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?



Sex workers rights - is this part of the job?

A personal account of being assaulted at work. Unfortunately assault is a very real risk, and often goes underreported due to criminalisation.

Media, Memoirs

Sex workers rights – is this part of the job?


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 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.


Jobs to Get Jealous Of - Grace Bellavue

“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.”


Jobs to Get Jealous Of – Grace Bellavue


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


The difference between idealism and naivety.

(For some involved with sexual abuse in any way, or dealing with similar child issues, I do issue a potential trigger warning for this post.)

Some people look at me as if I’ve somehow sold my soul into slavery. That is, one believes a soul is a finite self, available to be sold in it’s entirety, or even at the “death of a thousand paper cuts” weeded and bled from a human in the continuity and drudgery of life.

Fuck off. Your soul is your own domain. To keep, nurture or destroy at will, or in my case keep close to your heart to rediscover through the breadcrumbs left behind in singular moments.

“Grace!” I heard her call as her heels resounded on the carpet, almost solid enough to be warning marker. My neck bothered to poke my head above the congealed mess of fabric and flesh I’d created in the elongated armchair. Flicking through the endless Foxtel channels of daytime American television I grunted acknowledgement.

“There’s a guy here with some sort of weird fantasy, you do that shit right?”
My nineteen year old self nodded and extricated itself from the folds of under washed blankets, old magazines and chip crumbs.

“Yeah I guess, what does he want?”
Her long blond hair boosted with extensions flipped back as her right hand flickered over the buttons of a buzzing reception phone.

“Fuck knows, seems your type. You other girls interested?”.
Two pairs of bargaining eyes flicked onto the haphazard arrangement of women in the girls room, all barely clothed under an assortment of rugs, coats, dressing gowns and casual clothes.

“If it’s a fucking weirdo you can have him. Fuck that shit.” A bundle of flesh under a mountain of conflicting patterned blankets snorted.

“All yours baby.” A hand casually rose and flicked in the air.

“Righto, Grace he’s yours. Waiting room 2.” I groaned as I rose from the armchair, fluffing hair, wiping the beginnings of sleep from my eyes. Barefoot I shuffled across carpet scanning for matching heels, my fingers separating curls, searching for that lipstick, mirror, powder, perfume. Shaking my hair out upside down I almost knocked myself out on the dresser, hands still fumbling, brain still re-arranging.


I always enjoyed doing the “Weirdos” – perhaps it was my penchant for stories, the unusual, the un-definable or the pleasure of dissecting psychologically another stranger in the night. I wondered if I could fit a smoke in before the introduction.

“Grace! Hurry Up! I need waiting room 2 – Go get him Tiger.”

I hated it whenever someone called me Tiger apart from my father. That was our pet name, to hear it in this environment unsettled me. Groaning to myself, I did my internal head slap. Focus. Client. Sex. Work. Game On.

My back straightened as I re-adjusted the underwire of my bra, shifting both palms so the weight of my breasts almost fell out of the tiny dress and lingerie I’d brought at a cheap store. Fuck them, I’d learnt long ago selling my “class” in a brothel was akin to attempting to sell a luxury holiday to a guy that just wanted a overnighter in Horsham on the way to Melbourne from Adelaide. I had little time for brothel clients, you paid less, you got less of my mind, my soul, my energy, my skill.


Shoulders back as an ex had kindly reminded me; I walked into the intro room, spinning on a dime to lean hip bent against a doorframe. My spine instantly turned to quicksilver. It was an inherent learnt life behavior. Strong but flexible, open but in-penetrable, strength but gentleness.

“Grace?” His head raised from his palm,  nervously intent on a rather innocuous spot on the carpet.

“Sally told me you were looking for something….a little unusual?” I kicked my body weight onto my back leg, head cocked, curious.

“I’m, looking, for well, a role-play.”

“What sort of role-play?” If you let them, they’d evade the point for hours. In this job you heard everything either personally or through the grapevine; you often forgot what felt like talking about the price of milk in your case was a highly evocative situation for another.

“Can we move to a room?”

“Are you happy to see me?”

“I guess, are you good at role-plays? It’s, well, different.” I smiled.

“I guess that’s my specialty?” He nodded uncertainly, fumbling for his wallet whilst handing over a wad of fifty-dollar notes. I strolled down the walkway to the counter at reception.

“What does he want?” Her fingers counted the money, separating the cash for the house and the sub-contractor, handing me a black folder with my half.

“Fuck knows…I’ll find out soon.” The receptionists eyes glinted with the promise of a future story and I took my money to quickly deposit it in my pre-designated safe out the back. Returning I led him into my room for the night. I had a thing for Animal/African themes in brothels. The combination of oranges, gold, reds, faux fur and gigantic cheap Balinese statues always appealed to me. I fucked better in these rooms.


We negotiated extras.

“How about I just give you an extra $100 for the kissing and fantasy fee. You kiss right?” I nodded. Hand to wallet again, cash in hand I gestured at the towels, shower and toilet whilst stroking his arm.

“Take a shower,  I’ll see you in five and you can tell me all about it?”. He nodded. Fumbling with his socks and shoes, I left him to his own devices.


Sitting out the back rocking in the cheap brothel Bunning’s outdoor setting I smoked and considered what exactly he wanted. BDSM? Golden Showers? My mind momentarily flicked to the guy who wanted me to be a lion whilst he fucked me channeling his own strange religion. The quicksilver flew quick and rapid through my veins, preparing, defending, protecting. It was like getting ready before a fight, highly intensely psychological, arming your defense mechanisms against the unknown, engaging your logic to triumph against all else. I had no idea how much I’d need these protectionist behaviors.


Strolling back into the room, spare towels in arms I watched him silently towel dry himself in the room.

“You’re very pretty.”

“Thank you.” He stood awkwardly, towel half posed between his groin and thigh.

Sometimes being a sex worker is like being a nurse or a doctor, you see so many bodies in various states of youth and aging, health and decay that they all become one, a shell for the mind and soul inhabiting below.


“So, this fantasy?” He dried off the last beads of moisture, awkwardly dropping the towel on the floor. He gestured to the bed. I sat, bra strap falling off a shoulder, legs crossed.

“Tell me.”

“I want to fuck my daughter.” My hands that were in my lap escaped and spread outwardly onto the bed defensively, shoulders pushed forward.

“How old is your daughter?” I cocked my head.


“Why?” the word sprung from my lips before I could think about them.

“I don’t know.” He sat next to me.

“There has to be a reason why.”

“She’s, I don’t know.” My left hand rose to his shoulder.

“There’s always a reason why.” He shrugged.

“I can’t get it out of my mind, it’s consuming me. I’m not a bad person. I’ve never done this before; I just I need to get this sexually out. I don’t know. I don’t even want to think about it.” The quicksilver in my arteries grew and spread and darted to the threadlike veins in my upper epidermis, strong, resilient, protect, capable.

“Well, do you want me to be your daughter?”

“Could you?” He looked at me.


“You’re like her you know.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re not bitter like them.”

“Who’s ‘Them’?”

“Women. Older women.”

“Why are they different?”

“It’s like their souls gone. They’re bitter, angry, jealous and resentful. ‘Men are bad people’. They want money or security or children or sex and I don’t know. They scheme.”

“And she doesn’t?”


“Do you actually want to fuck her, like, your daughter?”

“I guess not really, she’s just the most beautiful girl in my life.”

“You ask why a lot.”

“I like understanding why.”

“You’d have made an annoying child.”

“My mother can attest to that.” He grabbed the towel for protection. I spoke again.

“Do you actually want to fuck your daughter?”


“Why then?”

“She’s like a butterfly.”

“What do you mean?” He hesitated.

“There’s innocence, and naivety, and I just, I want that back.”

“Do you? If most of us go back to our childhoods, we couldn’t wait to be grown ups.”

“I just.” I placed my hand on his thigh.

“Just what?”

“I don’t know.”

“Want to feel like that?”


“We all do.” I tried to sigh with all the nineteen years of wisdom I owned at that point. I failed miserably. I kept fingering, I wanted to understand.

“Is there, I don’t know. I feel uncomfortable.” I wanted to do this, I wanted to exorcise it, I wanted to protect her, his daughter, whoever she was.

“But, is it really sexually attractive she doesn’t know anything? Is naivety really that it? Once you ruin it, it’s gone. You can’t get that back, do you really want to decimate that, hurt it?” He shrugged, uncomfortable. I didn’t know what to do.

“I don’t know. I just, just want that. Like, she’s physically beautiful, and perfect, and, budding but, there’s, it.”


“No, that goodness.”

“Goodness isn’t always innocence.”

“I know, but she’s, good. Like beautiful, inside.”

“People are like that.” He laughed.

“Wait until you’re my age girl, it gets harder to believe as life goes on.”

“If it’s not naivety, then what is it? Goodness?”

“Yeah, but what is Goodness? People can be good and bad, both simultaneously.”

“Is it idealism?” He turned to me.

“The belief good exists. Goodness without reason. Belief in people. Idealism. That the world is a beautiful place.” He snorted.

“Idiots believe that shit.”

“Idiots have a shit life.” He smiled. Our conversation continued, we fucked in the role-play he’d enacted and I hoped he’d never lay a hand on his daughter. He saw me a few times after that. I hope he never did hurt her, I would and couldn’t ever know.


I split that night. My mind started to spread across at all nineteen years of my self and acknowledged I’d decimated my innocence and naivety willingly. My idealism though – still ran as strong as the quicksilver in my veins. It was my youth. During that conversation I saw her first, as my mother still sees her.

She’s waist high, almost four foot. The sharply cut bob bouncing around her face. The Asiatic eyes haven’t grown into her cheekbones, the finely shaped lips haven’t filled out yet. A blunt fringe belies a challenging stare.

Her hands move as quickly as her mouth, gesturing, running, restless. I see her eyes dart across anything with words, reading, comprehending, analyzing. Limbs fat with health, hair thin but thick with abundance and glossy, skin almost perfect from protective motherly layers of sunscreen, rash vests and endless vitamin D.

She scrambles up a tree, muttering to herself. Fingers challenging footholds, feet kicking bark. “Shit!” she yells at a immoveable stump looking around to see if anyone heard her. That’s still a naughty word, only for uttering against impenetrable objects.

Her body swings and I still crave that feeling of coherent strength in muscle. Clean blood, clean mind, energy limitless as she clambers to a branch and straddles it.


“What you up to ratbag?” She giggles, picking bits of stringy bark off a section of tree.

“Stuff.” Her mouth and hands and mind dart at the speed of light, she doesn’t realise that won’t change as she ages.

“What are you doing now?” For once, I am speechless.

“Stuff.” She squints her eyes at me.

“Sex stuff?” I laugh.

“Yeah.” I know she understands as she continues to fly and fling across the tree.
“I know about sex stuff.”


“Read it in the dictionary.” Our minds snap together over dimensions, I’ve always had a fascination for the illicit. I watch the chubby yet strong legs lengthen and dangle lower as my memory shifts. We’re both closer to the ground.

“What happened?” She’s more direct now, her gaze a little less unwavering, she knows more.

“What do you mean?” I’m sitting beneath her on the grass, pushing away ants, plucking at grasses.

“The dreams.”

“What dreams?”

“Of Africa. Remember?” She looks at me like I’m retarded. Less monkey, more agitated sloth her body moves amongst the tree, challenging me. We’ve always entertained ourselves, child self, adult self. From running micro-businesses within a household, charging poor family members to move from one room to another, to sheets of erratic writing hidden under the bed, to complex and infinite daydreams with my favourite blanket as our Pièce de résistance in the epic theatre that was our lives.


He, as a client, drained my soul, in a way. I eventually stopped seeing him after multiple times because I could not bear any more guilt. I hope he never touched her, but I couldn’t not bear the brunt of it any longer. Ultimately, he forged a bond with my child self and soul that I have refused to relinquish.

I can hear her banging her fists on a desk.

“We were going to write & help people remember?”

Yeah kid, I remember.