I have shared some of your experiences! A long time ago when I was a young man living in New York City, I worked for a while as a hustler, mostly in a particular upscale gay bar that was known for that sort of thing.

I wasn’t exactly desperate, but my job prospects were poor and I needed to pay the rent.

I did sex work for a while until I got on my feet, and then I moved on to other things.

My experience wasn’t completely positive, but it wasn’t horrifyingly negative in any sense of the word. I always felt in control of what I was doing, and I was never abused or seriously taken advantage of.

I saw some young guys being exploited, and I felt very badly for them, so I’m not trying to put a sugar coating on everything, but personally doing sex work was a choice that really helped me get a leg up in life.

Yet I found myself in the same shoes as you talking to therapists. It’s like a couple of them have felt they have to see the sex work in my past as an “aha’ moment, that it must be deeply significant and that it must be pervasively harmful.

It blinds them to actual trauma that I have experienced and that has nothing to do with that sex work.


Writer. Runner. Marine. Airman. Former LGBTQ and HIV activist. Former ActUpNY and Queer Nation. Polyglot. Middle-aged, uppity faggot. jamesfinnwrites@gmail.com