A surprising finding from the study however, was that a greater number of male than female students are sex workers.

(All names have been changed.) I'm a second-year studying History and Philosophy at a university in London.

I started working after my first year, trying various part-time jobs, working in a coffee shop, in a pub and as a waitress. The student loan didn't even cover my housing, let alone living expenses, food, books and travel costs.

I had trouble keeping up with coursework, especially if I worked evenings.

Flexible hours, good working conditions and sexual pleasure were among the most regularly cited positive aspects of sex work.

But in almost every case, this enjoyment was balanced with stigma and enforced secrecy.

"I think that's my problem with it," says one student, "it's turned into a giant secret...I have to be careful what I say, I have be careful where I am." To find out more, we asked three students what it's been like to pay their way through university with sex work.Last week, researchers at Swansea University released the findings of The Student Sex Work Project, the first comprehensive attempt to analyse UK students who are also sex workers.The report found that 5 percent of students have undertaken sex work at some point – which can mean either that they supplied "direct" sexual services, or did "indirect" work, such as modelling, cam shows or chat lines.While 5 percent represents a small but significant minority, a much greater number – 1 in 5 – reported that they had considered doing sex work to pay their way through higher education. With the increase in student debt, as well as the slashing of university funding for grants and bursaries, sex work is an increasingly attractive prospect for cash-strapped students.A number of sex workers told researchers that minimum wage or zero-hours jobs just weren't an option, while the most common reason given for undertaking sex work was "good money".