the way.
#1 – Create a Hygienic Work Space
No matter what type of environment we provide our services in, we can take steps to keep our work space clean and hygienic. We can ensure the client showers before and after each session, use fresh linens & towels, sanitize bottles and tools between sessions, use condoms & gloves to minimize risks of STDs, and wipe down bathroom surfaces and other high-touch areas in between sessions.
#2 – Offer Lower Risk Services
In the sex work industry, it doesn’t pay to take unnecessary risks with our health just to make an extra buck or two. If you’re providing full service, protect yourself with condoms for oral and intercourse, refuse to open-mouth kiss, and use gloves for manual stimulation.
Or, offer no-contact sexual services such as custom erotic photo sets, online domination, video performances, phone chat, and more.
#3 – Set & Maintain Good Boundaries
In order for us to be able to fulfill our client’s fantasies, we need to be able to keep them at arms length from the reality of our day-to-day lives. This is important for our mental health, our physical safety, and our professionalism. Therapists in other fields do not become emotionally enmeshed with their clients. Neither should we.
Further, if a client asks to break our agreed-upon safety rules “just this once,” they are trying to bully us and take our power away. We cannot let anybody get away with pulling this type of bullshit on us.
#4 – Access Regular Medical Health Care
It’s really important to see our doctors regularly to stay healthy, mentally and physically. We must ensure we go for routine screenings, and do not delay in making an appointment when we notice a change in our health. Remember, the sooner we address our medical issues, the easier they are to manage.
Since the pandemic, it’s never been easier to access affordable quality medical care online from anywhere. There’s no reason not to do it. And, if we want support for anxiety, depression, addiction, grief, domestic violence, parenting, or anything else related to our medical or mental health, we can ask our doctor to set us up with the local resources we need.
#5 – Buy Private Medical/Dental Insurance
While we may get access to amazing health care, it doesn’t mean we can necessarily afford it. The current medical system does not cover the cost of many necessary medical & dental procedures and devices that people need over the normal course of living. (Need a crown? Got $1,500?)
As such, it’s a good idea for sex workers to purchase private medical and dental insurance to cover the gap. After all, we don’t want to be caught with “our pants down” for all the wrong reasons!
#6 – Self Care As Prevention
The best thing we can do to support our ongoing health and wellness is to take amazing care of ourselves. This means getting good quality sleep, taking proper nutrition & hydration, connecting with our loved ones, spending time in nature, moving our bodies, making art, and taking time for private reflection and rejuvenation.
When we fill ourselves up with all the good things in life, we bring that joy and peace to everyone around us. Self care is a gift that we give to others by way of giving it to ourselves.
#7 – Work Through Our Trauma
Unfortunately, many sex workers have experienced various forms of trauma in our lives. Recent studies show that unhealed trauma can have many negative health impacts on survivors, both physically and emotionally. And, it hurts our families too.
So, one of the best things that trauma survivors can do for our health and wellness is to give ourselves the gift of recovery. There are many free online resources, as well as therapists and support groups specialized in trauma, ready to help us the moment we are ready to begin healing.
#8 – Love Ourselves
Face it, we’re awesome! We sex workers are a diverse, interesting, talented, charming group of people, and we deserve to love ourselves and be free. Medical science can back it up too. Studies show that when we treat ourselves with kindness, compassion, and love, we quantifiably improve our overall physical health and emotional wellbeing.