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Allowing myself to trust and be vulnerable was difficult, even after Missy, a 37-year-old former stripper from New Orleans, had been out of sex work for about a year when she and her current partner met on Ok Cupid.When Missy told him about her past, she recalled to me that he was unfazed.One recommendation to those who are romantically interested in someone working in the sex industry, or in the process of leaving it: Do not pressure them to quit. Even when we do, transitioning out of the industry can be difficult.

And yet, when we argued, he insinuated no one else would want to date me due to my having sold sex.

He and other men took advantage of me financially, .

“For a while,” she went on, “I kind of fell into believing the nonsense she was spouting at me.

It was doubly strange, because I really didn’t think of myself as less, or subhuman—not to anyone else anyway.

But with her, I let it hurt me and altered my behavior accordingly to appease her.

She wanted to bully me, and I had to let her.” Her current relationship, Violet said, is much different.

I’ve written elsewhere how—for me—one of the toughest parts of being someone with experiences in the sex trades was dating.

I believe the answer is obvious, but “Do prostitutes date and marry? Sex workers are often thought of as either morally corrupt, or else so dirtied or physically and emotionally damaged by our experience that our current or former occupations have rendered us undateable.

After he and I broke up, I knew that a “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule wouldn’t do in future relationships.

To find a true partnership, I decided, I’d have to be entirely transparent and find a partner who was comfortable with my past.

For me to have returned to sex work would have been a mistake—and yet, broke and demoralized, I considered it, but kept it to myself.

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