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Client Control

Author: Jason Chatwin, Scarlet Alliance Male Spokesperson 2006 - 2007

SAFETY & NEGOTIATION

Basically everything we can talk about regarding how we conduct our sex work relates back to Safety & Negotiation. Even if negotiation may influence the appearance of our personal safety, it’s about taking charge and leading the experience, and importantly, setting the boundaries and limitations that denotes our status as experts in our field. The concepts of Safety & Negotiation can completely by-pass a client who is only thinking of his dick and getting off. Have any workers out there been met with a clients stunned confusion over why we may ask (or politely demand!) an unblocked number so you will give out your address? Even though some of our strategies are effectively to ensure our time isn’t wasted with no-shows or going to an address that doesn’t exist, the extent of utilising safety strategies are far reaching. The crucial element of Safety & Negotiation is having the confidence to broach these issues in the first place and to resist any persuasion by the client to negotiate something in their favour. What used to simply be called standing your ground is today showcased as a set of survival skills that highlight the importance of effectively communicating the rationale behind the strategies you have incorporated into your working life. Your personal safety is not worth the compromise!

Oral Sex

Spit or swallow, condom or not, bit of a lick or a full on deep throat, ultimately the question remains- how safe is oral sex? Yes, there is a low risk of picking up HIV from receptive oral sex and there are some documented cases of HIV transmission via this route, however, the focus on HIV has overshadowed the other nasties that also can be picked up from unprotected oral sex. Pharyngeal (oral) Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia are apparently on the rise and are often asymptomatic-meaning the bug won’t make your mucous membranes (the skin lining) of your throat produce symptoms. A sore throat and swollen lymph nodes (commonly referred to as ‘glands’) under the side of your jaw would be the top symptoms. It’s a good idea to have your throat swabbed every time you get your health checks done. Sometimes you have to request a throat swab- especially at your local GP. Your sex worker friendly Sexual Health Clinic should provide a complete set of tests, including throat swabs, especially if you are partaking in oral sex without condoms- work related or not.

Drug Use

For sex workers who do use drugs it would only be an occupational issue while working. Any recreational use is just that – recreational. So, if you are using drugs while working, there may be issues to consider around how being drug affected may influence your ability to negotiate your services and maintain your boundaries. Other issues may be your response to a clients request to either use drugs with them or accepting drugs as payment for the service. As long you don’t feel you are being ripped off, and hopefully aren’t having your situation taken advantage of, good luck to you! Some clients offer drugs that have a smaller ‘cost price’ value to them compared to the ‘retail’ value to you. Is a $30 ‘retail’ value of a point of meth that may have only cost the client $10 really worth a $200 service? It all depends on how you perceive the offer at that time. If the offer works for you, accept it, and if it doesn’t – say no! .............Sex workers are not the only people in the world who use drugs. However, sex workers have long been stigmatised with assumption they must be drug users – especially street-based sex workers, simply as a result of their occupational choice. This notion, unfortunately, sits comfortably with the media who will perpetuate this tired old damaging stereotype simply to sell papers - which is as insulting as it is incorrect. No other industry workforce is subjected to aspersions that rely on assumed victim hood and addiction to legitimise an uneducated viewpoint that the general population will genuinely believe. Media tales of the woe and despair of drug use in the sex industry that gain public ire or disgust are often used to further political agendas which do not do sex workers any favours. Public sympathy for any genuine cases is notable by its absence.

Male Rape

No one ever deserves to be raped. Unfortunately there are some ignorant and harshly judgmental thoughts out there in the public arena that distinguish the horrific experience of sex workers as victims of sexual assault separate to that of non-sex workers. Male sexual assault is the dark horse of male health issues. More and more men are reporting incidences of sexual assault and rape, but still the majority of incidences remain unreported. It is commonly acknowledged that rape is about the perpetrators power and control over the victim and is not an indication of sexual orientation, however, the effect is to disempower the victim and fill them with shame, guilt and fear. No matter when the assault took place, it is never too late to talk to someone about your experience. Trained Sexual Assault Counselors are available to assist with helping you to become a survivor rather than a victim. It’s absolutely okay to seek help.

Sex Work and HIV

In Australia, to date, there has not been one recorded case of HIV transmission in any sex industry setting. Regardless of the varying legislative frameworks across Australia that criminalise, decriminalise or (overly) regulate the sex industry, safe sex education campaigns are still getting through to sex workers. Although, it may be seen to be insulting to a sex workers basic intelligence to say that the only way they can achieve any level of sexual health knowledge is through an education campaign or materials. Especially considering that gay men have been heavily targeted for HIV education since the early 90’s. Sex workers have long been held as the hero’s of safe sex education being unofficial Sex Educators often to the hardest to reach population groups that are named in official HIV/STI Strategies. Although now, increasingly, as more gay men contract HIV, there are also more sex workers with HIV working in the sex industry. There is enough anecdotal evidence that there are men entering the sex industry post HIV+ diagnosis. It seems that sex workers aren’t getting HIV through sex work; they’re getting sex work through HIV! Positive workers offering services to positive clients and positive clients seeking positive workers- how logical! Status does not equal risk.

Safety

Handy Hints

Handbooks

“Let’s make a resource for new workers”, seems to be the cry of just about any organisation that has had anything to do with providing support to sex workers- worldwide. Instead of reinventing the wheel, here is a selection of handbooks that all offer sensible and practical advice outlining the do’s and don’ts and in’s and out’s of starting out in the sex industry. It could even be useful for a seasoned worker to peruse because as much as you may be very experienced it could be surprising what information may be found of use- especially when considering working in a different sector of the industry. Although much of this information may be seen as basic, or even common sense, reading something that describes how you already operate, or strategies you use- can be a great reinforcement that acts as a checklist for the finer points of what is essentially running a small business- however casual you may see your sex work. For what ever purpose working in the sex industry plays in your life, you may surprise yourself at some of the information out there regarding the ‘basics’.

Scarlet Men Disclaimer, August 2007

The materials archived and showcased on these pages promote important male sex work peer education materials from Australia and the world, written primarily by male sex workers. Amazing, dedicated and skilled male whores have documented thoughts, interactions and knowledge to share with you. Scarlet Alliance does not own the copyright to any of the works contained herein - copyright remains with the original authors. If you are an author wish to update, contribute, edit or remove a piece from this site, please contact Scarlet Alliance at info@scarletalliance.org.au with Scarlet Men in the subject.