23 Things I Wish I'd Known: #5: You're Never Too Old
At age 22, I started stripping. For the next fifteen years I worked off and on 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:
#5: You’re never too old to do sex work—you’re never too ANYTHING in sex work, as long as it gives you what you need.
There are ten thousand ways to go crazy in the sex industry, and getting hung up on aging is certainly one of them. When sexual magnetism is literally our meal ticket, the message that as we age we grow pathetic and sexless can be terrifying.
And yet there are all kinds of examples of people thriving in sex work regardless of age. A longtime friend of mine began her decade-plus long career in escorting at 42. Professional companion Joe Sobek says, “I began at 50, fed up with the rat race and fired for being too good, and all that nonsense. Finally I’ve found a job I truly enjoy.” I’ve known pro dommes and escorts who continue to hone their specialties into their 60’s.
The documentary Meet the Fokkens profiles twin sisters who worked in the Amsterdam Red Light District for more than fifty years. The documentary My Granny The Escort features several women in their 70’s and 80’s, including one woman got into the biz at age 83. She’s been at it full time for four years, and charges £250 a session. Growing old in this business is possible.
Now, if you work for someone else, such as in strip clubs or for a porn company, your situation will be precarious, because those segments of the industry rely on churn and novelty. A handful of name-brand stars have aged gracefully in porn, but they're the exception, rather than the rule.
However, when you work for yourself, in camming, escorting, professional domination, or self-produced porn, you can’t get fired. And you get to market a truly one-of-a-kind opportunity -- yourself.
The one thing that determines whether you are too old for independent sex work, or too anything else for that matter, is whether it suits you. Can you attract enough clients? Are you physically able to do the work? Are you able to manage the stressors that go along with self-employment, including sporadic cash flow and fluctuating workloads? Does your skill set include marketing, screening, tax preparation, and all the rest?
I am here to say I never encountered anyone who aged out of the sex industry. I saw people quit for all kinds of reasons, but nobody I ever met celebrated some black magic birthday and *poof* their phones stopped ringing.
Don’t let society’s fixation on youth shrink your future. If you want to age in this business, plan for it. Follow the careers of successful mature sex workers. Have a vision of what you want your life to look like five, ten, fifteen, twenty years from now, and work towards it. Start today.
I talk about aging, feeling unworthy, and other self-esteem issues at length in my new book, Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry, now available in ebook and paperback!
Until next time, be sweet to yourself--
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