Sex Work Isn’t All Sex: It’s Also Taxes


Photo of the words "sexy sex."

Not all women and men who chose to make a life by doing sex work did so because they had no other options (or were forced into the work). Many people opt to work in the sex industry because they like the work and are exceptionally great business people.

I listened to Bitch’s “Sex Work is Work” Popaganda podcast while running on a treadmill at my gym last week. You may think, “hmm, that’s an odd choice to take one’s mind off running,” but you would be wrong. It was a refreshing episode… really.

I’m so used to hearing about the moral side of sex work. People looking from the outside-in tend to only examine if the work is good or bad for the sex worker. And Bitch took the sex work conversation to another level entirely. The feminist news magazine went into great depth about how people in the sex industry manage their business. Yes, even super hot sex workers have to report their earnings to the government. They also have to drum up business and have a company strategy.

Bitch explored all these ordinary workings that sex workers have to deal with by interviewing three people who are immersed in the field: Mistress Matisse, Seattle dominatrix and writer, Melissa Gira Grant, author of “Playing the Whore: The Work of Sex Work” and journalist, and Emi Koyama, activist. Matisse discussed how she does her taxes, Grant explained the complex labor perspectives that come with sex work, and Koyama gave great insight on the social and legal realities of sex work.

The 50 minute podcast was interesting and insightful. I also cracked up a few times during Matisse’s interview because the every day realities of her work (trying not to disturb the neighbors, filing taxes, etc.) were so epically normal. (And Matisse is fun-ny… and smart.)

Catch the full podcast here.

Have you ever mused about the actual work-side of sex work? If you’ve done any research about it, leave a response in the comment section!

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Image: Anthony Easton

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Abbie Stutzer