A FULL-SERVICE SEX WORKER GETS CANDID ABOUT WORKING IN A BROTHEL, AND IT'S BEAUTIFUL (AN INTERVIEW).
Photo from @godzdntdie
I had the pleasure and privilege of interviewing Simone, a full service sex worker from a brothel here in Melbourne/Naarm. Out of respect for her wishing to keep her identity anonymous I will not share too much about her, but this interview is a true gem!
Sex work is something we hear about, we know it exists, we even make jokes about it (often senselessly). We know some people hire sex workers, we know in some places in the world it’s legal. We see it portrayed either very glamorously or very negatively and it seems there is rarely an in-between.
A lot of people are whorephobic, or having a fear or hatred of sex workers, without really even being aware of the damage this does to them and their self-esteem, or the danger it causes for sex workers:
“In most languages, the most common sexist insults are ‘whore’ or ‘slut’, which makes women want to distance themselves from the stigma associated with those words, and from those who incarnate it. The ‘whore stigma’ is a way to control women and to limit their autonomy – whether it is economic, sexual, professional, or simply freedom of movement.
Women are brought up to think of sex workers as ‘bad women’. It prevents them from copying and taking advantage of the freedoms sex workers fight for, like the occupation of nocturnal and public spaces, or how to impose a sexual contract in which conditions have to be negotiated and respected. Whorephobia operates as a way of controlling and policing women's behaviour, just as homophobia does for men.”(Thierry Schaffauser, 2010).
Simone is open and candid about her experience working in a brothel as she takes you inside her sexually empowered world full of sweet perfume and engaging stories. I imagine you will enjoy it and learn from it as I have. Sex worker rights are so important, especially now, but honestly always, and at the bottom of this interview there are some links to different sex worker support funds, should you wish to donate. You can also go directly to gofundme.com and search “sex workers” and choose an organization you feel drawn to support.
I asked Simone to say a little about herself:
I’m Simone, I’m a queer sex worker from Naarm (Melborne).
I’m studying sociology at University. I also work another part time job.
Define sex work in your own terms.
Sex work takes so many different forms, to me it’s providing a service in the sex industry. The service is provided in exchange for payment, and all parties involved are consenting adults. The particulars of the service, and the terms, take many different forms.
What led you to sex work?
Looking back, I realise I have always been very curious about it, and have wanted to try it for a long time.
My internalised misogyny/ ingrained whorephobia as a teen and younger woman meant I definitely had some skewed ideas and perception of sex work and sex workers at some points of my life, but I know that came from stigma and lack of understanding. Underneath that, I was always fascinated by and in awe of the sex workers I encountered in my life (although those encounters were often through media’s depiction, which is rarely completely accurate). They seemed powerful, otherworldly, Queens of sexuality, beacons of desire.
A few years ago, a good friend of mine started working in a brothel and really loved it. I was in a committed monogamous relationship but deep down I was very envious of her. I loved hearing her stories from work and really wanted to delve into this world.
After the aforementioned relationship ended, I was in a terrible place mentally. I wanted to start working at the brothel my friend was at to distract myself and do something WILD, but she convinced me to give it some time and let myself heal and my brain settle.
After a couple of months I was finally ready, and made my way into the club on a Friday lunchtime. It felt like home straight away.
How did you pick the particular brothel you are at?
It came highly recommended from my friend as I mentioned. Unfortunately she had worked elsewhere, and not had a wonderful experience. She tried a different club, which was worlds apart and much better, so I was lucky to get the scoop for her and I joined her at the latter.
I have spent time at another club too, which had some pros and cons but overall was safe and enjoyable.
What does full service sex work include?
Full service sex work means oral and penetrative sex, as well as other sexual services during the bookings as negotiated with the client.
What is the correct protocol for visiting a brothel as a customer?
Of course, respect is incredibly important. Clients are not buying your body, they are buying a service.
Having a clear idea of what it is you would like during the service makes everyone’s life easier. We aren’t mind readers and asking if we do “everything” always produces a laugh from me. “Everything” means EVERYTHING you could think of, of course I don’t do everything. Ask questions and communicate what you are seeking, especially if you have special requests outside of the very basic service of “massage, oral and sex”.
Providing information to us before the booking that we may need to consider is helpful too. Any medical conditions, fetishes, an incredibly large penis etc helps us make an informed decision if we would like to/are able to take the booking. During the introduction process the service provider is also making an assessment as to whether they would be happy to proceed with a booking with you.
Being overly intoxicated makes our job incredibly difficult, and can compromise our safety – boundaries are much harder to enforce.
If you are aware you have an STI, please seek treatment before trying to book a service. It puts us and future clients/partners at great risk.
Do you have clients of all genders or one more than the other?
At the clubs I’ve worked at, the overwhelming majority of clients are cis-males. Occasionally cis-females have come in seeking threesomes with their male partners, but I have never seen a woman come in alone. I’m certain it happens though, just not the places I’ve worked. It’s always very exciting when women come in!
What are some wild things you’ve been asked to do?
I guess “Wild” is subjective, but I actually haven’t had too many shocking or bizarre requests myself. I’ve definitely heard some stories from other Sex Workers, but they aren’t my stories to tell. A client did want to watch me poo, but unfortunately it just wasn’t the right time for me that evening (ha ha).
The vast majority of clients simply want intimacy, and far and away the most common request is the “girlfriend experience.”
What has your job taught you about people?
It’s taught me that everyone is attracted to different things. Of course, the media feeds us an archetype of what conventional attractiveness or sex appeal looks like, and I think that seeps into all of our subconscious. But I see that all different kinds of women get booked, in almost equal frequency. The way that girls get repeat bookings and regulars, according to my observation and experience, comes down to personality, connection and the intimacy experienced with a client. Clients are, more than anything, looking for that intimacy and connection.
Rather than making me jaded, the job has renewed a lot of my faith in people’s tenderness. I’ve seen vulnerability in more people, and different kinds of people, than I could ever imagine.
Do you think, as someone who sees and hears and caters to individual sexual desires, that we as a society are sexually repressed?
Partly, yes. I think there is a lot of shame still around sexuality and pleasure. I’ve seen a lot of clients express embarrassment about visiting the brothel, or admitting the frequency in which they do so.
Sexuality and pleasure remain such taboo subjects, and the stigma around the sex industry really speaks to this.
Do you think sex workers are also healers?
Sex and intimacy can be very healing, even just human touch. However I think we are often charged with the responsibility of being therapists too, and taking on psychological stress of clients. Clients will open up to us with extremely sad or traumatic stories and difficulties in their lives. That can really take a toll on the service provider. We are not trained nor paid enough to provide that kind of service! The emotional work involves in sex work is often a big burden.
Has your life changed much since beginning to work in a brothel?
Yes and no. Of course it has increased my financial freedom, which has opened a fair few doors. It has altered some of my attitudes towards sex which has impacted my life in some ways as well. I am extremely sexual and have a high libido, but in the past have struggled to separate sex from love and romance. Working in a brothel has given me great power to make that distinction.
Has your work ever threatened your safety?
Definitely. I am fortunate that the majority of my bookings have been safe and incident free, but there have been exceptions. There have certainly been unpleasant and traumatic experiences in which my power was taken away, and it’s important people understand this can be the reality of sex work. I have also had someone I had slept with outside of work show up to work asking for me by my work name, after I had told him I didn’t want to see him anymore. Very not chill.
Do you feel that you liberate your clients?
Occasionally I do. Often I don’t. Sometimes it’s nothing more than a fuck, a quick physical release.
I know clients have learnt from me, about sex and about life. I’m sure there have been clients that have experienced things with me they never have before, and I’m sure that’s liberating.
Can you say a little about the protection and security of sex workers pre and post COVID (in Australia)?
Sex workers in Australia, while we are luckier than some, are still very vulnerable. Street workers have little to no protection or rights. Working in a brothel offers a greater level of security (depending on the venue!) but the laws that are in place around sex work, whether it has been legalised or decriminalised really aren’t there to offer protection to sex workers (in my opinion). In some states in Australia, sex work is still completely illegal. I firmly believe that much legislation around sex work serves to control and police sex workers rather than protect them. There needs to be a greater shift towards decriminalisation and treating the industry like any other, rather than it’s own entity. During/post COVID, sex workers have no financial assistance from the government, and I think this is a result of the framework and attitudes surrounding the profession.
What can the average person do to help support sex workers and sex worker rights?
Understand how difficult the job is. I think there is a discourse around sex work that sees it as both a “last resort” and a “quick money making scheme”.
Particularly during this time (COVID19), many non-workers are joking about or actually starting only fans pages, and this actually makes an industry that’s already competitive and difficult even more so in a time when we are suffering financially as much as anyone. It really undermines how much hard work goes into making content, creating a personal brand and building up a clientele.
Don’t demand emotional labour from sex workers, blow up their dm’s/ corner them at parties just because you are curious. Ask for consent before interrogating them about their work. Fetishizing or appropriating sex work aesthetic or culture is a big bummer. If you follow or enjoy work someone is doing online, like it, share it, donate to them! Tip us!
Absolutely never out a sex worker, even if they have expressed they like their job, they enjoy it and they are proud of it.
Do you feel that sex work has liberated you in any way or allowed you to feel sexually free?
I feel it certainly has impacted the way I view casual sex. I realised that as well as seeking sex for pleasure, I was, at times seeking attention and validation. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it became murky and messy in my romantic life. I’ve been able to fill that void at work – be a purely sexual being, that is adored, worshipped, gawked at, someone who performs. Sex outside of work has all of those elements too, but connected, romantic sex with a focus on mutual pleasure has gained new depths for me.
I am much more confident in my sexuality and sexual power than ever before.
Are you open with your family and friends about what you do?
Most of my friends know, as well as some family members.
I am usually always happy to talk about the job, as knowing a sex worker and hearing their experiences will always help remove stigma. However due to that stigma, outing yourself can be dangerous at worst, and tiring and annoying at best. It can be a bit of a double edged sword.
My parents are not aware of my job. They are hugely supportive of almost everything I do, but they are much older and have religious backgrounds. I think they would struggle to understand. In the same regard that I wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to them about having anal sex with a romantic partner, I just don’t feel I can share this part of my life with them.
What do you wish people knew about sex work?
It’s not easy. It’s rarely glamorous. Often you can make very little money, sometimes none. It can be lonely, and very, very boring. The worst part is often the waiting around.
It’s not always empowering.
For me and many others, it’s not exploitative. You can dread going to work and want to go home every hour you are there and be tired and grumpy and sore and sad and it’s still not exploitative. It’s just a job.
What do you wish people knew about sex?
It’s ok not to want it.
Someone wanting to have sex with you doesn’t make you more or less valuable. Your worth is not based on your sex appeal. Sex can be sacred, but it can be meaningless, and mediocre.
It’s ok to want it, all the time, with lots of different people. Our bodies are beautiful and deserve pleasure.
Sex, love and romance can overlap but are three completely separate things, and they can all exist separately.
You mentioned to me that working in a brothel is your favourite job you’ve ever had, can you say why?
It’s incredibly flexible. I can work when I want for how long I want. When the money is good, it’s great.
I love feeling sexually powerful, feeling connected to my femininity and feeling my sexual confidence grow.
The women I have met through sex work are absolute goddesses. The girls room at the brothel is one of my favourite places on earth. The compliments, the gossip, the cackling laughter, cheap super sweet perfume, piles of makeup and pleasers, shared packets of chocolate biscuits and pizzas, farts, card games, crying, trying to study, shit tv shows, photo shoots, political rants, boobs and bums and lingerie. Heaven and hell at the same time.
Sex work is one of the oldest professions, do you feel connected to women before you who have used sex work throughout history as a means of not only survival, but also erotic and economic freedom?
I absolutely do. The connectedness I feel to the sex work community, past and present, is a real blessing. The power of women has always flowed through me, but harnessing my sexual power in this way I feel it more than ever. xo
TO LEARN MORE AND/OR DONATE TO SUPPORT SEX WORKERS, CLICK HERE:
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