top of page

Lies About Prostitution - 7) Prostitutes Are Drug Addicts

How the drug addict cliché is used to deny the agency of sex workers

Girl addict in a leather jacket with a dose in a syringe, prostitute.
Shutterstock Photo ID: 1092298025 by alexkich

The stigma of addiction

The stereotype of the addict is one of the most dehumanizing in modern culture. In it, drug addicts are depicted as mindless zombies who would do whatever is necessary to get their next fix.

Whenever some activity needs to be condemned, the best way to do so is to depict it as addictive. This is because addiction deprives us of one of the things we value the most: our free will.

Addictive drugs take possession of our minds and force us to do their bidding. Having lost their free will to drugs, addicts can be deprived of their liberty by forcing them into rehabilitation programs or prison.

Therefore, stereotyping prostitutes as drug addicts becomes a good excused to persecute them and jail them.

Are prostitutes drug addicts?

The strong cravings elicited by addictive drugs can lead to desperate actions. If the addict is a woman, trading sex for money can be one of the easiest ways to get the next fix.

However, the fact that some drug addicts resort to prostitution doesn’t mean that most prostitutes are addicts. For one thing, drug addicts are high risk for sexually transmitted diseases, and dangerous in some other ways, so customers stay clear of them. Prostitution is a risky activity, not just for the sex worker, but also for the client. Vetting is performed in both directions.

The real reasons women engage in prostitution

Women engage in sex work for a multitude of reasons. Supporting an addiction is rarely one of them.

Some of the most common reasons include:

  • paying for college,

  • getting out of the parent’s home,

  • escaping an abusive relationship,

  • supporting their children,

  • getting into a fancier lifestyle,

  • sexual exploration.

For example, modern escorts are often highly educated women who enjoy wearing elegant clothes, eating at posh restaurants, staying in expensive hotels, and doing fancy traveling. They can get all that while working, on top of pocketing good amounts of money. Besides, their clients can be interesting, educated and powerful men.

Escorting is quickly erasing the image of the prostitute as low life.

Other prostitutes prefer the independence of working from home and the safety of having a limited clientele of regular customers.

The ‘Lies About Prostitution’ series

This article is part of a series about that the lies that conservatives and radical feminists tell about sex work and prostitution.

Previous articles in these series are:


bottom of page