The Shame Free ZoneBeing a former escort might not be all that difficult IF you keep it a secret. But if you share your past openly and unashamedly like I do, you may not always like what happens.  You might find yourself forced into a box defined by stereotypes and stigma.

You might feel unseen and marginalized.  But perhaps the most painful aspect of being perceived through the lens of people’s assumptions and fears is that in the minds of most, being a former escort doesn’t leave much room for you to be anything else.

For many people, being a former escort tends to diminish or even eliminate the possibility of being a wife or mother or small business owner or relationship coach. Did I say relationship coach? Yeah, you read that right. Ever since I transitioned from escorting in 2004, I have been self-employed as a relationship coach.  While I used to date married men for money, I now get paid to help married couples understand each other better, stop arguing, and enjoy better sex.

Over the last couple of decades, I have become accustomed to the all too common assumptions most people make about sex workers and former sex workers

And I have learned creative ways to engage the conversation about what I used to do for a living and what I do for a living now, without pandering to the stereotypes. But despite my best efforts, some people remain attached to their prejudices.

That is sad, but I don’t let it stop me. What matters most to me is that I am helping to forge a new perspective on former sex workers and also hopefully a new perception of sex workers who are still working in the sex industry. I have a passionate desire to shift the cultural view of sex workers from one that negates their humanity, to one which fully recognizes that sex workers are human beings.  That fact seems often to be forgotten by people who are not in the sex industry.

And to my eyes, the cultural shift I am hoping for and hopefully helping to shape, has importance far beyond the absolute necessity of bestowing a full array of human rights to the much maligned minority population of sex workers and former sex workers. It also pertains to the way all women are often denied their dignity and human rights due to a real or imagined sexual history. For as long as it is okay to abuse and marginalize sex workers, the abuse and marginalization of any woman can be legitimized because of how, why or when she has sex. That is a huge abridgment of women’s dignity and rights. And it compromises women’s safety.

Because I care so deeply about changing this aspect of the world culture, I have spent years speaking as an out prostitute

And now, as a former prostitute who has a new career very much built upon my experience and expertise as a high-end escort. If I have my way, one day the world won’t just “forgive” sex workers for their “past.” The world will seek out the wisdom of sex workers and former sex workers, knowing that they hold unique information and expertise which translates to other aspects of life including interpersonal skills, gender relations, marketing and a myriad of other topics and concerns which are relevant to non-sex workers.

I suppose I am proposing something similar to what feminism did for valuing homemakers. Today, many individuals realize that being a full time mother is not only exhausting work, but builds skill sets and a knowledge base that can be translated to other work environment. In the future, I hope the same will hold true for sex work. It is my hope that a past history as a sex worker will one day be valued as an asset to employers, business partners and potential mates alike.

If this is a hope that speaks to your heart, I invite you to listen to my most recent radio interview

That contextualizes my past profession as a valuable aspect of my role as a relationship coach. May you find inspiration in your own journey to a world free of shame!

Elisa Parker with Veronica Monet – What’s Really Going on With Boys and Men

Veronica Monet, ACS, CAM helps a variety of people with a variety of concerns through her telephone and Skype sessions available by appointment only. Text your interest if you want to leave the shame behind! 415.407.2932