Sex for money/sex in exchange means any sex that someone wouldn’t have had if they hadn’t been given something in return. That’s mostly money, but could also be an expensive mobile or a nice meal.
Sex in exchange
We use the term ‘Sex for money’. Other people call it: sex in exchange, sex work, paid dates, ‘sugar dating’, prostitution and escorting. It’s up to you to decide how you want to describe it.
Sex for money is a personal choice. No one can force you to have sex for money or gifts. In the Netherlands, sex for money is not allowed if you’re under the age of 21. If you are under 21, and you’re given money or gifts in exchange for sexual acts, then the person you have sex with is doing something that is against the law.
You definitely need to have had plenty of experience with sex before you have sex for money, because:
- you are vulnerable if you don’t have any experience
- you then know what you do and don’t like, what you are prepared to do and where you draw the line
Whether or not you get money or gifts in exchange – sex should always be of your own free will. Anyone who forces you to do sex work is committing an offence and can be punished. If you choose to do sex work, then it’s important that you are (sexually) resilient and know your boundaries. Then you’ll be able to work well and safely, without any problems for yourself or the person you’re having sex with.
When you start doing sex work, several things are very important:
- knowing your own body
- sexual health
- working safely
- knowing how to negotiate with clients
Before you start, you’ll need to think about what the consequences could be if people find out that you’ve had or are having sex for money. Will that have an impact on your life in the future – on your relationships, family or career?
- Make sure it’s a safe working environment. Always tell someone you know where you are – friends or someone else you trust. Also make sure you can get away easily if necessary. Make a note of the name and phone number of the person you’re having sex with.
- Decide beforehand where you’ll draw the line: what you will and won’t do that evening. You have the right to stop at any moment, if you think something is not OK.
- Have sex safely! Having safer sex protects both your health and that of the person you’re having sex with. Make sure you always have condoms with you to prevent any discussions.
- Set your boundaries. No is No. Sometimes, someone will still try to get you to do something you hadn’t agreed. If you are clear about what you’re offering and what it costs, you are less likely to end up in an awkward situation with your client.
- Take someone into your confidence. It can be lonely work if you don’t tell anyone what kind of work you do. Also, if something bad happens while you’re working, it helps if you can tell someone about it afterwards.
- Ask for money beforehand. No money = no sex.
Stick to your boundaries
Sometimes, someone will try to persuade you to do things you don’t want. That might be to do with condom use or about what you charge.
Imagine this. You know your own boundaries. But you need money urgently and someone is offering you a lot of money for something you don’t want to do. What now?
- What do you do if you’re already busy with a client and he suddenly wants something other than you’d agreed to?
- What do you do if a regular client tells you that you’re the only one he goes to and he wants you to have sex without a condom?
- What do you do if you don’t want to have anal sex with clients? Or don’t want to kiss them?
These are difficult situations to deal with if they happen to you. But your decision is always your own choice. What’s important is that it’s a conscious choice. Stick to your boundaries.
Sex for money is not seen as socially acceptable. That’s why it’s often difficult to tell people close to you that you’re doing it. But take at least one person into your confidence.
If you can’t be open about an important part of your life with the people close to you, it will make you feel lonely. Think about whether you can cope with having a ‘double life’. How will that affect your mental health?
It’s important to decide who you will and who won’t talk to about what you do. Think carefully before you decide to tell someone: you can’t ‘un-tell’ them.
No one can force you to have sex for money. But unfortunately that does happen. Or maybe you did once decide to do it, but no longer want to.
Do you want to change your situation? Go to prostitutiegoedgeregeld.nl.
You may have questions about things that aren’t described here, such as:
- Where am I allowed to work?
- How do I go about paying tax?
- Who can answer my questions about sexual health?
- Where can I have free STI tests?
For further information, you can go to:
- sekswerk.info: for information about working safely, what you need to do if you want to start doing sex work, where to go with any questions you have about STIs and sexual health, and how to get free STI testing and free hepatitis B vaccinations.
- prostitutiegoedgeregeld.nl: for Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment information about your rights and obligations, tax issues, being self-employed, permits, stopping and prostitution information centres.
- PROUD: a union for sex workers in the Netherlands, run by sex workers. Information about the union, events and services for sex workers and former sex workers. You can get in touch with PROUD with any questions you have about starting, stopping, etc.
- GGD: Sex worker walk-in clinic