From Iceland — Side Hustle Of The Issue: The Sex Worker

Side Hustle Of The Issue: The Sex Worker

Published August 25, 2023

Side Hustle Of The Issue: The Sex Worker
Photo by
Sigtýr Ægir Kárason

A peek into one of society’s most taboo jobs

With the assistance of Rauða Regnhlífin, the association of people involved in sex work in Iceland, we connected with a person who combines a day job with sex work. To preserve the interviewee’s anonymity, their name was changed.

Sylvia Zesoni, 23, a housekeeper

My side hustle is sex work. I was searching for a regular job in my home country and it was impossible to find something. So, the idea came to me little by little. At the beginning, I started meeting people in person, but later I expanded into online sex work. We can say that I was primarily driven by the financial aspect. But also it’s difficult to find a job that fits with your mental health and adapts to your rhythm and necessities. That’s an important point. I knew that if I got a regular job I wouldn’t be able to decide to not go to work every time I needed to, choose how and when, and of course get the same money.

A different kind of a side gig

Now I’m an online sex worker. I combine this with my regular job, using some of my free time to dedicate to it when I feel in the mood. I choose the best moment for me. This isn’t difficult because I really enjoy it.

The best thing is that sex work gives me extra money. I’ve met wonderful people thanks to it, and it’s helped me feel more confident about my body and sexual life. The worst thing is the stigma. The stigma invades both you and others. Sometimes, I still feel bad for doing it because we live in a society where sex work isn’t considered a normal job. The stigma makes you feel guilty about what you’re doing, for example. The most typical stereotypes are those based on the sex worker as a victim, or the sex worker as a lazy person who doesn’t want to work like other ‘normal’ people and instead sacrifices their ‘dignity’ for money. Then we have the stereotype of the sex worker as someone not able to say no and is prepared to satisfy you no matter what.

Pursuing sex work

“Sometimes, I still feel bad for doing it because we live in a society where sex work isn’t considered a normal job.”

If you want to do sex work, listen to your desires, know your boundaries and ask yourself what you are able to do. Find the better way for you to do it. Read a lot about sex work, read information from other sex workers and learn from their experience. Always have a community of other sex workers: they will understand and support you, providing the best advice. Know your rights, the current legal situation in different parts of the world, and be interested in what you want to do. Don’t let the stigma win the battle; it will always be there: in yourself or in others.

No hacks

I don’t have a money-saving trick in Reykjavik. I’m waiting to learn some hacks. To be honest, I think it’s nearly impossible for me to save money in this city, especially since I work as a housekeeper and I’m new to online sex work.

Want to share how you’re making ends meet? Email us at with the subject line “Side Hustle.” We’ll happily keep your identity anonymous.

Follow along with the Side Hustle series right here.

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