Document Type



Joan Chrisler

Publication Date



The present study was designed to examine the experiences of voluntary female sex workers. Six women, who worked in diverse sectors of the sex industry, were recruited for this study through online postings on sex worker advocacy websites and snowball sampling. All participants were interviewed over the phone and answered questions on an array of topics, which included their experiences with sex work-related stigma, their social support systems, and what methods they used to maintain positive self-concept despite stigma. All interviews were transcribed and analyzed using grounded analysis to uncover commonalities across interviews. Through this process 11 themes emerged as did 5 spheres of identity disclosure (e.g., to family, to friends). Among others, the themes include the presence of, and need for emotional, physical, and informational social support, as well as the importance of activism. The findings of this study demonstrate that the stigma of sex work has meaningful negative impacts on many sex workers

and that adequate social support is crucial to combating this stigma.



The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the author.