How I support my family as a sex worker

Updated May 16 2017
Guest post by Anonymous
By: Andrea RinaldiCC BY 2.0

I think I'm a pretty typical mom. I have three adorable kids. I wear comfy jeans to parent involvement meetings at school. I use cloth diapers, amber teething necklaces, and have a Beco, a Moby, and two Ergos (which obviously means I'm way into baby wearing!).

For all intents and purposes I have the perfect suburban mommy resume. With one enormous exception. I keep a huge secret from my family, neighbors, and friends. After a long day of story time at the library, playing with moon sand, and finger painting… I go to work. I don't have a typical mom job. Not by a long shot.

I'm an escort.

Not an escort of the Ford Motor Co. variety. But an honest to goodness escort. The sort they make jokes about whenever Eliot Spitzer's name comes up.

I have sexual contact with men and am paid for the time I spend with them.

Scoop those jaws up off of the floor, moms and dads, because it's true. And it could happen to you.

I don't mean you'll be trafficked into sex work by some skeevy creeper on the internet — I mean that you may some day be in a position you never dreamed you'd be in doing things you never saw yourself doing in order to make ends meet.

Let me rewind to the beginning.

I was a well-educated stay-at-home mom. My husband didn't make millions but he made enough that if we lived frugally, we were comfortable without an additional income. Then one day, he pulled the rug out from under me. He informed me that he had fallen in love with another woman. And then he left. Just like that. Years of marriage down the drain. Three children, a dog, and a cat together. None of that was enough to make him stay.

So there I was, a young single mom with three children, an apartment, and pets to provide for. I tried getting jobs, but nothing worked. The salary was never high enough and the hours were never acceptable. I have one school-aged child, a toddler, and an infant. I could have put the youngest two into daycare, but there would be nobody to walk my school-aged child to and from school safely. I have no family, no close friends, no support network, no church, no friendly neighbors, absolutely nothing.

I tried to go to the government, but there was no help there. Every job I could find made enough to disqualify me from welfare programs (no Food Stamps, no Temporary Assistance, no Daycare Assistance, nothing) but never enough to make ends meet. My biggest problem was my student loans. None of those public assistance organizations take student loan repayment into account. I spend more on repaying my student loans than all of my other bills COMBINED. If I default on those, I'll never be able to get ahead. The interest and penalties will continue to build, and I'll be financially sunk. I don't get to file bankruptcy on student loans.

Then one day I bumped into an old college girlfriend at the grocery store. We spent some time catching up and I asked her, out of the blue, if she was still in the escorting business. You see, she put herself through college without a single loan, and without having to work her fingers to the bone in order to make ends meet. She did it by escorting. When I asked her back then how she did it, and she told me, I was horrified. I still adored her, I just couldn't believe how a person could do such a thing.

My, how I have changed in the few years that have passed.

Here I spent all of these years of marriage living frugally and getting an education while raising my little family, and it all blew up in my face.

So my friend from college gave me the contact info that I needed to get involved with her coordinator in the business. I researched. I made calls. I read blogs. I lurked on forums. I was so afraid. But already the collections calls were coming in, my pantry was empty and I knew if I was going to make it, I was going to have to do something that horrifies most people — something that used to horrify me, too.

And you know what? It's not horrible. I don't hate my life. In fact, sometimes I think I have it better than most American moms. I work on the evenings and weekends the kids are at their father's place (a total of two weekends and four weekdays every month). They never even know I'm gone. Then when they are with me, I get to be a devoted single stay-at-home mom.

I'm very careful to have various safeguards in place and I work with a top-notch company that caters to extremely wealthy clients. I don't put ads on the internet, I don't hook up with people on Craigslist, nothing like that. I'm about as safe as I can possibly be in the unsafe world of a sex worker.

It's not an easy job, it's not glamorous, and I know that most people reading this will be looking down their noses just SURE that they would never do anything so demeaning or degrading.

It's not an easy job, it's not glamorous, and I know that most people reading this will be looking down their noses just SURE that they would never do anything so demeaning or degrading. But I'm happy that I am able to provide for my kids. I'm glad we're not living in a homeless shelter, begging in the streets. I'm glad they are warm, I'm glad they have food in their bellies, and I'm relieved that I can provide them with the basics that they need, and a few extra goodies when they've been especially well-behaved.

Being a parent is hard work. If it weren't for my kids, I'm not sure what I'd be doing right now. One thing is certain: when I say that I would do anything for my kids….I mean it.

  1. You are amazing. And though most people say they would do anything, a lot of people aren't strong enough to make a decision like that. Good for you!

  2. ". One thing is certain: when I say that I would do anything for my kids….I mean it." This really hit me. You are one strong woman and I applaud you for doing what you do for your children.

    And thank you OBM for not shying away from uncomfortable stories. This is what will always keep me reading!

  3. Well done, you. I think it's admirable that you are providing for your kids financially, but even better that you get to be there for them physically! I have often thought about becoming a sex worker (phone sex) to bring in some extra cash while I stay home with my toddler, but I don't have the connections you have and it's a tough industry to break into. I think you're doing a great job and I admire you!

    • I want to thank the author for writing this piece. Also:
      I worked in phone sex for over two years. This was about eight years ago, and even then the industry was on the downswing due to webcam stuff being more popular. Also, the money was okay, but not amazing by any means.

  4. Wow. Thanks for being so open. I understand completely why you did it. I am very lucky to live in a country where the welfare available means that I will never have to though.

    • You work 8 days a month, support 3 kids, the pets AND keep a roof over your head and the utilities on?

      Not just Kudos – all round awesome hi-5's.

      You're one of my new heros!

  5. You're clearly a mom who knows that your kids are a number one priority. As a newly single mom myself I can appreciate the panick of suddenly having it all fall on your shoulders. Screw the judgmental folks, you're doing what it takes to provide for your kids…that's to be admired.

  6. Anonymous, I commend you for writing your story. I'm not sure if you want to continue with this kind of career for the rest of your life, but whatever you do, I hope you continue to be as happy as you sound in this article. One thing I do wonder on, which relates to the previous statement, is what will happen to your career once your children get older? Do you think this is a lifelong endeavour or is it temporary until you figure out your next career? Not judging, just interested.

    • Thank you for the positive comment! I definitely do NOT plan on having this as a forever career. Most escorts have to retire relatively early for obvious reasons…we don't stay young forever! Although there are a number of very successful older escorts as well.

      My two goals are to get my student loans completely paid off and save up enough to have a significant down payment for a home (maybe even buy one outright!). At that point I will be financially secure enough to be able to have a 'regular job' at a 'regular wage' and not have to worry about being destitute and not able to pay the bills.

      I don't think I would call this a career choice- just a means to an end!

      Thank you again!

      • I'm reading this very belatedly, but I'm definitely curious (and totally supportive, btw – go, you!) about what you'd need to do in order to get a mortgage using the money from this work. I just bought my first home in September and my bank wanted a minimum of two years' employment history at the same job. Is there a…title that banks would like that you'd be able to use on mortgage applications? Because that would be awesome. πŸ™‚ Best of luck to you!

  7. It's always really refreshing to hear a different perspective than women who are unhappy/unsafe/on drugs and whatever else in the sex industry. I'm glad you have found a situation which suits you and your family!! Thanks for sharing this!

  8. Wow that's an awesome post! You've got some balls to say what you said.. I know a couple people who have done escorting, and really its not as bad as some people think.. I've even contemplated doing it! If you can get in with a good company then its worth it! I have 2 kids of my own and we are barely making ends meet. So I truely think that your decision was a good one.. You get to play stay at home mom during the day then do whatever at night πŸ™‚ like I said I know plenty of women who have done it.. I think you'd have to be pretty comfortable in your own skin to do it of course but if you are then heck yeah!

  9. RESPECT! Sometimes you do what you gotta do. But you have the right attitude…you're doing it all for your babies.

  10. I agree kudos for your honesty and bravery sharing your journey. Be careful out there! Even wealthy guys can be crazy!! Stay safe! I'd love an update in a few years;).

    • I'd love to give some updates in the future! I'm not certain what people would want to read about but I bet I could come up with some interesting material.

        • I certainly do not plan on still doing this when they are old enough to ask questions about my career.

  11. Thank you so much for writing this. I was wondering, how do you prevent your ex-husband from knowing what your job is, or is that an issue? I unfortunately know of mothers who have had their occupation used against them when it comes to child custody, etc.

    • So far this has not been an issue at all. As much as what he did to me was a supremely asshole thing to do, he would never try to take the children from me.

  12. Do I think you're a bad person for doing what you have to do to provide for yourself and your children? No. Not at all. Not even a little bit.

    But I think our society is totally fucked if this is what it comes to. When men can just leave their families like that and not provide for their own children. When extended family is so fragmented there isn't support for when members need help. That's not okay at all.

    • I think it's a little presumptuous to assume that the reason the author doesn't have extended familial support is because her family "is so fragmented." Sometimes families are small–think only child. Sometimes everyone else in your family is struggling as much or more than you. Sometimes your family is fragmented, but I'm not sure what that has to do with making tough decisions like how to care for your children.

  13. thank you for this intriguing post. as mamas we sacrifice so much and working-no matter what the industry– is just another form of sacrifice for our kids. i appreciate your honesty!

  14. you are a total inspiration! making shit happen to take care of your kids. thanks for sharing your story!

  15. Your amazing and so brave. I think most mums if they really thought about it, would be open to that option if they wedding themselves in your situation.
    Would you be open to a question?

      • Thank you!
        Do you have a plan in your head about how to deal if your children ever find out? I ask as there is something in my past (not disimilar) that i always worry my daughter will find out about. I would love to hear how you would deal.
        Please feel free to say you'd rather not answer πŸ™‚ it may be a bit personal.

  16. Another reason I do not judge anyone for their choices in life. Once you know the story and begin to understand their choices there is no room for judgment.
    I have student loans and I owe just under 100,000 in loans. Our welfare system refuses to acknowledge them and they think we should be doing great on what little means we have. Some days I just cry and even now I must admit I actually started considering this woman's story to help my husband and my son. In Idaho it is against the law to be an escort for sex so many of these escort services are just for dating. Many of my friends did it and they could say no to sex and still be paid. But I know I could never tell anyone. And I know many people would snub their nose at me. Even my family.

  17. I've had so many jobs that I've found more degrading than I think escorting would be. Thank you for writing this.

  18. Thank you for sharing your story. You sound like a beautiful (in-side) and strong women. Many people play victim to these situations and crumble under the weight. You have done what you can do for the betterment of your children and your self. Bravo!!

    Side note: I really wish we lived in an nonjudgmental society where a person can have a lovely evening with a beautiful women with out their being a commitment. In other words, I wish escorts could be escorts legally every where and our society would not shove their noises in the clouds looking down on people who are in the sex industry. We all have sex. Why is it so shameful?

    • Any if we can pay people to service us with their words, their voices, their ability to teach us or heal us – why can't we pay them for physical companionship? I am a "sex within marriage" type myself, but going to the bar and hooking up with someone drunk seems a lot less classy than a business deal. And preventing women and men from using a talent of charisma and physical ability seems hypocritical. If we can fully legalize the escort industry and bring it out into the open and make it safe and supported, that seems like a much better option than demonizing it!

  19. Hey, I've thought about it, I was in basically the same boat. It's impossible to get ahead when the system is the way it is, if you make one penny over their income limits, they yank the rug out from under you. And while they think you make "too much," it's never enough to make ends meet, especially without some type of assistance.

    Props to you, I wouldn't even know how to break into it, especially not safely.

  20. Thanks for sharing! I'm so glad to hear that you are in a safe environment that allows you to live and provide for your kids — and I'm sorry your husband treated you like that. Rock the hell on. ♥

    We weren't there, not yet, but I won't lie — until extremely recently and if not for an extremely forgiving landlord, we were staring down the barrel of "what if's" that scared me awake at night. (

  21. "It's not an easy job, it's not glamorous, and I know that most people reading this will be looking down their noses just SURE that they would never do anything so demeaning or degrading."
    Never. But I am so angry for you. I understand that you are ok with what you do but it is different from wanting to do what you do. It's just not fair.
    Also, you must be good looking. Because every once in a while, when baby daddy says something about how I don't make much money, I think, I will show him but then I think, who the hell would pay for my…not teenage, post partum bod???
    Be strong.

  22. I'd love to hear more from parents who have lived through true "I'll do anything for my kids" experiences.

  23. You sound like such a strong woman and a wonderful mother to your kids. Good luck with your work!

  24. I just want to thank everyone for the overwhelmingly positive response to this post! I had a ton of butterflies as the publish date got closer and closer- I wasn't sure I could handle seeing how people really feel about what I'm doing.

    I'm so humbled and grateful for the understanding you have all graced me with. <3

    • Thank you for this post. I wish there was a way to find a good company like you did or if there is a way for you to give us a little information as to where to search and how to know a good company. I would like to do something like this for the same reasons you have, I just have no connections to support (as you mentioned you did not either) and I don't know anyone who could even point me in the right direction for something like this. If you are allowed to give anything, it would be appreciated. If not I completely understand as well.

  25. Just curious as to how your ex gets away with not paying child support or alimony? Isn't our system supposed to help ensure that moms (and dads) like you don't ever end up having to make decisions like this? I have male friends who have paid more than half their incomes to women they never married for children they fathered, so how does a dad walk out and not have to financially contribute?

    • Sadly, our system is not designed to make sure things like this never happen. Our system is designed in such a way that it pushes people into situations like mine. If I had ONLY my salary standard salary I would probably qualify for a number of local and federal help agencies. But because my exhusband has not shirked his financial duties, my 'income' puts me over the ability to receive assistance.

      By DSS standards, I should be able to pay everything just fine with no help from them. They do not take student loans into consideration at all in their fancy calculations.

      • Thanks. So it sounds like you do receive child support from him then? And it's just not enough? I understand exactly what you mean about not qualifying for other benefits, I just don't understand how the divorce court didn't require him to pay you a pretty large chunk of his income to take care of his three children. I'm sure that support wouldn't cover all of your expenses by far, but you'd think it would be enough to keep you from needing to resort to these kinds of extremes. I totally respect your decision to do so, but no mother should have to even contemplate this just to care for her children because her husband left.

        • I was going to state the same. For one child I recieve pretty well, and her father works are a department store…so for three children with a father who makes well over a department store salary…I am guessing maybe around$800 plus alimony. He would also pay something for child care costs. I am also a single mom to two children and go to school and working a regular job, but without all the extras and I am very happy knowing that I am being a strong mom. Kudos to you for doing what you feel is right.

      • The student loan system really needs reform. I'm very sorry that it is your student loans that is making it so that you have to do this. I applaud you for finding a way to support your family, and I'm glad that it isn't making you miserable. However, no one should have to do something like this to pay their student loans. Student loans are the largest loans many of us will take in our lives, and it is ridiculous that they aren't considered when calculating how much financial help a family needs.

        • Yeah, it's pretty horrible that student loans are preventing you from being able to afford living off of a salary from a job you went to school for. That's when you know the economy is screwed.

    • I work as a single mother advocate and I've never heard of a man paying more than 20% of his personal income for child support, whether he was married to the mother or not, 20% is the standard. Which is pathetic, if you ask me. The only times men end up paying more is when they get behind on child support and end up having to pay back child support. Or if they change jobs and their income decreases and they don't go back to court to get child support levels changed (both of which has happened to my father).
      Sadly, many more men "get away" without paying anything. All you have to do is not send checks, and if the mother doesn't take the steps to garnish his paycheck, he's off scott free. Other highly effective methods of dodging child support include working under the table so you appear unemployed in court, skipping state or the country, or staying intentionally unemployed.
      Most of the women I know who's ex's actually pay child support never see a dime of it. When you go to get food stamps, cash assistance, and other forms of assistance the state takes the father if your child to court for you, garnishes his paycheck, and then he pays his child support to the state. It's a pretty fucked up system.
      I'd be very curious to hear the full story of these several men who give more than half their paycheck to child support. I am skeptical that's what's really happening, given all my experience with child support law, but I admit I don't know everything. What I do know is that most of the time child support payments are pitifully small (around 100 – 200 per month per child, for most women I know), and half the time fathers do get away without paying anything. They still have rights to visitation even if they never pay a dime in child support though. At least in the US, visitation and custody are not connected with child support. In all US states and territories it is illegal for a woman to withhold visitation on the basis that the father isn't paying child support. She can go to prison for doing so.

      • Thanks – that's helpful. I do know three men that paid upwards of $1000 a month while working close to minimum wage jobs, but I can totally see how that may not be the norm, given what little I know of their situations.

      • Jessica, you are not correct. The way you describe is not how child support is calculated. It is much complicated than that and depends on which State you are. What probably happens is that you are working with women who either don't have lawyers or don't have money to pay a good lawyer, therefore they don't have idea of the area they are stepping in and you are making assumptions based on their situation. I know it because I am an attorney myself and I work in this area. The best advice I can give you with regard to the women you are talking about is to send them to a lawyer. Do not give them advice with regard to child support if you are not a lawyer.

    • I have a friend with a 5 year old, and the child's father lives out of state. He hasn't paid child support in years, claims no income and no fixed address (he makes money under the table and stays with his mom or girlfriend), and never shows up for court dates. Its mind boggling.

      • The difference here is that she said her husband still splits custody with her at least part of the time. So it just seems like he should be paying her some sort of support. I just am curious if it's typical for that amount to be so small as to force mothers into these extreme decisions.

        • It really depends on the income. If the father beings in 1000 a month, and she gets the typical 20% of that, then yes, it's not enough to support three kids. If the father makes a six figure salary, she would probably get quite a bit more, but probably still not enough to survive without working. My father made a six figure salary. My mom got $600 per month per child, which totaled 1200. It usually covered rent and utilities, but not food, clothes, medical, daycare, school fees, etc. My single mom worked 60+ hours a week outside the home for my entire childhood.
          I get no child support for my son. The story behind that is complicated but I believe we're better off. Escorting sounds far less miserable than military service, which is how I made ends meet the first few years of my son's life. Of course, I was in the military before I got pregnant, it is not a practical choice for a woman who is already a single mom to join the military, as you have to sign over custody of your kids to someone else while you are in basic training and AIT, which often means women never get full custody back. It all depends on how much you trust your ex, I suppose.

    • They can legally make someone responsible to pay- but the system cannot actually make them keep employment and pay- this is why some of us are owed upwards of $100k in unpaid child support for our children. They can work jobs and get paid under the table- move from job to job, move states and basically fly under the radar- despite bench warrants etc.

  26. I wanted to congratulate you for being brave enough to share your story and brave enough to do what it takes for your kids. I believe that sex work should be legalized and regulated instead of criminalized and pushed underground. I don't know if our puritanical society will ever go for it, but kudos to you for finding a safe and lucrative way to do it.

  27. I also want to say Thank You for holding your head up high and sharing your story. You have NOTHING to be ashamed of and I hope your long term planning works out!

    And Thank you to OBM for providing the kind of venue where we can even read such a post, have a legit discussion and everyone gets to be "their own special snowflake"

    Finally…YEAH! Where is the money from the Father? And I wish you had the support system you should! We have one child and when I tell people we have no family in the area they look at me like I am nuts! Not the same level as this post but reminds me how people forget than when you have kids YOU MAKE IT WORK!

  28. Frankly, I think that you're one of the most committed mothers I've ever heard of. To go into a line of work that society frowns upon for the sake of your kids? Yeah, that's not Super Mom, that's THE Mom!

    I think we'd all like to say, "Well, I would NEVER do such a thing!" when things are going great, but what about when the fridge is empty? When the car is repossessed? When you're living day to day terrified of when the landlord is going to kick you out? What then? I'd like to think that I'd be brave enough to do WHATEVER it took to keep my kids happy, fed, and secure. It's not glamorous, it's not even ideal, but it puts food on the table, and anyone who condemns you for fulfilling the basic requirements of any decent mother, food, shelter, and security, can frankly jump off a cliff. Preferably the Grand Canyon.

    Would I ever be able to do this? I have no idea, and no offense, I hope I'm never in a position to make that sort of decision. But you have all my respect, just keep being a fantastic mom, and everything will fall into place.

    • It's very individual. Some people just work places like craigslist, while others google escort agencies. I happened to have a personal connection to someone in the industry so I was able to slide in with relative ease.

  29. I've never visited this site before, but was sent this link on Twitter. I've been a sex worker for almost a decade, and it's really awesome to see so many positive comments on this post.

    To the commenter who asked who would pay to see her body – you might be surprised at how un-"perfect" most sex workers look. Society imagines you need to be a 9 or a 10, but in reality, most of us are 6s, 7s, and 8s. We're cuter than average, but not supermodels, and most importantly, we know how to display/use our own bodies in the most flattering ways. For people who are heavier or less "conventionally attractive," you can still make it work, although the market for curvy or punk/butch sex workers is smaller. For "unconventional" looks or special talents, fetish/dominatrix work or fetish/niche porn might be a better choice for you.

    I have no financial incentive to suggest it, but The Internet Escort's Handbook (sold as 2 books) by Amanda Brooks is a good starting point for people looking to get into independent escorting. (That means running everything yourself, working outside of an agency.) There are a few other "how to" books floating around out there, but they all seem either sketchy, outdated, or written by people who have never actually done sex work.

    A lot of sex workers are isolated from other sex workers, but that's changing. More and more sex workers' rights groups are popping up around the world, so consider attending an event in your area, or just sending one an email to ask about local sex worker meetups or how to connect with a local community.

  30. This is kind of off-topic, but I'm wondering, don't you have to conceal or launder the money? I mean, if you don't have a visible job, and you're able to pay cash one day for a house, won't someone ask where that money came from? I guess I'm thinking of Weeds and the fake coffee shop she "ran".

    Don't feel obliged to answer. I'm just thinking out loud.

    • I don't really want to get into the fine details here on the blog, but I make sure to pay taxes on everything that I earn. I don't want Uncle Sam chasing me down πŸ™‚

  31. i can so relate to your situation. i have four kids. i am on assistance. there is no way i could ever make enough to support my kids at a job and pay for daycare and pay for food and pay for rent and pay bills and pay off student loans and pay for anything extra my kids need like clothes… if i get a job, i am fucked, i would get kicked off assistance in a heart beat. if i stay on welfare i am extremely poor but i have food and shelter and i get to take care of my kids. i also don't have family or friends around for support. i am alone when it comes to raising my kids. their dad is not even in the picture and if he was, he would not be supportive. if i was in your situation i would most likely end up doing the same thing as you. you get to be a full time mom and support your kids. there is nothing wrong with what you are doing. i applaud you for taking your life by the horns and making it work for you.

    i wish we didn't have to make choices like that to support our family. i wish things could be easier for us as a single parent and we had better choices. it is sad that we don't.

  32. It doesn't get much more self-less than that. It is a great story that proves sometimes you have to go through and do the inconsiderable life lessons to see how strong you really are. Not everyone gets to see that in themselves, some just give up.

  33. I did the same to get through college. I don't regret it at all. I now have a child and am SUCH a cookie-cutter suburban PTA mom. And it's my little secret. You're strong and brave and don't ever feel guilty. I used to feel guilty not because I really felt like I was a bad person, I just thought I was SUPPOSED to feel guilty. Well I don't anymore. I learned a lot about myself and a lot about other people in the process of escorting. Thanks Offbeat Mama for posting this, and thank you for writing it.

    • I love hearing from other people who have been in the industry. What a fun secret to keep at the PTA meetings!

  34. Thank you for sharing this. Your kids will someday thank you for doing what you've done to keep them clothed, fed and housed. You are a Saint for your dedication to your kids.

  35. Respect from me, for sure! I haven't known any escorts (that I know of) but I have had many friends in the sex industry (including family members). I want to see the US have a clean, safe, legal sex industry.

    Thank you very much for sharing your story.

  36. Thanks for the post!
    An update on your career via another story would be great.
    We all make sacrifices to get by and you do what u have to!
    Sex working is one of the oldest professions, I say legalize it so sex workers can be protected by the law!
    P.s. I had NO idea student loans aren't taken into consideration by welfare. How ironic seeing u cant report student loans for bankruptcy!

    • Neither did I! I thought I was being responsible by getting a solid education (at community colleges and state universities!) and only borrowing what I needed. I drive an old sedan that I bought with cash, used, many years ago, live in a tiny apartment, have NO other debt.

      I thought I did everything right. Our government isn't set up in such a way to get people to better their circumstances. They do it in such a way that seems to keep people in a state of need and dependence.

      • That is quite true, unfortunately. We say that we want people to help themselves, but as a society we don't give people the means to do that very often.

        Also, our society pushes college really hard when there are lots of other ways to get ahead in life. College is wonderful, and everyone who wants to go should be able to go. However, there are a number of cases where a vocational school might better serve a person's personal and career goals and get them earning money more quickly than a college degree. There are so many people going to college these days who don't need to and don't want to but were pressured into it by well meaning parents and/or guidance counselors. I'm not saying this was the case with the author of this post, just saying that the pressure to go to college has gotten a bit out of control in this country.

        • The college vs. vocation debate is way bigger than this thread, but I just wanted to say that I am SO with you on this!

        • I agree with you….
          The UK is heading more towards – you have to have a degree or you won't get a half decent job. Which is OK whilst our student loans are pretty relaxed (we don't pay them back until we're earning a certain amount, we only pay a small percentage of our wage and if we die our next of kin doesn't have to pick up the bill.) So if you're unemployed, you don't have to worry about student loans. However I can see our system becoming a lot more like the USA over time.
          I think the USA and the UK need to relax over the sex industry. It's unfairly taboo. If consenting adults are involved, the only difference to something like tinder is, money is exchanged.

  37. I will admit I was a bit disturbed and taken aback when I first heard about this blog but after reading it I really have to commend you for taking care of yourself and even more importantly your children! I agree with the other commenter that is pissed for you that society in a way led you to this choice but at this time it seems you are happy and comfortable with it and that is what counts! Best luck to you now and in the future too!

    • Thank you! My entire point in writing this blog was to show people the lives behind the title. The majority of escorts out there aren't drug addicted, strung out, STD infested junkies. Most are just like me- just trying to make ends meet as quickly as possible.

      I'm really happy to be able to shed some light on the people within the industry.

      • My hat goes off to a strong brave and loving mother! I spent the last 25 years serving this great country of ours in the USMC and believe me when I say I have seen more than my fair share of suffering so the fact that this mother was able to find a way to support her kids and herself and do it: as in the immortal words of the GREAT Frank Sinatra (I DID IT MY WAY!!! )I've also be on the other end of that type of a transaction and let me just say that I admire and respect the girls that are able to do this and it NOT make it where they are unable to have a happy and healthy relationship with someone that they truly care about! I have a couple of favorites that I REALLY do care about and think of as good friends. So if I may :the next time someone is looking down on you because of what you do to support yourself and your children tell them to GO FUCK THEMSELVES with my compliments!!! A retired marine

  38. Thanks for writing this!

    This part really struck a cord with me: "I have no family, no close friends, no support network, no church, no friendly neighbors, absolutely nothing." I can so empathize with this; what the heck happened to communities? I am almost in the same boat, although after having my daughter I moved to be near my parents which has been a god-send. Until I had a kid I never realized just how hard you have to work to create a support system these days.

  39. This is a very courageous thing you're doing.

    I think I would be too scared to do this. Even if I safeguarded against the obvious dangers, I don't know if I could live with that secret hanging over my head. I would be afraid I'd lose the kids if somebody found out and reported me to Child Protective Services. Even if everybody close to you is OK with this, all it would take is one nosy neighbor or a secretly disgruntled friend.

    But at the same time I can't think of "another plan" for you either! I wish it were different. Sometimes I wonder if making prostitution illegal actually perpetuates the problems associated with it (exploitation of women, transmission of diseases, etc ).

    • I think your line of thinking that making prostitution
      (or escorts, or any form of sex working) illegal causes the problems
      that are part of the industry is exactly right. If it's legalized, it can be regulated.

    • One thing you need to keep in mind is prostitution is indeed illegal HOWEVER escorting IS NOT illegal. You are being payed for your time the same as a doctor a lawyer a cpa or ANYONE else that charges an hourly rate for their time PERIOD end of story!

  40. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I greatly respect your decision and would never judge you for the decisions you have made. However, I do very harshly judge our society for forcing you to enter into employment you would not otherwise choose. I am very happy for individuals to work in any industry they would like, but it makes me sad when people are forced to work in an industry they don't like because they don't have any other options. I have many cousins in the military because it supports them and their families. That makes me sad. And while I am in awe of the sacrifices you have made for your kids, I hope it doesn't make you upset that I am also sad that our society has not bestowed other options upon you.

  41. I also feel that it is so unfair of your ex husband to have put you in such a situation where you have to do something purely to support your family and not because it is your chosen career path. Surely when you get divorced the husband needs to make sure that he can still provide for his kids etc?
    I take my hat off to you… You are a strong women and I hope from the bottom of my heart that you will soon be abled to follow all your dreams. Your kids are lucky to have such a devoted and strong mother.
    Thank you for sharing your story!

  42. I will be honest – i was a bit shocked when I read this. I guess everyone living outside of the US thinks that you live in the land of milk and honey… but I guess thats not the case…$100 000 of students loans is equivelant to R 815 000 the price of some houses…. I feel disturbed by that and the fact that the help that is offered by your government has so many loopholes for them to get out of helping you is crazy (we dont get any assistance of any kind in this country, for a women to get assistance she must earn under R 2500 a month which is like $306 a month which is impossible anyway and then they only give you R500 I think)
    When I was a teenager my boyfriends mother was basicly a hooker…it was weird becouse her family behaved like it wasnt really happening when it was and I guess that made me feel diffently about the situation. I dont think it can ever really be the best situation, but if you find yourself unable to keep your head above water any other way then you should do it. (she was in a really dodgy situation that was not safe in my opinion) You are safe, you take precautions and your children are at this point unaware of the situation. It is not your goal in life (no one thinks gee one day im going to be an escort for a living you have goals and ambition to make your and your kids lives better) I thin the biggest problem with your career would only be once your children and their friends and friends parents become aware. There is no way anyone in a 'normal' setting would understand – thats really sad but its how life is. I really hope that you keep safe and enjoy this time with your kids – your luckier than some of us working moms…

  43. I take my hat off to you! You are much braver than you give yourself credit for!!

    I'll be sure to send some good thoughts your way!!

  44. I've been exactly where you are, and sometimes still am. I've written a comprehensive book about it. Please let me know where you are so I can send you a free download link for it. I feel so much camaraderie with you that I want you to have it!
    If you check out the site posted you'll see that I'm for real. Believe me, I know how important trust is in this situation.

    A. Phoenix

      • If you click on her name at the top of the post it takes you to her website, with a contact button – hopefully that helps πŸ™‚ It must be good to be able to talk to others who know the industry.

  45. Look down on you? No freaking way. I admire the fact you are doing the best you can for your family, children and your future. You sound very level headed and I wish you all the best!

  46. Much respect. I have been paid for sex in my early years, as have my 2 best friends. It's nobody's business but your own. Stay safe and take care of your babies.

  47. I want to wish this author well and am glad you and your children are safe and provided for.

    And well done for the editors to share this story on the site.

    However, I just wanted to share an observation with the others commenting and offbeat mama readers. Thank you for being so positive and supportive in the comments here! I had lost a little faith in the readership when there were a lot of negative/judgmental comments a while back on a post about a couple who were 'house less' and currently depending on the welfare system. I know these two stories aren't the same, but I feel they were also in a difficult situation and were making the best of it to take care of their child.

    We all face difficult decisions as parents and I'm really grateful this community supports parents doing what they feel is best for their families.

    • I had lost a little faith in the readership when there were a lot of negative/judgmental comments a while back on a post about a couple who were 'house less' and currently depending on the welfare system.

      You 'n' me, both. That was a rough day.

    • This is exactly what I was thinking! I checked back with this post today and gave a deep sigh that comments were still open and positive πŸ™‚

    • I think readers feel there's a difference between doing whatever you need to look after your children, and (what readers saw as) an able-bodied young couple taking advantage of the welfare system — especially when the Anonymous poster notes in the comments that she still pays taxes on her earnings. I'm sure if that couple had omitted the part about their income/lack thereof, there would have been a lot more support for them simply choosing to raise a child without a house. Don't want to re-open the debate, but I think it's important to really compare the two situations and understand that while they both discuss controversial lifestyles, that wasn't the real issue commenters were having.

      • Exactly. There is a huge difference between someone making ends meet because they have to, and someone who willingly decides to make society pay while they wander the country and occasionally make handicrafts. Also, I think that post struck a nerve because many of us are working our asses off to make ends meet and are paying taxes that then go to homeless/underprivileged people.

  48. I certainly feel compassion for the author's desperation and can sympathize with her plight, but I am surprised by all of the comments that are celebrating a practice that objectifies and degrades women. I admire the author's love for her children and I appreciate that she wrote this piece, but I do not find her actions heroic.

    • I've never understood that position. How many women have stayed in a "romantic" relationship with a man they didn't truly love because of the financial support they received? Lived with a man? Hell, just had sex with a man because he payed for a fancy dinner? I think that to say that only sex workers are objectifying themselves is…unrealistic.

      I would personally be too afraid to do this, but I wouldn't have any moral qualms myself, and I think it's incredibly brave of her to do what she needs to do to take care of her children. Would it be better for them to go hungry? Or to never see her because she has to work 60+ hours a week at a minimum wage job?

    • Why is it necessarily being objectified? And why is that limited to work in the sex industry? I've had plenty of jobs that didn't involve sex where I felt humiliated or demeaned. I don't think she necessarily deserves MORE credit than any other single working mother, but I think she's brave for sharing her story and is finding a way out of a shitty situation.

    • The only time I have ever felt objectified and/or degraded is when people make comments about how my work objectifies and degrades me.

      I would feel far more objectified and degraded being lied to by a handsome man in a bar, plied with drinks, being intimate, then being tossed aside for the next best bar conquest. People in my line of work are brutally honest about what they are looking for- and I have a deep appreciation for that.

    • I currently work as a stripper to put myself through college, and I feel incredibly lucky and empowered. I'm simply a smart girl taking advantage of a consumer demand.

      I felt more degraded when I was working in a bakery for less than minimum wage, being bullied and not paid properly, being given so many hours that I couldn't keep up with my classes, and having to sell my things and not eat just to pay my rent.

  49. Lots of the comments seem to focus on the author having to resort to extreme measures for her kids. I wonder, are there people who actually want to do this for a living, and actually like it better than a more traditional career or job?

    Also, when I think about this profession, if I'm going to look down on anyone or imagine it's degrading to a person, (which I really don't btw) it would be the customer, not the worker. That type of job would not be available if there wasn't a market to begin with.

    • I think the applause for choosing an extreme measure comes from the tone of the post itself. It's very apparent it was a last resort, but she knew it was the best choice for her and her family. I'm sure many people get into the industry because they like it, it feels empowering, etc.
      I don't think looking down on the customer is any 'better' than looking down on the worker. There are bad customers that patronize sex workers and good customers who are respectful and genuinely good people. It's just like any industry, there are good and bad customers.

      • I think I worded my comment poorly, but I think you get what my question was about. I've known people who left for NV to do this, but, I never found out how they like it etc… Was it as "easy" or "fun" and they thought it would be? Is it anything like the reality shows?

        I love that OBM posts so many differnt types of stories because I"m so nosy and interested in how people live even if it has nothing to do with my life!

        • Was it as "easy" or "fun" and they thought it would be?

          I think the author makes her perspective on this pretty clear: "It's not an easy job, it's not glamorous, and I know that most people reading this will be looking down their noses just SURE that they would never do anything so demeaning or degrading."

          To me that's not easy, not fun, and she understands that people see it as demeaning.

          • I wonder, though, what it's like for a sex worker in NV, someone doing it legally in a regulated environment. I've heard limited amounts on the subject (Stephen Fry stopped and talked to a few sex workers at one place in NV during his trip around the US, very interesting) and I wonder how different it is for people who work and live where it's legal. is it still looked down upon? Without the secrecy and threat of losing children/feeling like it's your 'last resort' does it become a more appealing, or fun (or even just easier) job?

          • I've known a number of sex workers, most of whom chose to do it because they thought it would be interesting. While it's true that pretty much all of them had a horror story or two (whether it was a scary and/or uncomfortable situation with a customer or a run-in with the police), most seemed to get genuine satisfaction from their work. In fact all the complaints or problems I can remember were really about the societal stigma and the legality issues. I think at least some of them would have been really happy with their chosen work if it were legal.

            I remember asking one of my friends, who had just screened out a creepy potential customer over the phone, about the aspect of physical danger. She said that plenty of people choose dangerous jobs–cops, firemen, military, etc. etc., and get a lot of satisfaction from their work anyway. She said it was much the same for her.

  50. I just want to say again that this poster is awesome and I'm thrilled that our community here is so open minded, respectful, and intelligent!

  51. Comment sections like this really restore my faith in, forgive the cheesy expression, "sisterhood". Especially now that I'm pregnant and lurking so much on other parenting forums. I usually leave them annoyed and somewhat insulted.

    You people make me happy. πŸ™‚

    That said, this article is awesome, and really brave. My mom had to do some illegal things to take care of her six kids when my dad took off for another woman (hasn't seen his kids more than 4 times since, and owes 97k in child support), and I completely respect her for having the guts to do so. I feel the same about the above writer.

  52. I look at my life right now, and see how easily it could lead to the situation you found yourself in. You're making the best decisions you can and I respect the hell out of you. Those kids have a mom they can be proud of.

  53. i seriously thought about going into escorting when i was single-parenting my son, barely making ends meet. i made little enough to qualify for daycare assistance, but did not receive any child support during that time. i was debt free when i became single, but i racked up thousands of dollars on a credit card buying groceries because i didn't qualify for food stamps.

    i am now in a different situation and hopefully won't have to consider sex work again, but i wanted to chime in and give you props.

  54. Right on OBM for sharing this. And a HUUUUGE thank you to the fearless lady who wrote it and lives it every day. Do whatcha gotta do sister.

  55. Thank you for sharing your story, it is really interesting. I think you sound like a very strong and grounded woman.

    It brings up a lot of important questions for me. I hope you don't mind me asking you your opinion about some things. Feel free to not answer if they are too personal.

    "It's not an easy job, it's not glamorous, and I know that most people reading this will be looking down their noses just SURE that they would never do anything so demeaning or degrading."

    I'm curious if you find the actual work demeaning or degrading or if it is the stigma of the work that is degrading? Or neither? I guess I'm just questioning if paying for sexual contact has to be degrading if it is between two consenting adults.

    I'm also curious to know if you could change something would it be a priority for you to end the stigma against sex trade work or to improve the social welfare system so that women like yourself didn't have to do sex work to make ends meet?

    Again, thanks for sharing your story and being so open to talk about your life.

    • It's the stigma I was referring to. I don't actually feel degraded by my clients at all. Usually it's the well-intentioned know-it-all feminists that make me feel the most degraded. Ironic, isn't it?

      And your question is a great one! I think that my number one priority would be to legalize and regulate sex work. I don't think that the stigma will ever be gone so I wouldn't waste my time on that. I want the women who make up the sisterhood of The Escort to be safe, I want them to not be afraid of going to the police if they are robbed or assaulted, I want them to be unafraid of police cruisers and to be able to get things like affordable healthcare, disability, workers comp, etc.

      We already have a welfare system in place, it sucks for some people, but it's there. There is NOTHING for sex workers and that is what puts us in the most danger.

  56. You go momma, stay ahead of the game, and make that money!! It's not scandalous, its not embarrassing, and its not disgusting. Your babies will thank you when they're off to college on your hard earned buck.

    I just hope that everyone you meet for these dates is respectful toward you… I would hate to read that they don't treat you nicely.

    You are doing something (that even though some of us might not admit in a million years) felt that they might have to do to eat a meal, or get a roof over their heads.

    I am proud that you are who you are, and I don't even know you!!!

    • I am very blessed to be a part of a WONDERFUL and very small, private service that backgrounds and health checks every single client. I have been treated better by them than I have by most of the men I have dated!

  57. Thank you for posting this, I knew it must take major ovaries to do so, and good for you.

    I have a question, though: Have you tried going after your ex for child support? I also understand that child support enforcement in the US is pretty lax, to say the least.

    Again, thank you for having the ovaries to tell your truth, and I hope that you get your loans paid off and a fabulous home for you and your babies. *MAJOR HUGS*

    • The author replied upthread about child support – she does get some support, but the escorting allows her to supplement that and pay student loans. The child support is insufficient for her needs, but enough to disqualify her for meaningful government assistance as well.

  58. Wow! I love that Offbeat Mama posts things like this, that you would never see on any other parenting blog. So interesting to hear such different perspectives. Thanks for being brave enough to share this with us.

    Out of curiosity, what do you tell people if they ask how you support your family? If you appear to be a full-time stay-at-home mom, people must wonder how you make ends meet. What do you tell them? Or do people just tend to keep their questions to themselves?

    • At this point when people ask what I'm doing (which is relatively rare because I really don't have many people who would be interested in the first place!) I tell them that I am in the events planning industry. It's not too big of a bend to the truth and it explains how I'm able to spend so much time 'working from home' (or at least that's what people think, in actuality I'm playing with my kids!) and it would explain why people may see me in social settings at times.

      It's certainly not perfect but I wanted to keep as close to the truth as possible.

  59. You are awesome!! I don't plan on ever having any children myself, but I'm totally in awe of the lengths people will go to to provide for their children. (And even if you didn't have kids and were just doing this to support yourself, you would still be a rock star!)

  60. this is an amazing story. you've got balls, lady! you're dealing the best you can after exploring various options.

    just curious, i do hope that ex-husband of yours is financially helping out with the kids as well? it's not fair that you're carrying the weight of the family, while he's gets away completely consequence-free.

  61. Thank goodness a job exists that you don't so much mind doing to support your kiddos. I think it's very noble of you.

  62. As a middle-aged man who has spent time with many escorts over the years since my divorce and between committed relationships, I have nothing but respect for you (as well as for 99% of the escorts I've had the honor and pleasure to spend time with) as well as respect and admiration for the choices you have made to care for your children and meet your financial obligations. This is indeed an honorable and respectable professional and/or career choice; it is ridiculous that our puritanical society demonizes this profession and has not legalized it as has been done quite well in many countries. Most of the women I have encountered this way are single mothers who have made their choice to do this type of work for financial reasons. They have had a range of post-partum bodies and are not stunning "10" 20-somethings. The majority are warm, intelligent, often well-educated women such as the blogger who was brave enough to post her story and her rationale for the choices she has made. I would hope that most of the clientele that escorts such as the blogger encounter treat them with the caring and respect that I do, though sadly, I know that this is not the case 100% of the time. There are numerous online moderated chat rooms/boards where men such as myself post information and/or reviews (discreetly and respectfully) about escorts we have spent time with, sharing the woman's contact information (with her permission)so as to assist the escort in building her clientele and/or discuss sex worker-related issues with both other men and with the escorts themselves. Women are most often uniformly spoken of with respect, fondness and gratitude. Yes, there is too much sleaze and disrespectful if not outright harmful information on the web about this profession, but this is not representative as a whole of the opinions and sentiments of those of us who respect all women including women who have chosen to be an escort to provide for their families (too often because deadbeat dads do not step up to their responsibilities to care for their children after divorcing, leaving or abandoning the family they have helped to create)or to pay for college.

    You are a brave and sentient being. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Kudos to you for being sensitive and respectful to escorts, yourself. I can think of no reason why an encounter between escort and client can't be a fun, sexy, perhaps even personally fulfilling experience — but only as long as the clients are well aware of boundaries and treat the escort with the utmost of respect and dignity.

      So thanks for being among those who do that.

  63. My kudos to you as well! I really appreciate that you've been around to answer commentor's questions too, that's really cool!

    This comment section has been wonderful, but I do have to wonder if that's just due to heavy comment moderation.

  64. You go mama! I love that you do what you have to, I love even more that you wrote about it. I was a single mom once upon a time and things get hard when you aren't sure where your money is going to come from or if its going to be enough. I don't think anyone should look down their nose at you, its not like you're doing it to support a drug habit or something, its not like you could have gotten the money from a relative or something to live on. Life is an occassion; Rise to it.

  65. I'm so sorry our system failed you so terribly. And I say that with this in mind:

    1. I don't think sex is shameful
    2. I don't personally think there is anything INHERENTLY shameful about sex for money

    But, there's still an amazing social stigma surrounding it, and historically, it's one of the many things women used to have to resort to for a lack of options. So it's not the job itself that I feel bad for you over — I've known women who were escorts and actually LOVED it — it's the fact that there was so little else available to you in order for you to meet your needs, especially as I'm sure that while you're not miserable, you'd rather not have to do what you do.

    So while I'm totally pro on sex work as a legitimate job for those who truly enjoy it, I still recognize that it's something most women would really rather not get into. And I wish so much that you hadn't had to. A country like ours shouldn't paint people into such corners.

  66. Well, to start; I am not looking down at you at all… Been there, done that in a past incarnation and have to say you are one courageous mama. Funny I read this now lol, as I watched (no it's not a habit!) Dr Phil today and there was a couple doing late night work to support their little girl… My hubby & I said, "good on them". All we can hope is that we can get on top of our bills as easily as they have! I must say it is risky and I have concerns as to whether people will judge and the whole "if the kids find out" stuff but overall, I'd give my vote to a sex worker over an investment banker right now… Good luck on your journey and hope you make ends meet & much more πŸ™‚ K

  67. First off, I support you for doing anything for your kids. (Scumbag husband left… ugh. :/ Although I'm too young to know really anything, so I don't want to assume too much about the situation). Ethics/morals/whatever aside, you said you'd do anything for you kids, and you have. *hugs*

  68. People often say that they'll never go into this line of work, but I'm always afraid to tell them that they never know what they'll find themselves having to do.

    Now I'll speak up. I want to never HAVE to do something like this, but I'd much rather do this than do something harmful or that would put my (eventual) kids into an unsafe situation.

  69. How awesome that you've figured out a way to support yourself and your kids and still BE there for them, too!
    I guess it must be a terrible statement about our economy, though, that you couldn't use your school education to get a job!

  70. Good for you! I certainly respect your honesty, and didn't…at all…think any less of you. You sound like a fantastic mother =)

  71. I am relieved that I came across this article! Well written and I give the props all to you because this is an example of doing what you have to do to take care of your family. Much respect!

  72. I commend you for writing this very honest article about yourself. I think you do what you have to do and as long as your life is not in any danger then well done for what i know is a hard task bringing up children single handedly.
    well done and all the best..

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