My favorite author and former film star, Lola Davina, says: “Sex work requires a PhD in emotional intelligence, but doesn’t come with a beginner’s manual.”
Being a sex worker is hard. Being a public sex worker is even harder. When I say public, I mean someone exposed on media sites and identified publicly as a sex worker. There’s a difference. I remember the moment I realized the responsibility I had taken on as a porn actress to nurture my own public image, now that my every action contributes to what people see as “The Life”. The challenge I face, and I’m sure many others do too, in this role, is keeping it all together because my fans, my agents, and my family expect me to.
Many times, I’m blessed with extreme moments of euphoria from having reached a personal goal, traveling to a place I’ve only dreamed of, or even getting to shoot with a legendary photographer. Then there are times that consume me with absolute dread. All sex workers struggle with the obvious stigmas; those daily demons I’ve learned to brush off with little effort. Now let’s throw in media control, online harassment, death threats, critic articles, and overly determined religious missionaries.
I knew I’d have to be strong and stay grounded any way I can, in order to stay the slightest bit sane as an adult film actress in an advancing cyber world. Last week, porn’s most stunning rising star, August Ames, took her own life after falling under extreme pressure from online attacks. She was a friend and considered a member of the “family” of porn. The moment I heard about her, I instantly began shaking and crying in the lingerie section of a department store. Grabbing onto the clothing rails with all my might, I was overcome with rage. Something was able to push a most radiant performer far into the darkest depth.
You know, we as porn actors and actresses are expected to live as normally as possible and provide ourselves with any therapy or medical treatments that may be necessary. I believe forms of psychoanalysis are necessary for all sex workers. I also believe they should be available to us FOR FREE. Talking to your besties about life only goes so far in this crazy business. I’ve always wondered why there wasn’t a program that allows seasoned sex workers to make appointments with a psychiatrist or psychologist free of charge.
There are things I do to stay warm, for now. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, cold, bitter, or just pretty low, I create my own kind of therapy: anything I can think of that will ultimately make me happy. I’m writing this today to speak up and say, WE HAVE TO LOVE EACH OTHER. I want to challenge any man or woman reading this to love and be receptive of love. Can we challenge ourselves to be a source of only light? With this simple shift in consciousness, we will be one step closer to change. I have faith in that.