I'm a pretty attractive girl, and I'm a pretty sexual person.
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Dear Miss Information,
I'm 22 years old, just graduated college, and will be starting graduate school in the fall. My parents are not helping me with any of my education costs because they're barely scraping by, though they're hugely helpful emotionally. I paid for most of my undergraduate education through scholarships and work-study, but I do need to take out loans for grad school. I've been thinking about doing some sex work as a way to help save up to pay back my loans. I'm a pretty attractive girl, and I'm a pretty sexual person. I think I might find sex work fun. I'm not interested in being an escort or anything, and probably not stripping. I kind of only want to do things I could do from the privacy of my own home and/or where I won't be touching/touched by random strangers — so I'm thinking about porn and camgirling. Is this a bad idea? I think I'd enjoy the work and I'd certainly enjoy the money but I'd hate for evidence of how I put myself through school to surface once I've graduated. What do you think?
— XXXtracurricular Activities
Should you do sex work to pay for grad school? No. No, you should not.
Let me clarify. You, specifically, should not do sex work to pay for college. For some people, it might be a perfect avocation. It doesn't sound like you're one of them. You're already second-guessing yourself, and you wrote in to an advice column to confirm your decision, which, let's face it, is just a more personal version of flipping a coin. Heads or tails? Let's ask an unqualified bossy stranger! If you knew you wanted to do it, you wouldn't need a second opinion.
Sex work can be fun and rewarding for lots of women (and men), and it can be remunerative as well. But it's not for the faint of heart, and it's very public. Plus, let us never forget, the internet is forever. So if you're not okay with the possibility that one day some friendly neighborhood porn-watcher might out you as their favorite adult-film screen siren, I don't think porn is for you. If you're going to do sex work, you've gotta own it, baby. And it doesn't sound like you're ready to.
Wait a little while. Start grad school. See if you can get a plain old regular part-time job. If after a few months you're still curious about sex work, then take the old webcam for a spin. In the meantime, do a little research about the realities of sex work to help you decide if it's for you. Look into whether there are porn studios near you, or whether you'd have to travel to film. Look into the daily realities of being a cam girl and see if you're up for it. Don't assume that a few appearances will have you paying off your debt in no time — according to porn agent Mark Spiegler, the average full-time female performer might pull in $50,000 a year, and the going rate for a run-of-the-mill hetero scene is about $1,000 for a girl with a fanbase. If you're just striking out on your own, don't be surprised if things are less lucrative than you'd hoped. In most cases, camming might pay more than porn.
Debt sucks, especially when it's incurred for an education you're passionate about. But if you're not passionate about getting into sex work, it's not worth it. Doing sexy things for money should follow the same rule as sex you'd have in your personal life: if you're not fully comfortable with it, don't do it.
Image via Flickr.