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…

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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.

Yoga and being over forty

Seven Reasons Why Every Man Should Take up Yoga” – it’s the title of an article I read today. It could have been an average puff piece with little substance, but it turned out to be a worthwhile read. And I am certain that every reason is as much applicable to women as it is to men.

What really caught my attention though was that the article was written by a former cricketer Andrew May – and it focused on how yoga is especially beneficial to older men.

2016-09-08-14-29-42Everything that he said I have either experienced or could could relate to – specifically as a man who is now 44 years old. I’m not twenty-something (this is a good thing really) and I don’t have a young man’s body. Like Andrew May and his professional sporting colleges I have a legacy of injuries, large and small, I don’t heal as rapidly as I used to, I am not as flexible as I once was, my skin isn’t as elastic as it used to be, and I now tend to gain body fat more easily around my middle. All typical aspects of aging for men.

But that doesn’t in any way mean that I dislike my body, or feel bad about it, or don’t feel attractive. On the contrary, I love my body. And being older has actually brought some improvements. When I was in my twenties, I was always very lightly built. I’m no heavy weight now, but I have “filled out” you could say. My upper body is larger and stronger and I build muscle much more easily and quickly than I ever did in my twenties.

Anyway, for many people – male or female – aging is a huge challenge for our perception of self. We are no longer the person we feel we should be. Our body is busy betraying us, and of course work and family life make it all so, so much harder.

Andrew May’s response is that yoga is the answer – and I honestly can’t disagree.

I personally prefer pilates to yoga, but they share enough basic principals (like flexibility, core strength and stability, and control) that I personally feel they are interchangeable. 10 years ago, pilates gave me a solution to a lifetime of back trouble that started when I was 15 years old.

Andrew May observed that doing yoga bought him “better mates”, better mood, and better sexual function (amongst other things). Unexpected benefits perhaps, but I would say that it shouldn’t be a surprise really. Undertaking a discipline like yoga is completely at odds with the permanently busy, consumerist lifestyle that so most of us are ruled by. Taking time out to stretch, to breath, to extend our bodies and our awareness of ourselves forces you to stop, to disconnect from the rest of the world and to just be, for a time at least.

It is no wonder I think that in doing so we can find broader benefits than being more flexible – and of course there is nothing here that says women can’t benefit just as much as us men!

John.

A sex club just for women

I think that it is a sign of maturity in a society when it empowers women to be and do what they want to do – free from control or even the observation of men.

The normalisation of sex workers (male and female) for women is one example. It’s quite a big statement that women, who for so long have had their lives, finances, and their very bodies ruled by the whims of men are now able to choose to see a sex worker and not have to apologise to any one for it.

We are moving ahead. Becoming more tolerant of each other – not always and not everywhere – but we make progress.

Another small sign of this is the arrival of the Skirt Club in Sydney (http://skirtclub.co.uk/), a UK originated sex club exclusively for women. It has a modest global membership, but by all accounts it is well liked by the women who are members. I can imagine many men feeling threatened by the very existence of such a place, but to me it’s a delight.

You can read more about it here: http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life-and-relationships/sex-and-relationships/australias-first-womenonly-sex-club-arrives-in-sydney-20160831-gr623w.html

I love the idea of women being in control of their lives and perhaps more importantly being able to choose exactly what it is that they want to do with their lives, without having to involve or answer to men, if they don’t want to. At the end of the day, it makes all of our lives, whether we are male or female richer.

So cheers Skirt Club, here’s hoping that your first party goes well!

John.