Stripping Off College Debt

As a working student who aims to maintain a self-sustaining life after college–in this economy–pursuing a career in the sex work industry has crossed my mind. I believe that the stigma against sex work should end.

Living in the Bay Area without a STEM degree is expensive, and sometimes, working 30 hours a week for minimum wage is insufficient.

I am tired of people judging others based off the work they do, especially when they aren’t in charge of their financial situation. Are you paying these dancers’s bills? No. Then I do not understand the authorization you hold over their chosen profession.

Now let’s talk about sex.

I believe the criminalization of prostitution is unconstitutional. It goes against the First Amendment: freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government. Prostitution is sexual speech. What happens between two consenting adults should not be anyone else’s business. Why is porn legal but prostitution is not?

According to, prostitution refers to “a lewd act performed in exchange for money or another form of compensation. Under California prostitution law, a lewd act requires physical contact of a sexual nature, sexual conduct, or sexual intercourse between two people.” That’s exactly what adult actors do. The difference is, they perform the sex acts on film, with the intention to cause sexual excitement for viewers rather than the person they are engaging intercourse with.

I am not trying to invalidate or minimize porn. I think they are both legitimate professions. What I’m arguing is the validity of pornography in comparison to prostitution.

Some may argue that the difference between porn and prostitution is that porn is acting–and the consumer is a viewer, while in prostitution, the consumer is the one who has sex. What about adult actors who auction themselves to fans who are willing to pay to have sex on camera? Would that not make the consumer the one who has sex as well?

After years of combating the decriminalization of prostitution, Senator Kamala Harris has decided to publicly support it.

Harris said that consensual behavior cannot be criminalized as long as no one is being harmed, during an interview with The Root, on Feb. 26.

Harris has previously supported the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), a bill to “amend the Communications Act of 1934 to clarify that section 230 of such Act does not prohibit the enforcement against providers and users of interactive computer services of Federal and State criminal and civil law relating to sexual exploitation of children or sex trafficking, and for other purposes.” It was passed 97-2, with one abstention.

This is detrimental for sex workers, who turned to procurers or “pimps” after online services were shut down.

Because such laws don’t differentiate between consensual prostitution and abusive sex trade, it has eliminated all.

Online escorting services allowed them to be self employed, where they could work from the safety and comfort of their own home. FOSTA hindered their only safe outlet and enabled procurers to gain more control over them, therefore proving FOSTA useless.

Some have turned to selling nudes online, where they can use certain third party payment services like PayPal or Venmo and request money from customers in exchange for access to nude photos or explicit videos.

There’s been a horrible trend online where customers–most often men–expose sex workers after receiving access to these intimate photos, resulting in humiliation, loss of income, and in extreme cases, people being kicked out of their homes.

This just further solidifies my standpoint on sex work. My body, my rules.