Avika De Vine, a wonderful sex worker wrote this.. read it.... it gives you an insider look into the industry trials and tribulations and why this cause needs all of our help!
I am a touring sex worker, erotic masseur, somatic sex educator and dominatrix. I'm a tertiary educated, middle class, white Australian who consciously chooses to be a whore. And you know what? I freaking love it despite the hefty challenges unique to whoredom. My life is full of adventure, unexpected connections, self discovery, travel and erotic play. This is currently under threat and I want to tell my story and ask for your help.
You may have heard of this court case coming up in the Supreme Court here in Australia about a sex worker who sued hotel owners for evicting her based soley on the fact that she was a sex worker (not due to any disruptive behaviour). She won her case at considerable personal expense and sex workers everywhere whooped for joy. However the case is now being appealed and taken to the Supreme Court where it will be a ground breaking, precedent setting result. I want to tell you about my personal experiences of being evicted, shamed, harassed and cast out in order to illustrate why this court case is so important to all sex workers, clients and indeed all people who would like a world where sexuality is seen as a positive things to be shared between consenting adults when and how they choose.
My sexuality is my avenue for self exploration, expression and strange as it may sound to some, my spiritual path. Through my sexuality I explore my connection to myself and others, my relationship to pleasure, intimacy, affection as well as my deeper, forbidden shadow aspects in a conscious, consensual and healthy way. It has been this way for as long as I remember. I am a curious, playful explorer who went out and played with sexuality for years. From tantra to BDSM I devoured everything I could get my hands (and pussy) onto. Eventually I made the move into taking this to the next level and made a very conscious choice about becoming a whore, sharing my expertise, time, attention, affection and body with paying clients. I offer opportunities for others to learn from me, experience pleasure and explore just how amazing human sexuality can be. I am sex educator, lover, companion and mistress in one. It has been a richly rewarding journey the most difficult part of which is systemic and widespread social prejudice and fear about what I do.
At the beginning of this year, I arrived in a country town in North NSW with my massage table and an intent to offer tantric and erotic touch experiences. Although I also offer intimate full service erotic companionship and opportunities to consciously delve into hot, politically incorrect fantasies, that wasn't on the cards that day. I was fresh from a tantra course and I wanted to share the heart centred bliss I had experienced through guided massage. (Incidentally, politically incorrect fantasies and heart centred tantra are not mutually exclusive but can be a powerful ,authentic, seriously sizzling combination… but that's another story).
Initially I was in such a shame-free, open hearted place that thought I'd ask around a few hotels and be upfront about what I wanted to do. There was nothing illegal about it. I didn't see any shame in it. Unfortunately, no one would take me. Hmmm… Where else can I go? How else can I offer this? Other than operating from the streets, what can I do but hire a venue to work from? So I decided that I would be much more discrete. I booked into a hotel where clients could easily slip in and out without affecting any other guests or staff. I set up my massage table and turned on my "hooker phone". It took less than a minute for the first phone call.
I explained that what I was offering today wasn't a "rub and tug" but an opportunity to explore a kind of erotic meditation while receiving full body touch. It was a heart centred form of eroticism that included the whole being, not just the genitals. Yes, he said he would like to try that. After a screening process, assessing his level of understanding and respect for me as a whore and other security checks, I gave him the address. It wasn't long before a middle aged, balding man with a big ole beer belly arrived at my door. I welcomed him in and took a moment to really look into his eyes… recognise the person in front of me as a human like any other… with insecurities, desires and a need to be respected, touched and pleasured. At this point I like to do something that "breaks the social script of behaviour" so we can both see each other in our human vulnerability and beauty. He grinned. The social role slipped and we peaked behind each other's masks for just a second or two.
After a shower and a brief explanation of what was on offer (and what wasn't) he was naked on my table. I never cease to marvel at this moment. A complete stranger, naked in front of me… vulnerable, excited and expectant… this man needed to be seen, held and pleasured just like we all do and he opened to me to give him this.
With music on very low, I touched his body all over with slow, sensual strokes and with my full attention. I relaxed him and guided him into self-permission to just be himself… just be real… just lie back and receive pleasure… to remember who he really is… to allow his heart to be open during his arousal… to use his breath to stay present in his body and spread the pleasure throughout his whole being. As the arousal built his inhibitions melted and his sexuality fuelled his journey into an deeply relaxed but ecstatic place. I was right there with him on the journey… I wasn't aroused sexually but I entered into an ecstatic state with him… my full attention on his being… the only sound us breathing and me quietly whispering guided visualisations to him… I let my heart open and see this stranger as part of me… synching my breath with his… he is me and I am him… I love him as I love myself… I care for the nuances of his experience as I would if it were me on the table… you can't fake this and he felt it… allowing him to open deeper… drop guards… really revel in the touch… the attention… the pleasure… to let ego dissolve...
Afterwards his whole face glowed, the little tension muscles around his eyes completely relaxed. He beamed at me his genuine thanks and pleasure. He had never felt this way before and was so grateful for the experience. He was floating in a sense of wonder.
God I love that moment! So unbelievably beautiful! As a sex worker I get to be part of such incredible intimacy in a myriad of different ways. Not every client wants to learn tantra but I approach every session with that same intention, to be fully present for my client and experience them as an extension of myself. I meet them where they are at and we play… claiming back sexual pleasure from the shame soaked place we've all been programmed into. My clients come to me for a million different reasons… to consciously explore their kinks… to be held and comforted while they cry about their deceased spouse… because they are really horny want someone to play in this delightful state with… to connect with their spirituality… because they are lonely… because they are shy… because they really love big breasts and curvy ladies… because they just want to be intimate with me… because they want to learn how to be a better lover… because they heard I'm really good at prostate massage and do a mean strap on session… but all my sessions include moments where the mask slips and something real slips through… a moment of self discovery, comfort, delight, shame-free horny romping… even if only for a split second.
Suddenly the hotel room phone rang. That's strange! I answered it and it was reception. "Are you are prostitute?" No hello, no nothing. Just a barely controlled disgust and anger vibrating on her voice. "You have to leave. We don't have your type here. You need to leave right now".
I felt the shock ripple through me. Her voice was like an assault waking me from the beautiful moment I had just shared. I could hear her hate for me… Her cold voice clearly indicated that I was some unclean thing… not even human in her eyes anymore. Just a whore. Someone who had lost all rights to basic human politeness.
I had seen one client and we had been uber quiet! How did she know? I still have no idea but suspect housekeeping saw me take my massage table in. She refused to refund my money which was a blow because I was really tight right then… Shaking I packed up my massage table and lugged it out to my car. I felt the burning of their eyes on me the whole time. It was the walk of shame. I struggled to hold onto my dignity and onto the knowledge of the beauty I had just shared with my client but it was a truly horrible feeling being to feel their horror and fear of me and to be evicted even though I had done nothing to disturb anyone or done nothing illegal. The manager and two other staff members glared at me with self satisfied, smug superiority as they evicted me like a cockroach.
Cock roach… COCK roach… maybe that is what they see me as… Society's fear of sexuality is still ripe.
I cried and shook as I drove out, trying not to let them see my tears. Alone with no where to go and hardly any money left. (I had not worked for a few weeks before due to various circumstances so things were tight). I tried to pull myself together and find a solution. I needed to find another hotel and use the money I had just earned to pay for another room. I tried 6 other hotels but unbelievably they knew I was coming! The manager of the previous hotel had rung around and told the other hotels in town my real name and my car rego! She got my real name from my credit card. No one in town would take my booking!
What am I to do? Work from the back of my car? Get into cars with strangers? This is an example of outright prejudice and fear of sexuality. I had done nothing wrong. My client had been clean, quiet, respectful and discrete. We were not on drugs, noisy or disruptive in anyway. I felt so completely alone and shunned.
A few months later I took an opportunity to work from the same town, this time in a rented house. I rented it alone (because council regulations say that you can work from home if you are a single sex worker but cannot share the expense with another worker. If two sex workers take a lease together, the council can evict you and if you don't leave, cut off your electricity and water. A pity because clearly it is a lot safer to work in pairs… Again fear and prejudice forcing us into unsafe practices.
I was only staying for a period of 6 weeks while I was looking for a better home in another town 45mins away. I took bookings as an erotic masseur, a tantrika, sex coach, full service escort and as a dominatrix. I filtered out anyone with even a hint of disrespect in their tone and did my security checks. I had some really lovely clients. Of course not all clients are lovely to start with. They may arrive with deep set shame about their sexuality and try and hide it under bravado but really it only takes me a few minutes to break that script and create a different dynamic. Overwhelmingly though, men might talk disrespectful shit amongst their mates but when they walk through that door to see a sex worker, they are nervous and shy and in awe that that are in the presence of a real woman… With their hat metaphorically in their hand, they are easily guided into whatever experience I want to take them on. In all the years I've done sex work, I have never personally experienced any violence or had a situation that would alert the neighbours that anything out of the ordinary was happening opt disturb them in anyway.
After a few weeks, I received a phone call from someone already programmed into my phone as someone who had booked a session with me in the past but didn't show up. He rang and said that he knew what I was doing and he wanted me to leave town. He said if I didn't leave town he would letterbox the entire street, the council the local school and the local news with the information that I was running a brothel from my house. I remained calm and asked him if he would like to come over for a cup of tea and discuss what it is that I do for a living. From my perspective, he was feeling fear about what he imagined was going on… rather than what was actually going on… because if he could be a fly on my wall he wouldn't fell any fear at all. However his voice was angry and I could hear that he was shut down. Not open to hearing me at all. I explained that I really couldn't afford to leave before the six weeks were up and I had no where else to go. I had a little, old, sick dog who was on his last legs and I couldn't leave him to work out of town. I explained I'd be gone in two or three weeks anyway and that if he sitrred up fear and hate about what I was doing then he would effectively be making me homeless. I couldn't stay in a hotel with a dog!
This stranger on the phone had no mercy. He did not care. He just wanted me out of his town. I explained that I wasn't doing anything illegal but he insisted he was afraid that maybe one of my clients would knock on his door accidentally and he had children to worry about. (It turns out he was not even a neighbour).
People go stupid around sex when it comes to children. There was seriously no threat to any children whatsoever. Consenting adults are having sex right now in all your neighbours houses… all the way up and down your street… they are having kinky sex, gay sex, missionary sex, sweaty animal sex, honeymoon sex, spiritual sex, chandelier sex, anal fisting… you name it. This happens all the time. Its normal and natural and does not impact on the neighbourhood children because it is private and discrete. When money changes hands, this does not change. People's reaction around this topic is heated and volatile but it is not based on facts. It's fear and prejudice. I want to protect children as much as the next person but they are seriously not under any threat by this. Anyone come to see me is going to "get off" seeing me, not your kids. If they want kids they don't come to see me! Any your kids well not be aware that sex is happening in my house anymore than the sex that is happening all the way up and down your street right now. Or the sex you have in your own house.
Sex workers are discretely operating from homes and hotels all around the country and we look like ordinary people. Most of the time we are so discrete you wouldn't have a clue we are right under your nose. That is proof right there that what we do is not actually impacting on the people around us.
I understand evicting us if we are noisy or violent… or cause some sort of trouble. However that is not why I was being driven out of town… It was not why "GK" was evicted from her hotel room. She had stayed in that hotel 17 times perviously without the owners being aware she was a sex worker. They evicted her purely on the basis that she is a sex worker.
Hotel rooms are used for work all the time… internet conferences, travelling sales people, job interviews… it is deemed ok to work from a hotel room unless you are actually a sex worker. That my friends, is prejudice.
That man who threatened me did indeed end up letter boxing my entire street, my council, the local primary school etc. He used sensationalist language and called me a prostitute and called my home a brothel. He told everyone my address, names (plural) and phone numbers. He incited hate and fear against me. I was a single woman living on her own in a town that was horrified at my existence. No clients would come to a house that was being watched and had been virtually marked with a big red WHORE stigma. I was effectively driven out of town even though I had caused no harm and was doing nothing illegal. I was made homeless with a small dying dog and my heart breaking.
Even now I am constantly living in fear of being evicted from my own home or from hotels that I stay in when I tour interstate. It is a dark cloud constantly overhanging me. Will they notice I have a lot of towels when I use the laundry? The manager skipped a maintenance notice under my hotel door while I was in session, did they hear me? Will I be evicted? What if one of my neighbours rings up to book a session and realises I live near them and turn on me like before?
My story is not alone. In fact nearly all my whore friends tell similar stories of being evicted even though they did nothing wrong but by some chance, managers or neighbours found out what we do for a living. It forces us to hide what we do even though we don't' feel shame for it. We have to in order to protect ourselves. Workers who specialise in bringing sexual experience to those with disabilities have bee evicted. A tantrika friend I know had the a dozen people from her apartment building picket her front door in order to get her to leave. They had no idea she was a sex worker until one day she had loud sex with her boyfriend. Someone decided to investigate her further and discovered she was a sex worker and told the rest of the residents in the building. Her actual work did not effect anyone at all… It was a single incident of passion with her partner that led to her eviction… Sex workers of all genders, classes, nationalities and levels of consciousness have been evicted based soley on the fact of our occupation. This makes us unsafe and leaves us with no where to work from.
If "GK" loses her case things will become a lot worse for us. Laws that push sex work underground have been proven again and again to force sex work into the realms of criminals. Society will be creating a self fulfilling prophecy by casting us out. If you are a client of a sex worker and want to enjoy touring sexworker's company then you will be affected. If your favourite sex worker cannot get a hotel, she cannot tour. The eviction still applies even if the sex worker comes to visit you in your hotel room. Somatic sex coaches, tantrikas, escorts, and whores of all persuasions will be coloured with the same legal brush. However this really effects everyone. Do we really want it legislated that consenting adults cannot freely have sex with whoever they want in the privacy of a hotel room? Do we want it written in legal stone that sex workers don't have basic human rights? Do you want to push sex work underground and create more crime in your neighbourhood? If not in hotels, then where would you have us go? Street corners? Under a bush? In cars? If we can be evicted from hotels then that paves the way for landlords to evict us from our homes too.
GK desperately needs to raise $16,000 by Oct 1st 2102 in order to be able to continue her brave fight. If she doesn't get the money by then she will be forced to quit. We have raised over $8000 already. We can do this but we really do need your support. We are asking everyone to donate $55 but of course more of less is very welcome. If you cannot afford a cash donation then please consider standing against sex worker shame by forwarding this article to those that can or raising awareness by posting it on your Facebook profile. Please feel free to tell your own stories of eviction too. It is time that we said no to being shamed and silenced for making conscious choices about our own bodies and sexuality.
If you would like to donate the information is below. Any left over funds (she says optimistically) will be donated to Respect Qld (Sex worker support organisation). You can keep up to date with how the appeal is going here http://www.facebook.com/GKappeal
Bank: St George
Acc. Name: Crimson Coalition
Acc. No.: 483605476
if you are outside Australia
Routing Code: 021000021
Swift code: SGBLAU2S
Bank: St George
Acc. Name: Crimson Coalition
Acc. No.: 483605476
All Other Countries
Swift code: SGBLAU2S
Bank: St George
Acc. Name: Crimson Coalition
Acc. No.: 483605476