Sex work and the mainstream media

If there is one thing in life that we know – it’s that sex sells. And nowhere is this more true than media companies like newspapers.

Every year or two the big newspapers, spurred by something like a study, or a government inquiry will produce a flurry of articles about sex work and especially male providers (like myself) who offer sex services to women.

The last few months has seen almost every major newspaper in the country run something on the subject. I am occasionally interviewed for these articles and I rarely take much notice of what actually gets printed. Once it’s out there you can’t bring it back, and anyone in the industry knows that whatever you say will, in the end, be played for the greatest impact on the reader. My attitude has always been that regardless of how I might be painted, it is good for the industry (workers and clients) for more people to know that women can and do buy sex and that it’s a thing that anyone who wants to can choose to do.

So, I was interviewed by the telegraph recently and it resulted in this article…

As I said above, I don’t usually pay much attention, but a few people commented on it and even gave me a copy and I thought that it might be fun to go through and correct the errors. So here goes!

From the article:

“She now sees John every three months or so and, most times, will hire his services for the entire day at a rate of around $3000”

Ok – while I would love to be able to charge $3000 for a day of my time, I don’t. I charge at most $2,300 for a twenty four hour booking. Longer dates, for instance when I travel with a client are charged at $2,000 per twenty four hours. A day time date of say ten hours as described in the article is more likely to cost $1600 (the equivalent to an overnight booking with me).

“…performance enhancing drugs like Viagra are common for male escorts. I don’t use them yet…”

This needs to be addressed for a few reasons – yes I do use Viagra. I use it as and when I feel I need it to ensure that I can stay hard. Most people aren’t aware that Viagra et al doesn’t give you an erection. It just helps you to maintain it, once you have one. So drugs are not a tool that lets you have sex with anyone and everyone. If there is no attraction, then there is no arousal. No arousal, no erection, Viagra or not.

If you do have an erection, then Viagra will help you keep it. For me this is most important because using condoms (especially when I might be tired) means that the physical stimulation of sex is decreased and it makes it harder to maintain an erection. So Viagra means less chance of disappointment and no chance of a condom coming off.

I wish that more men would put aside their egos and get themselves a prescription for Viagra or one of its alternatives. There is no shame in erectile issues – especially if you are used to having unprotected sex with a long term partner and find that you have to use condoms. This happens to us men as we get older and it’s far better to fix the problem and be able to have satisfying sex (for you and your partner) than to miss out because your ego won’t let you accept that there is a problem. The same can be said about vasectomy too!

Overall I have to say that the article seemed reasonable and managed to concentrate on the facts and avoid the sensationalism

As an addendum, it’s sad seeing anti-sexwork propaganda from “Nordic Model” advocates (people who want to ban sex work despite the unified voice of sex workers opposing them) being published underneath what is a generally reasonable article about sex work. The claim that criminalising the purchase of sex in any way protects sex workers is demonstrably false.

The implementation of client criminalisation in recent years in France and Ireland have lead to documented increases in violence and hardship against sex workers in those places. Contrast that with Australia where the worst that can be said about sex work decriminalisation is that is may have increased demand. Which to people struggling under the loss of government services in this country would be a blessing as it keeps many of us out of poverty.

As for the claim that the demand for sex work services in Australia is rising and driving a huge “sex-trafficking” trade in women from South East Asia – don’t trust people who hate sex work and dress up their objection to it in saviour narratives. Don’t trust me – or anyone who isn’t a migrant sex worker. Talk to migrant sex workers. Ask them what they want and need. This is a serious issue, but not for the reasons that abolitionists like to push.

Sex work is a vital tools for people who can’t, or aren’t able to participate in the regular workforce – be that because of physical or mental health reasons, lack of education, or opportunity, age or circumstance. It is one job that most people can do and believe me when I say, it can save our lives. When someone who is not a sex worker tells you what to think about sex work, you can be sure that they aren’t doing it for the benefit of me and my peers.

I spent six months in 2018 creating and publishing a Youtube video series about sex work that addresses many of these issues. If you are interested in learning more about the industry then you can see them here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaaJzo3LZPeOhY_uTMXaVeA/videos

And one specific series about survival sex work here:

If you have any questions about sex work and the industry, please feel free to ask me.

John.

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