Porn Stars Have Supportive Families, Too

In my opinion, the hardest part of sex work isn’t the work itself; it’s the stigma that comes along with it. That’s why coming out to your family/friends as a sex worker can be really challenging. Some of us have family members who shun us, some of us have families who are supportive and proud. The media tends to perpetuate this stereotype that all of us have been disowned by our entire families because of the work we choose to do, that none of us could possibly have a family who loves us. But the truth is, many of us have family members who love us and don’t even think twice about who we’re having sex with and whether or not it’s for money.

For me personally, this issue isn’t so black and white. I have some family members who were rude and judgmental, but I have many others who think I’m bold and brave for doing what I want. For the most part, the family members who were cruel were the ones I have never been close with anyway, so it wasn’t a real loss for me. I’m lucky because everyone who was important to me chose to support me. I think it actually helped that I was in the midst of a life-altering public scandal, so porn seemed less shocking to them at that time. I’m truly the wildcard of the family, you never know what you’re going to get!

Sydney Leathers

For some performers, other people may try to take the decision of when/if to come out away from us. Porn star Bunny Colby tells me,

“I had some random weirdo on the Internet email me and threaten to out me if I ever did interracial, bi, or TS porn, so I decided to beat them to the punch and texted my mom a couple months after I joined to tell her. She asked me if I knew it wasn’t April Fools Day. And then she told me that if I was being serious, she didn’t care, as I’m a responsible adult and able to make my own life choices. And she would continue to be proud of me and all my accomplishments.”

Bunny Colby

Before Vera Sky got into camming, her grandmother taught her that she could use her beauty to her advantage:

“I remember when I was 13, my grandma was brushing her hair and putting on makeup at her vanity. She called me over, and started talking about beauty, about how my beauty and body was a secret weapon, and with it, I could do and be anything I wanted. She taught me to preserve my beauty, and be proud of how much power my body alone could have in this world. From the time I was a child she instilled in me being proud of my sexuality and femininity. She was not shy of the ‘heaux’ life herself! She shot for Playboy way back in the day, and until the day she passed, it was her proudest moment!”

So naturally, when Vera started camming, her grandmother was the first person she’d tell.

“I started camming when I was 18 years old. I kept it a secret for a long long time. I remember standing on my grandma’s porch. She looked at me and said ‘Where are you getting all of this money from?’ I made up some fake excuse, ‘Oh, uhh I’m selling old clothes online!’ She threw her head back and started laughing so hard she spilled her coffee. She looked at me and said, ‘I’m going to ask you again, where are you getting all this money from?’ I couldn’t lie to her, she had me all figured out. So I said ‘I talk to men online for money!’ To which she replied, ‘Oh yes, I’m sure that’s all you do,’ and winked. In that moment, we both came to an unspoken understanding of what I was doing. There were no arguments, there were sighs of shame, nothing. Just a casual ‘cool!’ at the end. I never heard another word of it.”

However, Vera was much more anxious about sharing the news of her camming career with her father, a successful lawyer with dreams of having his daughter work at his practice.

“I had no special way of telling him. We were on the phone talking, having a normal conversation, I cut him off mid-sentence and said, “Dad, don’t you want to know what I do for work?” So I blurted it out and immediately after I told him, I started to defend myself. I told him I wasn’t any less of a person, I wasn’t immoral, there was nothing wrong with my job, and I was proud of it. There was a moment of silence, and a chuckle and he said, “You know I don’t believe in morals, those were something invented to make you feel bad for doing what you want to do with your life. I raised you to be the best at whatever you do, and I know you will be. Do it right, do it well, and make a shit ton of money.”

Vera Sky webcam porn star

Vera’s mom married a Mormon after separating from her father, and they had six kids together. She was nervous to come out to them because the Mormon church is so conservative and not at all open-minded when it comes to sex/sexuality. Luckily for Vera, her mom and siblings had a similar reaction to her dad and grandma,

“They explained to me that they would be hypocrites to judge me based off something like this. That God taught them to love everyone no matter what, and when they said everyone, they mean everyone.”

I think Bunny, Vera, and I all realize we’re very lucky and feel very privileged to have positive experiences sharing our career choices with our families. Not all sex workers are so lucky. My goal in writing this isn’t to make anyone feel bad who didn’t have the same positive reaction from their family—only to show that sex workers, like any group of people, have a variety of different experiences. The media tends to focus on the negative/salacious when it comes to sex work and I think as someone who is a sex worker and a writer, I have an obligation to share the other side of things.

Vera adds,

“I know how lucky I have been to have such a positive response from my family and friends regarding my choice in career. There are so many sex workers out there that get it so bad… disowned by their families, run out of town, harassed, hurt, doxxed, and even worse, so I know I was really blessed to have a great support group behind me. Without their support, I would not have gotten as far as I’ve come, I only wish my other friends in this community could have had the support I did, that is why every opportunity I get to speak on my experience coming out, I do. My goal is to destigmatize the negativity that surrounds doing sex work and normalize families wanting to support their children and loved ones that chose this career path. If you ever need someone to talk to, or help coming out, feel free to message me on Twitter: @VeraRoseSky

And Bunny has some great advice for performers thinking about telling their family members about their career:

“My advice: DO IT! Tell them and tell them soon. If you tell your friends and family before someone else does or they find out on their own, you control the narrative and allow them a chance to prepare for when/if someone approaches them with that information.”

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