Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Ashley Madison Hack - A Sex Worker's Perspective

Guest Post by Carmen Shakti

The recent Ashley Madison hack that resulted in users of the website’s private data being made public has had broad repercussions.

There have been at least two reported suicides in the aftermath. 

Conversations are happening about monogamy, cheating, and the complex realities of long-term relationships. 

Of course, the anti-sex moralizers are painting people who use the infidelity website with the same demonizing, one-dimensional brush that they use to paint the clients of sex-workers: Dirtbags! Cheating scum!

When I started working as an escort five years ago, I learned intimately how complex the realities of monogamy, infidelity and sexual and emotional expression can be. 

Many of the men who hired me were indeed married, family men. They were kind and treated me with decency and respect. Some of them shared some of the inner workings of their marriages with me. 

The stories were many and varied. Some had active, healthy sex lives with their life partners, but the partner was not interested in indulging a particular kink or fetish and gave them the green light to look elsewhere, discreetly, for fulfillment of that wish. 

Others had relationships with their wives that had become more akin to roommates and co-parents; they stayed for the sake of the children and the friendship with their wives, but still desired sexual expression with another person.

Last week, I had a session with a new client. After the sex was over, during pillow talk, he told me that he was married with children. He said that his wife had lost interest in sex, and he was still very sexual. He told me that he lives by a code: as long as it doesn’t interfere with his family life or hurt anyone, he gives himself permission to pursue discreet sexual experiences. 

I told him that I respected that, and I meant it.

In our culture, the idea of "happily ever after" is so deeply ingrained that we have trouble reconciling it with the realities of relationships and human nature. Not everyone can lead a completely authentic life, and for many, the brief interludes they arrange with sex workers or other discontented married folks via sites like Ashley Madison are an important release valve for pent up frustration and tension. 

These connections can be loving, intimate, and nourishing to the spirit. We could gain so much by accepting these relationships and acknowledging their value. Of course, honesty is preferable to sneaking around, but not everyone is in a situation where they can be completely honest.

When I began my career as a sex worker, I was not out to my family. Now I am out to most of the people in my life. In short, I live as openly as I can safely. 

My landlord does not know, and I write about sex work under my stage name, but I am up-front with most of the people in my life about my work. 

This has largely made my life easier, although I have also suffered for it. I have lost friends that were dear to me because they could not accept my profession, and I had a long-term lover leave me in part because he could not handle my profession. That was devastating, but I preferred it over lying to the people I love.

I acknowledge that my ability to be out is a position of privilege in many ways. I do not have children to think about, so I can speak a bit more openly about my experiences. I have a partner who accepts me completely and respects the work I do. 

I am, by choice, free of the shackles of respectability, inhabiting a place in the counter-culture where I can be my authentic self. Not everyone has that luxury. 

The touch and affection-starved wife and mother working in a conservative profession wanting to get her needs met without tearing her family apart. The husband caring for his chronically ill wife who is unable to have sex with him due to her illness. He still loves her, but craves sexual intimacy. Are these people wrong for taking care of themselves as well as taking care of everyone else?

Humans have never been a monogamous species. We as individuals are capable of monogamy, but it is not always easy, and it is not serving us to place monogamy on a pedestal. 

After becoming a sex worker, I changed my approach to relationships. Now, my requirements of my significant other are: be honest with me, play safe and take care of your sexual health, and make me your first priority over other potential sexual playmates. 

We would be healthier as a culture if we accepted sexual diversity and the different connections we can make in our lifetimes, but we will have to overcome many generations of self-hate and sexual shame to get there.


About the Author

Carmen Shakti is a Vancouver sex worker. She combines escorting with massage, Tantra and Taoist sexual yoga. She is also an artist and activist. She is currently collaborating on The Hooker Monologues, a theatre project that addresses stories and issues within the sex industry.

TNT Presents the BoobaPalooza Fundraiser Calendar "Rides and Dames"


The BoobaPalooza Fundraiser Calendar "Rides and Dames" is now available for purchase!


Proceeds will go to a Nanaimo tattoo artist who suffered a violent attack with a machete on July 1, 2015 suffering a brain injury and devastating the family financially.

This project could not have been possible without the donated time and skillz of Alluring Artists photographer Ritchie (who did most of the work on this project by far). Cars and location were arranged by Annie Temple's brother T.J. Sugars. Models all donated their time and sexiness to make this project a success. See how many you can recognize.

A HUGE, SINCERE THANK YOU to Ritchie, T.J., all the car and bike owners, and models who came together one fateful day in May and kicked ass at creating a super hot calendar.


There are two date versions available:

September 2015 to August 2016

2016 – 12 Month (January to December)


Thank you for your support. We hope you enjoy our sexy calendar. Previews of all the months are available at the links.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Trade Secrets - Managing Clients

Post reproduced from Trade Secrets: Health and Safety in the Sex Industry which was published in BC, Canada in 2009. All advice given in these posts comes from sex industry workers who shared their experience and knowledge for this guide.

The Naked Truth will occasionally feature one section from the guide. This week's post is from Chapter Three: Our Clients.

Note from Trina: If any of the information you see is outdated, please comment below or send me an email so that I can correct the information.

Treat Your Clients Well

“The type of customer we get depends on where we meet them. If we are on the Internet in a higher paying site, we meet that customer. If we are under a dark bridge at four in the morning, we meet that customer. If you have an attitude like you’re going to rip off a customer or are being a bitch, the customer will reflect that attitude. We are also in their space; our energy can change the mood.”

The following tips will help you promote safe and healthy experiences with your clients, and protect other sex industry workers as well. These tips come from many sex industry workers - choose the ones that work for you.

  • Be honest and upfront from the beginning. Let them know you aren’t looking for trouble.
  • Treat customers with the same respect you would like to be treated with.
  • Don’t rip off customers.
  • Do not lie about yourself (weight, hair colour, non-smoker, etc). Overt false advertising makes customers mad - sometimes bringing them to act violently towards their next service provider.
  • Do not steal from their home. If you want more money, raise your rates and learn new skills to provide a better service.
  • With Domination, you hear a lot of crazy requests. Try to be as non-judgemental as possible, but feel comfortable in asserting your boundaries.
  • Be careful when attempting to expand your services. If you change your mind after you’ve tried to offer something new (Greek, etc), you could get assaulted as many clients hate to be refused once in session.
  • Treat each customer the same regardless of how you feel about him or her personally.
  • Understand that the way you treat a client will have a ripple effect on the next sex industry worker and so on. Watch each other’s backs.
  • Perform what you have negotiated.
  • Treat them like people. You're a customer service professional, your job is to provide a person with a service, not look down on him for seeking the service.
  • Respect your client’s right to privacy.
  • Engaging in fun conversation is part of the territory. This can include some personal topics and questions. Whenever you talk about something personal, be sure to include a non-intrusive comment such as “…if you don’t mind my asking”.
  • Be nice to the nice ones. If they are mean, end the session immediately.
  • Agree on a price, time, location, etc and stick to it. They don’t like surprises any more than we do.
  • Don’t humiliate them (unless that’s a part of the agreement).
  • Don’t leave marks (unless that’s a part of the agreement).
  • Always remember – you’re in charge. That means the work is on your terms and on your time. Don’t compromise your values or your safety. For example, if you have set a limit at no contact, or no GFE (Girl Friend Experience), don’t let the customer convince you to change your mind in the middle of your session.
  • Maintain healthy boundaries – they are a client, not your boyfriend or girlfriend. Respect that they have a life outside of you.
  • Do not treat clients with contempt because of their appearance, their age, their race, their penis size, or the length of time it took them to reach orgasm.
  • If you treat clients well with all your heart, they can feel it.
  • Know your own personal boundaries and communicate these clearly to your customers. Do not let customers persuade you to go beyond the boundaries you have set for yourself. Do not let other workers' personal boundaries influence your own behaviour.
  • Do an interview to find out his interests or if he has disabilities (joint problems) before the session starts and let him know your protocol – meaning how you will behave.
  • Make sure your client has a safe word or hand movement if gagged.
  • Be personable. Sometimes they want to talk.
  • Don’t clock watch.
  • Be conscious of the cultural traditions of your clients, when possible.
  • Treat your client with honesty as far as what is consistent with the entertainment and fantasy aspects of the service.
  • Do not call them tricks or marks or other demeaning terms.

Seduction Techniques

Sex industry work is all about selling a product. The more pleasant, engaging, and attractive you are, the more likely the customer will come back. Here is some useful advice from Trade Secrets contributors for attracting and keeping customers:

  • Look at what other workers are doing, and try to improve it in a low cost way. Make yourself unique, but don’t spend a ton of money doing it.
  • Eye contact is an amazing trick with customers. If they feel that you are dancing strictly for them, the money pours out.
  • Utilize what works for you, find your niche and you’ll be able to work it.
  • Confidence is one of the biggest techniques. Know you are ‘the shit’ (exactly what they’re looking for) and they will think so too.
  • Treat them like they are lovers that you chose and that you’re privileged to be with.
  • If you work in your home, make sure the place is clean and that the room you work in has everything you might need (towels, lube, condoms, music, lighting, toys etc.)
  • Keep notes on your repeat clients so that you can express appropriate interest in them as people.
  • Smile.
  • Provide excellent services and be patient with clients.
  • Tease, tease, tease …keep them wanting more!
  • If you take off your clothes, take a long time undressing, doing it slowly and seductively.
  • If you are a contact sex worker, engage in lots of foreplay.
  • If you massage, give oral, etc, use your breath on their skin.
  • Lots of “looky no touchy” works well to turn them on and keep them squirming.
  • Learn about YOUR body and what angles, clothes, lighting, expressions, and poses, look good on YOU. Practice in front of a mirror, camera or a friend to get all your looks just right.
  • Develop your own style. What do you specialize in? What sets you apart from your colleagues?
  • Ask your customer what he/she wants. Take the time to find their special turn-ons. Everyone is different.
  • Really listen to their words and body language. They’ll appreciate you for this on more levels than just sexually.
  • Be knowledgeable about current news and events.
  • Dance like everyone watching is important.
  • Be professional, learn pole tricks and sexy moves.
  • Monitor your alcohol intake.
  • Get some super sexy photos for your ads.
  • Keep a spreadsheet with info about clients so you can remember details about their lives.
  • Keep a positive attitude and provide excellent customer service.
  • Make the clients worship you!
  • Have impeccable posture, exude confidence, don’t be defensive or ever feel the need to explain yourself, and walk and move very slowly and deliberately.

Conflicts with Clients


“All of the conflicts were arguments over what sexual services I would not offer, and also because I refused to give out personal information (phone number, email, etc) or meet my clients outside of work.”

“I created a ‘fictional life’ for my companion persona. I always use those stories. If excessive questions are asked, I usually say, “Why are you asking?” I keep turning the questions back on people who ask questions.”

Conflicts with customers are inevitable, as they are in any service industry. Some customers will pester you for services you don’t offer, try to talk you down from your price, or try to control you in some other way.

If you show up to a date and your booking person misguided him about your appearance, you are about to experience a conflict. If a guy from front row yells obscenities during your first song, you are about to experience a conflict.

Learn to anticipate potential conflict so you are ready to respond quickly and decisively.

You can also reduce conflicts for other workers. Remember that it is not necessary to return the slander a customer spews out. There is a sex industry worker coming after you who may receive the blunt of it.

If you work in more than one area of the sex industry, try to keep them separate. For instance, don’t offer hand jobs under the guise of exotic dancing. Or if you do, ensure the men understand not to expect that of other exotic dancers.

If you find yourself in a conflict with a client and you are having trouble getting control of the situation, ask the client to stop the behaviour in question. If you work in an establishment with security, have the client removed. If you are working alone and the client is drunk or abusive, end the session and leave immediately.

Be very alert as to how you are treated. If you can see that a customer is trying to disrespect you or demean you, end the session and leave immediately. Say, “I am unable to proceed with this appointment.” If you work for an agency, request not to see that person again. Network with other sex workers to inform each other of “bad dates.”

Web cam work frequently results in being verbally abused online. The free chat option allows haters unlimited access to sex industry workers. The best thing to do is to ignore them and stay smiling. Nicer clients will surely come to your defense, or would rather book a show.

Don't waste your time with the jerkasses. And, make sure you can debrief with someone, as verbal abuse against sex workers is a hate crime and can be very demoralizing.


Talking to Customers

The way we talk to clients is very important and can impact our experiences. Some sex workers try not to say “no” or use words that make the client feel judged, thereby avoiding conflicts that stem from a client’s guilt or shame. For example, instead of saying “no” to anal intercourse, they will say something hot and cliché like “I want to feel your cock in my pussy.”

Figure out what services you’re comfortable with and make sure you know how to communicate this in an assertive, but non-aggressive way.

Clients don’t like hearing “no” or seeing that a worker is uncomfortable or tense. It creates stress, and stress between a worker and a client can lead to violence. Try to firmly lead the client to a comfortable service experience.

Of course, it doesn’t always work since for some clients, conflict is what they are actually seeking.


Drugs and Alcohol

Working with clients while they are high on drugs or alcohol can be very challenging. Many sex industry workers refuse to work with clients who are intoxicated. In some areas, such as liquor-licensed strip clubs, you don’t have much choice.

Managing someone who is drunk or high takes a lot of patience and a sense of humour. Behaving in a caring but firm manner will sometimes work. However, if the client is clearly out of control, your best bet is to hightail it out of there pronto.

If a client comes to you with coke-dick, try to suggest something other than intercourse, such as a hand job. Make jokes like, “Maybe you shouldn’t have done that last line.” Say it playfully, especially if he’s trying to blame you as the reason he isn’t hard.


What Your Clients Want You to Know

“Have a good show. Variety and originality are good. Be clean. Be attractive. Have fun or act like you’re enjoying yourself. Comedy is a must. Talk to patrons. Circulate the crowd. Come back again. Maybe the patron just wasn’t ready.”

Customers want you to know:

  • They like comedy and personality.
  • Body language is very important.
  • Clients like you to communicate your limits and expectations.
  • Good clients want you to enjoy your experience too.

Surprisingly, most customers would rather pass on business advice to you than tell you how to do your job. 

Clients advise you to save your money, create a future, and don’t waste money on drinking or drugs. Keep your appointments. And remember that repeat business is good.


About Trade Secrets 

Trade Secrets is a collaborative project that was contributed to by diverse members of the sex industry and their community.

About the Project

Who Contributed?

Some of this information may be outdated. Please feel free to comment below the relevant posts with information you'd like to add or update. Your help is appreciated.

Thank you for your commitment to supporting health and safety in the sex industry.

In Solidarity,

Trina Ricketts (Annie)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Massage Girl Musings – Pheromones and Ulterior Motives

My basket of supplies includes unscented lotion,
unscented coconut oil, colloidal silver (disinfectant),
a cloth for wiping my hands, and my business cards.
Guest Post by Little Red

I thought the novelty might wear off. All this rubbing on people and loving it.

Alas, this must be my calling because I can't get enough of giving neck and back massages to music.

This is me when a sexy song comes on: I frantically look for someone to touch. Who will be next? Please?

The manager of the club told me that I am my own best promotion, because it looks like I'm enjoying myself so much that the other guys in the club are like, “I want to try that.”

I told him, it's because I am enjoying myself. I continue to build up a regular customer base. Why are men (and dancers) coming back for more and more? Because it is an intimate, caring experience with another human being. I think it helps too that I'm kind of cute.

I feel men of all ages and sizes as they melt under my touch. Some flex their muscles when I run my hands over them, letting me know they are strong. Some direct me to places on their necks or backs that need the most attention. I do my best, but I can't help it when I get into the zone and my massage goes where my hands take me instead – usually the shoulders, chest, neck.

The people who can't enjoy my massage are like me. Jaded. Walls up. Some of them may be able to relax when it is sex, I wouldn't know. But they cannot relax in a strip club with a strange girl working her voodoo magic on them.

My love energy is a promise they aren't ready to accept.

I totally get it, having had multiple love energy promises made to me during my work shifts. Touch is one way, fellas. Hands to yourself. The domme in me thinks of ways to punish you.

I hate it when guys cross the line by grabbing my ass. It wrecks the moment for me. I have nothing but good feelings toward my customers, until they touch me. Then I get pissed.

Surprisingly, this has not happened a lot. It turns out the worst offenders are mostly men I've known for 20+ years from when I was a stripper working the circuit. Naughty fuckers.

The DJ tells me that if a guy touches me, that's serious and I should tell the bouncer immediately. HA! I would lose some of my best customers. No, it appears I will have to handle this problem myself. Now, where did I put that whip?

Several men have told me how they don't normally come into the club or that they stopped in on a whim; that it must be destiny to find me because they needed my touch so much. I tell them I'm glad it makes them feel good. I tell them that it makes me feel good too, because it's true. 

Finally, I am getting the intimacy I need without having to fuck anyone or be their “one true love.”

Although it's true that my soul is fed when I touch others in a caring way, I don't think I experience it the same way as my customers. They are lubed up with beer or liquor, like putty after getting a love energy treatment from a kind, smiling chick in a tight skirt. 

The way they look at me, with smoldering eyes, halfway into a massage; the desire I sense in them to get to know me (this woman with the magic hands); the way they groan when I put my arms around them in a “hug-like” chest rub...this is intimacy they have been starving for.

I get it. I'm starving too.

I'm not a complete robot. I feel a connection to each person I touch, regardless of gender or appearance. But I am not as affected by the experience we share as they are. Likely because I am the one doing the touching, rather than being touched. Also, we can't discount the jaded bitch part of me lurking behind my amicable exterior.

Like every rule, there is an exception. You know those people that you have sexual chemistry with? You have no idea how it got there or why it picked someone completely wrong for you, but it's there and it's strong.

I sometimes massage men whose pheromones must be mixing with mine unbeknownst to us. Those are my favourite massages. They may also be my undoing because they are like a drug. It takes a lot of my willpower not to harass my sexual soulmates to buy another massage.

Should I feel bad for using them this way? Selling massages to them when my intentions are more ulterior? I want to feel that special feeling you get when you touch someone with the right chemistry connection. I want to feel it in a safe zone, where it will lead neither to sex nor love.

The men who have been the most bad for me in my life were the ones I had the most sexual chemistry with. They are like an addiction that no one ever talks about. Fuckers.

I am constantly amazed at the epiphanies I experience doing this work. How much I needed to touch people. How touching people is healing me. How relieved I am to find a way to get my intimacy needs met without feeling obligated to date or have sex. To sum it up, how fucked up I am.

Don't worry, it's all good. Two weeks into my new job, and I couldn't be happier.

A sexy song is playing on the radio...Need to be touched, anyone?


Posts in this series:
Musings of a Mindful Massage Girl
Massage Girl Musings - Pheromones and Ulterior Motives

Trade Secrets - Screening Customers

Post reproduced from Trade Secrets: Health and Safety in the Sex Industry which was published in BC, Canada in 2009. All advice given in these posts comes from sex industry workers who shared their experience and knowledge for this guide.

The Naked Truth will occasionally feature one section from the guide. This week's post is from Chapter Three: Our Clients.

Note from Trina: If any of the information you see is outdated, please comment below or send me an email so that I can correct the information.


Screening Customers

“Anyone who does not want to use condoms or other protection, those who try to get a deal, and anyone who gets mad at YOU because THEY can’t get it up... Stay away!”

There are many ways to screen customers. Here are some tips from sex industry workers across Canada:


By phone:

When you are first learning to screen customers over the phone, you may book a lot of undesirables or no-shows. But over time, you will find it easier to be a good judge of character over the phone.
  • Don’t make appointments with blocked/private/withheld callers. Tell them to call back from an unblocked number.
  • Question them a bit and see how the energy is.
  • Listen to their tone of voice. Is the speech slurred?
  • Does the client speak to you respectfully?
  • Typically, a good client will phone to ask a few questions and book a time. If a phone call goes longer than a couple of minutes, this is usually bogus. The caller is just looking for a chat buddy. It rarely goes further than that.

Via Internet:

  • Ask them to communicate via email and keep emails on file once you’ve made the first appointment.
  • Only reply to well-written emails that at least try to sound like they are interested in seeing you specifically and aren't just cold-calling every pro in the city to see who will give the best rate.
  • Use DateCheck www.date-check.com
  • Good clients use respectful language in their emails and are more interested in booking a time than giving long-winded speeches. They might have a few specific questions. But generally, people of quality have already researched your services and do not need extensive communication.

In person:

  • Check whether or not they are under the influence by checking for slurred speech, smell of booze, and facial expressions that would indicate intoxication.
  • Weed out the good customers from the bad based on the questions they ask prior to the service. Turn away customers who ask too many questions about why a certain service is or is not allowed.
  • Check their reaction to price to see if they can really afford it.

In General:

  • Ask exactly what they want including questions like: are you interested in gentle, romantic sex or are you wanting a hard-core banging? Sometimes these conversations will lead them to disclose more about themselves, which is useful for screening.
  • Get referrals from trustworthy people.

Remember:

  • If they want to pay you really well, it might be too good to be true.
  • Different cultures view sex industry workers in varying lights.
  • Always be on guard.
  • Intuition is a powerful personal tool. It never lets you down. So listen to it always.


About Trade Secrets
Trade Secrets is a collaborative project that was contributed to by diverse members of the sex industry and their community.

About the Project

Who Contributed?

Some of this information may be outdated. Please feel free to comment below the relevant posts with information you'd like to add or update. Your help is appreciated.

Thank you for your commitment to supporting health and safety in the sex industry.

In Solidarity,

Trina Ricketts (Annie)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Conservatives lubricate with oil-based advertising

Red Umbrella March for Sex Work Solidarity. Vancouver, June 2015
What's all this about tar sands ads, Harper? You know you can't do that. You wrote the law. Section 286.4. Knowingly advertising the services of someone else is strictly prohibited.

And you know you can't make lube from tar sands, right? It's water-base lubricants now, not petroleum jelly. Oil-base lube breaks down rubbers. We don't need any more plumbing leaks!

What do sex workers say? #BeatItHarper

Read about the Tar sands advertising scandal.

Conservatives In/Out advertising "false and misleading"

A little of the old in/out in/out, Harper? Nudge nudge. Wink wink.

You KNOW you're not allowed to advertise In/Out. It's your law! Section 286.4 makes it a crime to advertise for someone else's riding.

And what's this about false and misleading claims? Embellishing your assets, tsk tsk. Back at the Supreme Court again. You should get a room.

Read about the In/out election scandal.

Stand together with sex workers, and say: #BeatItHarper 

Vote October 19!

Musings of a Mindful Massage Girl

Guest Post by Little Red


It's my second night touching men's necks, shoulders and the top of their chests in a strip club. While they enjoy the show, I help them experience all five senses.

I do not have strong hands.

While I try to give them what they ask for when they ask for more pressure, my massages aren't very deep. I'm sure, over time, my hands will grow stronger. Then, all those tense fuckers, will hopefully be able to relax a little and feel the true value of what I'm giving them.

Despite my weak hands, I am getting repeat customers. I am making good money. Not as much as I would make if I was offering a happy ending in a private space. But, I am not offering a happy ending. I am offering loving, platonic touch. I call it mindful massage because there is a purpose to my work. I caress my customers at a deal of a price. Only $5 per song.

Mindful massage, to me, is being present in the massage. Letting my hands be a conduit of caring touch. Everyone needs to be touched in a caring way.

I am incorporating massage "hugs" into my work because I find that most men groan with pleasure just to be held for a brief moment. This may also be caused by sexual arousal, with my clothed breasts pressed against their backs while I reach around and firmly draw my hands across their upper chests.

This is what I offer. Neck massages. My customers don't get happy endings, but they may get erections. I don't ask; they don't tell.

I should have done this a long time ago. I love this work. I feel like I am receiving therapy for my own past few years without loving touch. I'm still not getting loving touch (and I'm too fucking jaded to even be ready for it - probably break down in tears for days) but I am feeling regenerated.

My walls are coming down around my heart. I'm feeling...heartbroken. That is good because it means I am starting to feel again, which is something that has been lost to me for a long time.

But it is also bad because I am carrying their pain home from the bar. I'm told I'm an angel and thanked profusely. Some of them half-think they are in love with me simply because I'm being kind and touching them with care. At home, I must find ways to release the pain of my customers so that it doesn't weigh me down.

“Everyone needs to be touched in a caring way,” I tell them. And I believe it with my whole soul. Most of us are not getting it, even if we are in relationships. My advice to my teenage daughter is to choose partners who hold her in their arms with love.

I am a voracious reader and observer of human behaviour. At the strip club, I see men who are curled in on themselves. Shoulders caving. Strong, youthful, sexy, engaging, funny men who don't feel secure enough to sit upright. And me, insufficient to the task of building them up. Their mothers, wives, and girlfriends already tried it, I hope.

Many of these men have years of insecurity against the brief moments of love and acceptance I can give them while I caress them.

I am constantly asked for more than another song. Do you offer private shows in the VIP booth? Could we go somewhere? Can I take you out sometime? Wanna leave here and fuck? How much to see you somewhere private? Can I offer you a free oil change?

I thank them and tell them no. Oh, okay, I'll take the oil change. And maybe we can go on a date sometime, but don't hold your breath, because my invisible walls are heartily constructed. I promise...I am not the one.

Some men don't want to be touched. I see them flinch away from me when I tell them why I'm there. Others prefer to pay me to touch a dancer. Dancers, with their smooth skin and narrow shoulders, are also a pleasure to massage.

I never knew how much I would enjoy touching people. Today is my day off. But there is a yearning in me to return to the bar. A yearning to touch more men. Spill my love energy into the curve of their shoulders, where they literally and metaphorically carry their burdens. Show them again, that there is salvation. There is caring touch and it heals.

It's healing me. It's helping me to open up again. I am as broken as many of the men I caress, if not more. Some have offered neck massages to me in return, but I fear I am like the flinchers. Can I sit still long enough and relax enough to receive their love energy? I don't know that I can.

But I feel, instinctively, that being the giver will break down the walls around my heart. It won't happen overnight. But it's happening now. Little by little. Each time I pour myself into a mindful massage, I open myself to give and the open door lets a little light in.

I need some light in the darkness of my soul. Things I've suffered in the past few years are things I would never wish on anyone. Not even my ex-husband. I spent so much time forcing myself to be strong. Forcing myself to go on. Forcing myself to smile through pain and pretending to be well. I guess we all have our trials.

Imagine if we could receive caring touch at those most painful and vulnerable moments? Imagine if we could give and receive loving touch when we've hit rock bottom?

Of course, were this foolishly-hoped-for ideology to be the case, business would suffer for sex industry workers. Loving touch is what many of us are here for. We also offer compassion, discretion, and the chance to speak the words that are hidden in the souls of our customers.

If you are a sex worker, you likely know how it feels to watch a grown man cry or hold him in your arms while he shakes with suppressed emotion. Half of what we all need is a person to confide in. The other half is probably to be held while we cry.

Likely this is the reason that many customers hire sex industry workers just to talk. As a dancer, I was paid countless times to sit at my customer's tables and listen to them, offer caring responses, “womanly” advice. They did not want private shows. They wanted community.

I loved being a stripper. It gave me so much. I hated men before I became a stripper. (Blaming them all for the crimes of a few.) I was insecure around suit-and-tie guys. I was jealous of other women. I lived in extreme working poverty.

I don't hate men anymore. I am not intimidated by people with more money than me. I enjoy looking at other beautiful women. Stripping gave me so much. The best part was being paid to dance.

Dancing is in my soul. Maybe that's why I keep coming back.

I have returned to work in the strip clubs every time I had financial needs that weren't being met elsewhere. And I don't just mean stripping. Yes, I returned as a stage dancer after my daughter was born. I returned as a VIP dancer too many times to count. I returned as an event coordinator, a beer-store clerk, a promoter, and a customer.

(Sex industry workers are geniuses at re-inventing ourselves.)

Now, I return as a mindful massage girl. The strip clubs I've worked in are like home to me. This is me returning home. And yet, it is also me beginning a wild ride. A wild, fascinating ride where strangers perform acts of healing through physical, platonic touch in a strip club.

I heal you. You heal me. We connect like humans were designed to do. Isn't it amazing? A chance for redemption. It's just what the soul ordered.

It's what my soul ordered. I am surprised and thrilled to find a chance for healing through my work in a strip club. I hope my service will help others heal as well.

After all, I think it bears repeating that, everyone needs to be touched in a caring way. Let me touch you with my words for now.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Sex Workers' Votes Count #BeatItHarper

Sex workers' votes count!
Red Umbrella March for Sex Work Solidarity,
Vancouver, June 2015
Harper thinks #sexwork votes don't count. We say #BeatItHarper !

First of all, robocalls won't work on sex workers, Harper! Don't you know we invented call screening?

Who is going to take a call from a guy named "Pierre Poutine"?! We're not likely to believe that the polling station has been moved from the West End Community Centre to White Rock, either.

In March 2012 the Chief Elector Officer, Marc Mayrand announced that his office received over 800 complaints that alleged fraudulent calls to voters in as many as 18 ridings - telling them the polling station location for the 2011 Election had changed!

Of course the Conservative Party "absolutely and definitely" had nothing to do with it.

Here's a great timeline to refresh voters' memories:

http://www.ctvnews.ca/politics/robocalls-scandal-timeline-of-events-1.1960260

Don't know who to vote for?

Look at each party's resolution on sex work! You can find them all in this great guide, "Sex Work on the Hill," from Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform (pp. 14-17). The guide also has tips about strategic voting, and answers questions about the election process.

http://triple-x.org/pdf/SexWorkVotes.pdf

Stand together with sex workers, and say: #BeatItHarper ! Vote October 19!

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Client Who Was Ashamed of His Scars

Guest Post by Kerry Porth


Kintsugi: A Japanese art where broken pottery 
is repaired with lacquer mixed with gold, reflecting a 
philosophy that treats the broken places 
as something to celebrate, not disguise.
Sometimes I had new clients who would call a few times before they would actually book a date. 

This was common with newbies and clients who had had bad experiences in the past – usually they had been rejected at the door for reasons of race or physical appearance or they had been robbed. 

Often, these calls would make me nervous too as I was worried that they were trying to get a sense of my safety precautions in order to rob or do harm to me. 

But sometimes, I was completely surprised when I ultimately learned the real reason why they were taking their time to check me out before booking a visit.

One occasion really sticks out in my mind, and, more than 10 years later, my experience with this client continues to have a profound impact on me.

He was a young man I’ll call James. The first time he called, he told me right away that he just wanted to chat about my services and that he wouldn’t be booking me right away. These types of calls often annoyed me as they would ask increasingly more detailed questions about what services I offered as their breathing became faster and louder – in short, they were utter time-wasters!

But James didn’t sound like that. I could tell immediately that he was very nervous as his voice was shaking and he wanted to know whether I had worked with clients who were physically disfigured before. 

To be honest, this was the first time I had been asked this question and I gently asked what the nature of his disfigurement was. He explained that he had severe scars from burns and skin grafts that covered 40% of his body. 

The physical appearance of my clients had never presented a problem for me before so I told him that what actually matters to me is how my clients treat me and that they are happy with my services. James told me he would call me back the following week once his payday came and would book an appointment then.

He called back three weeks later and provided more context about his fears. He had been rejected by a sex worker and girls he was dating in the past even when he explained about his scars. I’ll be honest and say that the fact that he’d been previously rejected by a sex worker did cause me a bit of concern as I thought that his disfigurement must be fairly extreme. 

But, by this time, we had spent about 30 minutes talking during our two calls and he sounded very sweet. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and encouraged him to come and see me and promised that no matter what, I wouldn’t reject him. James still wasn’t ready to book me but called 3 days later and set up a date for that evening.

James arrived at my apartment and I was pleasantly surprised to open the door to a nice looking young man of 26. He wore a crisp dress shirt and chinos and the only mark I could see on him was what I recognized as a skin graft on his neck that disappeared under the collar of his shirt. 

I offered him a drink and he asked for water and we sat on my couch to chat. I asked him what he did for a living and we made small-talk about his job. I could see that he was very nervous still. When he made eye contact, he immediately looked away and blushed which I found completely adorable. Eventually I suggested we go to the bedroom.

Kerry Porth
Once there, I moved close to him and started to unbutton his shirt at which point he suddenly stiffened and asked if we could turn the lights out. I explained that I could dim them quite low but that I was not comfortable with full darkness for my own safety. I again assured him that he should relax and try not to worry about his body, that I would take things slow and that he could stop me at any time. Eventually, I took his shirt off.

Starting at his neck, the burn scars and skin grafts covered his shoulder and upper arm to his elbow, most of one side of his chest and all the way down across one thigh and buttock. He stared at the floor while I undressed him and started to shake. The whole time I softly told him to relax, that it would be okay.

Eventually, we were sitting naked on the bed and I could see that there were tears in his eyes. My heart ached for him. I held his hands in mine and asked him to tell me how he had been burned. 

He quietly told me that when he was 14 years old, his family home caught fire. He and his parents made it out but once on the front lawn, he realized that his 7 year old sister wasn’t with them and his parents were too overcome by smoke inhalation to go back in the house. He ran back in to save his sister by lowering her out her window to their father. Her bedroom curtains caught fire and wrapped around him as he struggled to get out the window. By this time, there were tears in my eyes.

I had no idea what those scars would feel like under my hands and against my body but I was determined to touch this young man and was surprised to find that the skin grafts and scars were velvety soft and slightly rippled. There was nothing disgusting or revolting about them at all. He was an inexperienced lover and it was over in a very short time but I broke my own rules about not kissing my clients on the mouth because I found the experience so sweet.

He continued to see me every few weeks for about 18 months. During that time he told me about dating situations where young women had reacted in terrible ways to the sight of his scars, even though he had told them why he had them. I wanted to find those girls and slap them. I encouraged him to keep trying – that one day he would find the right woman.

And then one day he did. He showed up at my door and explained that, while he would still pay me, he simply wanted to come see me one last time to say goodbye and to say thank you for, as he put it, giving him his confidence back. For convincing him that he wasn’t disgusting or disfigured. 

While I was sorry that I wouldn’t be seeing him any more – I had grown quite fond of him, you see – I was happy that he had found a woman who loved him for the hero he was, scars and all.


About the Author

Kerry Porth was born in Vancouver and completed an undergraduate degree at SFU in 1986. After years working in university administration, Kerry worked in the sex trade for four years leaving her with a lasting passion for improving the human rights of sex workers. After exiting the sex trade in 2004 and embarking on recovery from substance dependence, Kerry was the Executive Director for PACE (Providing Alternatives, Counselling & Education) Society in Vancouver's down town east side from 2006 to 2012. A passionate human rights activist, Kerry is a well-respected educator who regularly lectures at colleges and universities about the sex trade. Currently, Kerry currently works as a community developer with Living in Community, a project that addresses issues related to sex work in Vancouver and is lead researcher on an SFU project on sex work governance. She is also the chair of the board for Pivot Legal Society.

Trade Secrets - Typical Clients

Post reproduced from Trade Secrets: Health and Safety in the Sex Industry which was published in BC, Canada in 2009. All advice given in these posts comes from sex industry workers who shared their experience and knowledge for this guide.

The Naked Truth will feature one section from the guide each week. This week's post is from Chapter Three: Our Clients.

Note from Trina: If any of the information you see is outdated, please comment below or send me an email so that I can correct the information. I will also update each section on the Trade Secrets blog as I go.


Typical Clients

Although there are really no “typical” clients, just as there are no “typical” sex industry workers, there are some things we can tell you about your patrons.

You may wonder if sex industry patrons seek a range of sex industry services or if they tend to stick with one. This is very individual, however, six out of the seven clients who contributed to this project admitted to participating in more than one area of the industry.

Here are some ways that sex industry workers who contributed to this guide described their customers:

Lonely Customers – They feel lonely for whatever reason (estranged marriage, divorce, disability) and they want to spend time with beautiful, intelligent sex industry workers.

Regular Customers – They come around often and may spend a lot too.

White Knights - They want to rescue us because they think we’re in a bad situation; they need to feel like they’re helping.

Young Punks – Younger guys who treat sex industry workers poorly and behave in a vulgar manner.

Fetish Guys – They have fetishes. For example, they love feet and they want to buy your socks. Or they like to watch you lap dance their girlfriend.

Tourists – These clients go dungeon hopping all over the world trying out the different Dominas. They aren't afraid to lay some money down, and you know you are getting graded and compared on your performance.

Time-wasters – Clients who call every day, and email about their fantasies all the time, but rarely book.

An escort in Vancouver describes her clients like this:

The nice ones: These are people who are looking for intimacy and companionship. Whatever they are lacking in their personal life, they hope we will help them find it.

The mean ones: These people will be mean to anyone. It just happened to be my turn that day. Since sex industry workers are at the front lines, like firemen, policemen and businesses with access open to the public, the chances for sex industry workers to meet people who lack proper people skills are higher. The chances to meet people who direct their anger and aggression towards sex industry workers also occurs. The stigma that sex industry workers are less than human and deserve less respect due to their profession is very real.

The floaters: Sometimes a person who has a distinguished façade in the world, gets into an appointment with a sex industry worker and loses all mind of gentlemanliness. Suddenly he acts like an ape. When the sex industry worker reminds him of his actions or requests respect, the gentleman can amend himself and restrain himself. Sometimes he will stay nice. Sometimes he will switch back and forth.

About Trade Secrets

Trade Secrets is a collaborative project that was contributed to by diverse members of the sex industry and their community.

About the Project

Who Contributed?

Some of this information may be outdated. Please feel free to comment below the relevant posts and information you'd like to add or update. Your help is appreciated.

Thank you for your commitment to supporting health and safety in the sex industry.

In Solidarity,

Trina Ricketts (Annie)

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Trade Secrets - Our Coworkers

Post reproduced from Trade Secrets: Health and Safety in the Sex Industry which was published in BC, Canada in 2009. All advice given in these posts comes from sex industry workers who shared their experience and knowledge for this guide.

The Naked Truth will feature one section from the guide each week. This week's post is from Chapter Two: Our Coworkers. 

Note from Trina: If any of the information you see is outdated, please comment below or send me an email so that I can correct the information. I will also update each section on the Trade Secrets blog as I go.

Our Coworkers
This chapter focuses on managing relationships with coworkers.  The following are examples of people who work as non-sex industry workers in the sex industry:

  • Agency Owners
  • Agents
  • Bar Managers/Owners
  • Bartenders
  • Booking staff
  • Bouncers
  • Cab Drivers
  • Content Brokers
  • DJ’s
  • Drivers
  • Encoders
  • Film Editors
  • Film Producers
  • Fluffers
  • Hair Stylists
  • Make-up Artists
  • Massage Girls
  • Photographers
  • Porters
  • Production Assistants
  • Security
  • Servers
  • Shooter girls
  • Sound Techs
  • Still Camera staff
  • Video Camera staff
  • Wardrobe specialists
  • Webmasters
  • Website Owners

Note: While there are wonderful examples of co-workers in all of the listed professions, this chapter focuses on managing relationships with difficult co-workers. This is not meant to disparage the incredible co-workers we know and love in the adult entertainment industry.


Booking Staff / Phone Girls

“Sometimes it’s just not busy and there aren’t any calls, calling the office over and over won’t change that and neither will getting mad at me.”
Booking staff takes calls and answers questions from potential customers about rates and services. If a client is interested, they will take down their information – name, location, and desired time for the encounter.

They select and inform the worker of the booked engagement and arrange a driver / security for the worker. There is usually a call-in service where they check in with you to ensure your safety during the engagement.

For some entertainers, phone girls manage more than just the phone. They tell you to do your laundry, delegate chores, and book out-calls.

Make sure booking staff knows how you like to promote yourself (specs, ethnicity, services offered, and special talents). They make commission off the call so they should want repeat customers.

Ask them not to lie about you. Lying to customers makes them disappointed and sets you up for potential violence.


Drivers
Your driver might be your best bet to staying safe in this business. Be sure that you have a driver you can trust. Good drivers will help you carry your bags, walk you out to the car, be sober and polite, and watch out for you.

During outcalls, make sure the driver is alert and waiting outside for you during your whole session in case you want to leave early.

It is best to ask what the prices are for a ride before booking the driver. Many drivers have a price list depending on which area of town you are going to.

Although tipping is nice, it's not mandatory. You should tip if they are providing security though, as being security is a dangerous, high-stress job.

Be aware of people who post ads for driver services online, but just want sexual services rather than a pay out.

If you’re a dancer jamming in Winnipeg and you don’t have a choice of driver, consider renting a vehicle while you’re in town.


Exotic Dancer Agents

"One club made us waive our right to say no to the live broadcast of our shows. Every single minute of our show was taped and put on the internet at no extra cost to the bar. If you agreed to work at the bar, you agreed to give away free porn. The same bar started a lunch hour meet and greet of customers in our underwear. We had to stand around in our underwear and ask for “bikini” dances paid by the customer. This time between shows was previously our own, then they just said 'do it, or be fired'."

Working with agents can be tricky. If you don’t do what they ask, they might stop giving you work. If you do what they ask, you might regret it. If you always do what they ask, they will take advantage of you. If you never do what they ask, you will lose your bookings.

Try to keep a middle ground between doing favours and saying no. For instance, say yes to stripathons and do a show or two for charity, but say no to working at a club that requires mandatory floor time. Or vice-versa. Do what is right for you.

If the agency you’re booking through starts bumping you out of gigs, go to another agency in the meantime, or book in another province. If you can’t travel, switch to private dancing for a month or two. Don’t let them push you around. If you don’t call for a while, they’ll be glad to hear from you when you do.

Don’t assume your agent is telling the truth about a gig. Some agents will leave out details and feign ignorance or say they assumed you knew. They will also tell you one show price, then give you another (smaller) show price when it comes time for the club to pay you. If you can, see your contract early in the week. It’s not always possible in this industry, but it’s good practice.

Let your agents know about new costumes, a great tan, or any new promo. If they only see you on the phone, they may not know how good you’re looking these days. Let them know you are investing in your business.

Be professional and reliable. And don’t be afraid to ask for a raise in show price if you think you deserve it. You can set your own show price by saying no to anything below what you want. However, some of the gigs with lower show prices but higher show counts (more shows) are the best, money making gigs out there. So be a little flexible.

Agents can be used to mediate conflict between dancers and bar management, but there is usually no one that can be engaged to help work through an issue with an agent.


Hair and Make-up Professionals

Hair Stylists

It is uncommon to have hair stylists for adult film and modeling unless you purchase their services before the shoot. If you are having sex, keep your hair simple as it's going to get messy during the workday. Bring your own hairbrush and hair products to the set for fix-ups during breaks. Some places may have a hair stylist provided. It's a tax write-off. So get receipts.

Make-up artists

Look at their portfolios first. If you like their work, ask them to come in for a free or discounted trial to see how you like them. They’re usually fun to chat with before a shoot.

Some make-up takes forever to do. Try to sit still and be patient while they work. If you have your own artist and it's going to be a long day, ask the business owner if you can bring her on set for touch ups.

If the make-up artist does not stick around for the shoot, it is okay to ask her to leave a little make-up behind for touch-ups. Some adult film / modeling companies have their own make-up person they like to use. It is also a tax write-off. So get receipts.


Movie Directors / Producers

Movie Directors / Producers (and photographers) can edit content however they like. You are required to sign your rights over in order to get work and get paid.

They tell you what activities are required during the shoot, but often you won't know what the content will be used for. They can also alter photos of you to make your face look different, and you cannot change them because you signed your rights over.

Remember that you don’t have a say in how you are advertised or promoted either. They can say you are a 'Barely Legal Cum Drinking Whore', when you’re really a 28-year-old, lesbian tennis-player.

Be aware that the directors and producers decide what content they want to shoot. If you don’t want to perform that content for some reason or another, you may lose the chance to work for that movie. Stick to your guns though. If possible, specify your boundaries ahead of time.


Photographers / Cinematographers

Usually you can collaborate a bit. Tell them if you have a bad bruise somewhere. Tell them if you don’t want your face in the shot. Prepare them, for instance, if you’re a squirter. Let them know they are going to get soaked.

Communicate honestly and respectfully. If you have an idea, most camera operators are open to trying something you suggest (themes, angles, etc).

Sometimes photographers are willing to trade the shoot for the photos. They will use the photos in their portfolios online or in print. In return, you get a free photo shoot to update your promo. This is called Time for Prints (TFP).


Security

When hiring security, it is best to use a friend or someone referred to you by people you trust. Tell them what you need and find out their experience levels before hiring them.

Come up with safety plans together. Make sure you know each other’s job descriptions and duties.

On more challenging nights, tip your security. It will keep them motivated in their job.

Strip Club Bouncers

"One evening, after repeatedly asking the bouncer to throw out a rowdy customer without success, the customer finally got up and threw a full pint of beer with glass at my face! I jumped off the stage and beat this asshole with my bull whip! He left the bar and later charged me with assault. MY BAD. The club owner said that I was “on my own” and the negligent bouncer was nowhere to be found. The charge stuck and I had to pay damages."

There are lots of great bouncers out there. They seem to genuinely care about our safety and they take their jobs seriously. Others could use some training (or a good kick in the ass).

Feel free to report bad bouncers to club managers. But be aware that the manager may back him up rather than you. Use your own discretion and trust your gut.

One strategy is to tip your bouncers in advance. It reminds them that they have a job to do. And you’ll likely see a marked improvement in your own security.


Strip Club DJ’s and other staff who manage the dancers

Exotic dancers work in close contact with DJ’s. In clubs where there is no DJ, it may be the bar manager or owner, or even the bartender. But there is usually one or two people depending on the shift who are keeping track of our schedule. Head bartenders, DJ's and management have the authority to mete out fines and take other disciplinary actions (e.g. firing dancers).

A strip club DJ is actually an MC. The only traditional DJ responsibilities he has are programming dancer’s CDs and playing music between sets. Most of his job is dealing with dancers.

The DJ is responsible for announcing the performers, building up the crowd, and being on the microphone all night. It is his or her responsibility to get the dancers on and off stage on time and ensure that everyone in the line-up is doing their shows. The DJ usually deals with show changes, trades, and screw-ups. He issues fines for late shows, and keeps the running of the stage out of the manager’s hands.

If you are lucky, the DJ is fun to hang out with, supportive of having a positive atmosphere, and encourages patrons to tip you. If you are not lucky, well – you’ll have to find another way to stay positive for your shows.

If your closest coworker is on a power trip, you need to tread carefully. He can get you blacklisted by the club or agency. He can cancel shows when the club is slow if you don’t tip to his satisfaction. If you have to rebel, make sure you have a backup plan.

The DJ has the added power of controlling your lighting and music. So try to get along well with him, even if you are putting on an award-winning performance to do it. Less conflict equals better lighting.

Tipping your DJ

In B.C. and Manitoba most girls tip at the end of the week, or if they get tips on stage they'll toss a few dollars to the DJ.

In Alberta, DJs expect to be tipped after every show, and they expect around 10% of your stage tips.

In Ontario and Quebec you generally tip if you get tipped. However, the features should always tip their DJ.


Webmasters

Webmasters design how you are being promoted online. You can have a complete business relationship with a Webmaster without ever meeting him or her in person. Check out their portfolios before hiring them. You can and should Google their names to check out their work.

Webmasters are under your employ, so you must tell them exactly what text/wording you want, and only send them your favourite photos.

You really have to describe the look you’re aiming for. You determine everything from font style (the way the letters look) and colour schemes to choice of wording. You are the creator behind all of it and it all makes a difference in the clientele’s mind.

Don't pay until it is done. It is always a good idea to give gifts (wine, baking, a little money) at the end of every well-done project.

If the webmaster you hired isn’t working on things in a timely manner, find out why. Give a deadline, and if they don't make it, find someone else. Change your passwords first before breaking the deal with them, so they no longer have access to your content, and make sure they know they have no rights to your material upon submission.


Other Entertainers

Sometimes, getting along with other sex industry workers can be hard. If there is a personality conflict or you feel another entertainer is being a princess, it can get pretty tense. Competition adds to the tension.

In adult film and modeling, you often must work with other performers. Even if there is a personality clash, you still have to appear hot for each other and perform sex acts on each other.

If another worker is giving you attitude, ignore her. If she verbally attacks you, try not to return the attack but simply defend yourself. Continue to treat her with civility for the rest of the time you work together, but don’t go out of your way to befriend her.

Don’t try to make it all better or fret about it. Let it go and move on. You can’t please all of the people all of the time. And in the long run, the other workers will respect you for maintaining a professional distance regardless of the melodramatics happening around you.

With more competitive entertainers, distance yourself and refrain from disclosing much, if any, personal information.

Sometimes it is beneficial to talk it out if the other entertainer is open to it.

Quotes from Sex Industry Workers

“Sometimes when it’s a bit desperate we fight- you took my regular-you owe me money. Sometimes people even lie and say you owe them money because they know you can’t remember.” 

“For web cam, I worked at a company where the other industry workers could link onto my work computer while I was trying to lure in customers. This was unfair, as they would pretend to be customers and waste my time with a bunch of free chat that lead nowhere.”

“Sometimes a girl jumps in a car before me. I let her have it [the client]. I figure she needs it more to do that.”

“Sometimes I truly felt it was necessary to fight, both verbally and physically, to demonstrate that I wasn’t going to be bullied. Other times I ignored conflicts, in hopes that they would pass. Most conflicts didn’t last more than a few weeks. Alliances were made and broken and re-made very quickly.”

“I have interacted with other workers I have pulled dates with other workers we took care of one another it was like family. Until the drugs really hit. Then things changed. There was a shift that took place in Boys Town. It became more about drugs.”

Colleagues In Solidarity
If you get along with each other, hanging out with other entertainers can be the best part of the job. No one else understands your motivations so well. No one else is as fun, or funny, or honest as other sex industry workers.

Their jokes are the funniest because we get them all. Their stories are the most fascinating because we live such interesting lives in this industry. Their ideas are the most outrageous. Their comebacks, the most creative. Their personalities, the most charming.

Sex industry workers are pros at drawing people in, seducing clients with our personalities first. Then we are pros at making people comfortable and accepted. Our skills work on each other too. It’s a relief to be around other socially skilled people.

It’s also much easier to talk to other sex industry workers, since we don’t have to worry that something we say will be offensive or inappropriate. It’s difficult to balance such an open, direct lifestyle with the taboos of the straight world we live in. Some of us get tense in regular situations for fear of saying “the wrong thing.”

With other workers, we can talk about our ass zits, our relationships, our customers, our frustrations, whatever. And, we understand each other. Because we all have ass zits, relationships, customers, and frustrations. And we’re all busting our asses in the sex industry.

Keep the Peace

One of the best ways to get along with other sex industry workers is to keep your space small and tidy. Don’t leave your clothes or costumes lying all over the place. Don’t have your makeup spread out across the counter.

Bring your own supplies. Don’t use other people’s belongings without asking first. And don’t be late causing the schedule to get behind.

Here is how some Prince George workers are helping each other:


“We share dates and let each other go first if they need the money more. We also do duos and watch each other’s backs.”

“If one has a problem, others come running. If he’s hurting her, we’ll stop it if we can. If it is drug or pimp related, we’ll have to stand back and help the girl after.”

Advice for supporting other sex industry workers:

  • Share experiences with each other.
  • If a worker is not out of a call on time, check on her.
  • If you have a really bad experience, post a note that nobody should see him.
  • Give advice, safety tips.
  • Show new workers the ropes.
  • Try not to undercut.


Pimps

If you are being pimped in a way that is abusive or controlling or involves trafficking, and want to leave your “man” (pimp family/ trafficker), it can be difficult and dangerous.

You may have to return to work in a place where you will be found, harassed, or recaptured.

Pimps have been known to do all kinds of things to workers when the try to leave, such as:

  • Physical beatings.
  • Cutting or scarring a worker’s face.
  • Cutting a worker’s hair.
  • Holding a worker prisoner and bringing clients in for forced service.
  • Outing a worker to family and friends.
  • Stealing a worker’s clothes and possessions.
  • Waiting until a worker has made money and robbing the worker.
  • “Stripping”- Capturing a worker and removing all his or her clothes and leaving the worker somewhere public to be humiliated.You may be tempted to “choose” another pimp or pimp family when you need to leave an abusive situation. Chances are a new pimp will not help your situation and as a former rival you may be treated even worse as retribution. Also, if you “choose” too many times you will become known as “choosy” or a “Choosy Susie”.

Remember, you are a human being with rights. If you try to leave and your pimp or pimp family/ trafficker will not let you go, call the police. Abuse is illegal no matter who you are and forcible confinement is a very serious crime. The police will be able to file criminal charges, restraining orders, and ensure criminal repercussions for anyone who harms you. You may experience some discrimination from police, especially in more remote areas where police services are unfamiliar with issues affecting sex workers safety. Keep your head up and don’t let them brush you off.

Street Code dictates that any involvement of police or outside authorities by an underground community member is “ratting” or being a “rat”.

Our code of honour is a result of criminalization and is important if we are to protect ourselves from enforcement action. However, in the case of abusive pimps or people who traffic in human beings, we hereby state an exception to the “do not rat” rule.

People who operate unethical sex industry businesses and pimps who make a living abusing and exploiting workers harm our entire industry. Any person who has been exploited or abused in this manner may and should involve law enforcement or outside authorities in order to protect themselves and the public image of our industry. Only when we have successfully removed all people who harm us will we be a truly stable industry.

If you are nervous about accessing police services, contact a sex worker support agency or social services worker and ask them to accompany you to file your report. Or ask a family member or friend you trust. See the “Resources” section of this site for organizations near you.

How to leave a pimp safely

  • Call a local (or closest to your city) sex work organization to get referrals regarding shelter, food, and safe spaces.
  • Do not tell anyone your plan, as they may rat you out.
  • Create a safety plan.
  • Grab only what is essential, such as children, and act as though you are just going shopping or something that is part of your regular routine. Then go to a sex worker (or other) organization that can help you find a safe transition house.
  • From the transition house, you can phone family or friends. If you want to relocate to another city, the support workers at the safety transition house, or a sex worker organization can help you.
  • Try to remove yourself completely from anyone associated with your life during the time you were working for that pimp. If he finds you, there could be danger headed your way.
  • Surround yourself with good people while you transition into a new life; even if it is working for another sex industry business owner, or another industry altogether. Remember that women can be pimps. It’s not just men, as most are stereotyped to be. And indoor sex workers can have abusive pimps too. There are all sorts of awful agencies that are abusive, and having a bad pimp is not limited to the streets.


Drug Dealers

If you use drugs, here are some ways you can protect yourself.

  • Try not to take drugs from clients. It’s easy to become addicted when you’re always getting drugs for free. Plus, you don’t know what those drugs are cut with.
  • Buy all street drugs from drug dealers you trust.
  • You may feel that giving sexual favours in return for drugs is better than looking for a date, which could potentially be dangerous. At least you know the drug dealer and you aren’t afraid of him.
  • Or you might prefer to only use money to pay for drugs, believing that drug dealers give you more respect because you won’t trade sex for drugs.
  • It is very dangerous to accept drinks from clients. Even a bottle of water could be full of GHB. Be sure to watch the drink being poured, then keep an eye on it at all times.
  • Try to keep a distant, non-personal relationship with drug dealers so they cannot impact your life.
  • Try to use the same drug dealer consistently so you are sure of the potency of the dose you are taking.

About Trade Secrets
Trade Secrets is a collaborative project that was contributed to by diverse members of the sex industry and their community.

About the Project

Who Contributed?

Some of this information may be outdated. Please feel free to comment below the relevant posts and information you'd like to add or update. Your help is appreciated.

Thank you for your commitment to supporting health and safety in the sex industry.

In Solidarity,

Trina Ricketts (Annie)

Friday, July 10, 2015

Trade Secrets - Costumes and Supplies

Post reproduced from Trade Secrets: Health and Safety in the Sex Industry which was published in BC, Canada in 2009. All advice given in these posts comes from sex industry workers who shared their experience and knowledge for this guide.

The Naked Truth will feature one section from the guide each week. This week's post is from Chapter One: Our Workspaces.

Note from Trina: If any of the information you see is outdated, please comment below or send me an email so that I can correct the information. I will also update each section on the Trade Secrets blog as I go.

Costumes

To keep your costumes in good condition, clean them within a week of wearing them. Hang them, fold them, or roll them gently. Keep them separated in resealable bags, or on hangers. If you wear panty hose, keep extras with you in case you get runs in them.

It may be okay to clean some costumes in a washing machine on gentle cycle or in a mesh lingerie bag, but if you’re not sure, don’t take the chance. To avoid damage to your costumes, hand wash them, roll them up in dry towels to absorb excess moisture, then hang or lay flat to dry. Use light soaps, not strong detergents, to ensure durability.

Be aware that stains are often impossible to remove from PVC. So wash colours separately. And hang everything to dry. It will lengthen the life of your costumes.

An alternative would be to purchase a mini, portable washing machine. It works great for hand-washables and only costs about fifty bucks. It is also environmentally friendly, as it does not use electricity.

Shoes
Some advice for getting the most out of your shoes:

  • Use black electrical tape to hold black boots together in a pinch.
  • Use black permanent marker to mask scuff marks on black shoes.
  • Get a grip put on the bottom of your shoes at a shoe repair place if they are too slippery. This is inexpensive.

Supplies

Many agencies, bathhouses, and other sex industry businesses provide supplies such as condoms, towels, and sex toys for workers.

If you work independently or your agency does not provide supplies, this responsibility will fall to you. Supplies can get expensive, but some are available for free, if you’re willing to look around.

Look for a sex worker organization in your area. This is a good place to get free condoms, dental dams, and lubes. Needle exchanges provide free condoms and lubes, as well as needles (for safe drug use and/or needle play). Some organizations also provide alcohol swabs and latex gloves.

Professional escort services may provide fresh covers for the bed, washcloths, and towels. Some will even include several kinds of liquid soaps, shampoos, and face wash in the shower; in addition to baby wipes, hand soap, mouthwash and Dixie cups.

Sex Toys

Other supplies include work toys, such as vibrators, dildos, or strap-ons. Make sure you use condoms on your sex toys to prevent STI transmission and for general comfort. (Some cleaners may irritate skin.) Tie the loose end, if you can, to provide a complete barrier. Then change condoms every time you change partners or the area of the body you are penetrating with the toy. Use plenty of lubrication to prevent the condom from breaking.

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The best kinds of sex toys are ones that are 100% silicone. They are a little more expensive, but they last longer, they’re hypoallergenic, and they’re easy to clean. Many other toys are made out of soft, porous materials that are impossible to sterilize completely and put you at risk of infection even if you don’t share your tools. You can tell if a toy is silicone by its smell – it doesn’t have one. The smelly toys are the ones to avoid.

Cleaning Your Supplies

There are various ways to clean your supplies depending on what they are. It is always recommended to let your toys dry (preferably overnight) before using them again.

Boiling Water

Supplies made out of silicone, medical-grade stainless steel, glass, and polished stone can be boiled or put in a dishwasher.

Bleach

You can also clean supplies in a bleach and water solution (one part bleach, ten parts water) which will kill almost all viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The solution loses its effectiveness after 24 hours, so make a new solution daily.

Use this solution to clean up body fluids on a dungeon floor, bathtub or other surfaces. After using bleach, rinse with soap and water to avoid burning your skin.

Precept Tablets

For most supplies, you can put 2 precept tablets in 3 litres of hot water. Soak your tools in it for an hour before rinsing well with water.

Cleaning Metals

Use a pressure cooker for supplies made of metal. Get the water boiling for 15 minutes and add a few drops of bleach. Another method is to use rubbing alcohol and water for stainless steel and brass.

Hydrogen Peroxide for Leather
Leather items, such as whips, riding crops, and handcuffs can be cleaned with water and soap, using a bristle brush. Smooth on hydrogen peroxide, then let dry. Be sure to use a leather conditioner once the item is dry to prevent cracks and lengthen the life of your leather products.

Hydrogen Peroxide is also good for cleaning pleather and PVC.

Storage

Store your tools in clean, resealable plastic bags.


About Trade Secrets

Trade Secrets is a collaborative project that was contributed to by diverse members of the sex industry and their community.

About the Project

Who Contributed?

Some of this information may be outdated. Please feel free to comment below the relevant posts and information you'd like to add or update. Your help is appreciated.

Thank you for your commitment to supporting health and safety in the sex industry.

In Solidarity,

Trina Ricketts (Annie)