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.

Keeping things in perspective

The old saying “sex sells” is forever true. I have been in this industry for over nine years now and every now and then something stirs up the media, and various newspapers and sites trip over each other to write about the phenomenon of women buying sex – some more sensational than others.

Recently Dr Hillary Caldwell of University of New South Wales published the results of a study that she conducted into women who pay for sex. A number of my clients participated in the study. Unsurprisingly the media jumped on this and there is a small slew of articles that hit the internet over the last few days. I was interviewed for two of them (by the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Mail Australia).

What struck me when viewing the Daily Mail article was how dismissive and aggressive the handful of comments were (and how many “likes” they received).

It doesn’t upset me personally – as a sex worker you will always come across people mean of spirit and narrow of mind. But I feel for women who may be interested in hiring a male sex worker but see comments like these and start to question themselves and if they are really doing the right thing.

After all it’s not an easy topic to talk to friends and family about to get reassurance and support. When people condemn sex work out of hand, or laugh at the idea of a woman paying for sex it can be hard to trust the instincts that made you think that maybe this is something that you would like to try.

So I thought I would provide a counterpoint some perspective if you will. This is from an email (with permission) that I received recently from a client – she is 69 years old and has been seeing me regularly for the last six years.

I just wanted to thank you so much for yesterday. It was wonderful (as always), but I also really enjoyed our discussions. You are open and honest with me, and oh so trusting. Guess it goes both ways. Of course it does.

You are a balm to my soul in trying times. Satisfy me in so many ways. The loving, the caring the fun and laughter, the time we spend together is so precious.

You make me feel like a real woman. No contest. You take me to places that I’ve never been. That is amazing!

Some women see me only once, to satisfy a fantasy, or just have some fun. But most of my clients are regular and long term as they find that my service can fill a gap in their lives that they cannot fill any other way.

And as per Dr Caldwell’s study – they find that with me they have a safe, secure, and discreet means of getting the sex that they need to be happy in their lives.

So, if you are contemplating hiring a straight male escort, but you are unsure and feeling the pressure of people who like to put others down, or are scared of challenging the norms of relationships and society, then take heart – you are not alone, many women have come before you and many more will come after.

I offer a safe, discreet, fulfilling service and it would be my pleasure to entertain you.

John.

New South Wales and New Zealand – sex work paradise for clients and workers

As the only places in the world to have officially decriminalised sex work, NSW and NZ are simply the best places to be a sex worker for women, like me – or to be a client of sex workers.

If you are reading this article, then you are at least aware of the existence of sex work for women as an industry, which is great. But you probably don’t know much about its regulation – for which you can be completely forgiven.

The reality is that in most places in the world (including other states in Australia) my work would be either heavily regulated, or outright illegal. Which means that most of my peers – male, female, et al live and work with a lot more risk to their health, and to their legal and physical safety.

This of course also applies to our clients. There are movements around the world (and even here in Australia) trying, more or less successfully, to explicitly criminalise clients of sex workers.

While things are much better for many sex workers these days even outside of NSW and NZ thanks to the Internet, we live in dark times. The same tools that allow sex workers to find and vet clients are used by zelots to expose and out us, to shame us publicly, to entrap us and to block us from the online tools and resources that allow us to work safely

In the US in particular, this hysteria has even started to overflow onto the public in general and women in particular. Hotel chains, jumping on the wildly over blown “sex trafficking” band wagon are blocking single women from their bars (on the premise that if a woman isn’t accompanied by a man, then she must be being exploited by someone). It’s truly like something out of The Hand Maids Tale and genuinely scary to see women’s hard fort for rights being eroded so quickly and easily.

The lack of rigor (lets be honest – sheer stupidity) of this kind of thinking may, to the average Australian seem unbelievable, but it is representative of the general lack of sophistication of the discourse being had around sex work by people who are not sex workers.

So I wanted to take a moment to highlight just how lucky we are – as both sex workers and as clients to live in a place like Australia (or New Zealand). We are (mostly) free to go about our work. (Mostly) protected by the police and the law from harm (don’t forget that as a client of a legal business like mine, you are always protected by consumer law and the police).

At the end of the day, decriminalisation is good for everyone. It’s good for me, it protects you as a my client, and I would argue that it is good for our society in general.

Here in NSW we don’t waste police and government resources harassing consenting adults who just want to exchange some money to have sex in a safe, consensual environment.

When you are inside this system it seems natural and reasonable, logical even – and I think that we should celebrate that. I love my industry and the fact that I have the opportunity to meet the people I do through my work. And I hope that knowing a little bit more about how our work is regulated may help give you the confidence that you need to engage the services of a sex worker who is right for you!

John.

“I never thought that I would be doing this…”

John Oh portrait

A regular refrain that I hear from new clients is: “I never thought that I would be doing this…”.

Growing up, we are fed narratives about how life is going to be, from before we can even understand the concepts. Fairy tales are full of “happily ever after” tropes that the real world simply cannot ever deliver to us.

I want to talk about who we are as humans and how finding yourself in a situation where you are considering paying for sex – that while it might feel like a kind of failure, if we listen to the fairy tales – is in fact the exact opposite. It represents personal power, choice, and liberation. Not lack of choice and failure.

But that’s not how society at large sees the choice of buying sex. Most of my clients won’t confide in anyone that they are seeing a sex worker for fear of judgement. And that is a very reasonable assumption to make. People, especially when they are unsure if they themselves may be judged, will revert to expressing conservative values to be safe.

If you are having a conversation with a group of people about sex and possibly sex work, then the group assumption will be that expressing an overt interest in sex is a bad thing. So everyone will try to avoid sounding too interested.

However, there may be one person who is prepared to take a bit of a stand and challenge the group narrative. And while you can be sure that some people in the group really are conservative about sex, you can also be certain that some, like you, aren’t!

It is a sad truth that many of us (most even?) live our lives wanting to explore our sexuality, but not having people to talk to about it, let alone do it with.

This really needs to change. There are some small signs that things are changing – like therapists starting to refer women to me. But in general, we remain conservative and cautious about sex and sexuality when we are in groups.

For some people though – the women and couples who I meet through my work – they reach a point where they need to act. They don’t want to upend their lives, marriages, or family to be able to explore their sexuality further, but they also don’t want to live their lives wonder “what could be…”.

So, like most problems these days, people turn to Google and some of them land here on my website.

If you have made it this far – congratulations! – that is I think the hardest part. Once we realise that we can take control of our sexuality, then it’s just a matter of finding the right solution for you.

For some people it’s Tinder. Or that person at work you always felt was interested. For others though, a sex worker is ideal – we are safe, we are discrete, we are convenient, we are experienced, and most of all we are non-judgmental.

So what is the lesson here?

For me it is: “society” doesn’t want you to own your sexuality. It definitely doesn’t want you to explore it in ways that don’t align with “traditional values and systems” (like marriage and monogamy). And it will always try to police you to make you conform.

The good news is that once you realise that you don’t have to comply with society, then the options available to you to find sexual fulfillment are wide open – and if sex workers are appropriate for you, then we are here and ready to help.

John.

Fight Club, art, and meaning

I re-watched the film Fight Club by David Fincher recently. I did so because of a comment I heard about Fight Club being a “satire of toxic masculinity”. This didn’t resonate with me and I needed to take another look. It’s easy to dismiss new ideas and interpretations of art – especially if it’s art that you love – and to be fair I do like Fight Club (both the movie and the original book by Chuck Palahniuk).

But is it still relevant in this age of #meToo and calling out bad male behaviour?

Some art does not age well. Enquiring minds (well mine anyway) would like to know if this is the case with Fight Club…

Continue reading

Saturday night Winterlight…

One of the many things that I enjoy about my work as a males escort for women, is that you never know what’s around the corner.

I saw a lovely couple from Melbourne in Parramatta (Sydney) recently, and as I was heading home, navigating Parramatta’s somewhat mind bending one way streets, I discovered that I was passing Prince Alfred Square, where they hold Winterlight in recent years.

Winterlight is a little bit “European winter”, a little bit “Sydney Royal Easter Show” – and a little bit commercial non-sense, but it’s pretty, and fun for the kids, and who can object to ice skating really?  I didn’t know anything about Winterlight at that point where I stopped for a look, but I parked the bike and threw caution to the wind and dove in.

You can see a short video compilation here:

I texted my partner some photos while I was walking around and was challenged to acquire a sideshow prize for her.  So, $20 and ten darts later, Red The Penguin was acquired!

You can see my masterful dart throwing talents in the film above.

There was also plenty of food to be had – making an amusing if not wholly convincing attempt to be European – although I think that the two women making sausages-in-a-bun were in fact German, so full points there!

By the time my phone and camera battery were flat it was definitely time to go home especially since the cold was seeping in past my leather jacket.  Thankfully I didn’t have far to go, but I was still frozen stiff by the time I got home to a hot shower and cup of tea.

It made a enjoyable night of work into a fun outing as well – and as Tallahassee said in Zombie Land: “You’ve got to enjoy the little things”.

John.

Sex work, disability, and public discourse

A former client sent me a link today to an article in the Canberra Times about a (UK) woman struggling with the lack of sex life and the sexuality of her autistic son (hi S – thank you!). You can see the article here:

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/lifestyle/life-and-relationships/sex-and-relationships/i-learned-through-my-sons-autism-diagnosis-when-it-comes-to-sex-we-all-have-special-needs-20170426-gvssam.html

I’m extremely sympathetic to the family. Autism is not something that I would wish on any one, and I am sure that it presents a unique challenge when it comes to dating and relationships.

I was however disappointed by the language and tone of conservatism of the article (written by the young man’s mother). It was a sharp reminder that prejudice against my industry – despite being variously decriminalised (as in NSW and NZ) or legal (as in many other parts of Australia and the UK, where the author lives), the average person’s opinions seem to be stuck in the ’50s.

“Kerb-crawling to pick up a prostitute was definitely not on my to-do list after “Buy hummus, sort sock drawer, do Pilates”

Come on – it’s 2017, you do Pilates, and have raised an autistic child (and no doubt dealt with issues of discrimination and disability phobia for much of his life). Street sex work (not prostitution please – it’s a pejorative term) is mostly a thing of the (certainly in Australia, although it does still happen in the UK) past in this country. The Internet and mobile phones have seen to that – and sex work is safer and easier because of it.

“Our female friends were furious that we could even consider condoning prostitution. I tried to rationalise it by saying that I thought of a lady of the night more as a “sex care provider who is presenting herself as a commodity allotment within a business doctrine”. But it didn’t convince them.”

For everyone out there still stuck in a time warp, let me say it loud and clear: “sex work is work”. The author actually has it right here. Yes, sex workers (and we aren’t all women and we even work during the day) like me are people engaged in a business that isn’t a criminal enterprise – and seriously you need to check your moral outrage.

The irrational discrimination against both sex worker’s and the people who choose to see them is never more clear than when you are dealing with disability. There are people out there (male, female et al) who find it very, very hard, or impossible to have a safe, consensual sexual experience because of their disability. Yet these moral authorities of the community would deny the opportunity for disable people to ever experience something that these moral arbiters take for granted? Shame on them. I thought that we had evolved socially past that kind of behaviour.

Who are these faceless “female friends” – and why do they get to determine whether a 21 year old autistic man (or anyone else) gets to have sex and under what conditions?

“all my 50-something, divorced female friends are chewing holes in the furniture with sexual frustration”

Yet, I’m guessing that many of those same women would join in the condemnation described above. It’s dysfunctional and it hurts all sorts of people – especially those with disabilities – for no good reason at all. We really, really need to grow up.

As to the author’s dilemma, I am saddened that she, nor any of her friends with autistic children, ever thought to type the following into Google…

“sex for disabled persons UK”

If she had, she would have seen these links at the top of the search results…

There are many, many people out there in the world working hard to give disabled people access to the sexual experiences that the rest of us take for granted. Organisations like Touching Base here in Australia do a fantastic job of giving people with disabilities access to safe, consensual sex.

Despite all of the (often valid) criticism of western culture, lets not forget that our various societies have done many, many good things. I have heard it said that you can measure the worth of a society by how it treats its most vulnerable members. I am proud to say that I live in a society that is beginning to tackle and resolve the issues of sex and disability.

There is a long way to go, but just being able to say that in Australia, New Zealand, and the UK among others, that a disabled person can choose to engage the services of a sex worker like myself – that’s a huge victory for acceptance, respect, and compassion.

I wish Kathy Lette and her son well, and hope her book is a success, but I would also like to see her educate herself further if she is going to be a public figure in the discussion of sex work and disability. There is a lot riding on these discussions for a lot of very disadvantaged people.

John.

Why – some of – my clients need cash

You may have noticed this article in Fairfax media recently:

In summary: the government wants to get ride of $100 notes to stop people working for cash and not declaring their income.

When you add this statement to the Reserve Banks recent statement about wanting to eliminate cash altogether, I start to smell a rat / feel the thin edge of the wedge. I have a very real worry that we are taking the first step toward losing cash completely, or at the very least the higher denominations.

As someone who is regularly paid in cash – for good reasons – it’s a worrying development. Not because I want to hide my income – I don’t, I put it in the bank, claim deductions for business expenses and then pay tax on any profit.

It’s worrying for at least two reasons. First: people use cash to pay me because it’s anonymous. Second: it’s easy and instant. Lets unpack those points:

Anonymity: when you do something that is legal – decriminialised even – but still the subject of stigmatisation and social disapproval, then having the name my business pop up in your credit card or debit card statement can be a HUGE problem. We don’t live in a society where people’s choices – especially about their sexuality – are respected. So cash allows people, who don’t want to have to answer to others about their choices, to purchase my services in private.

And that’s not even considering the consequences of malicious hacking of personal and business data about your spending habits – or its sale by banks to third parties to use in their marketing – just sit and consider the potential consequences of that for a moment. This kind of tracking and resale of purchase data has already had real world consequences.

Easy of use: our banking system is archaic – especially the electronic transfer system. It can literally take days for money to get from one bank to another. In short if you want to pay me electronically, then you need to do it in advance, in full – before you know if you even want my service. Cash on the other hand means that you can turn up to our date and decide that it’s not right for you and walk out the door. No harm, no foul, no trouble. But if you had to make an electronic payment in advance, then there is trouble, embarrassment, you have to give me bank details to make the refund, what about trust? What happens if something goes wrong?

If you can’t use cash, then paying for a service that is intensely personal and sensitive has another layer of stress and anxiety added to it.

In short, losing cash will hurt women’s ability to buy my services. To be sure, it will also be a problem for men as well, but men have significant advantages when it comes to social acceptance (or at least tolerance) of the things that they do compared to women.

Killing cash will make it harder for women to access legal services like mine. This is not a good thing for anyone.

John.