Sex Industry

In New York, thousands make their living providing sexual release in its various forms, and more than a few of these people are Goths. The Gothic/Industrial disdain for inhibitions, desire for transgression, and general love of all things kinky and naughty, combined with New York's eternal bull market in sin, make Goth and the various forms of sex work go together like bacon and eggs, eyeliner and fishnet, and Leopold and Loeb.

Phone Sex

Rather like being on IRC, except that you get paid for listening to men talk dirty while masturbating. Several phone sex lines call New York home, and regularly place Help Wanted ads in the Village Voice and elsewhere. Goths with a good reading voice, a decent imagination, and a strong stomach can make it in this field; openings exist for both men and women. (Although men will find themselves working gay phone lines; for some reason, women don't seem particularly interested in 900 sex numbers). Expect to earn between $7 and $10 an hour.

The rise of video streaming technologies has opened up opportunities for Internet Sex. CUN-TV, one popular service, offers jobs for women, transsexuals, and lesbian couples. You'll need about the same level of looks to get hired here as at a strip club. While the pay is less (around $15 an hour plus tips), Internet stripping offers a degree of security and anonymity which is not available to strippers outside cyberspace.


For the woman looking for quick money, stripping offers several advantages. Strip clubs typically have abundant security; gropers or more dangerous types will quickly find themselves out on the sidewalk and possibly spread out across same. In the sex trade, only call girls typically make more money than dancers; a good dancer can easily make $200 to $500 (cash) in a single evening. While strip clubs tend to favor the blonde bimbo with implants look, an attractive Goth woman will have little trouble finding steady, profitable work at any of the dozens of nude or topless clubs throughout the city.

For men, stripping opportunities exist, but are far more limited. Both straight and gay clubs tend to prefer their male strippers with the bronzed and buffed look... not exactly a popular style among Goth men. A Goth with a Glenn Danzig physique might be able to land a spot at some New Jersey Ladies Night or at one of the city's gay clubs. Another alternative may be one of the various strip-o-gram services; while somewhat less lucrative than working in a club, work is sometimes available.

Those considering stripping should be forewarned; long hours of gyrating naked before drooling, screaming Neanderthals can take an insiduous psychological toll. Despite our claims of and attempts at sexual liberation, we are still products of a society which views strippers and other sex workers as "whores" and "sluts". Internalized self-hatred can become a huge problem for strippers, and may well account for the endemic drug and alcohol abuse among many nude dancers.


BDSM's meteoric rise in popularity has created a whole new branch of the world's oldest profession; professional domanitrices. All across America, the rich and powerful (and the poor and meek, whenever they can afford it) are paying $150 to $250 an hour in exchange for abuse, humiliation and fantasy role play. The Gothic flair for imagination, pagentry and spectacle can be put to good use by those interested in working in the field.

At an average Dungeon, a Dom can expect to get between 40% and 60% of any fee, plus tips. Straight sex is neither expected nor, in most dungeons, allowed, but other than that just about everything is negotiable. Common fantasies involve nurse-patient scenarios (often involving enemas and sometimes play piercings), schoolteacher-student games (typically climaxing in OTK or spanking), forced crossdressing and anal penetration, and bondage.

Other aspiring domanitrices have gone into business for themselves. This cuts out the middleman, but adds a whole new host of problems. Dungeon equipment (chains, whips, racks, restraints, dildos, etc.) can be very expensive; similarly, commercial space in Manhattan is hard to find and pricy when you find it. New sex businesses frequently face harassment from landlords, fellow tenants, and Mayor Giuliani. Vice squads have been known to target domanitrices; working for an established business helps to cut back on spurious busts and prostitution charges. Working on an outcall basis may alleviate some of these expenses, but at a cost in security. Dealing with a potentially dangerous client is far more difficult in his hotel room (or house) than in a safer dungeon setting.


Hustling, turning tricks, the Life; by any other name, prostitution is alive and well, albeit illegal, in New York City. (The one place where Nevada is socially ahead of us...). For those who have the personality to survive it, prostitution can be a very lucrative job. This is not an especially common career choice around Goths; still, as the grandmother of all sex industries and the alleged world's oldest profession, prostitution deserves mention at least.

While prostitution is still technically illegal, in practice houses are usually left alone. (Police initiatives against prostitution are typically aimed at streetwalkers ... the women and otherwise who decorated Times Square in the pre-Disney days). For the most part, house clientele is pre-screened and largely consists of regulars. After sharing their cut with the house and including tips, workers usually make between $70 and $150 a client, with sessions generally lasting an hour or less. Call Girls who work for escort services earn even more; there are call girls earning six-figure incomes. Houses and escort services regularly advertise in the Village Voice's Adult Help Wanted section and Al Goldstein's Screw magazine, among other places. Interested women (and pre-op transsexuals; she-males are in high demand among the Sex-for-Cash crowd) should have no problem finding suitable employment.

Commentary by Kevin Filan, Thursday, June 4, 1998.