Welcome to our interview series, A Tryst With! Tryst always wants to hear from Sex Workers about how they navigate life, The Work, and everything in between. Today we're chatting with Austin escort, Bridgett Adair about touch, connection, health and decriminalisation.
Tell us your story, how did you get into the industry and what has your journey looked like thus far?
As an Austin arts major, I was always enamoured with the creative side of life. From band geek to theater nerd, and eventually chef, I finally fell into the sex work realm in 2015. But when SESTA/FOSTA hit in 2018, I was thrust into this community like never before through activism, local aid, and social media. With my eyes open to the beautifully diverse world of interconnected international sex work, I was in awe. I soon began to see how this world and the companions who inhabit it, benefit people; softens their soul perhaps. Call it the “theory of touch” or “power of connection”, but when I am able to provide that as a service it makes me feel full, and once I saw that, sex work quickly bloomed into a fulfilling career with endless possibilities.
How does your sexuality interact with your work?
I think sex is: beautiful, important, powerful, necessary, and a whole range of other words and ideas as exhibited throughout history. And me being a naturally curious and flirtatious person, I like to explore that range in myself as well as with my partners that I choose to spend time with - I absolutely adore exploring curiosities together.
What are some of your hobbies and interests outside of work?
Outside of work I’ve continued my passion of cooking and baking usually with a healthy twist for my vegan friends or keto self, plus I always love a challenge. I also enjoy spending time with my two cats on a shady patio for a lazy afternoon, or skipping off to explore the ever-growing eclectic streets of Austin Texas.
Is there a book, tv show, or movie that has had a significant impact on your life? What was it, and what did it teach you?
I can’t say any one piece of media has so influenced me, rather it is the characters that grip me so tightly in certain titles ranging from Harold and Maude to Alice in Wonderland or even Fight Club. The characters that resonate with me tend to be those who fit ever so uniquely into their odd little corner of the world, and they romanticize every moment. From them I’ve learned that sometimes chosen family can feel most like home, and happiness, or rather change, is in the palm of our hand.
As sex workers, we face many challenges. What are some issues you care about, and how do you think your clients can help sex workers and become better allies?
I think one of the simplest but most impactful issues we face is stigma. Even when we have a strong support system we are still fighting stigma regarding this profession within our society. One way clients can really help is by normalizing terms like “sex work” in lieu of other slurs like “hooker” or “prostitute” as well as ideas that promote decriminalization amongst their associates outside of this realm.
Why do you think it is important for sex work to be decriminalised and how do you think it would change the way you work?
There are SO many important reasons to decriminalize sex work, particularly in person sex work, but I think the most overlooked might be community health and safety. Open Society Foundations defines Sex Worker as an “adult who receives money or goods in exchange for consensual sexual services or erotic performances either regularly or occasionally.” Sex work has a long history in our society, often being referred to as ‘the oldest profession in the world.’ It is also seen across the animal kingdom, most notably in monkeys, where certain females in a species will trade attention, favor, and sex with the leaders of the group or pack for better food and living conditions. Despite this history and organic nature of the practice, sex work continues to be blanketed in stigma, often considered one of the most taboo career choices, or mistakes, a person can make. This is in large part due to the criminalization of the selling of sexual services. I argue that we have a moral responsibility to not legalize, but decriminalize, sex work in the name of the greater good of society.
For seven years from 2003 to 2009 Rhode Island inadvertently decriminalized indoor prostitution. Two professors at UCLA, Shah and Cunningham, were able to obtain and study data from this period in regard to reports of female rapes and gonorrhea cases within the community. Key findings from their paper, “Decriminalizing Indoor Prostitution: Implications for Sexual Violence and Public Health” state a 31% decrease in reported rapes and approximately 2000 less gonorrhea cases during the seven-year period. The authors note that the results suggest that “decriminalization could have potentially large social benefits for the population at large -- not just sex market participants.” What is most interesting about this study, is that because indoor prostitution was decriminalized, not legalized, this result came independently of any regulation of the workers sexual health, showing that society’s fear of sex workers spreading STD’s is widely unfounded, if not in fact, quite the opposite by reducing STD’s (as well as rapes) at a community level. All of this to say, decriminalization of sex work does not only provide accessible avenues for combatting societal depression, upholding community health and safety, as well as fighting systemic wealth disparities, but it would also provide protections to the service providers who work within the sex industry. These protections and civil liberties would allow Sex workers to safely build a life without fearing social or legal repercussions for participating in their desired career choice, as well as providing the stability to leave the industry, if they so choose. I maintain that we as a society, have a moral obligation to decriminalize this profession for both the greater good of society, as well as the chance to accomplish the very goal traditional sex work abolitionists wish to achieve: worker autonomy, as well as safe working/living conditions for the most vulnerable among us. Honestly, I believe we are in this together.
What do you think the public could learn from sex workers?
In a word: connection. Sex workers are offering the truth and vulnerability and the genuine space to be so, with rules that are easy to follow. In our busy hyper digitalized world, it’s some thing I think we could all use a little more of.
What are your top three pieces of advice for workers just starting out?
1. Decide your style of sex work and find your community, mutuals, and friends within the industry. Whether that is camming, in person work, or even sugaring/arrangements, there are whole communities on social media: Instagram, you tube, Twitter, or even Reddit, where are you can join conversations and ask questions to be sure you were doing things in a safe and effective manner.
2. Do Your Research- I always recommend Lola Davinas book “Thriving in Sex Work” but there are many other resources/books/blogs to find information that will help you be successful- and as with anything: never stop learning x
3.“Be yourself & Have fun” and I know it sounds so generic, but honestly even if you decide to come up with a whole persona, be sure it is at least an extension of yourself something you can hold onto and even be proud of. We as humans are ever evolving so I would also as always recommend to be open minded on what the idea of “yourself” can really be - you may just be surprised.
What would your dream date look like?
I have always dreamed of a trip through the French countryside. Perhaps a long weekend in Paris with a train ride to Champaign for an evening or two at the Royal Champaign Hotel and spa — I can be a bit of an old fashion romantic at times x
My favorite scent is: Freshly brewed coffee in the morning
My favorite restaurant is: Any restaurant I’ve never tried! (I’ve been itching to try Wink in Austin as of late)
If you were to buy me a drink at a bar, you should buy me: A filthy martini
My favorite thing to be gifted is: Nothing makes me swoon like seeing someone nurture my hobbies and future goals; those are always the best gifts x
A social cause I care about is: Prison abolition and the right to an education. To read more and directly make a difference visit: https://insidebooksproject.org/