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For centuries, sex work has been stigmatised, delegitimised and forced to the fringes of society. But with the rise of social media, activism and the softening of prostitution laws across Europe, sex workers are making their voices heard more than ever. Even back then she was unapologetically feminist, fiercely independent and ferocious when crossed. She was the kind of self-assured woman I wished I was—oozing an aura of incredible confidence that many especially men found intimidating.
The caption, a frank and eloquent outpouring, has stuck with me ever since. Reading this filled me with such a profound sense of admiration and respect. But I was struck by how vastly different our teen dreams had been, and was filled with questions. What about sex work had spoken to her at such a young age? Sex work is a much more normalised industry; workers pay taxes and contribute to the national economy, and advertise in the newspapers in the space that lonely hearts ads occupy elsewhere.
I was kind of a slutty teenager, dealing with the rumours and nasty talk that slutty teenage girls deal with. She was writing about sexuality from a very personal perspective and as a girl trying to come to terms with my sexuality, that was really inspiring to me. My intention with going into this kind of work was also somehow self- development, and learning to work with people, learning to work with bodies.
This self-bettering sexual prowess through which Luna approaches her job offers a perspective on sex work largely erased from the mainstream media. If I feel free, my sexual energy will flow more freely. If I feel trapped or sad, that will also show. But at the end of the day, she reminds me, it is a job. Just as people who sell sex cannot be readily typecast—much as the media would have us believe otherwise—neither can those who buy it.
Luna tells me boys under the age of 20 are not uncommon. But viewing sex work as an ambition or—god forbid—a career path, is hard to swallow.