When I was 22 and fresh out of college, I began the well-known “real job” search that so many college grads have suffered through. I spent hours and hours scrolling through job sites and submitting my resume to first “dream job” positions and eventually to any job that seemed remotely related to my English college degree.
After quite a few weeks of sobbing into my pillow and asking the universe what was wrong with me and my resume, I finally got a call for an interview. I could barely remember what job the call was in reference to since I had applied to at least 722 jobs in the previous three months, but nonetheless I was ecstatic.
The call started off normal, with the usual date and time negotiations, but ended with the caller asking me to be sure I took a look at the company’s website before I came in to make sure I was comfortable with their industry. This threw me off, but I agreed to the interview nonetheless.
Once I was on the company’s website, it became very apparent that they were part of an industry that I wasn’t all that familiar with – the adult industry. The company was, and is, the leading national business publication serving the adult nightclub industry and the adult retail industry. To put it in layman’s terms, they published two different magazines – one for strip club owners and one for storeowners whose line of business was sex toys and porn.
Being the open-minded (and very desperate) person that I was, I figured it probably wasn’t all that different than any other publication company. So, I went to the interview. And honestly, besides the pictures of half-naked girls lining the walls (which were previous magazine covers), everything seemed to be how you’d imagine any other publication-based business.
Shortly after I left the interview, I got a call from the editor-in-chief and was offered the position. I took it. And my first day of work began a journey that I’ll forever be grateful for. Here are just a few things I learned while working in the adult industry that made me a more confident woman and changed my entire outlook on life:
1. Educating yourself about sex is liberating.
While writing for the two different publications, I was constantly researching and discussing topics that ranged from the best vibrators to how to use an anal plug, and everything in between. Nearly everything I wrote about was completely new to me and was certainly not something I would bring up at the dinner table. But after a few months of writing about such “taboo” topics, something weird started to happen – I know longer felt embarrassed or self-conscious about openly talking about subjects that had previously made me want to hide in the nearest closet. The more I learned about all the little pieces to the puzzle that is sex and sexuality, the more confident I was talking about it.
2. A lot of people are ashamed or embarrassed to ask sex-related questions, but they shouldn’t be.
The more I talked to people outside of work about the things I was writing and learning about, the more I realized that no one really knew how to talk about sex. Sure, my guy friends would go on about how great their one-night stand was and my girlfriends would rave about the size of their guy’s member, but no one ever went deeper than the basic, surface-level stuff. What I learned by working in the adult industry was that so many people weren’t happy with their sex lives, but they had no idea what to do about it. How do you tell your partner that you’ve never had an orgasm before? What are steps you can take to explore your sexuality? Is it okay to still masturbate when you’re in a serious relationship? All of these questions are so important, and yet no one was comfortable enough to ask them.
3. Writing about sex made me more open and confident in my own sex life.
Before I began working at the publication company, saying that my sex life was vanilla would be putting it nicely. Sure, I’d had a few long-term relationships and a few more short-term friends with benefits, but I really didn’t understand everything that sex had to offer. Shortly after starting the job, I came to the realization that my idea of sex was basic at best. I became increasingly curious about what I wanted in bed, rather than what I thought you were supposed to do in bed. And the more I learned about what I needed to be sexually satisfied, the more confident and comfortable I was asking for it from my partner.
4. Working in the adult industry doesn’t mean that you are dirty or different.
You probably don’t associate strip clubs or adult retail stores with professionalism and profitable business, but that’s exactly what they are. The people who run those companies are every bit as dedicated and educated as the CEOs and CFOs of any other business. For example, the man who spearheaded one of the most well-known adult novelty brands was previously an engineer who made weapons and protective gear for the United States military. Everyone has a story, all you have to do is ask.
5. Your willingness to learn is the key to succeeding in any job.
When I first began working as the assistant editor at the adult industry publication, I knew absolutely nothing about either industry the company produced magazines for. But I went into the position with an open mind and willingness to learn. I poured over 15-years’ worth of the company’s magazines and read every word written by previous writers. I asked questions, no matter how naïve or silly they sounded. And eventually I was able to find my own voice and use it to talk about topics that would make the average 20-something blush.