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I started working as an escort when I was 19. I was in my second year of college and struggling to make ends meet. I knew I didn’t want to take out student loans, but I didn’t really know what else to do. The only jobs I was qualified for paid minimum wage, which at the time was $8 an hour. That just wasn’t going to cut it, especially since I was in school full-time and could only work part-time.

I thought about all my options, but it didn’t seem like I had very many. I couldn’t bring myself to do porn, and I knew wasn’t talented enough to be a stripper. I figured I could try being an escort. It turned out to be pretty easy work for me, and I only needed to see clients one or two days a week to cover my expenses.

At first, I was quite open about my job. When I met people at parties and the “so, what do you do?” question came up, I’d be honest. I told people that I was a full-time student and a part-time escort. Reactions were so negative, however, that I quickly realized I needed to be more selective about revealing this information.

In my first few months of working as an escort, I was met with enough raised eyebrows, grimaces of disgust, and looks of pity to last a lifetime. Sometimes I received lectures about how I was enabling the patriarchy by choosing to be a sex worker. I was derided and called selfish for choosing a line of work that encourages sexism against women, and I was accused of being a traitor to the feminist cause. On many occasions, I was asked intrusive questions like “has a client ever hit you?” and “what’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever had to do for a client?”

Read the rest of this piece on xojane, where it was first published.

I've Been a Prostitute for Almost Ten Years, And I Wish I'd Never Started It