All the questions you’ve ever wanted to ask a student sex worker

‘You can take home £2,000 a week – men will pay you for the stupidest things’

For the average student, the maintenance loan works out as £223 less than their monthly living costs, which leaves 74 per cent of students relying on part-time work for money. Not to mention, university tuition fees and rent costs are the highest they’ve ever been.

For some, part-time work may look like an extra shift at the coffee shop or supermarket. But for first year university student Gabriella, it’s getting in front of a camera on the adult website Off The Record.

“It’s just not as seedy as people think”, Gabriella told The Tab. “You can do whatever you want, and some people never even get naked – it’s one of these sorts of jobs that no matter what you look like or what your sexuality is, you can still be successful – it’s all about personality.”

In the UK currently, there are estimated to be over 214,200 student sex workers. A survey by Save The Student found three percent of students have done sex work. A further nine per cent said they would turn to sex work in a financial emergency.

So what is being a student sex worker actually like? Gabriella is a 31-year-old nursing student in North West England. She is also a single mum and a professional cam girl.

So, how much can you earn?

“I can earn anywhere from £100 – £500 a week camming if I work up to 20 hours”, she told The Tab. “If I spent more time on cam I would obviously earn more – you can even take home 2 grand a week.

“Camming is great for me because I can work from home at little to no cost. This independence is invaluable as a student because it allows me to structure my job around my studies and lectures.”

Gabriella explained how she’s been able to save so much money that she’s now thinking about buying a house. “I don’t think people realise that money is out there – men will pay you for the stupidest things.”

What are the clients like?

According to Gabriella, men visit the site for a variety of different reasons. She said many clients of hers want the “girlfriend experience”, where they just like to chat. Others want a specific type of role play and like to get straight to it.

She said: “I had one guy who came in and just said ‘show me your p*ssy’ straight away – I just said good morning to you too and I’m not a performing monkey. I’m a bit of a tease and don’t really show much unless I absolutely have to.”

Are there ever any strange requests?

Gabriella spoke about the odd fetishes she has come across. One she mentioned is “giantess vore”, which according to various reddit communities is a shorthand term for any kink scenario in which a gigantic woman consumes another, smaller person. Fittingly, she said she’s been asked to pretend to eat her clients over the screen, describing how they would taste.

“One guy told me he liked to see me step on things”, Gabriella said. “So I stepped on some oranges that were a bit past their best. Then he said ‘imagine if it was a little mouse’ and I immediately said no I’m a vegetarian, I’m not going to talk about that.”

Do people at uni know about your cam work?

Although Gabriella is very comfortable with the fact she does this line of work, she said she must remain cautious.

“I haven’t told anyone outside of my mum and my close personal friends. I would never tell anyone – not because I’m ashamed, but because I could get reported and lose my pin. I’d be scared if people found out, only in terms of my professional life”, she said.

Do you know of any other sex workers at your uni?

Gabriella said that although she knows of other student sex workers, none of those are at her uni. “I don’t know anyone willing enough to be open about it. But I do know it’s more common than you’d think”, she said.

Are unis doing enough to protect sex workers?

The Tab recently reported that only three Russell Group unis have a policy in place to support sex workers. The most recent is Durham – who offered training sessions to help students involved in sex work.

Gabriella said she strongly believes that all universities should implement a policy to protect their student sex workers. “I think Durham is great, but the fact the unis don’t have one shows there is a massive stigma, and therefore people don’t come forward for support.

“The unis don’t help matters either – for example if you study midwifery you have to uphold a code of policies and being a sex worker isn’t cohesive to that. It’s really sad because the work I do outside of uni does not impact the care I am able to give.”

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I lost my job in the pandemic so took up sex work to fund my degree