Why did I become a companion? This is the number one question I get asked during my first meetings with clients. Now, “What made you choose your current profession?” is a common question, but to sex workers being asked this question is often a little bit more loaded than say, veterinarians. Why would someone choose this line of work despite the stigma?

The shortest true answer for me is, “Money.” After all, isn’t that why anyone does any job? If something else I could be doing paid better, I would probably be doing that. But that response does not feel sufficient.

Perhaps “how” is a better interrogative than “why” since it leads to a more interesting and protracted explanation. So, basically I stumbled onto the sugar baby community on Tumblr and that’s how I got started in sugaring. It was gateway sex work for me. But I found finding sugar daddies and negotiating and maintaining arrangements tiresome. Eventually I started to think that escorting would be better for me. I put my end of the deal upfront in an advertisement listing and let them come to me.

Funnily enough, transitioning from a sugar baby to an escort required me to overcome my inhibition the way becoming a sugar baby and dipping my first toe into sex work never did. I’ve always considered sugaring sex work and I never thought I was better than escorts or anything, but I guess deep down I was still believing in some kind of whorearchy. To me, sugaring was still relationships, just with a dash of cash. Escorting was full on business.

But after a series of eyeroll-inducing interactions with salt daddies, I did overcome it and here I am. And I am happy. A lot of the adversities I thought I would experience turned out not to be an issue. Now we get to why I stayed in escorting, which is in my opinion hell of a lot more important than why I got started.

I worried about sexual assault, and I am still wary of it. But the consensus is, I was sexually assaulted and harassed way more in my civi jobs than in my sugaring, and I’ve never been sexually assaulted while escorting. To tell the truth, literally all of my civi employments ended because I experienced some kind of sexual harassment and left. And every time I put in my resignation, I was told, “If you quit because of something like this, you will never hold down a job because this happens all the time.” I was dismayed to hear that from female colleagues and even my own mother. Well, they were not wrong. 10 months is the longest I lasted in a civi job. In sex work, however, I get to pick and choose who I work with and implement whatever security measure I deem necessary. I do not have a superior so I never have to be in a power imbalance situation. If someone makes me uncomfortable I can block them and never have to see them again, unlike in my civi jobs where I had to go into the office and answer to the supervisor who did something inappropriate to me. Of course that doesn’t make me 100% immune to danger, but I am in a much more comfortable situation that any civi job has ever been.

I thought I would be undateable. This may seem like a silly concern to many sex workers, but I do desire relationships and eventually a marriage. Who would want to date someone whose occupation is being involved with countless people? But I am in a pretty happy relationship. This will have to be another blog post, but being a sex worker fundamentally changed how I do relationships and for the better.

And contrary to the common misconception that sex work is psychologically damaging, sex work has been the best thing for my mental health. I won’t go into details about my mental health in this post, but I have had struggles for a very long time now. Sex work freed me from financial worries (which, albeit not the root cause of my mental health, was a major source of crippling anxiety) and allowed me to afford very expensive treatment. More importantly, it gave me the time to actually receive the treatment. Doctors’ offices close during weekday evenings and most of weekends. When I had a 9 to 5, the only time I could see my psychiatrist was Saturday mornings. This was the case for anyone and everyone who worked a 9 to 5, so naturally the office was flooded with patients every Saturday morning. The time my psychiatrist could invest in my care was drastically cut in an attempt to accommodate all those patients. If I ever was unable to go to my doctor the Saturday morning, I would have to forego my treatment for a whole week. Now I can receive care I need whenever I desire. And if I ever need to take a day or a week or even a month to focus on my mental health, I can do that without being fired.

But best of all, overseeing an entire business made me feel productive and passionate. I have had jobs before, but I always felt like my versatile abilities were being wasted. Due to capitalist division of labour, I was confined to specific tasks and I was bored out of my mind . To be quite honest, I did not work very hard in my previous jobs as a result. This is something that I regret, I should have had better work ethic and put in effort even though I didn’t enjoy it. But now I have full control on branding, online content management, social media engagement, visual production, customer communication, etc. and I feel so powerful.

So that’s the story of how Jina came to be, and why she is here to stay. What’s your story? Why did you become a sex worker or a client?