Sunday, November 7, 2010

Burn Out

In the spirit of Halloween here is my own ghost story...

In the sex industry the words "burn out" pop up again and again like the words "chicken pox" might in a child's daycare. Its a phantom to all of us dancers at the Lusty Lady and, like the threat of a ghastly chemo-virus in a scary zombie movie, hangs ominously over our heads until we are all gotten, sooner or later. Like a disease sex industry burn out is diagnosed by a series of symptoms that may include but are not limited to: frequent tardiness or absenteeism due to anxiety, self-image and self-projection issues, hostility towards men (customers or otherwise) , and private sex-related issues.

While there are a plethora of interesting articles pertaining to the issue and ways in which one can attempt to cure sex-work burn out there is little information about burn out prevention. Unfortunately, there is no injected inoculation for the phenomena, but hopefully one can keep the disease at bay by using the following self-check ins:

-Assess your mental state prior to taking on such work. If you have high self-esteem and balanced mental faculties make it a goal to stay that way. If you have major body or social issues tap into why you want to pursue sex-work, this may very well be bad medicine for you.

-Before doing whatever kind of sex-work (porn, dancing, escorting etc) check in with your own body and mind and try to assess if you are up to handling the stigmas assigned to sex-workers from yourself, family, friends, and society as a whole. Anticipate having the heavy task of either lying about what you do to everyone around you or battling the stereotypes and negative attitudes.

-Set and keep to boundaries and agreements with yourself, which can mean any number of things and should be different for everyone. Agreements can be related to the amount of time one wants to spend in the industry, what type of work, emotional proximity to patrons, public exposure etc etc. Write them down and remind yourself of them often!

-This may be a bit redundant, but there will always be a need for more money, whether it come from vet bills, car payments, groceries, traveling, or school, and opportunities that may compromise your set agreements will come again and again. No matter how desperate you may be, do not do anything you are not fully comfortable with. Ever.

-Reflect often and well through whatever medium works best for you. Know where your emotions come from and own them. Take charge of your work, do not let it own you.

-Pamper yourself! Any hard worker should be rewarding themselves for the drudgery of everyday obligation but someone using their body for the pleasures of others is more than entitled. Separate work and personal lingerie and accessories, buy cute undies for no one's eyes but your own, treat yourself to manicures, new books, and massage just because and don't forget to give yourself some R and R time.

-Tap into your physical being regularly. Dancing is especially hard on the joints and prone to creating long-term injury. Don't be afraid to tell physicians what you do as the more information they know the better they are able to help you. If for whatever reason you are not comfortable being open with your regular doctor check local resources for sex-worker clinics and friendly space.

Of course this cannot be taken as a how-to or a cure-all and I am sure there are plenty of other factors that contribute to burn out and there are probably (and hopefully) many other ways to prevent the phantom from appearing. If burn out begins to take over I can only stress that the first means of curing the crippling monster is to admit that it exists and to face it head on, whatever that may mean.


  1. I found a great book at Green Apple; it's called "Stripped" by Bernadette Barton, a real inside look at what tole the profession takes on some women. If you add it to your amazon wish list, I'll get it for you ; )

  2. Sir Panty Raider,

    Oooooh just read the description of it and Barton's book looks very intriguing. Thank you so much for reading my blog and for the very thoughtful offer, I will add it to my wish list right now. Apologies for the short response, must run back to stage!

    A very appreciative Sandy B