Supporting yourself with sex work

Up to 6% of students said they would do sex work in a money emergency to support themselves and up to 3% of students currently do support themselves with sex work (Save the Student, 2023). No one should feel ashamed for what they choose to do to make a living and for many people it can be a good way to earn needed income. However, if you are a student supporting yourself through sex work and need support there is help available to you.

Our service is confidential so we will not inform the university or anyone outside of the Advice service if you disclose sex work activities to us. We will only break confidentiality if you disclose something where there is risk of immediate harm to yourself or someone else. In these instances, we would discuss this with you and look to only share relevant information with the Welfare team in the university.

Students on registered courses

If you are on a course that is subject to regulations from an outside body such as a medicine or nursing course, you may be subject to Fitness to Practice procedures if your sex work activity is reported and your course deems your sex work to be bringing the profession into disrepute or violating other guidelines set out in your course's regulations.  

You can find out more information about the specific regulations for your course by checking your course handbook. You will also usually receive lectures on the Fitness to Practice process as part of your course. You can find the full Fitness to Practice procedures for Exeter University here.

If you have further questions about the policy and how it might affect you, you can contact the Fitness to Practice Policy Advisor here. Just be mindful if you inform the advisor of activities you are doing that are in conflict with your regulated courses guidelines, the advisor can trigger Fitness to Practice procedure.


You can find information on how to stay safe as a sex worker from the Red Project here.

It is a dangerous misconception that by being a sex worker you have consented to any form of sexual contact and cannot withhold consent like any other person. This is not true, as a sex worker you have the right to withhold consent as any other person would and if a client initiates sexual behaviour that was not agreed to this is still sexual assault.

If you feel unsafe at any time or have been the victim of a crime you can call 999. If you have been sexually assaulted, you also seek help as any other person would.

You can find more information about support after you have been sexually assaulted here.  

If you are feeling pressured to exchange sex for 'favours', including because you don't have money for rent or a debt, this is sexual exploitation, it is against the law and you can report this to the police. If are experiencing this you can fill in our enquiry form here.

Sexual Health

You can find more information about accessing sexual health services in Devon here.

If you are outside of Devon you can use this page to find sexual health services local to you.

Emotional support

The University Wellbeing services are confidential, and you will not be penalised for disclosing that you are doing sex work when contacting wellbeing for support. You can make an appointment with their service here.

You may feel more comfortable accessing support from outside of the university.

SFSSW is a peer support organisation led by sex workers, they provide confidential advice and support to anyone working in the sex industry. They operate online, over the phone or in person you can access their service here.  

If you have been affected by sexual violence in your job or elsewhere you can get support from Devon Rape Crisis. They provide support over the phone or via anonymous email. You can their details here.

Financial support

If you are in financial hardship you can apply to the Sucess for All fund. You can find a lot of information on the FAQ section of the Success for All page linked above about how to apply. However, if you have further questions or would like to discuss your application with an advisor you can fill in our enquiry form here.