Hi! My name is Bishop Black. I'm a porn performer based in Berlin, living here for the last 9 years. In the time I've been here, I have found a career in performance and pornography with various different companies, such as Cazzofilm, Erika Lust, Himeros and independent porn companies. I've also been an escort. Sex work has been a pervading force in my life, from the porn that I've starred in, to the clients I have met - either solo or with a "partner" - to my live performance shows. I am a sex worker. I am happy to call myself that, even with all the stress and stigma it can cause me sometimes!
Sex work is important. Let´s be honest, most of us at one point in our lives will consume a form of sex work. Everyone seems to limit sex work to prostitution, which is a form of sex work, but there are also other forms. Unfortunately, due to stigma, prostitution can conjure images of a person who is a sexual deviant (so what if they are?!), who is not responsible when it comes to their health. This idea of sex workers being "unclean" is essentially Victorian stigma that is still ingrained in the fabric of our psyche. The fact is, sex workers are so often tested. We know our status. We work with our bodies and therefore it is our utmost importance to know about our own health, AND to protect it. We constantly engage in talks about consent, safer sex and sexual health. These are not taboo topics for us, as they can be for most. STIs are openly spoken about and hold no stigma to us, because shit happens. However, it does not mean we are blasé about it.
Many people get into sex work as a means to make ends meet or just to have a work life that is more streamline and doesn't have to deal with the whole 9-5 rat race. Some people also get into it because they like to fuck, enjoy being in full command of their sexuality and love having the freedom to explore it within the profession of escorting - or whatever form of sex work they choose to dive into. It's not easy to do sex work. It can be hard to hustle, and if you are not careful you can get burnt out super quickly. It's also not a profession without problems, but which profession is? The problem arises when people feel that the field of sex work must be abolished without giving sex workers the voice to say what they need in order to feel safe and secure in their work. If you don't have an idea of what goes into being a sex worker, then there's no way to help from the outside. It's not possible for you to speak for us and override what's actually important, with things that seek to ruin our livelihood.
Sex workers need to have their voices in order to speak their demands on how to improve and bring more safety to their work. This is especially true for full-service sex workers or street sex workers who, during the corona pandemic, have been hit the hardest, as they may not have had the option of going online or finding accommodation, due to financial burden.
Sex work is a service. I do not see it as an exploitation of the body. If you want to fuck a hole, I'm sure there are many holes that are available. But if you were to hire me, you would be hiring a service. The reason you come to a sex worker is because you want something that "totally aligns with your fantasy". People choose sex work, because it could simply be that you want no stress sex right there, right now, or maybe later. Sometimes being in social situations is anxiety laden and social networks can also be frustrating, full of endless conversations that lead nowhere, or people who aren't what their picture looks like. Another reason is that there are some things you want to explore, without judgement or shame.
And sometimes, you just want someone hot to pound you for a few hours.
Sex work has such a dirty rep in many circles and it's ridiculous. I've had some amazing encounters doing my job as an escort. I've also hired escorts and had fantastic sex. I've learned about fetishes that I may not have been exposed to, and I learned about consent and boundaries when dealing with BDSM. I've found some fetishes I simply adore and have gained respect for, and I've had some clients who I've learned together with, whilst exploring their own. Sex work has been a non-judgemental, cathartic exploration and I recommend you support a sex worker by hiring them and paying them their full rate without bartering and haggling. I also recommend supporting sex workers (some of which may be your favourite porn performers, nudge wink) by donating to, or sharing information about organisations that give funds directly to the workers themselves. A few are listed here at the end of the article.
I am happy and proud to call myself a sex worker. In one of the most heavily stigmatised professions, I've found long lasting friendships that have turned into collaborative projects, in which we have both learned from each other and grown together. I've had the opportunity to travel and work for companies I would never have thought of working with, and I've grown in my understanding of my sexuality in a way that I don't think I would've done if I had held on to my preconceptions of sex work. It's enriched my performance career and my work is indebted to it.