ESTABLISHING BOUNDARIES:

  • Outline your boundaries at the start. If a customer crosses one, what others might they cross?
  • For hookups or if you ever go leave with a customer, "The Buddy System" is the practice of you telling a friend where you are, and the customer or hookup's details with the expectation of you calling back once you are in a safe environment, otherwise the friend will travel to the location to check if you are ok. This is often done so the customer or hookup is aware that a friend is looking out for you. Some people establish codewords meaning something is wrong and to call for help.
  • BEFORE working a new event ask the organizer how crowd touching/participation is handled, from no touching to performer-customer sex. This can vary between events.
  • Consider bringing your own small signs reading “Please do not touch the performers” or the expected boundary level setting for when it is too loud to say to customers. You can directly, or via your trade union, request the venue has these signs by the performance areas.
  • Most venues have a no substance use policy, with performers being fired for breaking this. However, many have a backstage culture or customer culture where chems are used. Be aware in case this may trigger you.
  • It's important to establish your work/play boundaries, shifts rarely feel like ‘just being paid to party’.
  • Separate times you make money from your partying, such weekdays vs weekends or set days you keep to. Alternatively, only use chems in your personal life OR when you are gogoing.
  • If a customer seems high or very drunk, be cautious as they may react surprisingly to substances.
  • Consider only accepting tips in money instead of in chems for their quality control.
  • Be aware of and avoid new substances on the scene when with a customer.
  • Recognize and leave triggering environments or networks to avoid dependence on substances building up.
  • Consider experimenting with offers for performances at sober events, aiming to provide trigger-free entertainment for customers in recovery or who are teetotal.
  • Telling yourself "I can handle it, others don't know their limits" is how all habitual use is rationalized.
  • Regularly ask yourself, 'Does *seeking support* trigger feelings of identity anxiety, more than pride in your self-awareness?' If anxiety to support is unchecked, what could prevent chems in your life getting unmanageable?
  • Consider practicing faking taking a shot or ordering discreetly non-alcoholic drinks.
  • If your performance expects a climax shot, consider practicing how you might fake it or end the show if your body were unable to do so on stage.
  • Prepare ahead what you would do and would say no to, if/when your body is not performing for a performance. E.g. getting co-performer’s consent and having a kink alternative performance lined up without that body pressure.
  • If you are given free chems ensure they know it is a gift, without you then owing them something in return. Outside of kink roleplay, feeling owned can lead to depression.

 

ANTI-SPIKING TIPS:

  • Get your own chems and drinks, make small amounts so if they could have been spiked out of sight you can throw it out and remake it.
  • Don’t leave drinks or chems unattended. If they were, replace it as potentially spiked, regardless of your gender. Recall the UK’s worst perpetrator of this practice targeted random men.
  • Watch out for non-consensual blowback kisses (blowing Tina smoke into your mouth)
  • Watch out for substances on a customer’s bum or genitals placed there to affect you non-consensually.
  • If doing a sex show or hooking up, bring a few types of your own lube, so others can't have a preference to get you using theirs. It could be spiked, throwing off how much chems you are aware of taking.

 

CHEMS GOING WRONG TIPS

  • If a customer experiences psychosis, communicate calmly and clearly, take them to a calm environment away from the sex setting, with TV /music turned off. Call 999 if necessary.
  • Carry Naloxone as a precaution against overdosing on opioids (such as heroin or fentanyl).
  • If a customer overdoses, don't leave them alone. Walk them around, keep them awake if unconscious, put them in the recovery position, call for help.
  • The presence of chems, or sexual performance or service situations (most aren't illegal in the UK) does NOT mean ambulances report them to police or other services.
  • Struggle to find sex exciting without the use of chems, but currently need the extra money from hookup-for-reward on chems sessions? Consider trying to earn and save enough to enable yourself doing it without chems to get your body used to how it is again, even if for a week or so. The more familiar the feeling is again, the more reliable your body will be.
  • Explore the chems harm-reduction advice here, it’s easy for your information to become outdated without you being aware.

SAFER SEX TIPS:

  • “PrEP” is a pill routine that people who don't live with HIV can use to prevent them acquiring HIV. It is a useful failsafe for anyone having sex regularly. It is available free from the NHS and you can arrange to access it via your sexual health clinic.
  • After exposure to HIV you can go to an A&E or sexual health clinic and ask for "PEP", a month-long course to try and reverse the new acquisition. It must be started within 72 hours of exposure. The sooner it’s taken, the better the chances of success.
  • People living with HIV maintaining effective treatment are Undetectable, meaning their HIV cannot be passed on sexually.
  • "Window Periods" refers to the time taken before an STI exposure could react on a test result. It is unique to each test type used, impacting which people need notification to test and which clinics can do for you anonymously when requested. Window Periods can affect how you interpret your own and other’s “ID seen” Sexual Health certificates used for some performances.
  • Maintain a record of sexual encounters and contact information for a year. This way, if you test positive for an STI later, relevant individuals can be notified to get tested. Notifications for those relevant going back to your previous negative result for that STI, continuing further back for the duration of the Window Period for that STI’s test type.
  • "Shedding Durations" refers to the time after STI treatment where tests would still be reacting to the treated STI. It will affect how accurately you are aware of an STI. Shedding Durations may affect your access to the “ID seen” Sexual Health certificates used for some performances.
  • HPV vaccination ahead of exposure to different strains can prevent later need for cancer treatments of the cervix, anus, penis or throat, and can prevent genital warts. The vaccination is available to all genders on the NHS.
  • Some vaccines that others just like you found useful include the Hep B vaccine, Hep A vaccine, Covid vaccine, Mpox vaccine.
  • Explore the sexual health advice here, it’s easy for your information to become outdated without you being aware.

 

LEGAL RISK TIPS (UK):

  • The presence of chems, or sexual performance or service situations (most aren't illegal in the UK) does NOT mean ambulances report them to police or other services.
  • You can access legal advice via the trade union “Sex Workers Union” who welcomes those offering erotic massage, gogos, porn performers, adult content-creators, professional doms, escorts, cam models & people who hookup for reward.
  • Being in a trade union before an incident makes it simpler for the union to respond fast when needed.
  • You can collectively organize in the union resisting employer policies, bank rules or laws which are impacting you negatively.

FINANCIAL RISK TIPS:

  • To prevent closure many venues pay you a set fee per performance. They may be obligated to prevent opportunities for performers to escort with customers.
  • If a customer is paying for time with you privately, accepting payment upfront and potentially taking deposits to arrange time and cover travel costs reduce chances of being unpaid.
  • Budgeting is essential if booked to accompany a customer - keep track of how much you spent vs. profits you actually left with. Think about how long chems would stay in your system and whether you are being paid for all that time or only for an hour (e.g.).
  • If you feel you need to be high to earn this money, but you spent the money on getting high, where is the moment when it becomes not worth doing?
  • Concerned about a raid, robbery or spending your tips while high? Only bring the cash you intend to use when out, arranging payment or tips to be received in other ways if possible.
  • Consider bringing, if necessary, a stamped and addressed envelope when out performing, so you can store cash you don't want to use in the envelope and mail it to yourself at a postbox during a break. Be cautious of risks of being followed to the mailbox or a customer seeing your address/PO box or a mail handler taking any obvious cash envelopes.
  • For online transactions consider using a burner PayPal account with details you don’t mind a customer seeing but transferring money from it to your main one for withdrawals to your bank.
  • Be aware PayPal will close your account if they learn what these payments are for.
  • Transfer funds straight away to a main PayPal account to avoid ‘chargeback’ robbery.
  • PayPal burner accounts need to be under a threshold amount (which varies) before ID verification is requested. Verification prevents the use of other names for your security, as names appear on transactions.
  • The Citizens Advice Bureau can help you determine if you're eligible for financial support due to a disability, neurodivergence, being a carer, or based on your income level.

 

WANTING CHANGE TIPS:

  • Many found it useful to be assessed for neurodivergence for advice on handling it. Some neurodivergence can also affect relationships to substances, e.g. ADHD is a lack of dopamine production.
  • Many found it useful to access therapy to overcome anything holding them back, such as trauma, hidden fears of failure, internalized negativity etc.
  • If you are wanting change but keep facing rejection, consider asking someone who can help with tasks like your CV or cover letters, maybe AI could help with wording.
  • Reverse-recruiting can apply for civilian jobs for you if it is overwhelming you, be aware it is a paid service.
  • Consider finding work within a comfort zone that you can hold down while applying for or training for the jobs you really want if you're facing repeated rejection in a job search.
  • The Citizens Advice Bureau can help you determine if you're eligible for financial support due to a disability, neurodivergence, being a carer, or your income level.

 

USEFUL RESOURCES:

 

We want to thank JASON DOMINO very deeply for helping so much with the preparation of this document. Jason is a UK sexual health and wellbeing advocate, sex work activist and porn star. He is also a notable member of The Sex Workers Union

 

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