An affirming and sex-positive guide to working with sex workers: uncovering clinical biases, creating safe spaces, and dismantling the whorearchy.
Therapy fails sex workers. Despite the wide range of sex work—from street-based to OnlyFans—clinicians too often focus on what they think sex workers need, instead of building trust, developing rapport, and really doing the work to understand the unique stressors that make quality mental health care essential for sex worker communities.
Sex-positive therapists Theo Burnes and Jamila Dawson break down everything that mental health providers need to know to work effectively with sex workers, while dispeling the tired, pervasive myths that continue to impact treatment today. Readers will learn about:
• Who sex workers are; different types of sex work; and sex workers’ specific therapy needs
• How outdated research methodology results in bad data and poor care
• The whorearchy—the sex-work hierarchy—and why we need to dismantle it
• How to recognize and move beyond personal biases
• How to provide effective, affirming, and better clinical care
• What words not to use—and what they reveal about the sexism, racism, misogyny, and transphobia embedded in our society (and our practices)
As sex work changes and evolves, encompassing everything from brothels to cam work, clinical care needs to catch up. This book shows you how.
About the Authors:
Dr. Theo Burnes (he/him/his) is a licensed psychologist and professional clinical counselor in California. His work focuses on human sexual expression and sex-positivity; social justice and advocacy; mental health and wellness for LGBTIQ individuals; and qualitative research. He is a fellow of the APA and board member for the California Association for Licensed Professional Clinical Counselors.
Jamila M. Dawson (she/her/hers), LMFT, helps people in kink/polyamory/swinger communities explore their sexuality and enhance their relationships, provides personal and career development for new clinicians, and supports Black and POC thrive despite racial battle fatigue. She’s lectured at several universities and collaborated with Buzzfeed, Playboy, and Harper’s BAZAAR.