11-A : Sarah Patteron: Sex Work

Last October, I was sharing a modest office studio space in Bushwick with one of my favorite organizations, the Persist Health Project. One day, the Executive Director of Persist, Sarah Patterson, and I got coffee and vegan deli sandwiches and sat in our little white room for almost two hours talking about sex work. We challenged ourselves to ask both: Why Are People Into Hiring Sex Workers, and Why Are People Into Doing Sex Work (the later question being not as much about personal sexual desire so much as it is about examining what motivates people to do sexual labor).

This week’s episode, Side A, focuses on why people enjoy watching porn, going to strip clubs, and hiring private service providers.

Discussed: Is it cheating to go to a strip club? Is there such a thing as porn addiction? If sex work was legalized, would it still turn us on? Why are some kinds of sex work legal and some not? How does whorephobia and sex worker stigma become internalized and externalized?



Sarah Elspeth Patterson has been an advocate for the rights of people in the sex trades for almost a decade. An educator by trade and a writer when driven to it, she lives and works in New York City. She is a former columnist for $pread Magazine, and has written for On the Issues and RH Reality Check. She is currently the Executive Director of Persist Health Project, an organization that links sex workers, trafficking survivors and others in the sex trade with the health services they need, while educating their health care providers on what they want. All opinions expressed here are her own.