(Featured image uses original photo of Annie Sprinkle by Julian Cash.)
Self-care is unquestionably one of the most important skills adult film workers can have, and is a necessity for a sustainable and rewarding career. In 2002, iconic feminist porn legend Annie Sprinkle created the checklist How to Cure Sex Worker Burn Out. A poster version of the list, designed by Norma Jean Almodovar, is available as a free PDF to print and post for an invaluable daily reminder. (Please help circulate!)
How to Cure Sex Worker Burn Out
- Admit you are burnt out. This sounds easy, but it’s the hardest step. Our egos, as well as our incomes, are invested in feeling good about our work. It’s not easy to admit that you are a mess. See it as an opportunity to grow.
- Take breaks and vacations from your work as a matter of course. Get sun, fresh air, take a boat ride. Spend time in nature. You may never even get crispy.
- Spend time alone. Do something relaxing and meditative. A languorous candle lit herbal bath can do wonders.
- Get in touch with your feelings and express them. Repressed emotions alone can create burn out.
- Get professional therapy. It really can put things in perspective, and help you be more conscious about your personal challenges. Use only a non-judgmental, sex positive therapist. Be honest with yourself.
- Start a support group with other sex workers. The BEST cure of all is to share your experiences with your peers who have had similar experiences. It’s very empowering!
- Take good care of your body. Eat well, exercise, and get bodywork. A good massage can do wonders for a worn out whore or stripper.
- Get your mind off sex work. Take a class, go to a funny movie, hang out with family or friends outside the industry. Make a list of the ten activities that make you most happy, and then do them.
- Be willing to make less money. Don’t let the client determine the service. Let the client know what YOU offer. Practice saying “NO” Clean out your little black book. Decide what kinds of people you want to work with, and be willing to let those that don’t fit the bill go by. Develop your own style.
- Create other sources of income. Look into other businesses and career opportunities. Go to college or trade school, start a sideline so that you won’t feel financially trapped. When you need a break from sex work, you’ll have an alternate source of income.
- Take a break from sex. Hey, you don’t HAVE to be sexy ALL the time! Give yourself a period of not having sex. This can help recharge your battery.
- If your SWBO is chronic, get the hell out of the business. Perhaps you’re simply not cut out for sex work, it’s not fulfilling your needs, or it’s time for a change. You may need to leave the biz gradually, or it or go ‘cold turkey’. If there’s a will, there’s always a way.
Thank you Annie Sprinkle for this sage advice!