How is This Still a Thing?: A Discussion about Mental Health in the Adult Industry

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I am angry. 

I am angry that we keep losing people in our industry. I am angry that we come together to mourn and call to action, but suddenly the conversation stops. I am tired of this happening.

Our industry combines a handful of services: sales, entertainment, food and hospitality. These three careers individually are within the top five at risk for drug use. A separate source has service and entertainment at numbers 3 and 4 respectively and, when combined, are the number one industries out of 19 separate occupation categories. Not to mention the level of disrespect that an entertainer comes across in her career from a host of individuals within the workplace, clients included.

Let’s be honest: our industry can be a breeding ground for rampant insecurity and poor self-worth. Without the appropriate systems, the competitive and singular nature of the business leads people to question everything about themselves and their contacts. Along with the stigma and shame associated with our line of work in American culture, it can prove difficult to find the caring network outside of the club that is compassionate and sympathetic to the needs of those working in the adult industry. “Who do I trust?” can easily turn into “I can’t trust myself” without the proper support.

It is a recipe for disaster.

I reached this point last month. After a handful of failures and watching other girls land work, I started questioning everything. Before I knew it, critically looking at my product from a business perspective morphed into critically looking at all aspects of my physical, social, and inner self. I didn’t know where to turn, I didn’t know to talk to, and I fell into the deepest depression I have felt in years. After some hard conversations, some even harder epiphanies, and a new perspective, I feel good as new.

Not everyone is so lucky.

It is imperative that we do, in fact, stick together: dancers, DJs, management, bouncers, and bartenders. The girl crying in the dressing room, the bouncer consistently late for their shift, the DJ that slurs his words over the microphone every night all need to be reached out to rather than judged or written off. Something as simple as a “How’s it going?” can make a huge difference.

We, as a collective, must combat this. 

Of course, I’m not asking anyone to be an armchair psychologist. The most that we can do beyond being there is offer resources. That’s why I’ve provided some below:

  • SAVE.org is the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. It has plenty of valuable information from why people commit suicide Q&A to coping with loss. Free hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • This link is for those who need help immediately and also provides sources for military veterans.
  • These links lay out the signs of depression between men and women.
  • Addictioncenter.com is a database of rehabilitation clinics and also provides a 24-hour hotline: 1-877-710-8358
  • Here is a link for helping people with drug addiction who work at your establishment.
  • Check out Rock and Rehab, a podcast focused on addiction and recovery in the industry and elsewhere.

Liza Mae Lust is a talented showgirl and feature entertainer. Check out her Panda Talk One On One episode as well as her previous article here!

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