The Sexcession

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According to Fabulous magazine, the recession hasn’t totally been about misery and woe. People have propped their lives up by, no surprise, sex. In the UK, office jobs seem to be passé for some, with recruitment agencies experiencing a downturn but sometimes I think that could also relate to companies downsizing but you know, tabloids have to have sensational headlines.

Across the nation, recruitment agencies are noticeably lacking in office jobs – but there’s no shortage of vacancies for lap dancers and sex chatline workers.

Last year, it was estimated that British men spent a staggering £4.2billion on the country’s sex industry – an eight per cent rise on previous years, despite the crushing economic downturn.

The reason for this surge in sexual spending habits? It seems when the going gets tough, men need something to get them going. And it’s women who are meeting that demand.


Women appear to be leading the way, maybe that’s due to male clientele but I sometimes wonder if something like telephone sexchat work is a woman’s first career choice. Work isn’t always about the money but the tone of this article may as well say that most women are solely motivated by money but are we fully motivated by money or is our society pushing people, not just women, in that direction with rising costs? The article also tends to generalise, making out that women are more likely to compromise:

Quick to learn, Hayley now earns around £9 an hour, over £3 more than the minimum wage. She can make up to £60 a shift, earning £300 a week – around £100 more than she was pulling in as a factory worker.

Sounds like easy cash for a few hours of chat? Maybe for some, but Hayley warns she has to stretch more than her imagination to make her money, as many callers make her feel very uncomfortable.

“Some of them have strange fetishes,” she explains. “I have to talk about potatoes, or run the bath and pretend to be washing. It can get a bit weird. And some of them want to talk about handcuffs, that sort of thing. I just try to blank it out and carry on.”

Her callers aren’t all looking for a not-so-cheap thrill either. Some can be threatening, suggesting they know where she lives or that they can see her.

“I know that I’m completely anonymous, but it doesn’t stop me worrying,” Hayley says. “I just have to remember that I’m in charge and can cut them off.”

I guess that safety is an issue, just like it is in any job. But there is a difference between slipping on a polished floor, jamming your finger in a drawer, compared to being confronted by a sexual stalker. Maybe I’m making too much out of it. Sex work tends to proliferate during recessions but that doesn’t mean that most women who are new to the work actually enjoy what they do.

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