Award Date

December 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Marriage and Family Therapy

First Committee Member

Carissa D'Aniello

Second Committee Member

Markie Twist

Third Committee Member

Brandon Eddy

Fourth Committee Member

Barbara Brents

Number of Pages



Ten consensual sex workers who were currently working in Nevada were qualitatively interviewed in an effort to explore their perceptions of the adult industry. Interviews specifically focused on their experience disclosing their profession to others and the potential effects that it has on their personal relationships, and access to effective treatment. The Moustakas method of phenomenological inquiry was used to analyze data from ten participants who self-identified as direct sex workers. Seven essential themes emerged from this analysis: (1) the adult industry provides professional and personal agency, (2) the industry is often transient, (3) disclosure is an impactful and ongoing process, (4) professional and personal lives often are compartmentalized, (5) Sex work can be an isolating, (6) therapy often involves factors that do not involve their work, (7) Sex work can provide an opportunity for self-exploration. Participants rejected the absolute victim narrative that is commonly reflected in media, film, and government-sanctioned actions surrounding the adult industry (Nielsen, 2009). The results of this study emphasize the need for future research on the relationships of people in the adult industry and provides couple and family therapies with a critical understanding of how authenticity, genuineness, and judgment can impact clinical treatment when working with this population.


consensual; qualitative; sex worker


Counseling Psychology | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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