All too often those working in the sex industry are stigmatised and discriminated against for their work.
Indeed, many people struggle to consider how a sex worker could also be a parent, friend or partner.
However, for some people, their work within the sex industry can enrich them in numerous positive ways; benefiting other seemingly unrelated areas of their lives.
31-year-old Elle Stanger is a mum of one and proud feminist from Portland, Oregon. She is also a stripper, sex writer and self-described ‘unlicensed underwear therapist.’
Elle’s employment spans various areas, working at Portland strip club Lucky Devil Lounge three days a week, and has also done webcam work ‘on and off’. She also helps organise Portland’s Slut Walk; an annual march to raise awareness about sexual violence.
A creative individual, her writing can be found on her website Stripper Writer. As well as penning erotica, Elle has even created her own porn, including with her partner of two years, Bryan.
Elle feels her unusual line of work helps her to be a better mother to her five-year-old daughter; having learnt various lessons throughout her diverse career.
Speaking with Barcroft TV, Elle said:
I feel like being a sex worker makes me a better mum because I’ve developed a greater sense of empathy.
It means that I’m responsible to make a human being that is better for the world.
She is going to be a lot more secure about the world around her.
Elle has also explained how she carries out her roles as a mum and as a sex worker; while dealing with judgemental attitudes about her life choices:
I’ve been telling my daughter since she was three that mummy dances, talks to people and tells jokes for money,
I think people don’t trust that I could raise a child in a nurturing, safe, structured environment because they’re projecting their own fears on me.
I am not working in full view of her because I am an adult, I don’t want to see my parents do that.
When I’m a mum, I’m a mum, when I’m in the adult world working, I’m doing my adult work – those two things do not overlap.
Elle originally had ambitions of becoming a police officer and even studied for a degree in criminology. However, as she got older she lost faith in the criminal justice system and decided to find another way she could help others.
Elle has described her work as being ‘compassionate’, viewing it as a form of therapy for her clients:
I realised about six months into stripping that I was learning more about human beings than I’d ever learned in any psychology class.
It was like, wow there is really a whole lot here, this feels like human, this feels like helping, this feels like giving therapy.
I know my work is healing to people because they tell me and I see it.
Watch the full video below:
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There are a lot of reasons people go into adult establishments – it’s not just because they want some kind of arousal, but because they want to be heard, they want be acknowledged, they wanna be seen.
A lot of people don’t have it in them to seek out therapy because they are ashamed to.
I think it’s a lot easier for a blue collar guy to talk to a pretty girl in her underwear for 20 bucks a song.
? TONIGHT! Drop your donations on my stripper stage as we party for reproductive rights. All stage tips… https://t.co/3RnkiTTCkN
— Elle Lynn Stanger (@ElleStanger) November 24, 2017
Hey, as long as mum and daughter are both healthy, happy and safe, is there really any need to pass judgement?
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.