Advocating For The Sex-Workplace

Hi SB!

I work as a peer mentor for neurodivergent students, it’s my job to help them achieve their goals. One of my students is studying user experience design, and they’re really interested in designing digital spaces for sites like pornhub or fetlife. They feel confident that they could find work and (more importantly) feel passionate about encouraging sexuality. The only thing holding them back is the idea that one day they might decide to leave that job and will have to explain their ties to the pornography industry or sex-positive communities to prospective employers. They’re worried about being denied work in the future due to moralistic discrimination.

I’m curious what perspectives or opinions any of you might have regarding this topic. What advice would you answer my student?

Hey GIBI, welcome!

So, I def. get the concern and fear of that, I have a more traditional day gig and I keep it separate from my work that I do with SB, because unfortunately a lot of folks in our culture still have preconceived notions about working in any industries that deal with sex. I don’t hide it, but I’m not broadcasting it to my more conservative day gig coworkers.

I would say yes, it can be a risk, but also as a job seeker, I know I’m not likely going to work for a company that wouldn’t hire me if I had this background and they were so offended by it, just because that would not the environment I would want to work in (which is a privilege to have that option). If I want to talk about what I do for spectrum but not fully talk about the industry, I just keep it more generic (I do content moderation and social media management) when I talk about the work. And I think for future job interviews, how you spin what you’ve done on your resume for specific companies can include you not fully divulging the details of the work you’ve done. With design it can be tricky if they want samples, but most creatives I know (especially in design) aren’t too phased if your portfolio includes work for a more alternative client. At the end of the day it’s just design work, no different than designing for any other client. I also worked previously in two industries that had radical shifts and changes that weren’t stable (entertainment and journalism), so I’m very aware and I guess not phased about risky jobs because I’ve been in jobs that had risks of falling apart (and did) and still pivoted and figured out something else.

Personally the reward outweighs the risk for me, because like your student said, this is a field I’m passionate about and it’s also made me more confident in my personal life, so working in this world has given me a very positive experience. And I know if I had to talk to someone outside of this industry, I can just choose how I talk about the work I do if that is a concern.

Also, not sure if this is an option for them, but if the work they do is also during the same time as doing work for another more generic client so there isn’t a large gap in their resume/portfolio, you can just simply choose to not share everything with every potential employer, and decide on a case by case basis depending on where you are applying how much detail to give.

Hope this makes sense, it’s def. a valid concern (although wouldn’t the world be a lot more happier, chill, and accepting if people just let people do what they want and didn’t care? One can dream. :slight_smile: )