Steven Goodley "A Male Sex Workers' View" in "Sex Work and Sex Workers In Australia" 1994
I had my first boyfriend at the age of 17. I wasn’t aware of all of the intricacies of gay life or gay sex at that time, but I had known about my sexuality since I was twelve. The boy I began seeing when I was 17 and 22 and, even though we lived in the suburbs, he introduced me to a lot of other gay people. One of the gay guys I met through him was a beautiful blonde boy who occasionally worked “The Wall” and I learnt about Sydney’s hustling scene through him. After talking to him I decided that I wanted to do the same.
I wasn’t attracted so much by the amount of money that could be made. It was more to do with the fact that the money could be made easily ant that there was a certain “glamour” in being a male sex worker. It seemed to me that I could not express my sexuality in a better way: the thought of having men gloat over my body and then pay to be next to it was definitely appealing.
What prevented me from entering sex work at that stage was that I already had a well-paid job and was making far more money than any other 17-year-old I knew. Also, the idea of venturing into the inner city, a place for which the suburban lifestyle I was used to had not really prepared me, and the fact that I would have to begin a new lifestyle and become involved with people about whom I knew very little scared me enough to not even explore the possibility of doing it part time.
Nonetheless, I knew I wanted to become a male sex worker and that desire stayed with me until I finally decided to take the step and do it. I continued with my job until I was 24 and during those years I gradually became more familiar with the gay lifestyle and the inner city and Oxford Street gay scene. I then moved through a few jobs until I actually made the decision to try my hand at sex work as I had wanted for so long.
I had an argument with my boyfriend and went to stay with my mother for a couple of days. I took some gay magazines with me ant that was when I began my preparations. With a pad and a pen I systematically worked my way through all the agencies listed and called them to make appointments. When I returned home I broke the news to my boyfriend. He had worked before and he vehemently tried to discourage me from getting involved with sex work. That was the end of our relationship.
The next day I visited four agencies. The reception I received was very warm in all cases. One agency seemed to be very efficient and organised, the interview went very well, and the premises made me feel that it would be a high class place to work. When they accepted me I agreed. I took the name “Brian” and began work immediately.
When beginning in a new position there is always some uncertainty and anxiety: you ask yourself why you’re there, what’s expected of you, who are the other people around you, and whether you fit in. In the past I had always had great confidence in myself but this was different. There was no position as such: I was just there and my only way to make money came with a buzz on the door on a ring on the phone. Retainers are non-existent and I had to get clients in order to have an income. Not only what that hanging over my head but the whole situation was competitive. It was a selling game and you had to sell yourself in any way possible.
My attributes were a nice body and being naturally smooth. Some of the others had fabulous bodies and would show it in any way possible, of they had huge cocks and wore the tightest lycra shorts to show it off.
Each time I had to meet a potential client it became easier to round the corner and do the introduction but there was always a feeling of uneasiness. The thought usually ran through my mind: “Am I good enough to be here?” I felt that I was good enough but I wasn’t getting the work at first. Even regular clients who would always see the new boys didn’t take me. I finally realized that it was all to do with self-confidence and making yourself look good – selling yourself. From that point things turned around and I began to get the clients and enjoy the work.
By the time I had it all “figured out” and began to get enough work to make my being there worthwhile, I discovered that they clients were quite ordinary and human. I had always heard how the working girls were treated badly, as though they were just a “hole to fill,” were generally roughed up and called horrible names – treated as filth. That certainly was not my experience with the clients I saw. My clients certainly did not make me feel as though I was just a “hole to fill” – even if that was what they wanted they did not make me feel that way. They were usually in their late thirties to late fifties, well-dept, clean and friendly. Usually, they were married men who just needed a young man to fill a particular gap in their lives.
Overall, though, there was a broad spectrum of clients. They ranged in age from as young as 18 upwards. Some of them were men who were nor really sure of their sexual preference and just wanted to see if it was what they really wanted. Others just wanted to try sex with another man to experiment with it. And there were others again who clearly knew that their sexual preference was for men but were not brave enough to go to a gay venue such as a sauna or a gay pub. Some of these men were unsure about what to do and did not know where they could start and so they came to a working boy as a way to deal with that situation.
One young client like this used to come in during the day. He said he was about 18 but I could have believed him if he’d said he was 17 or even 16. He was very good looking with blonde hair and blue eyes. He selected me and when we went into the room he absolutely mauled me. Under the circumstances I would have thought of min as a really good sex partner and I would have taken him home without question. After the sex we talked a while and he has since been back a couple of times.
Another client who used to come to see me regularly was a man in his fifties. He was incredible for his age. He worked out in a gym and had a fantastic body of which most workers would be proud. The first time he came in was after a gay dance party. We had great sex. He told me that he was a highly respected barrister. He had been married earlier in his life and had a tribe of children. He explained that he had only married because in those days being gay was not an acceptable lifestyle, particularly for someone in his position. He had divorced his wife a few years earlier so that he could be free to live his live as he wanted. He told me that he had a fantasy of hiring me for the whole night of Mardi Gras so that he could seduce me in the middle of the dance floor, surrounded by 10,000 people.
This particular client was unusual. The most common situation is that a client will see a boy once or twice, then move on to someone else, and so on. But occasionally a client will develop a special affection for a particular worker. This client was like that: he continued to come into the agency where I worked by stayed faithful to me and, when I stopped working at that agency, he stopped coming in.
Most often, the typical client just wants affection. If he does want penetration it is usually that he wants to be penetrated by the boy. I found some difficulty coming to terms with this at first because some boys with a ten-inch dick, quite capable of penetrating clients, had lots of clients and made very good money, even though they weren’t particularly good looking. Overall, though, it is basically good looking boys who can show a lot of affection who get repeat business.
The monetary rewards for coping with being a male sex worker are not all that good compared to what working girls can make. The average boy at peak times would make between $400 and $1000 per week……
One of the most rewarding aspects of sex work is the people you meet. I have been fortunate enough to meet perhaps a couple of hundred working boys. They come from all sorts of backgrounds and have different stories. There are straight boys who work – in fact there are a surprising number of them! Some do it out of sheer desperation and last a day or two to a couple of months. Many of them are surprisingly good at their work, even if only for a short time. The experience of sex work often opens their eyes to a whole new life and they meet people they probably never would have met otherwise. A few straight boys make sex work a fairly comfortable way of earning a living and stay for several months, but they usually maintain that they are straight and manage to do that satisfactorily. For the most part these boys manage to fit into the scene and the clients would be very unlikely to realize that they were straight. There are very rarely any complaints about these boys.
However, most of the boys who are working are gay and mix in the Oxford Street gay scene, and most of the managers of the agencies are also gay. The boys in male sex work are generally openly gay…. They are usually out and about in the gay party scene. Some have other jobs but most of those working for agencies are fairly dependent on sex work, at least for a while. Typically, workers in an agency last from a few months to a year or more. They usually make the parlor a fun place to work in and usually know each other out in the gay scene. They all know people who know each other, but they do not go about telling their friends that “so-and-so is a sex worker.” Even so, no matter how much someone might want to keep it a secret, a lot of people generally know about it. Secrets like this are hard to keep on the gay scene.
On the other hand, it is usually considered that working as a sex worker involves a stigma and that people would want to keep it a secret if they were doing sex work. I have not found this to be the case as a male sex worker. I have never really felt stigmatised by other gay people as a result of my working. Except for a few who try to keep certain nocturnal activities a secret, it’s no big deal to be known as a male sex worker. While secrets may be hard to keep in the gay scene, the scene itself is protective of sex workers thanks to the simple fact that most people do not mind what someone else does. This makes being a sex worker a viable career in the gay scene.
|A male sex worker’s view by Steven Goodley|
This excert is taken from Chapter 6 of “Sex Work and Sex Workers In Australia” by Perkins and Lovejoy, UNSW Press, 1994, pp 126 - 131
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