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20 Things They’ll Never Tell You About Being a Sex Worker.

So I was inspired by this post – ’50 Things they never tell you about being a chef’ and figured I’d do something similar.

Sex work is an amazing journey and one I’ve been on for almost nine years. It can be rough, brutal, inspiring, easy, transformative, heart-breaking and simultaneously empowering and disempowering in the same breath. I’ve worked in agencies and gained my own personal agency as a woman and sex worker. I’ve worked in brothels and also run my own business where I am in complete control over my branding, marketing and clientele.

I get emails frequently from women and men curious about entering the sex industry and often wonder whether they can hack it in the long term mentally, emotionally and physically. Being on the forefront of humanity and entering and being entered by other people on a primal level can take it’s toll. It also has its downsides as anything does. You can’t have the champagne and the hotel suites without a few hiccups or practicalities along the way.

20 Things You’ll Never Hear About Being a Professional Sex Worker

  1. You’ll develop either a depressed or super human immune system. From kissing to swapping spit, touching genitals, pre-cum, cum, girl squirt, fingers in orifices and people touching you – you come in contact directly with a huge range of people from all walks of life. Be prepared to get hooker flu or ride out the winter season safely assured you’re probably immune to all the current viral strands. This doesn’t make you immune to STI’s though. You’ll learn your body IS your business, so the safest sex you can provide whilst keeping your economic goals in mind is healthier for you and the community. You’ll either develop an external outside of work bareback/cum fetish or be so paranoid fucking someone without a condom that you’ll take 50m of plastic wrap where ever you go.
  2. Your social life will suffer. Two options. You’re too stressed keeping a massive secret from your friends, family, partner and community to really engage because you’re worrying your secret will get out. If you are open, you’ll be paraded around a party as “Look! My Friend is a Hooker!”. Suddenly your night off is spent answering 100,000 inane and ignorant questions that are deeply offensive and personal. Cosimawhore said it best.
  3. Your personal relationships will suffer. Either you’re in the “too hard” basket or someone is just wanting a free fuck, or you’re so exhausted that a little bit of alone time is more satisfying.
  4. If you’re working privately, sex work can be very alienating. You’re 24/7 in hotels and apartments or strange clubs either waiting or doing admin or seeing clients. Touring can be isolating. You’ll be grateful for the interstate and international contacts of sex workers when you get cabin fever, or friends. Don’t shit on the sex worker community, they will be your lifesaver when you least expect it.
  5. If you’re working in a brothel – be prepared for some of the most competitive and catty environments you’ve ever encountered. Whilst most are good, sex workers are tough and astute creatures, and you will be sussed out. When in, they’re the most amazing community on earth. When you’re arrogant, self entitled, undercut or steal other workers clientele in addition to creating a negative working environment, you will be targeted. Also, don’t underestimate jealousy.
  6. You’ll develop a foul mouth and an ability to get offended at nothing.
  7. Get ready to earn nothing. Sometimes for weeks and months at a time. Even if you’re at the top. People imagine the sex industry to be this never ending pot of gold. It isn’t. You have to fight for your clientele and earn the right to keep them. You’re also a subcontractor or business owner. There is no guaranteed income.  You can go to a brothel or strip club and hang around for 12 hours and earn NOTHING because you didn’t get a job. You don’t get paid for turning up, advertising, answering your own phones, soliciting. The only time you get paid is when a client hands you the money.
  8. There is no annual leave, no holidays, no sick leave. If you’re sick, you’re relying on whatever acorns you have squirrelled away. Your body is your business and there’s no boss to cover your arse if it fails.
  9. Sex will invade your life, your talk and your mannerisms. If you’re not physically fucking, you’re often booking or talking about appointments. You’re researching. Connecting with industry peers on advocacy or security or advancement. Counter that with the million questions from the public if you’re willing to have a public sex worker profile. It will drive you loopy.
  10. Be prepared to be rejected, constantly. Especially in brothel/agency scenarios where you’re in a line up or being picked from a bunch. You’ll get dissected online and offline on every inch of your body from your feet to your hair to the size of your body, breasts, genitalia and facial features. Suck it up princess/prince, if you cry you’ll have puffy eyes and then you’ll really earn no money.
  11. You will set and break and reset and break again every sexual boundary you ever considered. You’ll set personal and work sexual, emotional and mental boundaries. You’ll get bored or have a glut in work and quietly cross them too for the money.
  12. The hours. If you’re in a brothel/agency you’re looking at 8-12hr shifts with no guarantee of money. If you’re private and setting your own hours, you may find yourself attached to a phone/email/online and spending insane amounts of time for every booking. If you’re touring, you may find yourself never seeing daylight for days or weeks until you’ve got enough cash to fly home or make the rent.
  13. The dollar fee you set privately is often not what ends up in your pocket at the end of the day. If working for someone else, it’s often split. If you’re private, you still have to pay out advertising, clothing, supplies, phones, internet, drivers, security, rental (hotels and private) plus tax.
  14. If you’re not careful, the erratic hours can play havok on your diet, body, sleep patterns, energetic and drug/alcohol intake – often to your own detriment mentally and physically.
  15. If the work stress isn’t enough, people will blame any mental health issues on your job. Psychiatrists, psychologists and counsellors will project their own sex industry judgements upon you so that work is the issue, but the myriad of problems you face as a complex human being outside of work is irrelevant. Obviously sex work is the problem. Be prepared for people implanting false memories of sexual abuse, over complicating family relationships and heightening or rehashing any child or adult trauma. YOU ARE THE VICTIM. You don’t know your own mind obviously do you? If this is the case, feel free to have an epiphany and ride off into the sunset in a different gig with new sex of complexities.
  16. Remember the pet you had when you were a kid that you tugged, half buried, wrapped up, carted everywhere, accidentally squished? That’s you but with adult human beings and it’s your body they’re playing with clumsily. Be prepared to be scratched, bitten, tugged, pounded, clawed at, sucked at and slobbered over.
  17. Be prepared to develop as a professional sex worker from point 16 into being a professional sex educator. Three (or one) strike rules apply. It’s not a matter of aggressively saying no, which can escalate a situation. You will have to educate strangers about your own body, their own and how to manage other peoples bodies in a non-harmful way.
  18. You will at some point in the current global political climate of sex work, be an illegal worker. You have no rights. Get used to screening, aliases, vulnerability and corrupt political systems. If you just decided to work a “normal” job for lower pay, you’re fine obviously. As we all know, sex work isn’t work.
  19. You will be a target for media and police if you’re not media/legally savvy, have contacts or you’re dead. In their eyes you’re just a prostitute, stripper, porn actor/actress or deviant whose systematic cultural abuse and targeting is entirely defined by your choice to work in this environment. Obviously it isn’t their fault working conditions are subpar and sex worker stakeholders in policy making are the minority, whatever you did or whoever you are outside of that moment as a victim of crime you will be defined by your sex work choices.
  20. It’s one of the most incredible and rewarding jobs in the world when you keep yourself, your clientele and your working environment healthy. When you’re allowed the freedom of decriminalisation and recourse to access services like any other worker. It will change your life and it’s one of the few jobs that will make or break you. If you survive, you’ve learnt a skill that will outlast any deconstruction of civilisation.

Still want to be a sex worker?

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JOBS TO BE JEALOUS OF

With thousands of career paths out there, the sex industry isn’t one chosen on a whim, and it certainly isn’t suggested by careers counsellors. Of course it’s often drawn to through desperation and other reasons, but it’s easy to forget that for many it’s a career choice like any other.

Grace Bellavue was 18 when her curiosity for the sex industry got the better of her, and she decided to try it firsthand. Once she did, she never looked back, and her fascination turned serious when she made the decision to leave behind her corporate profession and launch her own escort business, which has fast become a huge success.

Business, Media

JOBS TO BE JEALOUS OF

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Activism, Memoirs

Whore, slut, hooker, sex worker – The fight for recognition, rights and language

(This was also republished on Mama Mia)

At the end of the day, language becomes our identity.

I remember the first time the language surrounding this broke my heart.

“Where is all this money coming from Grace? You’re only seventeen, you can’t be earning this from the bakery. What are you doing? I don’t believe you’re selling drugs, but it’s the only thing I can think of. You are saying you’re going to parties you aren’t attending, you’re not our daughter anymore, you’ve turned into something else.”

My mother paced the kitchen as I sat at the table playing with the runner, twisting its tassels between my fingers.

“No I’m not selling drugs mum, I’m a prostitute. I fuck men for a living.”

My mother visibly retched as my father leant against the back wall for support. I’ve never seen him grow so old in a moment since.

“Oh god, I’m going to vomit.” She steadied herself on the doorframe, half running to the toilet. My father began to cry. I’d never seen my father cry before.

A highly successful manager, and alpha male, he always dominated and led his men. He could walk into a pub and have a bar surrounding him in a few minutes, engaging, talking. People were attracted to my father like moths to a flame. There was something strong, good and fiercely independent about him that women flirted with and men followed.

“You’re my daughter Grace. How, fuck.
How can you let them do that do you? What did I do wrong?
Oh god. Why? Why the fuck are you doing this?
Oh shit, I need to sit down. How can you be a whore?
Don’t you know how they see you?
How they talk, oh god, I feel sick.
Please tell me I’m dreaming, for the love of god please tell me I’m dreaming.”

“I’m sorry daddy.” I could hear my mother retching in the ensuite up the hallway, her convulsions only broken by her sobs.

“Oh Grace, god, I love you so much, why? Why are you doing this?”

“I just wrote a story about it, and I wanted to see what it was like. It just seemed, I dunno, exciting.”

“Fuck Grace.”
Tears continued to roll down the face of the only man I’d ever loved at that stage.

It broke my heart.

“How? How the fuck are you doing this? How can they let you do this? You’re fucking seventeen for gods sake, you’re not a fucking whore.” I had never heard him swear so much in my company.

“I just rang them up, had an interview. They didn’t ask for ID.”

“Oh god. Is this some sick nightmare? How long have you been working?”

“A few months.”

“Oh fuck. You know you’ve broken your mothers heart? What did we do wrong Grace? We gave you everything, love, a home, values, a good upbringing, fuck I even worked my ass off to give you a good school. You are so intelligent, what, are you going to throw all these scholarships, all these programs, all this time, all these people who just think you can be everything you can be, and you want to be a fucking whore?”

“Dad, it’s not like that.” My mother emerged from the bathroom, bloodshot eyes and as old as my father. For the first time I was no longer their daughter, but a very alien stranger.

Finally my mother spoke.

“Please leave Grace, you need to move out if you are going to keep doing this. This is not what we brought you up to be. We love you, but cannot have you under our roof any longer if this is to continue. “ I looked at my father.

“Please leave, for we do not know what you have become.”

I left.

I am a sex worker, whore, prostitute, harlot, hooker, professional slut, fetishist, dominatrix at times, submissive often and just a normal fucking human being most of the time.

I’m also lucky that since that anecdote I live openly and honestly and lovingly with my family. Finally after six years of back and forth, they have finally understood and accepted the industry how I see and feel it. It’s not an easy road, and many sex workers never attempt nor realise it.

The language surrounding sex workers often becomes markers of our self worth in a world in which well, the rest of the universe associates with a social stigma only attributed to terrorists, pedophiles, illegal immigrants and murderers.

Use the aforementioned language and the world of richness we foster becomes reduced to something cheap.  We don’t fight, kill, or provide services to those that impede on our safety, values and mental and psychical boundaries. We give pleasure for a living.

No element of the sex industry deserves that language (although granted I will own, accept and play on it for humour).  But where does it originate from?

The greatest discrimination I see which causes the most angst and upset amongst sex worker friends is the fact that we are still socially stigmatised as though we are drug dealers, drug addicts and hopeless human beings without independent thought, activity and independence.

The truth is far from the stereotype – I am none of these, although granted in my short life I may have indulged in a few. Attempting to condemn us all in a narrow minded container is like getting a rainbow and describing it as one colour – you hopelessly become stagnant in a description which cannot encapsulate the beauty of what exists.

I’ll give you my explanation that I use when conversing with people I barely know about the sex industry.

The “sex industry” as it exists in most people’s minds is what I call a “socio-economic” facet of the industry.

Adjective: Relating to or concerned with the interaction of social and economic factors.

What I mean by this is that the sex workers people envision have entered for reasons related to poverty, drugs, force, violence, mental illness and social circumstance.

As such this media perpetuated ideology permeates the policymaking, social consciousness and inter-personal relationships that affect all sex workers, whether this is the case or not.

Think about the laws that are enforced and created in the states and countries you live in. They are there to protect – and those forced into sex work in it’s myriad of forms via these channels probably aren’t there because they chose it without extenuating circumstances. They don’t feel the joy I do, nor do they have the pleasure and happiness I receive from my profession.

They are there and waiting to bail. When their financial circumstances improve, their drug addiction is beaten, their mental and physical manipulators are removed, or the pathway out of a never-ending cycle that social class enslaves on them is removed – they are out of this industry faster than superman on a rescue mission.

But does social stigma and legislation aimed at protecting these people, which also restricts, criminalises and isolates those doing it out of choice, independence and love, really help them?

Not really. Mental health funding does. As does community engagement and involvement. Targeted, driven and harm minimisation policies remove more drug users from streets than criminalisation. Domestic shelters, work placement and access to employment, counseling assists more women and men than the laws targeted at protecting them.

The point of this blog, the point of my honesty and the countless work of sex workers all over the world fighting this same point are to raise awareness that there are two types of prostitution. Your language falsely pigeonholes both in a box in which both don’t belong.

Firstly, the previously discussed “socioeconomic” sex work, and the work done by the majority which is a conscious, positive choice we make intelligently whilst removing all socioeconomic factors. What people don’t realise is that this is actually the majority of the industry.

There is an amazing depth to what I do, and I will fight tooth and nail, even at the sacrifice of my personal identity to dispel these stereotypes.

In the interim I am still running an uphill battle. Why? Because this social stigma silences a majority of the beautiful voices I hear in regards to the sex industry. I am fortunate that I can maintain a constant personality and “soul voice” between my friends and family, and I am incredibly blessed for it.

Next time sex work comes up in discussion, use myself, use us all as an example of what does exist, what truly should be battled. Take a check of your language, if you object to the objectification and don’t know what this work entails, curtail your viewpoint.

If you are fighting sex trafficking, the apparent drug affected streetwalkers or those driven by mental illness, histories of abuse and needless self-respect then please challenge your state and countries policies regarding mental health, housing, drugs and community support.

You’ll stop the cause, not the symptom. Then at least I, with the majority of other workers can continue to do our work safely, healthily and professionally by bringing pleasure to the masses without discrimination.

So what have your thoughts been on us whores, sluts, hookers, strippers, web cam sluts, panty sellers, fetish works and ultimately sex workers in all it’s forms. Have they changed? Will they ever change?

 

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Memoirs

Do you love me baby?

One of the greatest paradoxes of my work is that we provide sex, companionship and a respite from the loneliness of the barrage of daily assaults.

For most people, they are the constrictions and mundane of their relationships, for others it’s the fantasy, the erotica and the forbidden that lures them often into our paths.

For many it is just a world in which they are consumed by work, family and responsibilities. Their own persona and outer life has grown and evolved into an entity that is beyond what they envisioned themselves to be.

His breath stopped labouring, we lay, entwined. He rolled over, eyes glancing at his wallet.
“I’m not going to steal your money idiot.”
“It’s not that.”
“What is it?”
“My identity.”
“No offense sunshine, but I honestly don’t give a shit who you are or what you do. I may ask questions in that direction but it’s only conversation, you can be whomever you want.”
“I know, it’s just….”
“What?”
“What if they all found out?”
“Found out what?”
“This, me, wanting you to be a dirty little slut, the language we used, even I feel as though I’ve done something wrong, I shouldn’t be asking this of you, just, everything.”
I laughed.
“You’ve been watching a lot of porn haven’t you?” He smiled, that shy half smile some men do when it’s the first time they vocally express what they’ve been sexually feeling for the first time.
“Maybe, yeah.”
“You watch the same thing for a while, your brain is going to develop pathways that associate desire with the visual images. It may/may not be what you want, either way you’ve been programming it.”
“So I’m not a sick fuck?”
“No, you’ve just watched too much porn. You’ve re-configured your pathways along a different route. Granted you can’t call any random chick a dirty, filthy ass slut without getting slapped, at least on the first date.” His eyes crinkled at the corners and he grabbed the towel and spread it over his shoulders as it was getting cold in the room.
“What if they find out?” His hands twisted with the sheet.
“Who is ‘they?’ ”
“My work, my political background, everyone.” His hands spread, and his eyes drifted to his wallet again.
“The men would understand but vilify you in public because it’s a dog eat dog world. The women would cry feminist on the outer but wish they could be it in private. Isn’t life fucked?”
“Tell me about it. How do I go back to normal?” I laughed
“What’s normal anymore? You want a lady that’s a whore, most ladys want to be a whore. Most whore’s want to be a lady. We’re all lonely. Hunting to the pointwhere we wish someone can turn us on from a look, a touch and a word, then it’s time for re-programming my dear.”
“How do I do that?”

“I’ll teach you. Boring as fuck the first time around, but then again you’re bored of the ass fucking, throat choking, bukkake bullshit that is filling all our minds. At this rate you’ll be searching for a chick like that, and dis-regarding her because she re-enforces what you hate about your sexuality.” He rolled onto his side, and my hand rose to trace and outline the contours of his face.
“Lets start from the beginning.” I smiled.
“Thankyou Grace.” I stopped momentarily,
“What for?”
“I don’t feel as abnormal anymore.”
“Nah, you’re more normal than you realise buddy.”

It’s business, we provide a service and you provide the fee. We battle the steeliness of our life swords against each other however momentarily and depending on the situation it may be just once, or many a time.

Ultimately we end up naked, re-creating a dance that is millennia old. I’ll kick in my professional knowledge, which reduces me to hunting, understanding, and consciously constantly exploring your pleasure spots, psyche and a desire to give you joy.

It is often the moment after sex, even with clients, that I relish the most. The vulnerability and nakedness as two strange humans with temporary paths entwined begin to hesitantly trade life stories, knowledge and experience.

This moment is why I do my job with joy, gratitude and amazement.

Once the chase is gone, we are just two human beings constantly fumbling our way within the world and it is then I begin to see the heart of masculinity which touches me most – the vulnerability.

This phenomena is not consigned to gender (as I see male, female and gender ambiguous, curious and transitioning clients) but merely a universal truth I see in the wake of my work.

Call me sentimental, but it’s this glimpse of humanity, which makes me treasure my job the most.

It’s when everything comes spilling out, the sexual frustration, desire, confusion, relationship problems, stress in the job, fear of the unknown, fear of being unknown in which the human mind unveils itself it a myriad of ways.

The lust is gone, the social perverse has fallen away and the morals and ethics surrounding both our lives evaporate.

This job gives me the opportunity to experience that constantly, weekly, often daily.

Overwhelming yes. This intensity is what I crave, love and advocate in my job. Even further, my spiritual, sexual and professional interests lay with finding how I can continue to understand, accept and provide this with everyone I see regardless of age, gender and race.

So, often, I see a client look at me, and ask me “Could you love me?”

Yeah I could, but it’s my business to love. I’ve just reminded you of what it feels like. I’ll teach you the skills to love someone else, and the confidence to go forth into your life and seek that for yourself on other terms.

What we have isn’t fake, it’s just a respite, pre-cursor, taste of what you can re-create on your own without me, and with my support.

And I’ll still see clients who it’s nothing more than a great, temporary sexual experience. We both walk away with little effect to our lives and mindset and are none the worse.

This duality, is addictive.

And in my own life, I often miss the complexity and depth of a story that’s become entwined with mine to a degree and that is mine of my choosing.

We both crave our own versions of the all-exclusive story in which we both are key players.

In the interim, I’m going to keep riding this crazy world of strangers, intimacy, humanity, love and lust.

And thank the universe for it.

Grace xoxo.

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COSMO - The women driving the online sex industry

“The Women Driving the Online Sex Industry”
Cosmopolitan AU May 2012 Grace Bellavue

Recently I did an interview with a journalist from Cosmopolitan magazine (Australian May 2012 Edition) on the adult industry, online marketing tactics & running an adult business utilising new media.

Business, Media

COSMO – The women driving the online sex industry

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Now new media is driving the adult industry (TALK)

On April 26th I did a talk at the Crown & Sceptre to my old professional crew (social media, digital strategy, online, marketing & advertising) on how I’ve segued into the adult industry (and back again) and how I apply my professional skills into my well….other professional skills.

Taken from the FB event:

“#Socadl member Grace Bellavue will present fascinating insights into the impact of social media within the adult industry: the benefits not simply for building an online brand, but also for an online sense of community, comradery, support and public education.

The Crown and Sceptre will once again lend us their venue for this local Socadl case study. MC’d by Prakky.

Come along, listen to Grace, and have a drink with the Socadl community.”

Business, Media

How new media is driving the adult industry (TALK)

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