Activism, Industry Voices, Media, Politics, Uncategorized

SA sex workers call for new laws to make it clear they’re not criminals

“GRACE Bellavue had only slept with two boys in her whole life the day she walked into an Adelaide brothel, aged 17, and had sex with 13 men in one night.

Fresh out of school, she had landed the job just hours before, after an interview in which she’d naively turned up in a business suit and presented her resume, along with a fake ID. Clocking on for her first shift with her hair and make-up done, and wearing an outfit she’d bought especially for the occasion, the wide-eyed teen hoped to emulate the glamorous characters in her mum’s erotic novels, or the adult films she secretly loved watching. She tried to act sexy, alluring, confident: every man’s fantasy. In fact, she was terrified. “I had this black Supre dress on, because I thought I had to wear something ‘skanky’, something ‘hookery’,” she laughs, taking a drag on her cigarette as she recalls the memory.

“I had these black velvet pumps on that I’d gotten from Betts and Betts at Marion. I think I was wearing the one decent bra I had at the time — you know the one sexy bra you had when you were a teenager? Some black lace thing. I must have just looked like fresh meat.” Nine years later, sitting in a trendy North Adelaide pub in a fitted black dress and jacket with her long, dark hair twisted into a tight bun, the 26-year-old looks like any other office worker on her lunch break.”

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The ghosts in the room.

Grief is something I quite frequently come across in my work amongst the myriad of clients I see. For some it is a past grief, others an incredibly painful recent grief. For others it’s the sharing of a slow death of their loved one due to terminal disease.

The needs and expectations of these clients are incredibly intimate, filled with guilt and requiring a large degree of my compassion and empathy. The wine infused “quick fuck” or porn star style sex isn’t what they need.

They need my ears more than they need my arse, they need my gentleness rather than they need my passion, and they need my empathy more than they need my technical skill.

I often get the sense that there is a “Ghost in the Room”. It is often a subterranean psychological presence for both of us in the booking – Deeply ingrained memories of the touch and caress of the departed or departing loved ones echo in the way we interact with each other.

I watch him awkwardly undress. At twenty-eight the fitness of youth has half turned to softness across the arms and chest. Beautiful eyes are paired with hesitant hands that shake as he removes his various articles of clothing. Half masked by the stench of bars and scotch, he mumbled an apology.

“I’m sorry, I haven’t done this in a while. Let alone with a hook-I mean prostitute. Sorry.”

“It’s all good. Would you like a hand?

As I walk over to him I see the tremor rise as his dutch courage starts to fall away. Joking with him as I remove a belt, fumble with a button, dis-engage a sock and carefully place a shoe under a chair. A jolt runs through me as I fell him slowly place a hand on my arse.

“You’re so soft.” I smile.
“It would be a bit awkward if my arse was calloused and hairy, no?”
He laughs and relaxes whilst his hand carefully starts moving across the curves of my body.
“Can I touch them?”

His eyes linger on my breasts and his palm hesitates. I nod. Sliding underneath the lingerie layers of lace and gauze he cups the underside of my breast, measuring their weight. Fingers flick across nipples.

I love watching their breathing intensify, the chest expand, pupils dilate. My hand rises to his jaw and caresses it, tracing along half grown stubble, my half parted lips circling around his ears and down his neck.

“Can I kiss you?”
“Of course you can.” He tasted half boozed tinged with the hint of cigarettes. His tongue started on my lips circulating before he bit my lip. I could taste his need in the back of my throat and my back arched as his dug his fingers in so hard I gasped.

There is an incredible sensuality that is created in those that have been deprived for so long. In his speech, movements and intentions there is an echo of the love that was there before. Your body listens, knows, responds, senses, acknowledges and understands that this is a dual layered encounter. Ultimately there is us and also her providing the bed on which we have to make a step forward.

The soup of emotion in which we swim is viscous with fear, guilt, loneliness, need and insecurity. Within him is the desire not to disrespect a living or dying partner. It’s an incredibly intimate sexual experience with a stranger.

To treat you as a service provider as any less than his wife, girlfriend or love that has passed only ultimately disrespects what went before you. To have anything less than that connection seems like a betrayal. Yet you cannot be another. You must begin to assert yourself and pick apart the threads.

We left the room and he asked if I could spend the night at his house. The silence in the taxi was followed with stumbling apologies over mess and pouring of bourbon in his townhouse. Leading me outside we began to laughing and joking as we occupied his courtyard, drink in hand, world contemplating.

“Would you like to come upstairs?” Barefooted I skipped up the stairs, pausing on the landing. I gazed the assorted instruments stranded near mixing equipment.
“You play guitar?”
“Not for a while.” He took my hand.
“Bedroom’s to the right.” The half-darkness concealed the dishevelled sheets and half empty glasses of bourbon scattered across the bedside tables.
“Sorry for the mess again.”
“All good – my room isn’t much better to be honest.”
“Lights on or off?”
“Honestly? Maybe off. I spend so much time having sex in broad daylight or high light, it almost feels naughty to have sex in the dark.”
“The idiosyncrasies of your job perhaps?”
“Perhaps.”
“Can I get you anything?” He hesitated.
“Come here.”
“Wait – you like showers?”
“I love showers. I could spend half my life with water cascading down my back. Only thing that makes me feel quiet I guess.”
“You are a fucking hundred million miles an hour you know that?”
“I know, but I feel calm inside If that makes any difference?”
“Eye of the storm? Sort of makes sense to us poor dumb bastards that get caught in the rain around you.” He was good at making me smile.
“Wait here.”

Spread-eagled amongst the sheets I contemplated the ceiling. What an unusual job I’d chosen for myself. Wanting, desiring to be so intimate with strangers on such a regular basis. Nothing else was as exciting, so exposing, so forming, so constantly life changing as this.

“Ready?” He came back in the room and stood in the doorway naked.
“You coming?” I slowly disentangled myself from the sheets.
“Give a girl a second.”
“Come on. I need to tell you something.” I followed him into the bathroom.

It was alit with hundreds of tea candles. Across the basin, the bath, around the shower screens.

“You like?”
“Yeah, it’s beautiful. Thankyou.” He smiled.
“Come here bubble butt.”

We entered the shower cubicle. His palms pushed against my belly forcing my back against the shower screen. I shuddered as the cold of the glass pressed against my arse. My nipples hardened.

“Hey, step back OK?” His palms guided me slowly to a corner, his left hand pulling back to play with the water temperature.
“I don’t want you to burn yourself.”

I am in an industry in which I am an object. I’m a fuckable hole and something to be degraded, debated and bantered about amongst men. Yet these constant, continuous moments of consideration, care and respect between two adults is the reality in which I inhibit. Perhaps it is not men that is the problem, but the forced behaviour in groups of men which is the problem we all debate.

The water cascaded down upon us as we enacted yet another slow, sensual, timeless exploratory consideration of each other’s bodies in the warmth of the illuminated bathroom.

My hands toyed with the shower caddy as I fingered some body shop products, strawberry shower gel and a female razor. Contemplated playing with him, hands slick with products.

“I must admit, I noticed you have unusual beauty products for a male.”
“It’s hers.”
“Who is she?”
“Katie, I loved her.” He crumpled a little.
“She, is, an ex?
“She died. Some cunt of a fucking doctor gave her the wrong fucking drugs and they reacted. One minute we were in love – twenty four hours later she was dead.”
“How long ago?”
“Almost eighteen months. I haven’t been with anyone since.”
“Do you miss her?”
“So fucking much it hurts.” His back slid against the tiled wall until he was squatting in the shower. I followed him with the line of my body. Back braced I spread my legs. Identical twins physically, I laid my hand on his thigh.
“Come here.” His body found its’ way between my legs. Back against breasts, head against shoulder, both dripping wet.

“I know some pussies wrote some lyrics about crying in the rain, but I’m glad you can’t see it.”
“Doesn’t mean I can’t feel it.” I pulled the wet strands of hair across his forehead. I feel so much like my mother in these situations. Touch. Caress. Console.
“Are those products still hers?”
“Yeah, I can’t get rid of them. I don’t know how to begin without her. I can’t talk about her to others because they tell me to let go. I can’t fuck anyone else because they aren’t her. Thank you – for giving me a genuine depth to something I don’t still understand.”
“I bet she was beautiful.”
“So incredibly beautiful.”

I sat like a mother for a few hours, as the raining of the shower turned into a hybrid mix of his tears and my empathy, and I just listened. I talk so much it is almost cathartic to often share so much pain with a stranger, for once I can be silent and truly learn. As a woman, it is in these moments I feel truly in tune with the generational compassion that flows with the women in my family.

He’s not the only one. There’s a multitude of clients I’ve crossed paths with in my lifetime with similar stories. Some are fucking away the grief of love from divorce or a break up. Others are supporting a partner through a terminal disease.

They are often the most guilt ridden – health issues have removed the possibility of intimacy in a relationship full of love. From a psychological perspective these males have become the bearers of responsibility both financially, mentally and emotionally within the family unit whilst other pillars are crumbling. Momentary respite is paramount and healing.

There’s an infinite shades of grey in my work. I am often left with more questions than I am answers. But within the façade of my work – these private moments are what I truly love and gain the most worth from my work.

For all the ghosts in the room that have watched me, I hope I gave no disrespect.

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All citizens deserve protection at work

“I AM a small business owner in Adelaide and I ensure the safety of myself, my staff and my clients.

My business, which provides sexual services to adult consumers, is criminalised.

While not fitting the mould of a young sex worker who has been formed by the stereotypical precursors to this line of work (sex, drugs and poverty), I have worked within the existing legislation affecting OH&S, WorkCover and discrimination based upon my professional choices.

I have done my utmost to ensure safety for both myself and my clientele, but in the event my state fails me with my right to due protection, I have developed my own policies, procedures and courses of action to preserve the right to health within the workplace.

Within a criminalised environment I have no legal rights as a worker to take recourse against violent action. I have been assaulted at work. It happened later, rather than earlier, and was entirely unexpected. I had to face being criminalised for my work while also being a victim of crime.”

Activism, Media, Politics

All citizens deserve protection at work

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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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“In Woody Allen’s short story “The Whore of Mensa”, a call girl service dispatches pretty blondes to clients’ hotel rooms. Except there’s no sex: the girls are all literature majors, getting paid to sell intellectual stimulation to men who fancy a hurried tête-à-tête on anything from Proust to Chomsky.

Outlandish as Allen’s fantasy is, it’s apparent that while sex sells, the package deal of sex and brains sells even better.

Grace Bellavue is the closest thing Australia has to a celebrity sex worker. The 25-year-old Adelaide escort is a sapiosexual’s wet dream: a brainy ex-digital marketer who’s as likely to tweet saucy details of life as a sex worker as she is her opinion on marriage equality.”

Media

Grace Bellavue: “Social media has given sex workers a real opportunity to be heard”

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MODERN LOVE - Twitter, my PA and life as a sex worker

“SHE starts the week just like any other high-flying businesswoman.

First thing Monday morning she checks her emails and calls her PA to make sense of her diary which is always overflowing. She then decides which clients are worth hopping on a plane for, and which ones she can deal with from her own city.

She dresses. Like any woman trying to cut it in a world dominated by men, she’s got to look just right, not overdressed but not understated either. Her makeup takes the longest time.

Too much or too little can make all the difference.
Little things matter in her line of work. Her name is Grace Bellavue and she is a sex worker.”

Business, Media

MODERN LOVE – Twitter, my PA and life as a sex worker

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How to spice up your love life with sex industry secrets

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be better in bed. Spicing up your sex life doesn’t have to involve re-creating a scene from 50 Shades of Grey — in fact, good sex is a bit like eating. Everyone does it, it can be either exciting or pedestrian and to have a great meal you’re going to need to learn how to cook (or find yourself a chef).

If you want to learn how to cook it’s time you met Grace Bellavue, an Australian escort passionate about her industry. She’s here to teach you how to find out what your guy wants (and how to give it to him).”

Media, Sex Education

How to spice up your love life with sex industry secrets

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