Sex work is what I wanted to do but I became a journalist and now I wonder if I chose wrong (confessional)


When I was 17 or 18 years old, I was a stripper for like, I don’t know, a month or something like that. I went to this bar with a fake ID that I bought for like 25 bucks or 50 bucks from a friend of mine who looked like me but he had brown eyes. By the way, I was in Athens, Georgia, and I was going to the University of Georgia.

Anyway so I go to the bar and this bar, turns out, has a stripper contest, like a strip contest for men, so I was like, I’ll do that. I’m like, oh my God I can win 100 bucks or 1,000 bucks or some amount of money that I didn’t have as a college kid.

So I enter this contest, did all these dances and shit, I learned how to do all this stripper-sexy-male-dancer bullshit, they call my name on the dance floor and I go out there and do all this dancing and stripping, and everybody’s like, woohoo. And then there were some other contestants and then this big giant beefy gym rat guy comes, Schwarzenegger type, he just comes in there and he’s all like, look at my big square monster body. (I don’t mean monster in a bad way, every body is beautiful.)

So he takes off his clothes but he’s standing in one spot. He is what we would call back in the day, musclebound, he couldn’t move anything, he didn’t do any yoga, he didn’t stretch, he looks like the Hulk, he looks like just a bunch of octagon stone pieces are glued together.

So then they announce the results and they go, in fifth place, fourth place, third place, and then it’s between me and this big giant, big mountain man, and the big mountain man won, even though I’m better at taking stuff off, who gives a fuck about that, this guy had like, rawr aargh.

But the best part of this experience was yet to come because I was offered money to go strip in women’s houses and I was like, OK that sounds fantastic, I’m still poor. So one of these women who paid me to go over to her house, I get there, it’s the same thing, I take my clothes off slowly, I do the moves, I get down to these fantastically gold underwear (they might have been my sister’s).

I don’t know if you can imagine what the scene was, but it was a lot like, RAWR, RAWR, RAWR, it was very RAWRY. So then this woman goes, come with me, and I gotwith her, I didn’t know what was gonna happen, I thought I was going to get my money, I did get my money, you know, hundreds and hundreds of dollars, and she shut the doors, and I’m like, what’s about to happen? I thought, am I about to get murdered? Man, I was so stupid when I was a teenager, I thought she was gonna murder me.

And she says, come with me, and she puts me in the bed and I’m laying down, and I’ve got my performative underwear on, and I’m laying there and she goes, RAWR, and then she’s like, I’ll give you this many hundreds of dollars for sex and I’m like, what? I thought we were just going to have sex. And she’s like, no you’re like a college student, you shouldn't be doing this for no-money, you should be doing this for money. Like, she was really going to pimp me out. Like, I was flattered. When people hit on me very hard or very light or very medium or offer me money, I’m flattered, so if any of you guys wanna offer me money for sex …

OK so then I’m like, you’re gonna give me all this money that I could use for my college books and tuition and blah blah blah, you know that would be amazing, I would really like that, I was really into this idea, but I also have this thing in my head which is, if I do this I will not be able to run for president someday.

At this point, I mean, I’m a stripper and I’m in a strange bed in a strange house, and a beautiful woman who I wanted to be with romantically anyway is demanding I take a bunch of money and then she drops another bomb … She’s married! This is probably the real reason for the money, because if she gives me money then she can control this relationship.

So you’re thinking like, Doug, you’re 17 or 18 years old and you’re stupid so of course you took that money and slept with that married woman, and the answer is … I … did … not! I did not! I had an ex who had cheated on me and I didn’t like the way it felt so when that happened I was like, I am never going to make someone feel like this, so I didn’t.

And this woman can’t fucking believe that. She’s probably never had anybody say no to her in her life and here’s some kid, some college kid, saying no with money attached.

So I barely get out of there alive, I mean, emotionally. And I’m driving home because I’m excited because I stripped and everybody was excited about that and then I get this offer for sex, so I’m driving my shitty 1974 Dodge Colt Station Wagon back to my apartment, and I’m thinking like, am I ever gonna be able to turn down this money ever again. No!

So I have a choice before me, I can either become a sex worker or I’m not gonna strip anymore because it’s going to lead to sex and money for sex, which is going to turn me into a sex worker, which I don’t have a moral problem with, my entire life including currently I am very pro sex worker, I think sex workers should be legal all over the world and especially in America and certainly here in Las Vegas.

But when I was driving home, there weren’t any cyber sex workers yet, it was all person-to-person, a lot more dangerous fun than anything else. I was pretty turned on by it, I was like, huh I could be a sex worker, this sounds amazing, I could just strip and get with people for cash and become a millionaire in a couple of years and never have to work again.

But on the other hand, what if I become a white-collar worker, is this going to get in the way of my life? So I certainly wasn’t feeling shame, I wasn’t worried about how I felt about sex work, I thought it was great, I worried how potential employers might view how I had been a sex worker.

So I told myself, no more of this stripping. And it was legitimately the hardest career choice of my life because to be a sex worker, to get that validation, you know, it felt tremendous when people are clawing at your body and you’re me and you have whatever complex I have where you want strangers like clawing at you, that was very fulfilling to me. So as you know, I ended up in journalism, and I’ve had a tremendous career so far and it’s still going on, but there is one thing I’m gonna say about my journalism career in regard to the stripping and the sex work which is, some years later I am working at a newspaper, I worked at 10 newspapers for hundreds of editors, so I had this one editor and they were saying like, hey the Marketing staff wants to put together a thing on you so why don’t you write up something about your past, and in that little thing I wrote that ran (it’s called a house ad in newspapers), it had my name and had my face and then I had some bullet points, like my first job was at Burger King or whatever. But one of the bullet points I had in there was I had been a stripper as a teenager, I had been a teenage stripper. So I thought that would be great marketing like, hey let’s check out this cute guy who writes for the newspaper and used to be a stripper, you never know what he’s gonna say, he may talk about his stripping.

But nope, that editor was like, no no no, we are a family respectable place and we can’t have strippers working here, and I’m like, well guess what, you’ve got a stripper working here. I was literally one driving decision away from becoming a full-blown sex worker and making millions of dollars. But instead I decided to go into this public service of journalism and what did journalism do? They were like, whatever you do, do not let your personality out. Now of course, everybody’s got a personality in journalism and I think that’s great, I want to know where my journalists’ backgrounds are.

The reason I wanted to tell this story today is because I’ve been thinking lately, and certainly the last year in America, I wonder if I should go into sex work at my age with my gray hair because there’s a niche for everything. It’s not like I want to make a lot of money. The thing that’s alluring to me about sex work is the idea it would validate who I am, it would be emotionally fulfilling to be wanted by strangers because this is how I’ve always been.

So I want to tell you exactly the mindset I was coming from. So let me tell you my clichéd origin story for why I wanted to be a sex worker and why still in the back of my mind I wanna be a sex worker. Even if I’m 90 I will still want to be on OnlyFans or whatever, 3-D porn, mental mind Hypnosis porn that I’m gonna be in when I’m 92 years old and pretending to be a teenager.

But what you need to know for this particular story is, I was abandoned by my dad, and then I was abandoned by my mom, and my mom popped back in, and then she abandoned me again. And I was raised by my siblings and my friends and my grandma, Nana. My parents took off. They had decided they wanted to go live their own lives, separately, they were divorced, one was like I want to go live this like, and the other one was like I wanna go live this life, and both of them were like, we don’t want anything to do with you three kids.

Now fortunately I was never bullied as a child at school, I was always really embraced at school, so I was very fortunate to go to a great high school, but I went to four elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school. so I went to a lot of schools, I was thrown around a lot, I was tossed around a lot of different states and cities, so what this means is, I didn’t have any roots, with my mom and my dad, and my brother and sister were older and took off, they were much older than me, so they weren’t even around large chunks of my childhood.

So I’m very grateful to my siblings and my Nana and my friends for helping to raise me, and teachers and other adults, and my friends’ families. But by the time that whole stripping sex work money scenario presented itself, it was just like, oh my God, somebody wants me! Because as a kid, I felt like nobody really wanted me. My friends did, sometimes my siblings did or whatever, but there was no mom or dad, and it’s impossible to replace that. So every single day of my childhood, I was like, my dad doesn’t want me, or my mom doesn’t want me, or they both don’t want me.

I am unwanted.

There is no fucking worst feeling in the fucking world than feeling unwanted. It’s the worst. But you know who wants you are people giving you money to strip and have sex with them. Oh my god that sounded amazing like not only did these people want me, but they want to pay for me in a way that my parents don’t. I needed a coat once, I had no coat, I was in Athens Georgia, I was fucking freezing. I got a message to my mother who was in another city managing a rock band and months go by and she deigns to bring me this big giant puffy horrible white coat that made me look like Nanook of the North, it was all puffy, like I looked like what was called the Michelin man but it was white. I needed a medium and she got me an extra large, so it was huge, and I go, why did you …

And it was cheap, like she got the cheapest coat in the world, because she was giving all the money she was making to the band that she was managing. When I am getting at is, I am a street urchin.

So imagine that psyche. If you’re going to write a psych eval on me and say why would this guy who’s had this great journalism career and still does, why would he ever have wanted to have rather been a sex worker?

I’ve loved my journalism career, please don’t get me wrong, it’s been amazing, I’ve met Prince and I’ve been blessed by Stevie Wonder and I won awards, I’ve been on Good Mormimg America and Marketplace, I played myself on Sharknado 4, and one of the great things about journalism is, you do get feedback because you’re in the public domain.

What I will say is that if you’ve ever done sex work and enjoyed it, that’s me. There are a lot of people who enjoy sex work. So for the last year or so I’ve been thinking like, maybe I should be a sex worker because it was super fun and it would be great to do it again, especially at my age, I’m not 17 or 18 years old, I think I would really enjoy it.

But now one of the reasons I’m not gonna become a sex worker at this age is because I’m doing these videos now, and I’m not trying to give you a reason to keep watching these videos like, hey if you don’t watch the videos I’m going to become an OnlyFans performer, a professional masturbator. I mean can you imagine that kind of manipulation?

So these video columns are now one of the things stopping me from starting an OnlyFans site or becoming like an in-person escort. A lot of times, I’m like, Doug, don’t get in another relationship, become an escort and take money to go with people, places, and then go back to their houses! And do things with them!

Now another thing is, I know a lot of you are like, Doug how come you haven’t grown out of this? Some things you just don’t grow out of, but some things you grow into.

Anyhow, that is my tale of joy and woe today, I love you, I hope you’re making this the best day of your life.