Athena Talks
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Athena Talks

The Real Pretty Woman: An interview with a sex worker

I spoke to Lottie, 20, about her experiences in the sex industry

Lottie and I grew up in the same town, we went to the same school for a little while, and we had similar friends. She’s always been fiercely independent, brave and articulate. Now, five years on, she works as a cam girl and a sugar baby. I interviewed her about her experiences, views on sex work and her hopes for the future.

Me: What made you decide to be a sugar baby?

Lottie: Money, ultimately. I didn’t plan to be a sugar baby, I had been doing camshows since I was 16, by advertising on craigslist. It took years to find clients who were serious about spending large amounts of cash on me.

Me: Do you feel comfortable with it?

Lottie: I have no choice. Without sex work I would be poor.

Me: So do you think it’s sort of ‘not a choice’ in that you can’t really consent as there aren’t alternatives?

Lottie: Well, yes and no. The men have such financial power over us, so we can turn down the money, but it’s really hard not to.

Me: I’m really scared about being pushed into sex work myself…would you like to see more opportunities for young women to have good wages outside sex work?

Lottie: Well yeah, but I don’t think that will happen to be honest. Men don’t want women to have power, they’re not going to give us better jobs unless we cause a suffragette-proportioned riot.

Me: Have you ever encountered uncomfortable situations as a sex worker?

Lottie: Pretty much every situation is uncomfortable. I primarily give one to one cam shows in which I meet potential sugar daddies, and almost every guy tries to haggle, says I’m a scammer, demands a free ‘preview’ and harass me and waste my time. Only about 40% of the men who appraoch me for a show are genuine about making a purchase. It’s so blood boiling and I find this the most distressing part of the job.

Just now I gave a cam show in which I had to spank myself with a brush, put my Dad’s belt around my neck and put said hairbrush inside of me, which was really uncomfortable.

Me: Is it difficult for you emotionally to work in this industry?

Lottie: Yes. I was already wary of men when I entered this industry, but now I truly despise them. My customers are just normal men, teachers, builders, bankers, fathers, husbands, boyfriends, bosses. When I meet a man, my first thought is, could he be one of those who harasses sex workers like me? Their behaviour is just so damn ugly and insulting towards me. They approach me with immediate aggression.

Me: How would you describe the guys who come to you for sex work?

Lottie: Annoying, needy, cheap, rude, desperate, misogynists. about 80% of men who actually purchase the goods, so this is excludes the number of timewasters, often try to bargain, make insulting, lowball offers, ask for discounts (WHEN THEY HAVENT EVEN BOUGHT A SHOW MIND YOU), make appointments they don’t show up to, and get angry/aggressive/offended when I tell them I don’t meet for sex. Oh, and they absolutely love to take advantage of the ‘power’ they think they have. They’re fucking deluded.

Me: You’ve described them as ‘misogynist’. What do you think makes them misogynistic? Media? Education? Environment?

Lottie: Well, they just think they’re entitled to my time. I know that all professions have timewasters, but it’s nothing compared to the entitlement of men towards women. They ask for free nudes, for free samples, try to lie about paying, and force me to perform labour by talking to me when they have no intention of paying for a service. I think media, education and environment makes them this way. We need to stop babying boys and teach them to suck up rejection.

Me: Would you say these men look down at sex workers?

Lottie: Oh god yeah. I had one tell me, “know your place”. Literally all of them. I’m treated as subhuman, they literally think I should work for free/inhuman prices, you’re basically a slave in their eyes that they shouldn’t have to pay for. That’s how they see us. As slaves.

Me: Would it help if the media presented sex workers differently?

Lottie: I kinda wish SWs weren’t represented in the media at all. It’s so nasty, vindictive and evil. The men who are in charge of writing characters are often coming from a place of rejection who have had bad experiences with us anyway. When I was a girl, I saw a documentary where a prostitute was raped and murdered. One man questioned by police said, “Is it even possible for a prostitute to be raped?” and it was at this point, when this disgraceful comment went unchallenged that I knew the world hated sex workers.

Me: Is it fair to say that class and poverty come into this? Both of us know that sex work is often the only way to make enough money to survive as a young woman…

Lottie: It wouldn’t surprise me. Keeping women powerless means more and cheapened sex work available. Take Thailand, for example. Children there will have sex with adult men for cheap because they’re kept in poverty by those same men.

Me: You started pretty young: would you say there’s a market for border-legal sex workers?

Lottie: Oh yes. Some very ignorant, rude people like to remind me, “what you did was child porn” and to that I say, well, who created the market for child porn anyway? Certainly not me. Every customer I would tell I was 16 would say they liked that, and many asked/still ask for school uniforms. I was appalled when a high school teacher told me he wanted me to wear a uniform.

Me: Should sex work be legal and regulated? Would that make you feel safer?

Lottie: Yes. People think SESTA will save us, but the worst thing we can do is give power over sex workers to police. That’s how we get raped and robbed.

Finally: Is sex work a choice?

Lottie: Yes, pretty much always. I think that only in sex trafficking situations, is it not a choice. No one is forcing me, but I would be pretty broke without the work. I certainly wouldn’t have Chanel bags and ready to wear without sex work.

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A hub of conversation to help young women mature, budding professionals become leaders and leaders become advocates for equality.

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Madelaine Lucy Hanson

Madelaine Lucy Hanson

26 year old with an awful lot to say about everything. Opinions entirely my own. Usually. madelaine@madelainehanson.co.uk

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