1st Edition

Sex Work and Female Self-Empowerment

By Stephanie Hunter Jones Copyright 2016

    Prior research has tended to mirror popular representations of the female sex worker as a morally flawed individual and a victim of circumstances beyond her control. Sex Work and Female Self-Empowerment presents a fresh perspective on "the world’s oldest profession" by considering the relationship between sex work and female self-empowerment from a variety of disciplinary and practical perspectives and presenting new data derived from the author’s study of six self-employed indoor female sex workers (IFSWs). Informed by the author’s training in clinical psychology and human sexuality studies and her more than fifteen years of involvement in the sex work profession, this book extends beyond social stereotyping and stigmatization and presents a more balanced view of the identities and aspirations of sex workers in contemporary society.

    1. Introduction  2. Social and Legal Factors Affecting the Female Sex Worker  3. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Female Sexuality and Self-Empowerment  4. "I See Myself as a True Healer": A Study of Self-Empowerment among Indoor Female Sex Workers  5. Conclusions  Appendix A: Glossary/Definition of Key Terms  Appendix B: Questionnaire  Appendix C: Phone Interview Highlights  Index


    Stephanie Hunter Jones, PhD, is a Los Angeles-based clinical sexologist, sex-positive therapist and intimacy advisor. During her 16 years of experience in the adult industry she has worked with diverse clients, both as a professional BDSM, fetish, and kink player, and as an erotic energy practitioner whose practice emphasizes the healing power of touch.

    “Yielding rigorous findings from a reasoned and seasoned approach to investigating female self-empowerment within this often misunderstood population, Sex Work and Female Self-Empowerment is a significant new contribution to the literature of sexology that is destined to shake up myths and shine light on truths about indoor sex work. It provides an in-depth and sensitive understanding of historical perspectives and the lived experiences of sex workers.”—Patti Britton, PhD, MPH, is the co-founder of SexCoachU.com, AASECT past-president, and adjunct faculty at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Saybrook Institute, and academic dean at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality.  

    “The natural drive of sexual expression has infinite layers of complexity which include cultural and societal influences. In this book, Dr. Stephanie Hunter Jones takes an unflinching look at ‘the world’s oldest profession.’ Her research and insights are compelling.  Conventional ideas are challenged in favor of a better, healthier understanding of women in the field of sex work. This book is an important contribution to an important subject!”—Howard Asher, PsyD, is the clinical director for multiple treatment facilities for substance addiction and trauma disorders. 

    “Dr. Jones has written a profound and captivating book on a subject that has been sorely neglected, bringing dignity to those in the field of Sex Work. Speaking for the many brave women who provide pleasure, comfort and healing services still in the shadows, her powerful message is well-written and passionate. It is a must-read for it creates an understanding of the importance of sex work and the full impact of the work on the women in the field, and society as a whole.”—Anadel Baughn Barbour, PhD, MFTI, has a private practice in Los Angeles, CA, and in addition, works at Refuge Recovery Centers in Hollywood, CA.

    “Dr. Hunter Jones’s book has so much in common with Xaviera Hollander’s The Happy Hooker. Both women feel that what they have done with their lives is both natural and guilt free. This is a must-read book. Xaviera represented the 70s and Stephanie talks about today.”—Dr. Robert Dunlap, is the co-foudner of SexCoachU.com, academic dean at the Institute for The Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, and a board-certified clinical sexologist (ACS). He is the filmmaker of the documentary Xaviera Hollander: The Happy Hooker.

     “Bravo to Stephanie Hunter Jones for re-opening the door and inviting us into the sacred and delightful world of the IFSW. Be prepared to throw away preconceived ideas as to who these women are and how they live and work. Dr. Hunter Jones opens our eyes to an old game with new rules. She introduces us to a world where adults are allowed to be consensually touched, soothed, adored, and admired by a trained professional. Well done!!”—Gwen Lotery, MA, MFT, has a private psychotherapy practice in Santa Monica, CA, where she specializes in individual and couples sex and marital therapy.

    "Stephanie Hunter Jones has blown the lid off our culture's shame-based pathologizing of sexuality and female workers in the field with this well-researched book, honoring the power of female sexuality as potential teacher, healer, spiritual guide, and even savior."—Charley Lang, MA, MFT, is a professor of Human Sexualities at Antioch University in Los Angeles, CA.


    “Jones’ short book is based on her doctoral dissertation, and provides historical and contemporary context for understanding attitudes toward female sex workers.” -Kimberly Fairchild, PhD, Associate Professor at Manhattan College