Book Review: Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry by Lola Davina

Posted On: July 13, 2017

As a sexologist, I was immediately interested to review the new book Thriving in Sex Work: Heartfelt Advice for Staying Sane in the Sex Industry by Lola Davina. I interviewed her for my weekly radio show Eros Evolution and you can listen to it here.

I feel that sex work is always going to be an area that requires more education, with messages such as sex work is work; not all sex workers are victims and forced into it; and that sex workers have rights and the need for respect and safety just like any other profession. There are many types of sex workers from escorts, webcam sex, phone sex operators, strippers, to porn performers. It is not difficult to imagine how one can feel shame, alienated, and rejected, as well as experience stigma, discrimination, and threats to one’s safety.

As preparation for the interview, I read the book and liked how Davina opened the book by sharing her personal foray into sex work. I found myself surprised with how the book decided to deal head-on with the demons of sex work – so necessary, vital, yet heavy going stuff! The emotions that would come up included: fear, shame, low self-esteem, anger, and envy. Each emotion received discussion around it, followed by a combination of practical or heartfelt advice. Exercises woven in where appropriate as well.

The book is divided into five parts – Demons (as mentioned above); Tools of the Trade; Sex work and Self-Care; Sex work and Relationships; Life after the Life. I especially liked the advice about money management, because we all could do with managing this resource better – myself included. It was evident that everything Davina had to share was from experience (being a veteran), as well as through and thoughtful research from somebody determined to help – the heart behind it is evident. I really like the resources included in the appendix – from sexual health, marketing venues, to sex worker communities.

I feel the book is well-written, easy to read, practical, endlessly useful and heartfelt. This is a much-needed book – and I would recommend it to anybody I come across who is in the sex work industry, or have loved ones in it and wish to understand more about the work.  It would empower and support those in the industry – and even for those not engaged in sex work, it would help them understand more and be more compassionate and supportive of those who are.

About the Author

Lola Davina has spent more than 25 years in and around the sex industry, working as a stripper, dominatrix, porn actress, and escort over a fifteen-year period. She has earned an M.A. in Human Sexuality and an M.S. in Nonprofit Fundraising, and writes a self-care and wellness column for

About the Reviewer

Dr. Martha Tara Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching. She is a certified sexologist with a Doctorate in Human Sexuality. She provides sexuality and relationship coaching for individuals and couples, conducts sexual education workshops and speaks at public events. She is the author of the books Love, Sex and Everything In-Between, and Orgasmic Yoga. She is also the host of the weekly radio show Eros Evolution on OMTimes Radio. For more, visit or email

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