Living our best lives

I have to admit that I live in a bit of a bubble. I don’t watch commercial television or listen to commercial radio. I don’t read newspapers (online, or paper).

I have terms like “Donald Trump”, “Scott Morrison” and “politics” blocked on Twitter.

I really don’t need the ongoing train wreck of Western politics in my face – even occasionally.

And then there’s commercial TV and radio – swamped by cheap to produce reality TV, “current affairs” programs that platform racists in the name of “balance” and ignore the very real problems in the world in favour of tabloid sensationalism.

I’m happy in my bubble honestly. I spend my work times with interesting people who on the whole care about the sort of things I care about – social justice, tolerance, freedom – people who understand that the world is bigger than them and requires an open mind.

As I write this, I am in Canberra. I stopped earlier at a self serve car wash to wash my car and (disappointingly) had to listen to a commercial radio station for the 15 minutes it took me to clean the car.

It reaffirmed to me that I haven’t been missing anything. From the inane banter about clothing to the news items delivered in the most effective way to make a listener feel stressed about things that don’t actually matter.

It was all just noise. Noise that, if you let it, will drown out the things in life that do matter. This is the very real problem with the “modern condition” living in a place like Sydney.

I heard recently of a man, who emigrated to Australia from India and settled in Sydney. He found employment and has been living like so many of us do – working to pay the rent and have some free time and money to enjoy himself.

His realisation though is profound: he has decided to return to the small town that his family comes from in India – because the quality of life there, while modest, is better for him than the kind of life that we live here in Sydney. In his home town he doesn’t have a lot of money, but he has time – time to spend with friends and family doing whatever they want to, or even nothing at all. He may not have great restaurants to go to like we do, but food is cheap and he and his family have time to cook and share good meals.

The list goes on, but I think that you can see the point I am making – we sacrifice a lot living in a place like Sydney. Our lives are driven by work. Our free time is seriously restricted by the daily requirement to earn money to pay rent.

A semi-rural lifestyle with limited money may not seem like the best life to you and me – we have grown up in a different way and have different expectations – but I think that it can still teach us something.

That lesson is: we shouldn’t see work and the assumption that we must all do it all the time as an inherently good thing. For most of us it is a necessary thing, but it tends to draw us away for the fundamentals of human nature – that is connections with the people around us, the sharing of simple pleasures, and time to just “be”, rather than “do”.

I think that this lesson is particularly relevant when considering my industry. Paying for the services of a male escort like myself absolutely costs money. But it’s trading money not for another “thing” in ones life, but for an experience. The older I get, the less interested I become in having things in my life and the more I value the experiences I have with other people.

Much like the gentleman from India, what I really want is to live a life full of people and new experiences with them. I think that, if anything, is the way to live a fulfilling life.

John.

Minister Stuart Robert! The NDIS should fund sex services

You may be aware that an Australian woman living with multiple sclerosis challenged our National Disability Insurance Scheme and won when they rejected her request for the NDIS to fund a therapist to provide her with regular sexual release.

You can read about the case here:

https://www.google.com/amp/amp.abc.net.au/article/11298838

This is a huge step forward in the recognition of sex as a natural and fundamental part of the human condition and that people with disabilities deserve it too.

Sadly though that is where the politician stepped in (from the article).

“Minister for the NDIS, Stuart Robert, said that ruling was out of line with community expectations.

‘The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) intends to appeal the recent decision,’ he said.

‘The current position continues to be that the NDIS does not cover sexual services, sexual therapy or sex workers in a participant’s NDIS plan.'”

First – can I just say that it is nice to see a politician (particularly a conservative one) using the term “sex worker”. It’s rare and appreciated.

Sadly though Stuart Robert then fails to be a leader and reverts to nebulous conservative morality to justify appealing against the decision.

He claims that the NDIS funding sexual service for people who cannot experience sex because of their disability is not in line with “community expectations”.

There is a lot to unpack here.

The first is the idea that “the community” has a right to tell people what they can and can’t do in the bedroom. I think that we have, through things like the decriminalisation of homosexuality and indeed sex work here in NSW (and the Australian Capital Territory, and New Zealand), established that “the community” has no right to tell consenting adults what they can and can’t do to each other.

The second is that a minister of our government is hide bound to follow “community expectations”. This is absurd. Ministers make unpopular decisions regularly, they do so – they will tell you – for the good of the nation, to protect minorities, the environment etc.

So Stuart Robert claiming that he is duty bound to challenge the ruling because “the community” wouldn’t like people with disabilities being able to enjoy basic sexual release is nothing more than abdicating his responsibility as a minister and failing to be a true leader. Stuart Robert – if you are listening: man up and do your job.

Also – has Robert Stuart actually asked “the community” what we want? I’m fairly sure this question has never been polled anywhere, that being the case it’s even worse than abdication. He’s just deflecting and using the presumed moral authority (of “the community) to avoid having to take a stance that his party and his (presumably conservative) electorate might not like (read: he’s afraid he won’t get re-elected if he lets people with disabilities have an occasional shag).

As a straight male sex worker (escort) for women, I have been working with women with disabilities for almost my entire career. I know absolutely how important having intimate touch and the ability to enjoy and experience their sexuality is.

But personal experience shouldn’t even be necessary. Do we – does Stuart Robert – have no ability to empathise? Has he ever stopped to imagine never having someone touch him again in a sexual way? How about never being touched and being unable to even touch himself?

This is the reality of life for many of my clients with disabilities. And it’s not their fault. It’s just what they live with because life dealt them a shitty hand.

We happily fund or subsidise (through the NDIS) education, physical therapy, medication, accommodation, travel, and more for people who we as a society recognise are unable or disadvantaged to get those things for themselves because of their disability.

The only way that we can justify not funding sexual services as part of an NDIS plan is if we believe that sex isn’t an integral part of the human experience. I know that I personally need sex in my life to be a happy and fulfilled person. If I don’t have it, then it seriously impacts on my quality of life.

This is a message that I hear from my clients – able bodied or otherwise – regularly.

So why would “the community” have a problem with the NDIS allowing people with disabilities to occasionally enjoy what most of us take for granted?

John.

The chance to say goodbye

Just to clarify before I continue – I am not retiring! This post is a celebration of my ongoing experiences as a sex worker and a reflection on the ebb and flow of people from my professional life.

I have been a straight male escort for women and couples for almost ten years continuously. In that time I have met and had the good fortune to spend time with many, many lovely people. It has been a transformative experience for me in many ways. It lead me to a balanced and happy relationship with my sexuality. It made me financially stable and secure. It has allowed me to explore my other passions like photography and film making.

Sex work has been an enormous net benefit to my life.

I like to also think that – based on what many of my clients say – I make a difference to their lives as well.

As a sex worker I am not owed anything by my clients beyond the terms of our booking and the basic respect of any interaction with another person. This means that I give my clients privacy and allow them to dictate things like when we communicate. I am there for them when they need and want me. That’s the deal that I accept and respect as a sex worker.

Clients have come and gone as the years have passed. Some I see just a handful of time, others stay for many years. But because I don’t feel that it is appropriate for me to intrude, when a client moves on with their life I rarely get the chance to say goodbye.

This week saw the last booking that I will have with a client who has been seeing me regularly for almost five years. She is moving overseas, so this is a natural end to our professional relationship. I was lucky in this case, because the circumstances allowed us the opportunity to say goodbye, to reminisce, and to close out a chapter of our lives with smiles, hugs, fond memories, and some tears.

It’s a relatively rare thing for me to have this privilege. I understand that I am not owed it. So when it does happen it makes it even more special.

When it doesn’t happen, I am satisfied with the knowledge that a person is moving on with their life, hopefully with good memories, perhaps with new confidence. Some will have found a partner, fallen in love perhaps. Others have outgrown the need for companionship of the kind that I offer.

But I always feel a little wistful looking back over the last nine odd years and wondering where those people, who I was lucky enough to share a little piece of their lives with, are now.

I hope that they are happy. And I want to say thank you, even if I can’t reach out and say it directly.

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.

Sex and bullying

It is not an overstatement, I believe, to say that for many of us, society often bullies us out of having the sex that we want to have.

My memories of my late teens and twenties was of profound curiosity about sex. Granted, it was a relatively shallow, mostly hetero curiosity – but we can only be curious about the things that we know exist, so I don’t beat myself up about that. If society refuses to educate you, then ignorance isn’t your fault. Just your challenge to overcome.

As a straight male sex worker for women, I am exposed to a far wider variety of sexualities than I ever was growing up. It’s something that I am very grateful for. Even though I have no interest in and get no arousal from most of them, it has made me a more worldly and (most important) tolerant person.

I would derive no pleasure from ball busting. And have no interest in sex with another man. But I FULLY support the rights of other people to indulge in those things – even if just the thought of some of them makes my eyes water!

So it’s saddening to look around at society and see so much judgement by people of others just because of what turns them on.

It’s frankly disgusting that people think it’s ok to police other people’s consensual pleasure.

This of course dovetails neatly with sex work. I love my job. My clients enjoy a service that fills a need in their lives that they cannot satisfy another way.

But always there are people braying on about how all sex work is exploitation, or abuse, or immoral. They seek to police what two (or more) consenting adults can do together in private, with no more authority than saying “I think this, so you must obey me”.

It is the most shallow of thinking and the most self-indulgent kind of activism that, while denying sex workers their autonomy and livelihood also tries to bully clients of sex workers into doubting themselves and the things they feel they need to make themselves whole.

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

I’m sorry I’ve been away – and how cool is it to be free to buy sex?

Those of you who visit my website regularly my be disappointed that I haven’t been posting here very much recently.  For that, I am sorry.  I intend to do better in the future!

To be honest, I have been distracted from writing for this site by a lot of things.  Traveling with clients for longer bookings has become a large part of my business.  I have also been dedicating some of my free time to photography and film making pursuits.  And most recently I have been spending time working on a series of daily short films about sex work advocacy.  It’s a topic that is very important to me and has become more so in recent times.

So all of these things have combined to leave precious little time and mental energy for writing these blog posts.  I intend to redress that balance and post more regularly.

Apropos my advocacy short films, we are living in strange times for sex worker, sex workers, and our clients.  Around the world regimes like the US, France, Canada, and others have been becoming more conservative about sex work, cracking down on it in the name of protecting workers (ironic I know) and fighting human trafficking (disingenuous at best).

Here in Australia generally, and New South Wales in particular we are incredibly lucky.  For reasons I can only partly explain, Australian politicians have become some of the most forward thinking in the world (along with our friends in New Zealand).  They have, for the most part, allowed sex workers and our clients to go about our business without judgement or interference (apart from South Australia where it is still illegal to sell sex and Queensland where, while legal, workers are harassed by police routinely).

I can’t express how important this is to women and to the industry of men like myself providing sex work services to women.  It’s a cliche that “men see sex workers”.  It’s something that society (sort of) accepts and generally turns a blind eye to – but definitely frowns upon.  But the idea of women seeing sex workers is still a “fresh” and controversial one.  To confirm that, just take a look at the tone of articles in the main stream media about the subject (it comes up semi regularly).  It’s usually somewhat breathless and lauds women paying for sex as leaders and ground breaking.  Which to some degree is true at the individual level – but the industry is well established and it’s really time that the conversation moved on from “Wow! She paid for sex…”.

For women in Australia and New Zealand, paying for sex is something they can choose to do at least without having to fear that they are breaking the law.  There are multiple reasons that some (most?) men may not be put off by barriers of legality, but I get the feeling that this is a bigger barrier for women.  So I am grateful that I live and work in a society that has removed another barrier from equality (or at least equal accessibility to sex work) for women.

As a result more and more women are choosing to explore their sexuality with sex workers (male and female).  A week doesn’t go by that I hear someone lament the failure that is “online dating”.  Tinder et al promised egalitarian access to sex for women, but in reality have just become deserts of bad male behaviour, even accentuating some of the worst traits.  Sex workers by contrast are a safe and convenient way to explore and learn when someone isn’t actively looking for a partner, or has a specific need to fill.

In recent times I have noticed and increase in the number of women looking for lessons on sexual techniques, like kissing, giving oral sex, erotic massage, and more.  This may be younger women with less experience wanting to improve their skills for potential partners – or older women, already in relationships who want to add some spice, or just be better lovers for their partners.

I think that it is fantastic that women are taking control of their sexuality, not just for personal pleasure, but as a means of improving their relationships.  Once again, sex work is showing that women not only love sex, but are perhaps *more* prepared than men to explore its possibilities.  I regularly hear clients say “I wish I could bring my husband to you to learn how to give oral”.

Well men – it’s time you lifted your game.  Your partners are out here, putting themselves out to learn how to give you better oral.  It’s time you returned the favour!  I can teach any man to give better oral sex.  To express more passion.  To be a better lover.

So while other countries are busy alternately deifying and vilifying sex and ultimately just leaving their citizens confused and unhappy about their sexuality, Australia and New Zealand are simply moving forward, making sexuality just another part of our lives.  Something to be respected, but also savored.

Thank you Australia.  I am lucky to live – and work – here.

Sex work and disability – a short video series

I have recently started posting a daily micro video blog to Twitter. This is the first series that I made and posted.

If you have a sex work topic that you would like to see me talk about, please feel free to let me know in a comment, email, or tweet.

John.