Everything You Need to Know About Sex Work (But Were Too Afraid to Ask)

what is sex work

Are you curious about sex workers and why they choose to enter the sex industry? Do you have questions about sex work or sex workers that you’re embarrassed to ask? Do you want to learn more about sex work?

This guide will give you the answers to questions often asked about sex workers. We will also give you more information on the myths surrounding the sex work industry below. Keep reading to learn the answer to the question of what is sex work and more.

1. What Is Sex Work?

Let’s begin by answering the question of what is the term. The definition of the term is the selling of sexual or erotic services for compensation. This compensation may come in the form of money or goods. It’s a part of the sex industry, which is a term inclusive of sex-related businesses or services.

2. Sex Work: Is it Illegal or Legal?

The legalization of sex work varies from country to country. In some countries, it is legal and decriminalized. In others, it’s legal but not regulated. Countries like New Zealand have decriminalized sex work.

Germany, Australia, and Denmark have legalized sex work. However, selling and buying sex is still illegal in many countries around the world. In the US, Nevada is the only state that has counties where sex work is legal.

This is a point to learn whenever you plan to visit another country and its red-light district. In some regions around the world, finding sex workers is easy even though it’s illegal. In other places, you may face large fines and jail time if you get caught buying sex.

3. What Are the Appropriate Terms for Sex Work?

Before we go further, let’s talk about why we’re avoiding the term “prostitution.” Prostitution has a negative connotation that goes back to immorality and criminality. Instead, use the term since it is the appropriate term.

The same applies to sex workers. Avoid calling a person a prostitute since it is stigmatizing and demeaning. Using the term prostitute may also add to a sex worker’s exclusion from health, legal, and social services.

4. Who Are Sex Workers?

Sex workers are adults who offer consensual sexual services or erotic performances. In exchange, they receive or get paid with money or goods. Sex workers can take clients on occasion or regularly.

Sex workers may work in brothels like the Guildford Brothel. Others belong to agencies that will help them find clients. Some people work alone with the help of social media and the internet to make a name for themselves.

5. Why Do Sex Workers Sell Sex?

Like preferences, the answer to this question will vary from person to person. Imagine asking someone why they chose to be a medical professional or an office worker. The answers will vary, and it’s often because of circumstances.

Many people in the sex industry don’t have the means to afford an education. Others can’t get the chance to find other kinds of work because of poverty and destitution. Thus, they resort to selling sex instead.

However, that isn’t to say that all sex workers entered the industry because they needed to. Others find that selling sex pays more and gives them flexible working conditions. Some pursue it to express their sexuality or help others find pleasure.

6. Why Is the Criminalization of Sex Work Harmful?

In short, yes. Sex workers, where sex work is illegal, are more likely to face violence and contract disease. It is safer for sex workers in countries that legalized or decriminalized sex work. They also get more opportunities.

Criminalization of sex work also fills up mass jails faster, even when it’s unnecessary. In some countries, the criminalization of sex workers makes it easier for racial discrimination to occur. Sexual discrimination, especially to trans people, is also an issue tied to it.

7. How to Decriminalize Sex Work

If you want to reduce the effects of criminalization of sex work to sex workers, learn to decriminalize it. Certain government bills and sex work legislations advocate its decriminalization. The US Congress introduced the SAFE SEX Worker Act. It gives sex workers opportunities and proper education in their chosen career.

It also gives the general public an idea about sex worker rights. As part of the public, do your best to remove discriminatory thoughts and ideas about sex workers. Treat them as human beings, stand up for any wrongs done to them, and avoid judging them by the work they do.

8. Are There Laws to Protect Sex Workers?

Sex workers are often at risk of trafficking, extortion, rape, and violence. They can also face forced eviction from their homes, discrimination, and harassment. Often, members in authority like the police abuse sex workers with impunity.

Thus, it’s only right to give sex workers legal protection and safety. In places where sex work occurs, governments need to offer access to healthcare. They also need to decriminalize sex workers and give them their ability to report crimes without facing discrimination.

The answer to this question depends on the country. Check your local and national laws for rulings that protect sex workers.

9. What Are Some Common Myths About Sex Work?

Let’s tackle some infamous myths about sex workers.

Only Women Can Become Sex Workers

This statement is about as true as the idea that the earth is flat. This misconception often stems from the fact that most sex workers are female. Yet, male and transgender sex workers also make up a good percentage of sex workers.

Sex Workers Get Coerced Into Sex Work

This isn’t always the case. It happens, but most sex workers entered the industry with consent. Also, many adolescent females who enter the sex industry do so because they want to.

One of the reasons this occurs is the porn culture. Because pornographic material is more accessible, more women and men build interest in entering such profession.

Sex Workers Have STDs

This often comes with such stigma. It is one of the wrong beliefs of the general public that marginalizes sex workers. HIV prevention is one of the first goals of sex workers.

Some governments and agencies provide healthcare for sex workers. That means sex workers get tested and treated for STDs if they’re positive. Often, they’re also more aware and educated about avoiding such sexual diseases.

Be More Knowledgeable About Sex Work

What is sex work? Is it legal and how does it operate? We hope we provided all the answers you seek for these questions and more.

Of course, this is only one aspect of such work and employment. To further understand other factors or other job angles, why not read our other guides today? Pick up all the information you need, right here!


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