Shhhh… even in the most liberal of circles, sex work is a controversial topic. We can hear the conversation jumping from feminism to ethics, to criminalization, and other topics quickly in a heated debate.
Stigma and criminalization are only two of the many realities that sex workers all around the world face on a daily basis. More often than not, sex workers are also queer people and people of colour, which leads to overlapping oppression. Bringing up the topic of sex work and having discussions about the realities that sex workers face is extremely important to carry on the process of destigmatizing sex work.
We have taken some time to collect some recommendations of books that you might be interested in if you are an advocate for feminism and sexuality, or you participate in the world of sex work. One of the best ways we can recommend beginning the conversation surrounding sex work is to listen to the workers speak…
**Very general content warning for this list of books; drug use, mentions of violence, transphobia, homophobia, sexual assault, pedophilia, and drug use.
THRIVING IN SEX WORK BY LOLA DAVINA
Lola Davina brings us Thriving In Sex Work, from a place of self-care and self-preservation. They navigate how sex work relates to friendships, life, and money. The perception of sex work as “easy money” is challenged while Davina addresses the pitfalls of sex work. This book goes through the day-to-day of sex work as well as delving into broader topics that an outsider to sex work might not think about. Topics like cultivating a healthy mind and body, surviving emotional burnout, and sex work myths.
WHIP SMART: THE TRUE STORY OF A SECRET LIFE BY MELISSA FEBOS
From college student to a professional dominatrix, Febos recounts her story to the reader. Whip Smart brings the reader through Febros’s deeply personal and intimate memoir. We are brought along while she breaks personal boundaries she set out for herself while finding herself in a precarious situation. Febros dives head first into issues of sexuality, power, and dangerous truths in this beautifully written memoir.
SEX WORK MATTERS BY MELISSA HOPE DITMORE
This book does an excellent job covering all angles of sex work. It does an incredible job at discussing trans and male sex workers in the industry. If you are looking to get a more in-depth look at the personal side of sex work and balancing daily life, this is a great book to pick up. There are contributions from sex workers, academics, and activists that go over issues such as intimate relationships, money, and harassment in the industry.
Money for Something: Sex Work. Drugs. Life. Need. BY Mia Walsch
This book is full of heart and hope. Walsch’s narrative voice is erratic, quick, tangential and raw. This makes her accounts of working in the sex work industry stunning. Walsh details the highs of feeling wanted, lows of broken relationships and her struggle with addiction, body dysmorphia, trust issues and lack of belief in herself. This book is a great pick-up for anyone who wants a glimpse into what starting in the sex work industry can look like. We adored reading about Walsh’s highs and lows of an industry that we love to be working in.
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