Today marks the one year anniversary of the day that I started working in the adult entertainment industry. My first experience was working for an agency for one day, decided I didn't like it, and found work though a friend at a massage parlour. I then decided to join an independent collective/agency until I found my footing to work independently.

What I wish I knew a year ago... first year as an escort in toronto

1) You may become more confident. When I started I thought that I would feel damaged by this industry, but I surprisingly learned a lot about myself. Being paid for my time made me tolerate less from men in my personal life. To think that in the past I had chased men...some of the stuff I put up with seems laughable now. I have stronger boundaries now, have a great network of friends in the industry, and I have explored a lot sexually in the past year. I've seen it all! I am no longer shy about many things when it comes to my sexuality and body.

2) You're safer working on your own. You are responsible for your own safety which comes before someone else's profit. You engage directly with clients, and you decide who you feel comfortable with seeing. Of course, having support from other independents in the community is helpful for safety as well. But no one just walks in off the street. You have all the control.

3) You determine your worth. When I worked for an agency for a day, I was being seriously undercut. This was because I didn't know any better, until I found out I could make twice as much somewhere else. I'm currently making 4 times the amount I was per hour on that first day of work. If sex work was more visible and if more civilians knew what the industry was like, I wouldn't have ever found myself in that situation. Do your research and observe. That would have saved me a lot of time. If someone else is booking you, you will have to work harder for the same amount or less than you could be making on your own.

4) You may grow up. As an Independent, I learned that I could successfully own my own business. I learned a lot about how to operate as an entrepreneur. I paid off debt, I started saving, I got an accountant, and I got my own apartment. I now do what I want instead of having someone else control my time and income. These skills I can now apply to any business I choose to start in the future. I may never have to work for anyone else again, and I feel confident that I can run my own life now.

5) You can be healthy. Health risks were a huge fear of mine when starting. Escorts are not diseased. This is just another part of the stigma associated with the work. I have yet to experience a client that had anything, but I'm also super careful and ask for references, and I get tested regularly.

6) Your friends will accept you. At first I didn't tell anyone what I did, but over time I slowly opened up to more and more people. I'm not completely out to everyone however. There were some initial questions and worries, but people who I have known for years are happy that I have been able to make a good life for myself. 

7) You can have a happy and healthy relationship. I thought initially that it would be impossible to date while in this industry. I was afraid that no one would want to date me, and worried about how I would explain myself to people I wanted to date. But in my first month of working last year I met an incredible man and we are still together. He never once became jealous, he is open minded, and he accepts me for who I am. I hope everyone else in this industry can find love and acceptance too. 

Thanks for reading my blog! I hope this helps you if you are new to the industry.