‘I feel like I am being gaslit by society’

Two more #MeToo stories we’ve received through our Share Your Story page, where women can enter their experiences of the sex trade anonymously. We do not necessarily agree with all the views expressed, but each story is important, moving and powerful, and reveals yet again the awful truth about prostitution – that it is neither easy money nor a route out of poverty for disadvantaged women.

Anon

I worked as a stripper and prostitute for three years from ages 17 to 20. I have been exited ten years and have had chronic PTSD since then. I have recently started counselling and am finding it very hard. I feel like I have no right to feel traumatised for what I went through. If what those men did to me was recognised as a crime (e.g. Nordic Model) then I might feel more validated in my pain and able to move on. Right now, however, I feel like I am being gaslit by society.

Mandy

I got into prostitution when I was a single mother struggling to make ends meet, I was 24 and it was only six weeks away from Christmas, I had applied for a loan but didn’t get it and I needed to earn a few hundred quid and fast. I didn’t have time for job applications, interviews and one measly pay before Christmas so I thought of working in saunas. I had heard you could make a lot of money, and I was desperate. So I called them up, was told to come in for an interview. I went on the Friday for the interview and was told to start on the Sunday.

Sunday morning came and I made sure I had a couple of shots of whisky first. I was so nervous, when I got there, but then I met the other girls and I was put at ease.

The first customer to walk in was fat and in his late fifties and he picked me. I went into the room and gave him a blowjob without a condom. I was told that I would make more money if I gave blowjobs unprotected, providing they had clean penises. I didn’t have to give unprotected oral but as all the other girls did, I thought I should too. The guy only wanted oral so it wasn’t too bad, and he was telling me that after this he was going uptown to get his Christmas shopping in. He seemed quite normal and he wasn’t nasty to me.

When we were finished, the boss asked him how I was right in front of me, and he said I was okay. People asking how you are sexually right in front of you was something that I would have to get used too in time, and it’s horrible.

I ended up staying in that sauna for about six weeks, which just got me into the first week in January and then I could do no more. I was crying that morning I was due to go in to work and I really couldn’t do it so I didn’t go back – although weeks later I went back again. This was a pattern I would repeat with each working period getting longer and longer. I was able to handle working longer the more I did the job.

You definitely make more money when you’re young and inexperienced which says an awful lot about the type of men that choose to pay for sex. Do nice men really pay for sex? This was a question I asked myself for years and years, and I still don’t know the answer.

What bothered me about the men that paid, along with lots of other things, was the fact that they were so deluded and actually believed that the women working actually liked the sex and that it wasn’t about the money. As soon as you told a punter the truth about the money, they turned on you, they went cold and treated you horribly.

I couldn’t always pretend that I was in the job for anything other than the money. If I detested the customer, I would be honest when they asked that really annoying question that punters ask, “So why do you do this job then”?

Why did they ask, couldn’t they just pay and enjoy themselves without worrying why you did the job? Did they really care, why couldn’t they see that without the money, you wouldn’t be sleeping with them? Wasn’t it as clear as a sunny day that you were sleeping with them because it’s your JOB?! Some of these men were quite intelligent on the surface too, they were CEOs, teachers, lawyers, accountants. Yet they couldn’t see why a woman would have sex for money! They couldn’t see because they didn’t want to see.

I hated each and every guy that paid me for sex, and I had to pretend otherwise and this is what took its toll on me, and sadly it still does because I’m still working as a prostitute. I’m going back to college this year though so that I can study something good and then get a job with decent pay so that I don’t have to do this awful job anymore. I want to be proud of myself, achieve something, not have nice things because I’m great at sucking cock.

I’ll never ever enjoy sex again, I’ll never ever trust a man again and I’ll never ever be that same happy woman that I once was, before I went down the prostitution rabbit hole. I even ended up with a heroin problem and I blame that on the job, I needed something to look forward to after a hard shift of sleeping with men that I didn’t choose to sleep with.

I’m currently fantasising about killing customers, my favourite fantasy is this; one of them drops down one day from a heart attack, which is nothing to do with me, but I wait 20 mins to call an ambulance and he knows I’m waiting, he’s lying on the bed, naked and looking at me, pleading with me because he knows I’ve got all the power now. I blackmail him and tell him I want X amount of money every week or I’ll let him die here and now. I get him to say ‘I promise to give you X amount of money every week but I won’t book you for sex anymore, I won’t be your customer anymore, I’ll just give you money for nothing’, and only then do I call 999.

Share your story

If you’ve been in the sex trade, or have been affected by it in other less direct ways, and would like to share your story anonymously, we’d love to hear from you.

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