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  • Valerie Stunning

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  • Valerie Stunning

Selfie: earlier today, doing less, in all my no make up / no editing, 37 year old glory

I started my instagram account in 2014 after years of living out of one suitcase while galavanting around the globe. What began as a dalliance for the sake of showbiz (I was new to Vegas, building my career as a burlesque sensation, and all the kids were doing it) evolved into a long term relationship that has outlasted a marriage and two careers.

As I revisit the ghosts of posts past, from 2014 to six months ago (my last post) what comes to mind is, HOLY SHIT I’VE CHANGED. And what’s changed is my relationship to myself.

Five years ago I started going to therapy twice a month and practicing daily meditation and journaling. Nine months ago, after a diagnosis for both a lumbar injury and an auto immune disease I started yoga. Collectively these practices have led to many life changes. Particularly deep spiritual excavations that have unveiled the many ways I had learned to survive by minimizing, chronically compartmentalizing, and dissociating via busyness. Coping skills that have undoubtedly kept me (somewhat) sane, but now, no longer serve me.

What’s really liberating about processing and healing trauma is the permission it grants you to let go. Letting go has led me to living more simply, prioritizing relationships that are joyous and reciprocal, and truly resting. For the first time since… since maybe ever, I am no longer existing at the mercy of society’s #hustleharder culture.

I say all this fully recognizing that my story and the way I’ve chosen to go about healing is what’s been right for me. I’m sharing, not preaching.

I also want to be clear that I still love and stand for many of the same things. i.e: sex workers’ human and labor rights and ice cream as a food group.

I don’t believe in disavowing who I was or the work I’ve done just because I’m older, healthier, and a bit wiser now. It’s all relevant and I feel grateful that I get to share it with y’all.

Thank you to everyone who has been here with me. I’m going to be archiving a lot of my older posts and blogs on my website to make room for all the new topics and ideas I’m looking to explore. Xxo, Val

  • Valerie Stunning

I went back to the club in May. Why?

Because, capitalism.

Though before I get into my revelations on the stark reality of starting, operating, and trying to grow a small business with no major funding, and for the majority of the time it’s been open- during a pandemic (that's a whole other post)- I’d like to ask y’all this:

Is there anyone out here who knows of a thriving, veteran local business owner (veteran, as in has been successfully running their locally based civvy business for 10+ years), who is also out as a current or former Sex Worker?

Please re-read that.

Now. I’d like to acknowledge that I’m privileged to know on a personal level a bevy of wildly intelligent and very experienced business owners who are extremely generous with their pearls of wisdom. And I exhaust their guidance regularly.

I would also, however, be SO THRILLED to meet the people who came before me that continued sw while either transitioning in to civvy business life or did both.


  1. Unless you’re talking to someone who’s been in your same shoes, it is damn near impossible to feel you’re being related to and advised well on the real ass shit that comes up for those of us who are living this duality.

  2. It would feel far less isolating during the valleys of this adventure to know these folks exist.

  3. How dope would it be if we could all one day start some kind of old pro small business association or chamber of commerce and continue to guide those who come up behind us?!!!!

I digress…

So yes, I went back to the club because I was never ready to retire to begin with. Hell. I am 10 years in and at the top of my game. Like who, in any industry, retires when they’re peaking?

That and, I felt now that I have a bit of income supplemented by my civvy business, perhaps I could have a crack at a healthier seckswork / life balance and not experience burn out as often? Or at all?!!

It’s too early to tell about that one, but I’ll keep you posted.

In solidarity,


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