I was asked to write this for a magazine article. I thought I would post it here as well.
In my years of work I have counselled many prostitutes or sex workers as they preferred to be called. The largest group I have worked with have been females who prostitute themselves to males or couples. There is a smaller group who I have worked with and they are males who prostitute themselves to male clients. I will keep my comments restricted to the female sex workers that I have counselled.
There is a wide variety of sex work. There are those who work in massage parlours where there is no intercourse and the women simply gives ‘hand relief’ or oral sex. There are escort services where the woman is hired as a partner for the evening. That can include very little sexual contact or full sexual contact depending on the woman and the circumstances. The street walkers stand by the road side to obtain customers and provide the full range of sexual contact. The same applies for brothels and the privateers who work on their own or with a few women together in their own flat or apartment. Brothels tend to be preferred because they are the safest but the ‘house’ takes a cut of the money earned.
Women enter the sex industry for a wide variety of reasons. Some will do a period of sex work (a few months to a few years) for purely financial reasons, then stop and never work again. Common examples of this are students who need money or single mothers who need extra money to survive for a period of time.
The street walkers tend to be the more desperate women and drug habits are common. Most brothels wont allow the women to be using drugs so they have to move to the streets to get money. This is where the most tragic life scripts are lived out. The sex worker may end up having sex with men in cars for $30 so as to buy the next ‘hit’. Desperate women who live horrid lives. Commonly found in counselling when working in drug rehabilitation.
Then there is the career prostitute who often works in brothels or as a privateer when they have established a clientele who they ‘steal’ from the brothel. This woman has decided that she will make her money by prostituting herself. She is prepared to do this and one can make very good money doing precisely that. They can make much more money as a prostitute than working as a waitress. A $100+ per hour up to thousands of dollars per hour for the high class prostitute.
However very few end up financially well off at the end of their careers. They are typically poor planners in life, including financial planners and do not have healthy life scripts. Not uncommonly there has been some kind of sexual abuse in their childhood or some other kind of abuse and thus then end up not in good circumstances at the end of their lives. But the sex work gives them lots of money for a period of time and they can live the good life which they could not do if they had a usual job.
In addition to their early scripting being a sex worker typically destroys the self esteem. Some prostitutes report they will spend their money of expensive clothes, jewellery, etc to try and make self feel good because she feels so bad about being a prostitute.
She learns how to shut herself off from the man and the sex. So she desensitises or maybe even dissociates to protect her Free Child and over time this slowly destroys her love for herself. Whilst allowing full sexual contact with the man she will often have things which she does not allow. Commonly they are kissing, hand holding or gentle caressing. Those things which the woman sees as a sign of emotional intimacy. She wants no emotional intimacy with the man because that makes it much harder for her shut off emotionally from the sex and physical contact with the man.
Common personality types for the female sex worker would be borderline and antisocial. There are many others as well but these probably are the most common. Oddly enough not uncommonly the female sex worker can be a lesbian. Also not that uncommon is for the prostitute to have a partner whilst working. As one can imagine the partner has to be somewhat understanding or you get the partner who is unemployed and lives of the woman's earnings. Often they do not make good choices as to partners. When the career sex worker comes to the end of her career, she does less sex work and more legitimate work and she can end up with a very long term client as her partner at least to some degree.
Most sex workers feel they are the one exploiting the client, not the other way around as one might think. They see themselves as conning the man by acting that she likes him when in fact she may despise him. That she can do something as simple as giving him a hand job and get $100 out of him. They may use this type of thinking to maintain some kind of self respect as being the one who is really in charge of the situation.