Things I Wish I'd Known: #3: After 40, Nobody Cares

At age 22, I started stripping. Over the next fifteen years, I worked as a dominatrix, porn actress, and escort.

Now I’m 49.

Here are 23 things I know now that I wished I’d known then:

When you’re forty, nobody is going to give two shits that you did sex work in your teens or twenties. Or your thirties. Or at all, ever.

By the time you’re middle-aged, everyone has their story — they’ve struggled with addiction, they’ve gone bankrupt, they’ve had an abortion or been to jail or have a child who doesn’t speak to them. They’ve survived scandal and heartache and disappointment. And I don't mean to equate sex work with negative events necessarily, but just to make the point that as we age, all of us find ourselves living lives that don’t line up with perfect fairytales.

I spent a lot of psychic energy when I worked worrying about how it might impact my later life. Would it come back to haunt me? Would I lose love or a job or my reputation if people found out?

I’m not saying for a second that getting outed doesn’t have the potential for negative outcomes. People do suffer real consequences for choices they made when they were younger. They lose love, they get fired, they go to jail.

But in reality those cases are rare. The combined above-board and black market sex industry is estimated to generate between 15 and 25 billion dollars a year in the U.S. That means at any given time, hundreds of thousands -- more likely millions -- of people are doing some form of sex work. By extrapolation, many millions of people alive today are former sex workers. And many, many more millions more have purchased sexuality in their lifetimes.

When you’re in it, sex work can feel like your whole world. It feels like it leaves a mark on you, something that will change you forever. And it well might shape your worldview moving forward. But what it doesn’t have the power to do is warp you into someone no one is ever going to want to trust, hire, be friends with, or love.

You are going to become of the very best kinds of people, who make the most loyal friends, best lovers, and are the most fun at parties. As I like to say: Checkered past, wicked future. Mark my words.

I write so much more about managing fears of the future in my new book, Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry, available as an ebook now, and due out in paperback July 15th.

Until next time, be sweet to yourself-- xoxoxoLola D

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