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.

The joyful nude

It’s not that often that you come across an article that is genuinely positive about body image in a non-preachy, no agenda kind of way. But this one fits the bill.

http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellbeing/can-spending-time-naked-really-improve-our-selfesteem-20170329-gv8yxx.html

It’s nice to see a journalist writing about personal experience and taking a risk themselves. And that’s not to disparage journalists – I know it’s a tough industry, especially these days – but I am still waiting for the journalist to write a piece about sex workers from a position of personal experience, and really own it – yes people pay for sex. Yes, it’s ok to like it, or not – whatever, this was my experience.

Anyway, back to the article – it’s great that someone is saying hey it’s ok to be nude, it’s good to get in touch with your self, experience some vulnerability, and grow a little as a person.

Everyone has issues with their body and self image – doesn’t matter what our age is, young, old, in-between – there will always be something that we can find to be unhappy with. But it doesn’t have to be a problem. We don’t need to be perfect to enjoy our bodies. And we certainly don’t need to be perfect to enjoy sex. Being more comfortable in ourselves though will definitely make the latter easier and better.

John.

It’s been a while!

Looking back, I can see that I haven’t made a post to my website since last December!

I have been distracted by several things – not least of which was the need to have a jolly good break from work. This industry takes it’s toll on a person and with such an intimate job, you need to be fit, healthy, and in the right frame of mind to give it your best.

I’m pleased to say that I am in good shape once again and ready for the challenges of the year ahead.

One of those challenges unfortunately is STIs – if you follow any sex workers on Twitter then you may be aware that there is currently an outbreak of gonorrhoea that is worst in Melbourne. Thankfully it can be treated easily with anti-biotics, but this is not a good reason to ignore it. I am told that some people can be symptom-less – therefore, not having any symptoms is not an indicator that you are negative.

There is only one thing that you can do to be sure – about any STI – and that is: get tested! It’s easy to do, costs nothing under Medicare, and it gives you and anyone you might have sex with peace of mind.

As I have regularly said: if everyone was tested for STIs even once a year, we would end them. There would simply be no place for them to hide. As it is, people who think “I couldn’t possibly have something” unwittingly become the hiding place for infections.

It may be embarrassing for some people talking about this stuff – but we have to do it!

Sex is a fabulous experience, but it’s also one that comes with consequences and responsibility – like contraception, consent, and sexual safety. The last one may be the most hassle, but it’s not hard to ask your GP or health clinic to order testing for STIs – just to be sure, whether you feel you are at risk or not.

If we all did that regularly, then we could stop worrying about STIs and get on with enjoying healthy sex lives.

John.

Kissing, sex, and conversation

Kissing is cool. How cool? Really cool. Like make your entire day WAY better cool. I have been reminded of this fact twice recently when I was booked to give a Kissing Lesson – yes, seriously, that’s a thing that I can do for you.

Google “benefits of kissing” and you will find a wealth of research and explanations about the effects and benefits of kissing – like boosting seratonin, decreasing cortisol, improving immunity, and much more. So we know for a fact that kissing is genuinely, measurably good for us.

The problem though is that for most of us kissing isn’t really given any priority in our live – or love lives. It’s the kind of thing that you do with a new partner right? Because you can do it in public when your still in that stage of wanting to rip each others clothes off every five minutes.

But as a relationship grows and the passionate heat turns into more of a warm comfortable glow, then kissing just becomes a greeting – hello, goodbye, or a quick prelude to the really good part (sex).

Well not so fast. It’s time to exert some discipline. While you are reading books about tantra and looking for ways to make sex richer, you really, really need to incorporate kissing. Not just short or occasional kisses, but real deep, long kisses. Nothing perfunctory, but kisses that are a “conversation” between you both in their own right.

When I talk to clients about kissing and how it should be, I describe it as “a conversation between you, but using your lips, tongue, your hands – and your body!”.

And don’t think that it kissing is just a matter of a set of “moves”. If you were talking to your partner, you wouldn’t repeat the same sentences over and over, instead you listen to what the other person has said and you reply in a way that makes sense and furthers the conversation. It should be the same for kissing. Feel what your partner is doing and respond to it in a way that makes sense.

So a soft slow kiss shouldn’t be responded to with mashing of lips and heaps of tongue (that should be obvious, but some guys just don’t get it). Likewise, a passionate kiss demands a passionate response! If you’re not into it, then fair enough, but if you are, then don’t hesitate to give as good as you get. You can also lead a kiss from slow and gentle, to deep and hard, then back again.

As you kiss, you need to be active. Pucker your lips, move your tongue – Use your hands, use your body. Everything you do reinforces the message of the kiss (or contrasts with it!).

So don’t treat kissing as perfunctory, or just a step toward sex. See it as a whole experience. Take ten minutes – or half and hour, with your partner just to kiss. Explore the sensations and the communication that you can have through it. Then pay attention to how you feel afterward. I’m betting that like me, you will find that the sun shines a little brighter, the day seems better, and life seems a little sweeter!

John.

The condom conundrum – and how to fix it!

Women of the world, you need to know something about guys, sex, and condoms: men are caught upon the horns of a dilemma – and it matters to you as much as us.

2016-10-21-12-18-18Background: I talk to a lot of women. It’s literally my job. And what I often hear from women who are participating in The Dating Scene is: guys hate condoms and will try to get out of wearing them.

That is fine if everyone is consenting and everyone is getting tested regularly for STIs. But that’s rarely the case and so there is general unhappiness and often bad behaviour.

This post is about trying to understand one of the (probably) multiple reasons that guys have an issue with condoms – and most importantly, what can be done to help. First off, many guys are just selfish and uneducated, they don’t perceive, or understand the risks of unprotected sex, they just want sex on their terms. I am not talking about them.

The specific issue I want to address is about sensitivity and maintaining an erection. Most men are literally in a no win situation here. If a man has a well balanced level of sensitivity that during unprotected sex allows him to go for as long as he and his partner desire, then it’s a safe bet that when he puts on a condom for protected sex, that he is going to have trouble maintaining an erection – and even achieving orgasm.

This is not his fault – it’s not even a failing. It’s a perfectly normal biological response. Male arousal is a constant act of balance (between staying hard and coming too quickly), one that is affected by myriad factors – and putting on, or taking off a condom throws that entire balancing act out of whack.

Now imagine going the other way: a man who can last happily wearing a condom, has sex with his partner without one. It’s like having the pleasure dial turned ALL THE WAY UP TO TEN. Condoms cut down the intensity of sensation. They also decrease the exquisite detail of sensation that comes from unprotected sex. That man isn’t going to last. He is going to orgasm in minutes, or even seconds.

Having lived with and overcome premature ejaculation, I can say from experience that you can’t just “adapt” to condoms one day, no condoms the next. Our arousal pattern and sexual response is a learned skill. One that is deeply tied up in things like self image, emotional and physical maturity, ego etc. Changing it takes time, effort, and usually help (ideally from a caring partner).

So there is the dilemma: if you are good with condoms, you will have trouble with unprotected sex. If you are chilled out and can savour unprotected sex, then condoms will be a nightmare of limp dick and disappointment all round. There is just no winning.

There is however a solution. The solution is that well known, but little understood friend of erectile dysfunction – Viagra (or one of it’s off label equivalents).

But say the name and men and women alike often get very uncomfortable… from “You can’t have sex with me without taking Viagra? Then you must not find me attractive”, to: “If I have to take it, that means I must be a failure – there is something wrong with me…”

Neither of these things are true, but we are talking about human psychology here. We are all slaves to our subconscious fears until we educate ourselves.

So, here’s a little background on Viagra:

  1. It’s not a magic pill that gives you an erection. What it does is allow you to sustain an erection more easily IF you can get one. So, if a guy isn’t turned on by the though of sex with a woman then Viagra or not, he will not get an erection. If he is aroused, then he will get a bigger, harder, longer lasting erection if he has taken it
  2. Because it increases the hardness of an erection, it also increases sensation and sensitivity (an excellent side effect if you have to use condoms!)
  3. It has side effects if you don’t use it correctly, like headaches (it’s a vaso-dilator, so take too big a dose on an empty stomach and it will basically give you a migraine headache), it can also cause elevated heart rate (again, vaso-dilator, so your heart has to work harder to keep your blood pressure up). Disturbed vision (people report getting a blue tinge to their eyesight as the blue light receptors in the eye ball become more responsive when blood flow in the retina is boosted). Like any medication, you really need to talk to your doctor about it and make sure that it is safe for you too take
  4. It’s pretty cheap now that the patent has expired
  5. It takes between half and one hour to take effect
  6. The dose (between 25mg and 100mg) will depend on your size and weight. If you are 80 kgs or so, then 50mg should be enough. Bigger or smaller, then adjust the dose accordingly
  7. Take it with food for slower, longer lasting effect and less chance of side-effects like migraine

You have probably already guessed where I am going with all of this, so here’s the “money shot”:

If you are having sex with a partner with condoms and he can’t keep an erection (possibly leading to bad behaviour and pressuring you to have unprotected sex when you are unsure about your respective STI statuses) then he may not just be a jerk. He may actually have a genuine issue that he doesn’t understand very well and is self-conscious or embarrassed about.

If that is the case, then you need to talk to him about Viagra. I know that this shouldn’t be your responsibility, but you can help turn a huge issue for both of you into a non-issue that gets everyone most of what they want, safely.

Needing to take Viagra can seem like a blow to the ego – for both men and women! But I have come to see it as being almost as essential a part of anyone’s “safer sex kit” as condoms. Why? Because just like good personal lubricant (I recommend Sylk) it makes it easier to use condoms effectively. And if they are easy to use, then they are more likely to be used.

I am not going to recommend that ladies keep their own personal stash of Viagra to give to partners – because it’s a prescription drug that should be used under medical supervision.

But I can say: ladies, if you have a partner who can’t keep an erection with a condom, then you should encourage him to see a GP and ask for Viagra, because practicing safe sex makes it difficult for him to keep an erection. GPs will love hearing that and will be more than happy to help him have good sex safely.

For any men reading this: if you carry condoms because you might have sex and are worried about keeping an erection, then get Viagra and carry both.

More importantly: if you don’t carry condoms, or refuse to use them because they feel bad, or you can’t keep an erection, then you seriously need to try Viagra. It’s not a magic solution, but it makes condoms perfectly acceptable to use, and it’s the sane, safe, sensible thing to do for your health and your partners.

John.

Lube!

You may have read a while back that I can no-longer buy my favourite lube in Australia – that’s Sylk.  It’s a New Zealand made product that due to [trivial recipe change] is no longer being sold in Australia.

Let me tell you, the alternative options are grim.

I have been trying out other lubes, looking for one that might be a good substitute for Sylk and there is just nothing!  They either feel sticky and unnatural, or insanely slippery and unnatural (silicon lube – which worst of all stains your linen badly too!), lumpy (!), or just feel plain nasty.

I want my Sylk back.

Well, a friend (thank you!) found a supplier in NZ online and ordered five bottles – the maximum allowed (seriously? What is that about?).  And now I have a new supply…

2016-10-04-20-40-59

That won’t last long, so I’m going to place my own order – with http://www.healthdelivery,com.au in NZ (don’t ask me who they have a .com.au domain name – who cares?  They have SYLK and will send it to me!).

Problem solved.  So now you can rest assured that when you book a date with me, I will continue to provide the finest lubrication that money can buy – because condoms.  They always need extra lube, regardless.

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.

Being nervous is really good

Nearly every email or text message that I receive from a someone contacting me for the first time includes in it somewhere:

“I am quite nervous about contacting you”

It’s entirely understandable to be nervous contacting me. After all, it’s not every day that we break societies (mostly) unwritten laws that women aren’t meant to prioritise sex in their lives, let alone go out and seek it – especially from a male escort. Doing so is definitely pushing boundaries, and whether we are comfortable with our personal choice or not, going against the social norm and contacting a stranger to arrange a date – for sex – is almost certainly going to bring out the nerves and the butterflies in the stomach.

We can experience nervousness and treat it as a bad thing and let it make us question ourselves and our choices, or – and this is my favourite – we can embrace it. Being nervous is I think part of the fun of doing something that pushes your boundaries. Being nervous gives you energy, gives you a kind of excitement, it’s recognition that what you are doing isn’t just another hum-drum part of the every day – it’s new.

So let go of the doubt, let go of the desire for control and certainty and do something that’s a little bit scary, something new, something different. Stretch yourself. Challenge yourself. There are so many benefits to be had. And I’m not just talking about seeing an escort like me, or having sex. There is a whole world of challenges – big and small – out there. Why not take one on? There is so much to gain, and really, so little to lose.

John.

Have you ever wondered?

I semi-regularly meet women who have only ever had sex with one partner in their lives. It’s not at all surprising, as most western cultures are (still) quite big on chastity and monogamy.

The reality of course is that very few people – let alone couples – are able to live happy fulfilling lives this way. So women will sometimes contact me asking for help to expand their horizons and give them a new experience of sex with another partner.

As the saying goes “You don’t know what you don’t know”. This is especially true of sex. Experience is a good thing. And you truly can’t imagine what sex can be like having had only one partner.

That’s not to say that the sex with your first and only partner is necessarily bad. Just that having nothing to compare it to, you really can’t say, one way or the other. Even having some not great sex with some other people can be beneficial – it lets you know exactly how good you already have it. There is no “grass is greener” quandary. You know which side of the fence is best.

My personal observation is that sex is always different with different people. It’s never the same – and with good reason. Different bodies, different desires, different experiences, different places in our lives. All of these things go toward the experience that we have of sex with different people.

So I am all for more experience – and it is of course something that I specialise in. If you have ever wondered what sex could be like with another man and you have reached the point in your life where you are ready, and need that experience, then it would be my pleasure to help.

John.

This image used in this post was created by Leo Hidalgo and is licensed under Creative Commons 2.0 – https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/