These are books that I’ve read and felt were important for one reason or another. Some books didn’t make this list because they weren’t that amazing. Others I haven’t read. Feel free to make suggestions for sex worker books that you think are amazing.
Books are listed in no particular order.
Books I’ve Read
The Internet Escort’s Handbook Book 1: The Foundation (My book, she says with a blush). Describes what escort work requires from the escort. I haven’t seen anything else like it out there, which is why I wrote it.
Working: My Life As a Prostitut by Dolores French
Dolores is witty, humane and adventurous. This book is a bible of sex work and has inspired many women, not just me. I’ve been recommending this one since I first read it in 1998.
Turning Pro: A Guide to Sex Work for the Ambitious and the Intriguedby Magdalene Meretrix
A very broad and general overview of just about every type of sex work imaginable. The author has participated in everything; at some point or another. Some of the information is really dated, though. (Every escort I know has this one on her shelf.)
Whores and Other Feminists edited by Jill Nagle
There are some very good essays in here by various sex workers, as well as the usual, tired suspects. Could be eye-opening, depending on who you are.
Cop to Call Girl, Why I Left the Lapd to Make an Honest Living As a Beverly Hills Prostitute by Norma Jean Almodovar
This is actually more of a political book than a sex book, but you don’t figure that out until the end. She’s a courageous woman who truly enjoyed her work (the chicken guy is priceless).
The Exotic Entertainer’s Bible by Melody Obourn
A level-headed 101 for strippers from a dancer honest enough to admit to making mistakes. The only bad advice she gives is to put stripping ahead of a college education.
Lapdancer by Juliana Beasley
An excellent photo documentary of one dancer’s experience in a nude lapdance club. No posturing or philosophizing. Just her photos and essays from club patrons and dancers.
Strip City : A Stripper’s Farewell Journey Across America by Lily Burana
A fun book about stripping, although the author self-created way too much angst for someone with a bland life.
Ivy League Stripper by Heidi Mattson
What it’s like to be a successfully-hustling stripper with a cast-iron ego in a no-touch club before the population of strip clubs exploded.
Nine Lives: From Stripper to Schoolteacher : My Year-Long Odyssey in the Workplace by Lynn Snowden
A great book in its own right, the chapter where she worked for a month as a stripper should be mandatory reading for any strip-club patron. (And it’s one of the better “stripper” essays that I’ve read.)
Phone Sex: Aural Thrills and Oral Skills by Miranda Austin
An honest look at what it’s like to work as a phone sex operator. Includes hilarious conversations. No major drama, but a lot of laughs.
Pink Samurai by Nicholas Bornoff
A very big book covering the adult industry in Japan, including its long history. Although I’m betting quite a bit has changed since it was published in the mid-80s, it’s worth reading for the detailed historical look at a society that doesn’t view sex as deviant.
Working Sex: An Odyssey into Our Cultural Underworld by Marianne Macy
Very much written by an outsider, but one who has an open and curious mind. It’s worth reading for the interviews with various sex workers she encounters.
Mayflower Madam: The Secret Life of Sydney Biddle Barrows by Sydney Biddle Barrows
Details a pretty good method to running an escort agency. Although a lot has changed (the Internet), the principles of fair treatment and safety still apply.
Sex Secrets of Escorts: What Men Really Want by Veronica Monet
Need to write a fuller review than this…
Stripped: Twenty Years of Secrets from Inside the Strip Club by Brent Kenton Jordan
He gets it. A man who totally gets it. Like having a conversation with strippers in the lockeroom (yes, this is really what we think of you). Or…if you’ve ever been the man to wonder think you can date a stripper, read this book first.
Madam 90210: My Life as Madam to the Rich and Famous by Elizabeth Adams
Dishes on Madam Alex, Heidi Fleiss and assorted celebrities and babes. Plenty of money and depravity within. Not to be taken seriously, but it sure is fun.
Red Light: Inside the Sex Industry by Sylvia Plachy (photographer), James Ridgeway
Explores the seedy side of sex work. Here are plenty of walking, talking stereotypes — all captured on grainy black and white film. Not exactly eye-opening but these are real people and real lives.
Diary of a Manhattan Call Girl: A Novel by Tracy Quan
A fair-minded look at a group of callgirls who aren’t victims of anything except, perhaps, their fashion addictions. Fluffy, fun and irritating (Nancy Chan has her head up her ass); much like hanging out with a group of long-time girlfriends would be.
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Fantasy fiction about a masochistic spy/courtesan. It may not be for everyone, but it’s not a bad place to start for skin-on-skin knowledge of what it’s like to be a courtesan/paid companion/sex worker. My own experiences have shown that the concepts in this book really do translate to real life.
Books I Want to Read
Callgirl: Confessions of an Ivy League Lady of Pleasure by Jeannette Angell
She made it onto Oprah. I want to see what she has to say. (I now have a copy of the book, but I haven’t read it yet. Will report when I do.)