Self-Care for Sex Workers: Because We Nurture The Lost
Back in the early 2000s when I was dancing, the topic of self-care hadn’t exploded yet. Things like mani/pedis, and massages were around, of course, but there wasn’t the proliferation of self-care blogs and businesses like there is now.
My version of self-care back then was to go tanning (eek, I know) and to get my nails done. I lived for the heated plastic bag shoulder massage that you would get from the technician while your nails dried- my word, is that such a simple but amazing technique. (I was calling them trashbags, which they really were but plastic bag is a little less cringe?) I always tip my techs well but spend some time rubbing a heated plastic bag around my shoulders? You can have my damn wallet . Even though I don’t partake these days, I have always found nail salons relaxing; you clear out your schedule for about 2 hours, and just let the techs mold you. I might sell one of my kidneys someday to get one of those damn massage chairs you sit in for the pedicures.
All sex workers need to be cognizant of their own self-care, as a whole body reflection of what’s going on. Especially in these very trying times, with everything so uncertain, along with income. How stressed have you been lately? Have you had any peace and quiet, time to yourself lately? On the flip side, have you had too much alone time lately and are feeling really isolated and alone?
Sex work not only requires you to be sexy, alluring and “available”, but you also have to frequently play psychiatrist for your clients. Even in the most vanilla situations- the husband seeks you out because he’s bored with his marriage and is looking for some excitement-he will still unload all of his emotional bullshit on you and he probably won’t even be aware he’s doing it. That is very taxing, and even more so when your own mental health is in a fragile state.
And let’s not overlook the stress that comes just from being a sex worker- from constantly having to hide your work from your family and friends, to bad clients who really try to mess up your life, to the every day hustle that is physically and emotionally draining.
Sex work is so important to humanity, to our basic parts of our soul that we as emotional human beings, can’t ignore. Sex work has always been banished and outlawed, vilified by those that partake of it in secret places. Sex workers serve such an important part of world civilizations, and yet sex workers get no respect.
Unfortunately, you have to self-serve. Check in with yourself frequently, figure out any nagging feelings you might be experiencing. Get as much rest as you can- especially this year, it’s so important to rest. Stay hydrated. Have quiet moments to yourself, or if you need more interaction, perhaps you can FaceTime or Zoom with friends and family?
What does your soul need right now?