chapter  5
3 Pages


This book is intended to address the scarcity of published research and public information about the potential connections between sex work and female self-empowerment. The author applied qualitative, phenomenological research methods in investigating the connection between self-empowerment and sex work as described by the research participants. The research clearly shows that the IFSW longs to be heard and respected. It also supports the finding of Queen (1997) that at least some sex workers “are available and sexually active on their own terms” (p. 132). As Blissbomb (2010) writes,

With over twenty years’ experience as a sex worker, I can say that from my perspective, sex work is a viable and rewarding career choice for a number of reasons, especially for middle-class women who can bring specialized skills and knowledge to their work. … The money, job satisfaction, personal empowerment, camaraderie with other sex workers and dressing up are just a few of my favorite things. (p. 307)

Despite its limitations, this study does identify a number of significant patterns and themes that represent the values and beliefs of the participants regarding the impact that their work has on their lives. The most critical theme that emerged was that all six participants did indeed report a high level of self-empowerment as a direct result of their work. However, this finding was tempered by the fact that each individual also discussed the challenges of having to keep her work concealed from most individuals in her life, and from society as a whole. Some of them reported feeling ashamed about not being able to be honest about their profession with others, particularly with family members and others they love and respect. In one case these experiences even extended into the realm of higher education. Participant #6 stated,

The only time I feel shame is when I hear someone on television or out in the world say something negative about a sex worker. While attending

college one of my professors continued throughout the semester to make negative references in regard to “hookers,” continuing after I had told her that I felt such negative name calling was disrespectful to all females. Sadly, this brought me a certain amount of shame.