The Do’s & Don'ts of a Successful Sex Worker
Updated: Apr 25, 2022
Your success as a sex worker starts here...
Blog post written by: MelRose Michaels
If you are just getting started, the big question lingers; how do you survive in the highly competitive sex work industry? What are the rules? What are the best practices that will give you better results?
Well, in the sex work industry, like in any other, competiton is present and its “stiff”as ever, pun intended. You see, there are very hardworking, creative models out there in this industry who never seem to tire, and if you do not adapt and raise the bar accordingly, you may not see the results you’re hoping for.
I think it's natural for you and for anyone else for that matter to get concerned and curious how these highly successful models carve themselves out within this industry. You worry and wonder - what do they do better? How do they always maintain consistency and creativity?
But you’d be surprised that it all zeroes down to the simplest of practices. The foundation of successful sex work is not a highly guarded secret only known to a few; it is all about the simple things they get right which most other don’t.
This is what today’s post is about. I’ve put together a list of do’s and don'ts that will help you not just scale but also thrive. I will show you the good, the bad, the ugly and the outright outrageous so that you can successfully go forward in this exciting and rewarding industry. .
Your body and image, is your product.
Without taking away the fact that sex work also involves your brains, let us not forget the fact that your body is a part of the whole equation.
This goes without saying. You don't need anyone to scream to your ears that as a model your body is a part of the big picture - so keeping your body healthy should naturally come to mind.
With that said, sex work is an industry where nearly every body image can thrive. You don’t have to walk around with supermodel stature to crush it in sales here.
Remember there are 300lb BBW women out-earning me 10x over, so strive to be the best version of you, and not what society has made you believe qualifies as beautiful.
The sex industry really is an inclusive place in terms of fan viewership, because what people enjoy and find sexy and attractive is so vast. You might not think you’re “everyone’s cup of tea” but you’re certainly going to find that “you’re someone's shot of whiskey”. Let’s try to reframe your perspective of ‘healthy’ and ‘beautiful’ in how it specifically relates to you, your niche, and your personal image/likeness.
So what goes into keeping your body and self image healthy? For me it’s 3 key things. The first, is working out 3x a week. These workouts should consist of something you enjoy, that will be easy to sustain. Do you like yoga? Cycling? Zumba? Or strength training? Doing something as a workout that you actually enjoy is going to allow you to maintain consistency at it. Don’t assume you have to dread a workout to gain anything out of it, because in my experience it’s actually quite the opposite.
The next pillar of health and body image as it relates to sex work is meditation and mental health. This is an industry plagued with stigma, isolation, and exclusion due to the paradigm society is currently operating on. Taking time to meditate, even if it’s only just 10 minutes a day, will very literally change your life. I’ve been meditating daily now for over 6 months and I’ve increased my earnings revenue, which I think is no coincidence. I have complete clarity and focus, and i’m stronger mentally to face the daily challenges we experience as sex workers. I can not stress how important this peace is. Just try it, I beg of you. You will thank me later.
The final pillar of health and image should be a really obvious one. You need to get STD tested 48hrs before filming or collaborating with any other performers. I mention this because although it’s common place for performers in mainstream sex work who put in hours at studios to create porn, but it seems to be less pronounced with the fansite shoot and “for trade” type of content. Your health is number one above all else, so please, do not jeopardize it over the ability to shoot last minute with a popular model or performer. It’s just not worth it.
You can never be too safe, so always remember to treat your body like you would your dream car. It will serve you best when it’s well serviced.
Invest in yourself
Everyone knows the age-old saying “It takes money to make money”. Well the business of sex work follows that same logic. For the most part, our business (dependant on what niche of sex work you’re in) is rev share based. This means you don’t have too many upfront costs but instead, share your profits with someone or some platform. However there are a few investments that will help your profits grow. Let’s discuss!
First, you will need lighting! I would advise on 4 different lighting options. The most important is the “ring light/tripod” combo. It’s a ring light that sits on top of a tripod, with a cell phone holder in the middle. This is your non-negotiable as far as lighting is concerned. If nothing else I say sticks as far as what to invest in, please make sure you follow through on this one!
The second most important lighting to invest in is 2 photo lights with white umbrellas. These are tripods with lightbulbs on top, and come with white umbrellas to soften the shadows where the light hits you. These are important but can be done without in a pinch. This third lighting investment suggestion would be a colored uplight. Uplights are colored lighting that sits on the floor and shines upwards, transforming the wall it sits in front of to a colorful backdrop. This isn’t an essential by any means, but it will add depth and variety to your content when used occasionally. The way all these lights would work together if you did invest in them all is, the ring light would be set up with your cell phone directly in front of you, with two umbrella lights standing about 2 feet on either side of the ring light. Then behind where you’re standing, you’d add the colored uplight to transform the wall behind you. All in you can pick up every light I described for under $150 on Amazon. But the ring light alone, the one you can’t go without, can be picked up for just over $20.
Make it your aspiration to be a better person than you were yesterday. Always watch other performers for inspiration or creative jump off points you can include in your own content. Do not hesitate to take a leap of faith and bet on yourself. Your journey is one of improvement and progress, not perfection. You will get better as you go, my content from 10 years ago is a fraction of the quality to what I can produce now, and that all comes from practice and improvement.
Don’t overstep your boundaries
After being in the industry for well over a decade, I think (and know) that sex work is only a positive experiance when you know and establish boundaries.
What does this mean for you as a sex worker?
It means that you should be upfront about your personal limits. This gives you massive freedom as a performer but also helps you establish and maintain expectations with fans. Letting fans know your personal limits will help keep them from making certain requests that you’re not willing to fulfill. If you are a collaborative performer, know how to stand firm in your voice when talking about your personal boundaries without fear of sounding rude or harsh.
There is zero shame or judgment when it comes to vocalizing your “no no’s” during filming, and this too, gets easier with practice. Other performers and collaborators (like photographers, videographers, and producers) are expected to respect performer boundaries, and having that conversation in our industry is simply “a part of doing business”, so don’t feel uncomfortable speaking about them. If this is still somewhat of a struggle for you check out resources like “The Free Speech Coalition” where you can find ‘performer checklists’ to download and print off before filming with other performers. Here you can easily mark ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to what acts you’re comfortable with and consent to without ever needing to say a word!
Alcohol, drugs and sex work, is a dangerous combination
Let’s face it, a little bit of a “buzz” can be enticing and make for some memorable moments. When you’re in that ‘zone’, your body and mind may feel more free to explore, and that same inhibition is quite intoxicating to watch as a client. However, creating content under the influence or having sexual encounters with other performers or clients while you’ve been drinking or using drugs, makes you legally ineligible to give consent. It also opens up a lot of grey areas that you want to avoid as a sex worker. This combination can be extremely dangerous, and affect your career in the adult industry. My take on this is going to lunch and having a drink to break the ice with a fellow performer or client is one thing, but having 3 or more is irresponsible and quite frankly, unprofessional.
Remember that not everyone you encounter is going to have your best interests in mind, and anything that jeopardizes your state of mind can leave you vulnerable to exploitation. Not only is that not safe, but it’s simply not worth the risk. Do your job, perform, collaborate, meet with clients, but enjoy drinks or substances afterwards, when you’re “off the clock” and in a safe environment surrounded by people you trust. Staying sober and alert is huge safety precaution in sex work.
Moving to the next level as a sex worker
Your success in sex work starts with your health and safety, extends to the way you invest in yourself and your business, and will ultimately be determined by your professionalism on the job. Sex work like any other profession has its risks, but hopefully you’ve taken away enough information from this to know how to prepare yourself and avoid them. I hope you found valuable information in this and that you share it with another sex worker or performer so that they too might gain some insight on how to further themselves and their career, carving out their own special little corner of the internet.. or big corner.. If size matters to you :)
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the blog post above are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SexWorkCEO or MelRose Michaels. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.