Why I became a sex worker

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Maddie, a sex worker with bipolar disorder, describes the unconventional way she dealt with one of the disorder's symptoms: female hypersexuality. And she answers the question - from her perspective - what is the main motivation for becoming a sex worker?

Why I decided to be a sex worker

The Scent of Sweat and Desperation: My time as a sex worker

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”

Mae West

I gazed at myself in the mirror, decked out in my schoolgirl uniform. Pigtails, deep red dick-sucking lips, I was ready for the next client to text me saying he was at my door - ready to pay for play. I wish I could say I never imagined this would be my life. I would be lying, though. When I was fourteen, they diagnosed me with Bipolar I disorder. Which was basically when my fantasies of becoming a sex worker began.

When I was in my early twenties, in between psych ward hospitalizations, I toyed with the idea of becoming a camgirl, but I was far too insecure about my body. I eventually earned confidence in my thirties and forties. I believed I could be a commodity. I know - that sounds just awful. But we live in the age of big tiddy TikTok girls. Let's call it like it is.

Guys commented on my size 42K boobs a lot when I was younger. These days I still have huge boobs, but I get a lot more comments from guys regarding my confidence, how they love how I'm so at home in my skin. It's age. It takes a while for your skin to get comfortable, worn like your old favorite pair of jeans. They don't look the best, but you feel the best in them, so of course, you seem like a knockout.

How I became a sex worker wasn't straightforward

What was the main motivation for becoming a sex worker? Did I want to be a sex worker? The truth is that Real Me ™ didn't want to be a sex worker. My mania gets pretty intense.

I used to troll Tinder for anything that moved. Then even Tinder and random hook-ups didn't give me that same buzz anymore. I always needed more risk and more intensity. More, more, more. The beautiful, sparkling mania fed off of it. So one day, long after camming (which I eventually fell into) had lost its lustre, I posted ads on an escort site, selling premium snap chats and having sex for money.

Most recently, I had tinkered with my meds. That was probably a mistake. I ended up manic for about three months. A long-ass three months. I spent most of it stoned and doing sex work on weekends. The money was nice and easy. Isn’t that the best kind of money? Nice and easy? I couldn't stick with it for long. My mental health was deteriorating.

I required more retail therapy than usual. I wasn’t sleeping, so my waking life didn’t even feel real - it felt almost like I was always experiencing synesthesia. I could physically feel sounds. I was high a lot. It’s hard to say what was the sleep deprivation and what was the weed, which made sex work easier.

"The Real Me ™ wants to be a sex worker, wants to be high all the time, wants to quit my Very Good Job, and throw away the life I've worked so hard to build."

I was high before the client arrived. That was most likely a sign. I wouldn’t listen to anything that told me not to speed headlong into an uncertain future while hitchhiking unbuckled in a stranger's car. Metaphorically, of course… Maybe. That would make too much sense.

I was in the mirror, wondering who was staring back at me. I often felt that I looked like my grandmother did at my age. I felt so disconnected from my family, though, as I had left them in my past. They couldn't handle all this nonsense, and I wasn't about to open up to them about it anyhow. I would be okay. I could feel my grandmother's judgemental eyes staring back at me. Fuck it, I looked cute. I stood, wearing a red and black plaid bralette, a tiny black skirt with thigh highs, and a garter belt. I had curled pigtails; The Very Attractive Gentleman, who was also painfully shy, had just left. I was nervous about the next guy, so I took a hit.

I hadn’t vetted him as well as I normally do. We hadn’t talked on the phone, but when he walked in and started with some flirtatious banter, I hated his voice. His tone. His ‘let’s get down to it’ attitude. That was not the service I provided. I considered myself to be a slow burn. A little chat, a little smoke, and a little tease before we moved upstairs. I advertised it as a benefit to the guys, a girlfriend experience, which the type who liked me - loved. It was really for my benefit, though, so I could be comfortable. This guy was quick to run upstairs and get down to it. I didn't like that.

I did not like his offensive odor, the scent of sweat and desperation wafting from his balls. Nor did I enjoy the way he told me to look him in the eye while he fucked me, how he grabbed my face as I defiantly looked away. I usually felt in control; here, I did not. In the end, he was just annoying and bossy. But it's not a situation where you want to feel anything but in control. 

At the very least, I learned a bit that day. Always do full and proper vetting. Always trust your instincts. Money is a short-term motivator. Someone else will always be behind this guy; turn him down. Be patient. The life of a sex worker is not without risks, so why take unnecessary one. 

At that moment, I was angry at myself for being reckless, potentially putting myself in harm's way. It didn't matter, though. I was hurtling toward the breaking point. The Real Me ™ was in the back of my head, trying to talk me out of my sexcapades and antics, but I could generally quiet her with more weed, less sleep, and more strangers. But right then, she was screaming. Her sound was loud in my ears - and for once, I listened. I called my Doctor, and we adjusted my medication. I took a few weeks to focus on myself, and I took care of my shit.

"The life of a sex worker is not without risks, so why take unnecessary ones."

Why I stopped being a sex worker

I stopped doing sex work.

I stopped being a sex worker.

Right now, I say it's not me. Let insomnia kick in, though. I'll be trying to convince myself that The Real Me ™ wants to be a sex worker, wants to be high all the time, wants to quit my Very Good Job, and throw away the life I've worked so hard to build. Because who cares, anyhow, about literally anything? It's hard not to listen to that siren song when mania strikes.

Not only am I contending with the Bipolar I, but also Borderline Personality Disorder. So let's throw an unstable sense of self on top of this. Who knows who I am? Definitely not me. Who will I be tomorrow? All I can do is move forward. I think if I'm being honest with myself, I am a girl who enjoys sex work. Though I'm not someone who wants to be a sex worker. I may do it again in the future. Maybe not. I bought a sewing machine and a bunch of other hobby starters because I knew I was into sewing, resin making, or jewelry, which I'm sure I convinced myself that's who I was on any given day… I have yet to figure it all out. I'm forty-two. This life is not for us to figure out. It's just to be experienced in all of its beautiful and strange glory. If today I'm a seamstress, huzzah. If tomorrow I'm a sex worker, yippee; if I go back to school for the 8th time the next day, okay.

We are given precious little time on this earth. I won't ever mind the crazy things I've done. But damn, I'd be miserable if I sat around lamenting the crazy things I wish I had done that I never did. Let your life be rich, and taste all it offers. Be the real you, whoever that may be, even if today the real you is someone completely different from who you were yesterday. 

A few months ago, I was a sex worker. Today I'm a professional working in health care. Tomorrow, who knows? This life is an adventure, and I'm along for the ride. Some of us will get in one car and ride it until we die. Others will buy new models or ride along with friends for a while. Still, others will spend their lives hitchhiking until they figure things out, if they ever do. It's all okay - just buckle up.

"A few months ago, I was a sex worker. Today I'm a professional working in health care. Tomorrow, who knows?"

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Article by
Maddie Hart

Maddie Hart, the author of "Why I became a sex worker," is "just out here trying to live a life worth writing about."


"The reasons why I became a sex worker are not what most people imagine" | ©DavidPrado / Adobe Stock