Credit: Indiana Joel/Xtra
Hard Labour
2 min

What I learned about sex work and writing

Devon Delacroix reflects on four years of writing “Hard Labour”

When I started in the sex business, I thought it would be temporary.

I racked up some debt my first few years post-university while trying to establish myself as an artist, often by putting groceries on my credit card during weeks I couldn’t make ends meet. I’d reached the point where creative work was generating enough cash to cover my day-to-day expenses. But there was nothing left at the end of the month for Visa.

I had no idea whether there would be demand for a lanky, scruffy, guy-next-door type in a field dominated by muscled jocks and barely legal twinks. But I figured I’d give it a shot and, if nothing else, get a brief glimpse inside a world I’d never otherwise get to see. Ten years later, I’m still working and busier than ever.

Similarly, when I started this column, I had no sense of how long it would last. Did I actually have anything interesting to say? Would there be an audience for this work? Would anyone even care? Four years and 60 columns later, the answer to all three questions appears to have been yes. Now, as Xtra prepares to undergo some changes with new leadership at the helm, the time has come for me to step back and make space for other voices to be heard.

That’s not to say my mountain of sex work experience has been fully mined. Reading over my entries from the past four years, I realize there are so many things I haven’t had the chance to address. I haven’t covered sex in suburban mall parking lots or backyard bomb shelters. Same for saline scrotum injections, elbow-deep double fisting, or holding a gun to someone’s head while we fuck. I’ve not talked about the challenges of coming out as a hooker, how to deal with online abuse, or the pitfalls of falling in love with a client. I’ve never written about being raped.

While this endeavour has reached its natural conclusion, sex work and writing will remain part of my life as long as I have something to offer both fields. My work has taken me around the world and face-to-face with the darkest parts of my psyche. Through it all, my sense of self and my understanding of the complexities of human sexuality have continued to expand.

When I started sex work, I wondered whether the business might leave me bitter, jaded or detached from my body. Instead, it’s made me infinitely more compassionate, open minded and adventurous.

As I close this chapter and begin to contemplate the next, I feel an immense sense of gratitude to the editors who’ve helped me shape this column, to Xtra for their continuing fight for freedom of sexual expression and to the countless clients who, in sharing their most intimate moments with me, provided the fertile ground from which all of this could spring.

Thank you for being part of this journey. Without you, I am nothing.