A few years ago, a partner paid for the both of us to spend a couple of hours with a gorgeous companion in a little brothel just outside of South Melbourne. The experience was just as fun and silly and sexy as I was hoping it would be during the car ride over, although I have to admit that after some years being on the other end of the transaction, my primary thought as we left was: “So, this is what all the fuss is about!”. The thought of hiring someone to cater to your specific sexual wants and needs is quite an enticing one – not only because unlike visiting a bar or trawling Tinder for a hook-up, you’re basically guaranteed a good time – but also because putting our sexual desires in the hands of a professional allows us to be a little bit self-indulgent and, well, selfish in the bedroom: something that isn’t an altogether bad thing. Of course, hiring a sex worker is more than just pulling out a handful of cash and then getting naked. If only June Dally-Watkins had prepared us for this…
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
One of the types of clients that annoyed me most as a sex worker was the kind of guy – and there would be heaps of them, sometimes multiple times a shift – who would pay for an hour, wander in to the room, flop himself down on the bed and declare: “Okay, just do whatever you want.” In his head, he probably thought he was being incredibly generous and was giving me a break from the dozens of clients who no doubt ordered poor exhausted me in to exotic tableaux of sex positions until my unwilling body trembled with fatigue, but what he was actually doing was wasting his own time and mine by assuming that I would somehow possess the psychic ability to know exactly what would please the both of us in bed. ‘Whatever I want’ could range from being fisted and spat on for an hour, to remaining fully clothed and getting some help putting together my tax return; but whatever ‘it’ was, it was generally not something that I imagined the client had come in hoping for.
It helps to have some idea of what you want before planning a visit to a sex worker, because part of any good worker’s service is listening and being receptive to your wants and needs. If you don’t think you have any wants or needs, spend some time in your own head (or maybe on your porn streaming website of choice) exploring your fantasies and finding out what makes you tick: whether it’s being pissed on, getting fucked with a huge dildo, or just being held and kissed sweetly, there is undoubtedly a worker out there who can provide you with exactly what you want. And don’t forget to, well, shop accordingly: it would be silly to go to an erotic massage parlour if penetrative sex is what you’re after, and likewise there’s no point in booking an appointment with a BDSM provider if you’re in the mood for a plain old rub-and-tug. Call the venue or the worker beforehand to make sure they provide exactly what you want; and if they don’t? No matter, say thank you and try somewhere – or someone – else.
KICS (Keep It Clean, Stupid)
One thing that happens when you visit a sex worker that they won’t show in porn or in moody French films: you will be asked to shower. Even if you showered at home or showered at work or are some superhuman freak of nature who never needs to shower, you will still be asked to shower and you should still absolutely shower, because in sex worker language ‘shower’ basically translates to: ‘clean your dick’. Men, even if you aren’t planning a visit to a sex worker, please take this general tip from someone who has seen a lot of penises (pen-ii?) in their lifetime: clean your dick. Clean underneath it. Clean on top of it. Clean inside the foreskin (if you have one) and also clean around the balls ‘n’ butt area. Basically, just thoroughly wash everything that goes inside your underpants, and if you can’t invest ten minutes in to this ritual of basic hygiene, please don’t expect anyone else to touch your dicks until you do. Of course, ‘clean your genitals’ is the gender non-specific advice I would give everyone reading this article, but I’ve never once seen a female client who I had to send back to the shower to give her fanny a more thorough scrub. I’ve never once seen a transgender, NB, or gender non-conforming client whose underpants area was anything less than lush and sparkling clean. I did, however, once see a guy whose foreskin was full of – inexplicably – sawdust. This sight activated my severe trypophobia and as he took a second shower, I sat on the edge of the bed and hyperventilated. Clean your dicks.
DON’T BE ‘THAT GUY’
…or, in the interests of gender equality, ‘that girl’ or ‘that person’. Okay: we all have that one friend whose cousin’s uncle’s workmates favourite barista goes to that brothel an hour out of town that no-one can ever seem to find on Google Maps and gets everything for free. Just like we all know that guy who got a blowjob from a stripper, and that other guy whose dick is so amazing that when he went to an erotic massage parlour, the masseuse paid him just to touch it! This kind of stuff also happens to me a lot, like when I go shopping and the salesperson says the dress looks so good on me that I can have it for free, and then afterwards I go out for dinner and the chef comes out of the kitchen to tell me that they enjoyed making my food so much that I don’t even have to bother paying for it.
Unfortunately for you and fortunately for me, seeing a sex worker costs money. Sometimes it costs a lot of money and 99.9% of the time, it’s an amount of money that you can not haggle over. On top of the money you initially pay, other things – like kissing, for example – might cost more again (‘extras’). (A sex worker should usually outline their extras before you pay anything, just so you don’t go in thinking that one thing is included in the service and then find out that it isn’t.) If there is something that you want and you can’t afford to pay for it, your best option is to either: come back at a later date when you have more money, or say, ‘Okay, today we won’t do that thing, maybe next time’ and not mention it again. The right thing to do is not: ask ‘but how much for me?’ as if sex workers have special, hidden, cheaper price lists for people with no manners but a lot of persistence; and the right thing to do is definitely not force the sex worker to perform the service you want but don’t want to pay for, because that is rape. Don’t be that guy.
SEX WORKERS ARE PEOPLE TOO
If there’s something you’ve always fantasied about but have never had the opportunity to try in ‘real life’, a sex worker is a great person to try it with. Not only are we generally unfazed by most requests, but we also have the knowledge, tools, and abilities to safely indulge even the kinkiest of fantasies without sending anyone home covered in bruises and burns (unless that’s, like, what you’re in to). Please keep in mind, though, that sex workers are not hypersexualised robots covered in real-to-the-touch imitation human skin. We are just people, who have people-like limitations in the things we can physically do. Paying a sex worker for an hour of their time doesn’t mean you can expect to spend exactly sixty minutes pounding them senseless (or having them pound you senseless), even if you have splashed out on the raunchiest porn star experience money can buy. Just like with regular sex, sometimes awkward things happen: vaginas get dry. Erections don’t erect. Air gets caught in places and makes funny sounds. Please be thoughtful and kind towards your chosen sex worker and remember that legs don’t always bend that way, often we do need to come up for air, and sometimes things don’t feel pleasurable any more and we need to take a break and do something else for a little while. This isn’t just sex worker-specific advice – this is advice for any sex you’re having, with anyone.
Pop quiz: would you ask your bus driver if she feels empowered driving you to work every morning? Would you ask your plumber if they feel emotionally fulfilled as they repair your toilet? Would you stop the person who makes your bacon and egg roll in the morning and tell them that they only have to make it if they really want to? Like, really want to? If you wouldn’t, I would also advise against pausing in the middle of sex to ask a sex worker if they’re doing this because they really want to or just because you’re paying them, and also, what would happen if their parents found out, and do they ever feel bad about doing it, and are all the other clients horrible, and are they using all their money to pay for an education because surely they can’t do this forever?
As much as you might be balls-deep, or knuckle-deep, or whatever-deep in a worker’s orifice of choice, at the end of the day you’re still paying a professional for an hour of their time in which they perform a service that they have considerable expertise in. This hour is your time to be indulgent and have fun, not to chip away at the worker’s emotional veneer in an attempt to convince yourself that they really do like you and they really do like their job. My favourite clients were always the ones who respected my boundaries, didn’t ask probing or personal questions, and trusted me as an adult professional enough to believe that by doing this job, I had made the right choice for myself. Don’t let the stigma around sex work weigh so heavily on you that you can’t have fun, and don’t demand reassurance from the worker until it wears them out emotionally. If you want to make sure the sex worker you hire is having as much fun with you as you are with them, be kind, show respect for their boundaries and for their personhood, enjoy yourself, and offer a tip if you can afford it (or write a nice review afterwards if you can’t).
Kate Iselin is a writer and former sex worker. Her work has appeared in Penthouse, The Guardian, Daily Life, and the Saturday Paper; and she is currently dating strangers for her blog Thirty Dates Of Tinder.
*Art Direction By Ainsley Jade.