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Why I Found it Exciting to Have Sex for Money -- And Why I Stopped

"At some point I got it in my head that if I was doing it anyway, why not move over a section and get paid for it?"

The following piece first appeared on Bitch Magazine. 

Bitch Magazine's "H-Word" series presents first-person stories from current and former sex workers across the US. TRIGGER WARNING: The following story includes a description of a sexual assault.  Here's Emma, a former Craigslist call girl:

I lost about a hundred pounds my sophomore, junior year of college. I came back from summer a lot thinner, and I was getting attention from men I had never gotten before. When I lost that weight, it felt like an opportunity to run amok.

I was nineteen or twenty. I was dating a lot. I was away from home. I had come from the Midwest and went to a school in the big city. It was an expensive school. I compared myself to the other kids at my college. They were all loaded and their parents took care of everything, whereas I’d always had to work. I had never gotten an allowance. I can’t blame where I went on needing money but I definitely grew very resentful. It started with money. This world that I was looking at, I didn’t understand how you got into that. I had bought the lie that you got that just by being smart and good. I worked an unpaid internship and the other girls I worked with had so much that I didn’t.

People are not nice to fat people. I didn’t realize it until I lost the weight. I was not prepared to deal with male attention. I didn’t know how to meet people so I started online dating, which pretty much meant that I would go out and meet these guys at a bar and get really drunk and sleep with them, and that was like dating at the time. I was just having fun. I had been with a guy when I’d started college and we’d broken up when I lost all the weight. He had been super possessive and jealous. That guy had totally destroyed my self esteem. I had just come out of this relationship, I didn’t want to be in another one. I just wanted to have fun.

I graduated to “casual encounters” because that was pretty much what I wanted, and that was exciting to me. I billed myself as a young college girl. I liked older, married men. I found myself attracted to the men who would be most attracted to me. Men who would be grateful. It took me a very long time to realize that many guys just want to have sex with women—that their interest in me said nothing about me or whether I was attractive or what. At the time, I got a thrill at each interaction. Now I realize it doesn’t, but at the time I thought it really proved something.

At some point I got it in my head that if I was doing it anyway, why not move over a section and get paid for it? It was also sexually exciting. Anything that seemed degrading has always been very hot to me. Still is. I’m a feminist and I was working at a women’s nonprofit at the time and I totally believed—and still do—in a woman’s right to do whatever she wanted with her body. In my head, it was like “I’m in charge of this, and if I want to do this, I can.” I felt empowered sexually. For a lot of girls, they just want to make money, and do as little as possible. For me, I was very aroused by the fantasy. My fantasy was pleasing men. I was trying to make it more than a transaction.

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