Growing numbers of women have been turning to sex work to make ends meet. Even before the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, sex work — either through the traditional avenues of stripping (sometimes euphemistically called exotic dancing), escorting, and phone sex, or via more modern platforms such as OnlyFans or other cam-sites — had been increasing in popularity, with more and more (mostly) women using it as a way to earn or supplement their income while dictating their own hours and being their own bosses.
In 2020, I joined the ranks of those turning to sex work to pay the bills and keep food in the fridge. Though I began with the intention of using sex work as a sideline, it has now become my “main job”, not just because it is currently keeping a roof over my head, but because it has broken down my misconceptions about sex work, desire and sexuality, and the kinds of people who pay money to attain sexual enjoyment.
Why Did I Decide to Become a Phone Sex Operator?
In 2020, I quit my job of 13+ years. The relentless demands that had slowly but inexorably crept into my role over the last few years, combined with increasingly high levels of stress, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, poor health, and a traumatic bereavement had led to multiple mental breakdowns and had left me feeling depressed, useless and, in my lowest moments, actively suicidal.
Although I had a side hustle in audiobook narration and production, work could be sketchy and unreliable — certainly not enough to keep my head above water if it were to become my only source of income. However, I had a small payout from my employer, a few dregs coming in from my book sales, and an increase in the number of freelance writing jobs I was being offered. That, combined with working on audiobooks full-time should just about see me through, for a little while at least.