In the preface to the sex-work essay compilation Hos, Hookers, Call Girls, and Rent Boys, prostitute-turned-author David Henry Sterry recalls his dubious introduction to the world of publishing. He’s standing around with a bunch of fancy academics, guys who have filed tomes on stuff like “the mating habits of the Tasmanian mole,” when the conversation turns to Sterry’s subject—the nine months he spent making ends meet off the mating habits of humans. They want to know everything: Sterry’s pay scale, his work ethic, positions. The only thing they’re not interested in is Sterry’s actual work on the work. Hos’ contributors, members of the “sex worker literati,” are hoping to prove that the literary works of gigilos, porn stars, and dominatrixes have more to offer than the lurid details. In her contribution, former call-girl Xaviera Hollander declares that “it’s much harder to be a writer than a hooker.” As Sterry’s tour of publishing-world condescension proves, being a writer and a hooker may be the hardest job of all.
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