Sex workers and clients

Sex Workers and Clients

Sex workers do a fabulous job. They have many skills such as sex educator, pleasure giver, counsellor, companion & sexual health promoter. Sex work is a fascinating job. The essence of people’s desires and needs are on display. Depending on the sex worker and the client, the job can be vary from extremely intimate or professionally aloof.

There are a lot of incorrect and negative stereotypes about sex workers in Australia. Images of female sexual coercion, desperation and drug addiction are rife. In Australia however, many people who work in the sex industry are mentally stable part-time workers supplementing their income or studying at university. Most do not have a drug addiction and care for their health as evidence by their lower rates of sexually transmitted infections compared to the regular population. Many sex workers enjoy their job. Twice as many men (0.9%) have paid for sex compared to women (0.5%) (Sex in Australia Survey, 2002).

Unfortunately, in our society, sex work is discredited. As such, most sex workers are secretive about their job for fear of recrimination. This secrecy can be destructive. If you are just starting out in the business it’s hard to know who to ask for tips on how to extend a booking, how to reduce physical wear and tear, or how to deal with difficult clients and to keep safe. If you have been working for a while it is hard to find someone with whom you can debrief intense or unpleasant experiences, or share exciting stories about wild erotic encounters. Colleagues maybe helpful but not always. The secrete nature of sex work can lead to compartmentalisation of work from regular life. It can also cause fear of discovery. Sometimes its a bummer that one cannot share the awesome truth about a life adventure experienced through sex work, which can reduce intimacy and bonding in relationships.

Managing sex work and a relationship is a tricky balance. Many sex workers do not tell their partners. It is not a first date type of disclosure. Some sex workers date their ex-clients, this can be equally complicated. When working independently, managing boundaries between clients and lovers can be a minefield. The ability to provide services across many media platforms across different time zones can also be hard to manage in relation to keeping time for yourself, getting out into the world and setting up a regular routine.

Clients of the sex industry

1 in 6 Australian men (15.6%) and 0.1% of women have ever paid for sex in their lives (Sex in Australia Survey 2002). Clients of the sex industry are an often neglected and stigmatised group. Whether they are in a long term relationship or single, it is uncommon that that they can disclose that they pay for sex. The double life, the secrecy and/or guilt results in a loss of shared experiences. For some this leads to compartmentalisation of sexuality and relationships.

I have had many years of working with sex workers and clients of the sex industry. I find that people benefit from talking about this aspect of their lives. Talking provides the opportunity to: process emotional experiences; understand how to best use the sex industry to their advantage; improve technique or enhance experience; strengthen personal safety and resilience; and provide support and understanding.