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EPISODE 26 Somebody You Love has a family

Would you be okay with YOUR daughter being a prostitute? People always want to know what our parents think of our work, because apparently that has an impact on the validity of it for some reason. Holly & Jenna share the highly personal stories of coming out to their families, how the people in their lives reacted, and what those relationships are like now. For Shit People Say Jenna tells the story of when she unexpectedly came out to her husband’s family.


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Jenna Love 0:01

Do you miss the free and affordable ads and social networks without all of the anti sex rhetoric?

Holly Harte 0:06

Assembly Four is a team of sex workers and technologists from Melbourne, Australia, aiming to bring back free and fair advertising and social spaces to the sex working community.

Jenna Love 0:15

Stepping away from the clunky design of traditional platforms, there are two products tryst dot link and Refreshing and well needed changes in both presentation and mission. And both are free to join and open to all. You can find both of our profiles on trust and I love how it is so clearly designed by sex workers.

Holly Harte 0:36

Yep. And I love how straightforward and easy it is to use and how much they clearly support the sex working community

Jenna Love 0:41

and also how responsive they are when it comes to feedback and customer service.

Holly Harte 0:46

Check out their website assembly for the word not the number for more info

Jenna Love 0:56

Welcome to somebody you love for the sale of two tidies. I'm Jenna love.

Holly Harte 1:03

And I'm Holly Harte.

Jenna Love 1:05

And we're experts in disappointing our parents breaching community guidelines and banging the people who vote against our rights.

Holly Harte 1:15

Before we begin, we'd like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we are recording, Jenna is on the land of the Darug and Gundungurra people and I am on the land of the nanowall people.

Jenna Love 1:26

We also want to acknowledge some of the privileges of our circumstances. Today we're going to be talking about families. And while I you know, I haven't heard the episode yet, but I think we're both going to share some experiences of our families not exactly loving our work and maybe things not being as smooth sailing as they could, we certainly are not in the position that a lot of sex workers are where if they were to talk about their work to their family, that they might be disowned, kicked out onto the street, even at risk of physical harm and violence. So I think that it's really important to keep in mind that while you know, I think sex workers everywhere, face some, you know, there's no sex worker anywhere that hasn't experienced any kind of discrimination and difficulties as a result of their work. But it's on a it's a big, it's a big scale, and we don't have it anywhere near as bad or as frightening as others do. So let's get into it. We thought, you know, this time of year is a time of year where people are either spending time with their families, avoiding spending time with their families, or perhaps mourning families that they don't have any more. They might be stuck across the country or the globe from because of COVID restrictions. But there's just a lot of family talk at the moment. So we thought it was about time that we did some family talk I have well, I have seen my family this Christmas, but only sort of through a window. So it's Boxing Day here in Australia. And I'm isolating because I have COVID My mum dropped off some Christmas leftovers to us on Christmas Eve. And I waved at her through our window, and my sister dropped off a present for our cat. And I saw her on our video doorbell. So that's the extent of time I've spent with my family this Christmas, but I'm kind of okay with that. I'm not a big, big Christmas person. Now I feel like the thing with sex work and our families. It is such a loaded topic. It's I reckon it's one of the top five, maybe top 10 questions that we get asked when people find out that we do sex work. It's like, what does your family think about that? Or what do your parents know? What do they think? Or often it's a lot, it's putting a lot grosser away. And they just say, Oh, I bet your Father's proud of you or something, you know, patriarchal and gross like that. And you know, it's sort of, I wonder if there are other jobs that have that same experience, I tend to think there aren't many other jobs where what your parents think of your job comes into the equation about whether your job is valid or not, or whether you should be doing it. I think it's funny when I like I used to work in the theatre and be an actor. And no one ever said to me, oh, what what do your parents think about that? And then the answer would have been my parents were incredibly proud of me. And no one ever said, Get a real job. But I was earning maybe a 10th of what I earned now. And of course, I don't think I was earning fucking nothing. No one's earning anything in the arts, you know? And that was fine. I was happy to be that way. And I don't obviously of course, I don't think that a job is valued on how much income you have, but considering our society so seems to care so much about that, considering money is valued so highly and that web, you know, we live in a really capitalistic world. It's strange to me that when working in the theatre, no one questioned what my parents thought of what I did. And the fact was they they thought I was, you know, they thought I was the bee's knees. And they were really, really proud of me, which is lovely and supportive. But I was actually deeply unhappy and couldn't pay the bills. So it wasn't all that great for me.

Holly Harte 5:29

Were you deeply unhappy? Because you couldn't pay the bills? Is that what was the contract was a big part of it. Yeah. Yeah,

Jenna Love 5:35

I think that's a huge part of it. And my experience in the arts was that there was a huge amount of disillusionment. And this is not true across the board. You know, obviously, there are people who do work in the arts, who do love their jobs, and it keeps them going. But a lot of disillusionment, a lot of like, you go into it really idealistically wanting to change the world through art. And then you realise that there's no funding, and you don't have any money. And it's actually really hard to to make meaningful change. And that's not that that's not an admirable goal. But for me, it you know, it's sort of, if you don't feel like you're making that change, and you are struggling to pay the rent, if everybody is overworked and underpaid people don't you know, they stop treating each other really well. Because no one's everyone's stressed. And, you know, it just wasn't like the nicest of environments for me. And I'm, you know, I left, I left that my real job, the job that I had trained for that I had experience in the job that I, you know, paid a whole lot of money to a university to get a degree in, I left that for a job, where I'm much happier and where I actually have a sustainable income. And yet, this is the one that people questioned me about. And I think Jesus Christ, I wanted to be an actor. Why was no one telling me that was a terrible idea. People are so keen to be really supportive if you've got like creative talents, but no one's like, keen on supporting my clitoral talents. It's just double standard.

Holly Harte 7:06

I think it can just be a really exhausting topic to discuss. Because as you said, it's it's very loaded for pretty much every sex worker out there. And it really is, I think it's probably one of the top three questions that people ask me and I totally get the fascination with it. Because as a society, we're very, I think we're becoming more progressive, and particularly towards sexuality and being sexual beings. But it's that whole thing of well, but not my kids, not my family, you know, everyone else can be whatever they want to be. But people still get really confronted when these issues arise within their family, even you know, topics of diverse sexuality and diverse gender and, and things like that is still a very different when somebody is confronted with that so close to their, their family. So I think everyone thinks that they're a bit more woke than they are. And yet, it's really disappointing that this is the the thing you have to find out when you have to go and tell your family one of those, one of those things that you feel like you are in a safe space, but then maybe there are there are other issues at play. I don't know if I'm articulating myself very well today, but it is a very what sort of a heavy not a heavy topic as in a depressing one. But it's a very serious one. Like you said, there are a lot of people who face really horrible consequences, like being cut off and physical violence and emotional abuse, over the line of work that they choose or something that makes them so happy. And that is really devastating. And you and I have both had challenges, you know, with with our work with people that we know, and, and that's painful, let alone what other people experience. So yeah, today, I think it's a heavy topic. And therefore I probably won't articulate myself during this episode as well as I might like, because it's one that you when we discuss it, it really is coming from the heart and it's something that we're really trying to express ourselves deeply, but also really sensitively and and it's probably a bit of a rule

Jenna Love 9:01

one. Yeah, definitely. I agree. 100% I don't think either of us, was really, like excited to talk about this fun topic today. But it's fun to wear, like, it is vital. Yes. The reason it's vital is that people need to know that we do have families, and that more often than not, they do love us, despite, you know, these issues we go through and they are people who care if we are hurt, or if we are treated poorly and that's something people need to know that we're human beings and we and we have loved ones. I think for me, as you know, I do a lot of advocacy and a lot of public facing stuff. And it's not uncommon for a response to that to be alright, where's this woman's mom? Where's her dad? Where's her? Where's this husband of hers? She's talking about? Why aren't they up here by her side? You know, she says they support her. But where are they? And I think fucking hell like you can't you Can't throw criticisms and insults and stigmatised language at me. And then in the same breath, ask why my loved ones don't want to be right up there receiving all of that as well. You know, like, you've answered your own question. I see it all the time, people are always like, Oh, sure, your husband's cool with it. If he was really okay with it, he'd have his face out. And it's like, sorry, like, you don't get to throw, you know, this nastiness towards me. And then pretend that there's no stigma about being, you know, the husband of somebody who's a sex worker, or the parent of somebody and, and it's just this expectation that like, in order for our work to be okay, and for us to, to demand equal human rights, that our families have to be out there crusading alongside with us, like they didn't choose to do this work, I do expect my parents to support me and to love me and respect me. But they didn't choose to do this. My parents are in their 70s. Like they, they don't need to, you know, have people hurling abuse at them. I've chosen to put myself out there like that. But the expectation is just I don't know, it's just a bit ridiculous. So this, this pressure of, well, what is your family think? That's it? Well, first of all, what does your family think of you? Because if you were my son or daughter, and you, you know, throwing insults at people and and thinking that that people are less than because of their reproductive organs, or because of the work they decide to do, I'd be really fucking disappointed. You know, being a judge. I think that my parents Yeah, yeah. And I think that my parents know that I don't do that. And I think that they actually really quite proud of me for that. So fuck you.

Holly Harte 11:50

Imagine how disappointing it is to put all of your heart and soul into raising a human being who then belittles and puts down other people like that would be the greatest disappointment for me as a parent is having a child who is has no empathy or who's cruel to people.

Jenna Love 12:07

Exactly. Yeah. So Holly, do you want to tell us so you have spoken on the show before about being outed by an ex to your money trying to tell us a bit we try to say so tell us your story.

Holly Harte 12:21

I don't really know where to begin or where to end. But I'll just throw what comes to mind at you. Sorry, I've got a cat's tail caught in my headphone there. So a long, long time ago, I've been in and out of sex work. Since I was 18. I've been fascinated by sex work since I was 15. As we sort of discussed before, that's not a thing you feel like you can talk about, particularly as a teenager, I thought, God this is a manifestation of mental illness that people are not going to be impressed if I tell them, I want to have sex for money. I want to fuck strangers. So that's definitely something I never talked about. I was promiscuous. I did have a reputation for being promiscuous. But I just didn't talk about these things. Particularly not with my mother, obviously. Yeah. So I look, I think the first time I mentioned anything about the sex industry was when I became a stripper. And that's because I went into it very face out and very out about it. And that was not something I considered, I just didn't really think of it as an option I just did. And she was incredibly disappointed by me being a strip of my I was used for a bit of the advertising that we had on Facebook and stuff at the time. And yeah, she was just really disappointed that people knew and that people could say it. And I remember she said to me, but what if your brother wants to go to the strip club, and now he can't go because you work there. So that was a really strange

Jenna Love 13:46

Oh, it is hard for men as men.

Holly Harte 13:49

Yeah, you know, okay.

Unknown Speaker 13:53

You can go to another one. That's not an injustice. That has blown my

Holly Harte 14:01

welcome to my life. So, so that was very contentious at the time. And I remember I had moved back home with her around that time. And then I felt I had to move out because she just constantly slammed me about it. Like there was just nonstop criticism about what I was doing. And you know, I don't want to do this episode as wanted to slam my mother, particularly because who knows, one day she might find it and I really don't want to go through that drama. But I also think this is my experience, and it's honest, and it's valid. And yeah, it wasn't really good. So look, I ended up stopping dancing after however long and moved into doing strip club management and you know, bartending and then on to some management of the club, and that was a little bit more valid in her eyes. She was, you know, really happy that I was no longer getting my kid off. And then I moved over to doing Can

Jenna Love 14:54

I ask, yeah, you said, you know, she was like upset that you're in the advertising and that sort of stuff. Do you think? Or did she articulate whether her concern was more you doing that work, or people knowing you were doing that work? The concern

Holly Harte 15:08

at the time, it wasn't really discussed, but it felt a lot more like it was about, about people knowing about it being visible, that she did sort of say, Oh, well, what if you want to have another job down the track. So look, at the time, I felt the criticisms were reasonable. But also, I didn't give a fuck, I was quite happy with my choices. And I think at the time, I just didn't care. I suppose as the bottom line, I was really, suddenly, for the first time in a long time, incredibly empowered. I was getting financially on track where I'd struggled for some time, I'd been in a really shitty, possibly abusive relationship for a couple of years, depending on how you define abuse. It's that dark, I don't know, I shouldn't be chuckling at that. But it's the truth. But it's the truth. I don't know shit, we could call the psychologist in for this episode, because they pull it threads. But I'd had a really bad relationship for yet a few years before that. And so finally, I was liberated, I was owning myself, my body, I was doing something that made me feel great. Surrounded by like minded peers, who validated me, guys who were in awe of me, instead of putting me down all the time. Everything just felt great. So I just sort of didn't really give a fuck what my mother was saying. I got tired of the arguments for sure. But I didn't, didn't let it get to me. So then I went to do reception in a brothel, which I really, I really enjoyed. I loved being around sex workers. And my mother knew I was doing that. And whether or not look, it's the oldest excuse in the book, I work at a brothel, but I'm just the receptionist in something that like, every hookah says to people, like, I'm just the receptionist. I literally was just the receptionist. But I'd been you know, I've explained in the episode where I ramble about myself the whole time, that I had done a few little bits and pieces in brothels over the years. And I just felt like, kept feeling like I was being called by it. Like that was what made me really happy. Anyway, I'm not telling the whole life story again. But this is you know, how my mother sort of took it. So when I went back to a brothel again, I didn't tell her, ah, God, you know, I had a million cover stories, like we've discussed before, I had a million different cover stories. And once I realised that this is what I really wanted, the pressure of covering up all the time is exhausting, like constantly having to have a cover story and let people ask you, you know, how's this going at work, and how's this person and you have to lie was just so draining, I moved back home with her again at another point. And then I started working privately from hotels. So I would have to when she was at work, bring home all the washing and hanging out on the line. And then if she came home early from her job, I'd have to run out and quickly pull the stall the drop sheets off the light, because why would why was I washing six sets of black sheets. And it just like, I feel like, look, parents aren't as stupid as we like to think they are. Sometimes I'm pretty sure she knew what was going on for a long time. But I think she was very much in denial. So eventually, I just I thought, I just can't, I can't lie anymore. I'm tired of it. I'm tired of this. And this was sometime after I had moved into my own place and was working privately. I sat down with her and I said, Look, I really want to talk to you about something. And I just dropped the bomb. And I said, Well, I've been doing sex work. It makes me really happy, and much more comfortable financially. And this is what I want to do forever, potentially. And I know that you're not comfortable with it. But this is my choice. And I'm an adult, and this is the decision that I've made for myself. And she just looked so crushed. And she was like, Well, I guess if that's what you want to do, and wouldn't speak to me after that she gave me like the silent treatment. So I just picked up my stuff and went home. And then for another week or two, she didn't really talk to me. So in the years that have followed that she has slightly become more tolerant of what I do. But there is a massive amount of humiliation on her part that anyone should find out. She's terrified that that people around her will know and that they will judge her. She wants me to move into state to do it. She said she doesn't want me to be phased out. This is why a lot of my my clients and followers online will know that I haven't been phased out until recently because yeah, it was just too humiliating for her. And I've gotten to the point where I'm What am I 32 years old, and I can't live my whole life worried about if my mom's friends judge her because I'm a whore. I love being a whore. I'm proud of what I do. I have a great impact. You

Jenna Love 19:29

know what your mom's friends are gonna judge her for her parenting, no matter what. Yeah, people that have kids, they judge people who have I mean, fuck, I don't have kids and I judge people who have kids on how they do it. Like people like you know, she that if they're going to judge her on that or judge you on that. They're going to judge her or you on something.

Holly Harte 19:49

Yeah, I think it's valid to have concerns for your child about their safety, or about their privacy and those sorts of things are fair and I understand a parent being reluctant for sex work. Because to really bear their souls or to make themselves incredibly public for those reasons, but I also think when you see your child be genuinely happy, or the happiest they've been for their entire life, comfortable, successful, you know, I don't just mean financially successful, but successful in that they're providing something to people, that is great for their customers that are clients that makes them also feel really good inside, that they're creating something valuable for society. And, and all of those things that that should be more important than does Judy, think my daughter's a horror? And is she, you know, looking at me different because of that, you know, so that's, that's sort of my experience with it. So, so yeah, my mother is disappointed by my choice of work. That's concrete. And it's mostly because she's embarrassed. And that's really sad. I can't I can't say what, like if I was a mother, but I think I think if I were a mother, I wouldn't be embarrassed of my child for anything that they do that is love filled with love and, and good intent. But some people, I don't know, maybe it's just a generational thing. Maybe that generation in particular, no, my mom's close family have a real thing about hiding, like, our generation is so big on being open and on honour destigmatizing, these sorts of issues, by presenting them and making them really public. Whereas that generation really dealt with their problems, I think by all right, even problems, but dealt with these things by just keeping them silent and putting them in closets. And that's, yeah, maybe the generational difference. Like my mom is incredibly progressive and very left in every single thing. And I think we're her daughter, not a sex worker, she'd be very sex worker supportive. But the fact that I am is really embarrassing for her. And it's really hard for her to make peace with. And she doesn't tell her friends, and we can't tell her family. And there's always this fear for her that somebody will find something of me around, or that somebody will know somebody that knows. And that's just something she's gonna have to live with. And I feel a bit callous to say it that way. But this is my life. I'm an adult, I'm happy. And I'm not going to continue to sacrifice my happiness or to stifle who I am, because she might be a bit embarrassed about it. That's really, that's just fucked up. Honestly, I've been rambling about myself for ages, but I'm just going to throw in here. My father died about seven years ago. Him and my mother weren't together. But my dad was always super supportive of absolutely everything I did. I think it was easier for him in a way because he wasn't around for most of my life. And we really only got to know each other when I was 18 onwards. So it only gave us so much as like a daughter as more of just like me became sort of mates. But aside from that, in general, my dad was incredibly liberal, like he was such a nudist, a hippie, he was incredibly, you know, he was bisexual, he was incredibly sexually active and wild. And look, you think, Oh, God, your daughter shouldn't know those things. But hey, I know those things about my dad. And I'm happy, I'm happy that he had a really fucking awesome life while he was alive. And he explored all those things that he wanted to do. And, and there was no shame in it. He, I mean, look, he wasn't out I think he as well was trying to protect his parents, but he was who he wanted to be. He didn't apologise to anyone for living the way he wanted to, you know, he look that may have been what drove him to an early grave, because he didn't take care of himself as well as he could have. But he lived his life. And that's, I think something aspirational is to be who you are authentically. If that's the life you wanted to lead, then great. That's like, what regrets could you ever have? I'm sure he did have regrets. But yeah, I'm really happy about that. So I've mentioned to a few people, I've told the story that he knew I was a strip club. He was incredibly proud of it. He used to tell everyone that showed them my photos. At his funeral, a few people came up to me and were like, oh my god, he was so proud of you. He told us all about how you were a stripper and how he thought it was

Holly Harte 23:58

just all this stuff that was just people might find it weird, but I just found it incredibly supportive, that he just saw me as an adult and, and just back to me. And he said something to me, you know, when we first reconnected and it was like, every parent wants their child to have security in their life. But I also think that the best thing you can do in life is be true to yourself. And I think life is about exploring, and I hope that you get to do that in your life. So I always sort of keep that in mind. And, you know, I read that out at his funeral. And, yeah, so not long before he died. I wasn't out about sex work, but sometimes he'd call me and he'd be like, Oh, where are you at the moment I was like, at the brothel, and he never asked anymore, but thinking you and I told him at the time that I really wanted to open a brothel. And that was my goal. And he was really excited about it. He thought it was really cool. So it's just a really interesting thing that I always felt really like, I could be myself with my dad and he thought it was fucking awesome. And honestly, if he was alive today, he'd probably be fucking following me on Twitter, looking at my tweets saying the most embarrassing things and it would be so So it would be actually like the opposite of, of like the both both bad parents in different ways. But the intention would be that he just wanted to back me in every way and to tell me that I was a star no matter what I was on the middle.

Jenna Love 25:14

But that's just it, isn't it? Yeah, like a parent, they say, oh, Do your parents support you? And if we say no, they go up? Well, yes. It's because you're a terrible hole. If we say yes, then they go, Oh, what the fuck is wrong with that? Why are they you know, are they? Are they perverts? You know, like, you can't wait, and you really can't win, you can't win. So, similarly to you, Holly, like, you know, I was lying for a while. And it's that thing where, you know, as human beings, when we lie about something, you know, the idea behind lying is that you don't want somebody to know the truth. And that wasn't the case. For me. I didn't want people to not know the truth. And then what and I think this, I think a lot of I have spoken to a lot of sex workers who feel exactly the same. There is no shame about our work. We love what we're doing. No one's not sorry, not no one. But a lot of sex workers are not lying. Because they don't want people to know, they're lying, because they know what comes with that. And that was just it. And I knew that my parents would struggle with it. Because I think a part of it is generational, obviously, sex work has been around a long fuckin time. But, you know, their generation didn't really, I think they were pretty oblivious to a lot of a lot of people in that generation were kind of oblivious to it. And it probably was, you know, the working conditions and the the risks to your life and stuff. Probably were a lot worse back then. Because, you know, we had fewer rights as sex workers and as women. And you know, I think that that's all important to keep in mind when we're talking to different generations about this sort of stuff. But it just got to the point where I was like, Oh, my God, like I am, I've never been so happy. I have found what brings me joy. And, you know, I'm so proud of the work that I do, I think I do a really good job, I work fucking hard. And I'm really proud of what I'm doing. And I've never felt this sense of pride in a job that I've done for income I have in volunteering, but never in work, you know. And, you know, so my parents used to own a retail business, which I grew up working in, so on and off, since I was like a tween, I would often work there and whatever. And it got to the point, I think, what we realised later, my husband and I was that other people in our lives, thought that I wasn't like, I didn't really have a cover story. So people just kind of thought I wasn't really working, or that I was just doing odd jobs here and there, because I always did have little jobs on top of the sex work. So I think people thought that I just wasn't really earning much at all. And people were always offering me all these jobs. And I was always finding it so fucking stressful, because I was trying to juggle all of this stuff, trying to do these jobs where I was being paid 20 bucks an hour, in between my you know, $1,000 for two hour job. And I was like, this sucks. I'm not being paid very well. And I've just got a lot of stuff I'd rather be doing right now for much better income. But I thought all this pressure to juggle it all. And it was just, it just got too much. Yeah. And my parents would often be like, you can come and work at the shop, you can you know, and I was like, Oh, God, like doing retail for $20 an hour. What an opportunity. And I thought I would go and work there because they could do with the staffing and like, whatever, it was fine. But I was like, this is just a bit ridiculous. And then I had started touring and I was travelling and mum was like, Where are you going? And and I just started saying things like, Look, you don't want to know, because I was not that interested in like, lying or coming up with a cover story. I just be like, ah, it is not in your interests. Did you say that line of questioning. Wow. That you know that really concerned? Well, that concerned. You know, that obviously, like set off alarm bells in her head and whatever. Understandably so. And I'm going to a lot of my story is going to revolve around my mom, because I don't communicate all that much with other members of my family. My dad and I, I think have a wonderful relationship. But he's a really quiet person. He doesn't he just doesn't talk much. He's a massive introvert. So it's not that there's anything negative between us, but we just don't. Most of our conversation kind of goes through my mom. I don't know families, man. They're fucking weird. And then my sister and I have a long and complicated relationship. So that's a whole other story. But so when I when I'm talking about my mom, it's really my mum and dad. They're really a unit. But anyway, and eventually I think my mom sent me an email being like, okay, like, seriously what's going on? And I was like, Alright, okay, well, you've asked And so I sent her an email back. And it was probably a bit rude of me, but I was like, fuck it he go. And I told her I was a sex worker. I told her I was polyamorous and that I had other partners like I told her that I was most likely pansexual, I probably I don't think I would have used that word because there Burma's I probably would have said, I'm bi or I've dated women. I just kind of laid it all out. I was like, here's what's going on in my life, which Yeah, again, like I felt immense guilt about having done that, throwing that on them. But then I also was like, well, like, what am I supposed to do like that? Those are all the facts. So if you want to know them, then here and you can choose to do with that information, what you want. And you know, things were really strained for a little while,

Holly Harte 30:43

did she discuss that specifics with you at all. So this is the thing

Jenna Love 30:46

for a long time, my mom didn't want to talk in person about any of it, because she thought that we would just get into arguments, which is not an unfounded belief. Because that definitely probably is what would have happened. So fair enough. But as a result, it mostly happened through emails and text messages. And because she didn't want to sit down and have a conversation with me about it, or me and my husband, even, you know, we couldn't actually dispel all these myths, and all this stuff that we talked about on the show. And so she had a really, her view of what I was doing, was what she saw in the movies, and we've talked about that the media portrayal of sex work is so off base, it's not it's wildly inaccurate, and, and not representative. So as a result, she had these, you know, kind of fucked up views and really stigmatised views on things through no fault of her own. But, you know, there's a whole bunch of things that she so wrote to me in that time, that were really incredibly deeply hurtful for me and really upsetting. And, like, and not intentionally, so like she said, you know, she would say, Please, like she was trying to understand, and she was trying to open up this dialogue in the way that she could. And it all came from a place of love and of trying to process it. But because of the way society is about sex work, and about polyamory, or, or non monogamy, which, arguably, I think she had more of an issue with at times than the sex work. Some of the stuff she said was just so like, I feel like I'll never get it out of my head, like something she she said a couple of times, was that she lies awake at night, imagining waiting for the phone call that they've found my body in a ditch somewhere. And it's like, Okay, well that like, that sounds really awful. Like, I'm really sorry, you're going through that. But the reason you're going through that is because you won't have a conversation with me and learn that that's actually not based in evidence or fact. And part of me goes also, yeah, you gave birth to a person who has 2x chromosomes. So you might get that call one day. And that's not like, my Korea has nothing to do with that. Yeah. Like that is yes. Sucks. You had daughters, but that's not my fault, like, and then there was a lot. I mean, it was really interesting. And I think it's, at the time, there was about a two year period where I kind of regretted it. I regretted telling them I was like, life would have been so much easier, had I not. But at the same time, life was it was just getting ridiculous. I'm

Holly Harte 33:28

lying. I'm the same, I think stupid. My mom probably didn't really want to know, I think she probably would be happier if she never knew. But God to come up with lies to cover everything. And it just it's just not. Yeah, and

Jenna Love 33:40

I wasn't lying. I was just like, avoiding not giving. Not very good. I'm fucking I don't like to lie. And you know, and I think a lot of so many sex workers have spoken to have gone. I hate lie in, you know, I think sex work. People who are attracted to this work are often very authentic, empathetic, people who love to connect with others, like they are not the kind of people who want to be sneaking around concocting a whole story. Yeah, yeah. They were it was it was really quite interesting. Like it, I think taught us both a lot about each other that we didn't know before. Like, one of the conversations was she she could not understand why anybody would pay for sex, why somebody would hire a sex worker. And I, you know, I was like, why? And when you've worked in the industry, you're like, Oh, my God. I mean, there's millions of reasons. And it's so common, but to her, it's not common to her view at that point, I believe. It seemed as though she thought the only people who paid for sex were men who were cheating on their wives. And so that was a big issue for her. You know, and I was like, okay, like valid that does happen. I don't know why that's my problem. Like if you have an issue with people cheating, then go have an issue with people who cheat I don't know why I'm involved in this equation, you know, and it's sort of it gets tied up in that. It's like, well, you have an open relationship. And it's like, exactly. There's no cheating going on. So why are you coming to me for this, like, go to the people who are clinging to this idea of monogamy, and fucking someone else every weekend? Like, I'm not the problem here. I look, I know, there are people who think that we facilitate cheating, whatever, that is a whole conversation for another day. But I just thought it was kind of odd. And you know, I said to her like, and by that point, I think I've said this on the show before, when I first started working, and was only working through review forums, 90% of my clients, I would say, were married and cheating. Once I left that arena, and was more, you know, seen by a broader spectrum of people, I think it's less than 50% of my clients, I would say, a cheating. And so but then she was like, Well, why else would somebody pay for it? You know, and of course, I talked about, you know, there are people with disabilities and people who have a really hard time meeting people and all of that. That's, that's one aspect of it. But the other one is, there's a lot of single lonely people in the world, and she could not believe so her view of of our generation, and the following generation was that everyone was just fucking everywhere, that we were so fucking liberated, that people were just going out to nightclubs fucking on the dance floor, going to another nightclub fucking someone else. Like she she just like, I was like, sorry, did you mistake this with the 70? It's like, that's what might, which I know, is inaccurate. But that's my view of the 70s. You know, I'm like, Babe, that was your era. That's what you were doing, which she obviously was not.

Holly Harte 36:44

But I think I think that perspective is shared by a lot of lonely people as well. I think a lot of the people who are those lonely singles, and forgive me if I'm saying what if I'm killing what you're about to say. But I think there are a lot of people out there who are very lonely singles, who think everyone else is out there fucking and getting it. And they're the only ones who aren't. And they, then they come to see us with an incredible amount of shame. And they feel like they have to explain themselves, like they have to justify coming to see us. And really, it's actually more widespread. And it's this whole thing you hear about that the internet actually makes us further apart, they're closer together, because we do get to connect, and there are a lot of those those circumstances. But it also makes a lot of people feel much more alone and more isolated. So yeah, I guess, you know, it's a strange view that she had. But it's also shared by a lot of the people who she is confused about, which makes that really, really quite, I don't know, is that he gets this some,

Jenna Love 37:39

I can see now where that belief came from, because she was like, everyone's so open and liberated, you're always talking about sex. And, you know, it all used to be behind closed doors, but it's now just out there for everyone to see. And, and yeah, everyone's on Tinder. And people are just, you know, they've got so many different partners. And, and I was like, That's not what's happening. Like, that's actually not what I see in my circles at all. Maybe in some circles shore, but actually datings really, really hard. And, you know, when I said and particularly for men, it can be really, really difficult to, to get physical intimacy. Absolutely. And, and she didn't believe me, you know, she was like, well, they just need to go out. You know, look, I'm totally putting words in her mouth. And if she's listening, I'm sorry, I love you. But I got this impression that she was like, Well, I've just got to go to the diner and buy a girl a drink. Do your I mean, like, I was like, it's so like that mom, like, people can't. It's not like, you know, she got married at 16. Yeah, like, it's not like that. And, and people people do not have intimacy on tap. I think that's a really common misconception of our sort of Western society. People think that it's just, you know, and yeah, as you said, you're right. The the single people think that too, and it's not the case, because there are so many who are single and, and also the people in relationships, half of them can't get the intimacy either. Yeah, very good point. Yeah. So that way, you know, that was it. There was yeah, interesting conversations like that. Then there were things were, like, at one point, she, oh, a couple of times, she said things like, I just don't, I don't know you anymore, or you're not the person I raised or you know, things like that. And I was like, What do you mean, like you and dad, like, Oh, my mom particularly raised me to be open minded, non judgmental, empathetic, loving, sensitive, to be body positive and sex positive. And my dad raised me as a scientist, he raised me to be evidence based and to look at the facts and to make up my mind for myself and not go along with what society tells me just because it's how things have always been done. And I was like, So what part of that is not being reflected in who I am? Because that describes me to a fucking tee and that's exactly What I'm doing, and they said the same, you know, they said we don't we don't feel like we know you or Mr. Love anymore. And we were like, we're exactly the same people. Yeah, it's just that I've been doing a job that you haven't like that were the same. And if

Holly Harte 40:13

anything, the line of work, when you actually examine what is involved in the work reflects those values far more, but but the problem is a lot of people perceive that the job is literally you know, us in a room with seven CoCs poking us in every single hole that could possibly be poked in. I mean, I wish Yeah, well, it's very, very up your alley. And then I don't know somebody slaps us on the face and somebody throws some money on our titties and walks out of the room. I don't know, if what you know, and the cigarette smoke in the air and we're wearing fishnets and we're, you know, I don't know. That's, I

Unknown Speaker 40:49

think, really fishnet stats, I

Holly Harte 40:50

think, what's what's in their head. Rather than that there's a significant amount of our bookings, where we're not actually even having sex with somebody, there's a significant amount of time in our bookings, where we're holding somebody, there's a lot of just chatting to someone and being seen and being held and heard by them, and vice versa, that really demonstrates all those beautiful qualities that they try to raise us with. So, and again, I think my mother, you know, I'm not here to slam her, but I think she also raised me with wonderful values, so that, you know, that's a really redeeming part of, of how she raised me. And that's what I put into practice every day with my clients is being raw and vulnerable and loving and authentic and just full of love. It's just giving them all the love I have to give, and really enjoying feeling that love given back to me like that is so fucking pure. And just because sometimes they rub the inside of my vagina with their penis doesn't invalidate that at all. I think it's it's really sad how that generation somehow seems to have find that sex or sexuality can remove all of the value from from a relationship or, you know, so for example, their relationship with you and Mr. Love to think that because you might see other people that somehow that that's just removed, your core, your ethics and your morals as a person is, you know, yes. Strange. Yeah.

Jenna Love 42:13

And that we and yeah, that everything that they had seen for so many years of us being madly in love with each other and, and inseparable. I mean, obviously, we are separable because of the times when I am having sex with other people who's not still around

Holly Harte 42:27

last to the wall on Oh, he's not home. Sorry.

Jenna Love 42:29

Yeah. But you know, all of that stuff is still there. That's all still real. My mum used to and she does today, again, I think talk about how, when we look at it, she sees us looking at each other, and she just sees the love in our eyes, you know, all that kind of gross, mushy shit. That was still there that like so you. So it's sort of like you saw that, and you're hearing these things. So it doesn't that make you go, wow, well, this must be working well, then. But there's this, you know, there's all this stuff.

Holly Harte 42:59

As you said, it's an evidence based thing. And they're those feelings of well, there's a problem is based on emotion and stigma. But when you look at you guys, and you see that compatibility, that's evidence that things are great. And I've said to you before, that I hate most of my friends, partners, I think they're all shit. I think that they are terrible partners for them. And I just am constantly thinking they are way too good for that loser. It's like, sorry, to any of my friends who have partners that are listening. I hate your boyfriend. But I probably don't. But maybe I do. But yeah, you know, I think Mr. Love is incredibly wonderful and particularly incredibly wonderful for you. I think you can see the compatibility between you two. So to remove all of that beauty and that magic, because yeah, maybe occasionally get it on with other people. Oh, like, that just seems so strange to me. So strange.

Jenna Love 43:52

Yeah. And I don't like and then again, another conversation and I don't want to shit on monogamy. But then you then come into question of? Well, I do want to show monogamy. But well, no. As I said before, monogamy is fine as an option, as long as it's an option. And that because then you start to go, Well, maybe if this relationship with people are constantly talking about how, like, we'll go into shops to like buy carpet or whatever. And the shop assistants will comment on how like in love we are. And we're like, oh, that's we were just standing here like we're not making out or anything like I don't know what it is. But people sense the thing between us. Maybe all of these things that isn't happening despite me being a sex worker or us being in an open relationship may having other partners. Maybe that's happening because of it, or alongside it at least. So but I think the silver lining for my story is that we've come a long way from that. That was a few years ago. And what Look, I don't know I haven't asked them. I don't really want to ask them whether they would prefer me to be doing another line of work. They probably would, I don't know, they I don't think, I don't think they love that. I'm a sex worker. But now they do tell their friends and stuff, they are open about,

Holly Harte 45:10

oh my god slowly,

Jenna Love 45:11

it's been a slow process of them kind of coming out. And, you know, two years ago for Christmas, my parents bought me a, a painting like a canvas, wall hanging thing of a red umbrella, which for anyone who is unfamiliar, is the symbol for sex worker rights. And that is now hanging in my work room. So any of my clients who have seen that, that's, that's what that is. And that, to me like that, that was a massive turning point. And that really shocked me. We hadn't really spoken in person about it. And we haven't, which is just so my family to not actually have a conversation, but to do this massive gesture where you go, Oh, okay, so is this. Like, I took that to mean that they were okay with it, at the very least, and that they supported me and my choices and trusted my choices. It was incredibly emotional for me. I opened it and was, I don't know if I've ever cried that hard. The other people Mr. Loves laughing thinking about it. The other people in the room, were just like, oh my god, is she okay? Like I was sobbing. I could not speak it just like it was. It was huge. It meant it meant the world because it was this giant gesture, where after a few years of things being really like, where I didn't know where I stood with my parents, and I didn't know if they thought I thought they thought I was kind of a piece of shit. And then it was this gesture that said, it didn't I don't know, it said it said everything that needed to be said. And we didn't talk about it again that day. Like I was like, we are not having a conversation now. Like, this is so emotional. I just was like, thank you. I don't even know if I said thank you, like, no comedic, no proper communication. But um, but it was a clear sign, you know, and then since then, you know, my mum, every time I see her asks how stuff's going with Scarlet Alliance. And you know, because she's been involved in a lot of organising and committees and stuff in her life. So she understands a little bit about that side of things. And like Annika, she knows it's important to me. My parents listened to the show. So hopefully, I think now many years later, we are having those conversations that it probably would have been really beneficial for us to have had back then. But maybe we weren't ready for them then or we're still not really having the conversations. They're just listening to me habit. Again, my family's communication style. Not very direct.

Holly Harte 47:41

But something isn't it? That's you.

Unknown Speaker 47:43

It's something Yeah,

Holly Harte 47:45

yeah. I mean, my mother doesn't even know this podcast exists because I know she will have a mental breakdown. When if and when she finds out. So So where are we now? That's a that's a hard question. I think she she recognises that my my clients are wonderful people. She has met one or two of them for very

Jenna Love 48:05

Wow, okay. My mom has not met any of my clients. That's a whole other level. Some

Holly Harte 48:09

of mine work in professions that have been useful to her and I have said well, okay, this client that and she's, you know, and and she's, I think that's really humanised them to some extent. I think she's gone. Oh, wow. He's actually a really lovely guy. And he's like a human being. And it's removed some of that weird, fantasising. I think the parents do from her from her imagination. But generally, yeah, I think she hates what I do. She would be terrified still, If anyone finds out. And so we try not to talk about it. And if I do ever talk about

Unknown Speaker 48:42

it half. Yeah, it's such a big part of your life, isn't it? It is.

Holly Harte 48:46

Yeah. If I do ever talk about it, you know, and so I'd had the best week at work. And I saw some other people and, you know, obviously, I'm not going fact in the, you know, not being vulgar. But she you know, she sort of pulls a face and goes quiet. And, and that's where we are. So and that's still better than a lot of people have it. I suppose. So.

Jenna Love 49:06

Yeah. Yeah. Mr. Love has been using manscaped products for a few years now. And he swears by them. He's been using the lawn mower 3.0. And also, sometimes I steal it from his bathroom, and I use it too. I'd say Don't tell him but he's editing this podcast. And yes, despite the name, the product itself is actually gender neutral. And

Holly Harte 49:35

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Jenna Love 49:57

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Holly Harte 50:29

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Jenna Love 50:58

get 20% off and free shipping with the code That's 20% Off with free and use the code somebody heat up your sex life with manscaped. Okay, how should people say for this week is a story from kind of when I came out to family a little bit which I thought would be relevant. So this is actually where I kind of accidentally came out to my husband's family not accidentally, but unexpectedly, yeah, unexpectedly came out to my husband's family. And like I was mentioning before about the the kind of income thing, we think that his family was actually quite relieved when they found out because something that hadn't occurred to us was that they had thought for years that I had just been mooching off him basically, like they were like Jenna doesn't seem to have a job or like yeah, and they and like now that I look at it, I'm like, oh my god, they fully thought I was just taking advantage of this son. He's working hard every day. And I was just like, not really bringing in any income. And like that was so not the case. I was like, Oh my God, what? No, I work really fucking hard. So that's an unintended negative of if you don't come up with a cover story, then people just think you're a bum. But so I think because as a result of Yeah, the way it was like his family, we didn't talk about my work. So the opportunity to explain that actually, as a sex worker, hadn't really come up. And I think because of that view that it you know, I think people kind of thought I was a bit of a bum. They didn't bring it up, when we would have family gatherings and stuff. They didn't say, oh, so what are you doing now? Because I think they thought they were just like, oh, we just want to talk about that, or whatever. I don't know. So it just didn't really come up. So I'd been out for a little while. But it had never come up with his family. And I just never, I don't know, we never thought to bring it up. So we were at this gathering at his mom's house. And there's a whole bunch of people there. And so I think there was some of his Auntie's there, his brother and sister and their partner, partners, and, and there was this like, family friend, I don't even remember what her connection was. Anyway, she was a friend of his mom's. And she was American, which I think is relevant to the conversation, because in my view, it was a very, like, stereotypical interaction with an American, which I know is not indicative of interactions with all Americans, of course, but a lot of the time, I think from the Ozzie perspective, Americans can come across as like, quite loud and quiet in your face and quite very, like direct, whereas Aussies, we tend to be a bit more like, oh, let's just tiptoe around it a little bit. And we use euphemisms, and we did whatever. Whereas Americans are just like, they come across as quite full one. It's not necessarily a bad thing. But that is, that's the perception a lot of the time. So we were like, across the room from each other. And there was like people in between us. And she was asking my husband about his work. And he was answering, but so she was kind of yelling across, which was a bit weird and awkward. And then she was like, Jana, what do you do? And I was like, Oh, I work for myself. And she was like, oh, what industry? Sorry, I'm accents terrible. And I was like, Ah, I don't even remember the exact things I said, but I think I was like, Oh, I work in the adult industry. And because she was kind of yelling across like, by that point, everyone had kind of tuned into the conversation. And there was this whole room full of my husband's family who didn't know what I did. And there's this loud American yelling at me asking me what I do and I was like, Oh, shit, like we made this promise that we were gonna be honest about it. So Here it is. And she was like, What do you mean? And I was like, Oh, well, I'm a sex worker. And she was like,

Jenna Love 55:11

Oh my God, no, seriously, what do you do at work? You know? And I was like, Oh, I, um, I'm like, I'm a sex worker. And she was like, Oh, come on. I'm just asking you what you do for work. You know, I honestly, I'm probably getting all the dialogue completely wrong. Because it, my body went into kind of shock. It was just such an intense situation. And I was like, I have, I mean, I have I have sex with people. That's what I do for work. You know, she was like, That's not legal. And I was like, Oh, actually, no, it well, it's decriminalised in New South Wales, you know? And she was like, Oh, come on, you know, and I think at one point, I was like, Okay, I deal drugs. Like I like, I don't know what you want me, you know, and she just would not believe me. And one of my husband's arms was like, she's making things up. And I was like, Oh, okay. I'm not, I don't like, I don't know why you would make this up, because it actually kind of sucks to go through these experiences all the time. But no, like, that's what I do for work, you know? And she was like, Well, what do you pay tax? Because I don't know, Americans are so fucking obsessed with hookers paying taxes ever. And I was like, yeah, yeah, I, I have an ABN. And that's the Australian Business Number. And, yep, I, you know, I pay my taxes. And it was just, it was such an uncomfortable situation. And I really felt for, there are some members of my husband's family who I'm really close to and who I really like. And I felt really bad that they were finding out that way. And I can't I think I glanced at them a couple of times, and was like, sorry, these are the facts. And they I could see in their eyes. Like they were like, No, we believe you. Like it's fine. Anyway, I ended up being like, I think we should go cuz it just was this back and forth. And you know, she was like, I'll go you don't have to go. And I was like, No, I I do. I'm really uncomfortable. And it was just like, and that that's probably the only arguably negative experience I've had coming out. And I wouldn't even say it was negative. Like she wasn't being nasty about it. She was like she genuinely was just absolutely shocked. could not comprehend it. I have to imagine an element of that was the different cultures, like no one I've told in Australia has been that kind of shocked. Like, people have just been like, oh, yeah, that's a thing. But she was like, that's not a thing. And I was like, No, it is a thing. It's, it's definitely a thing, baby. You know, and my husband's mum was there and she's elderly. And I was like, Oh, God. It was just, and you know, and I, my husband, I went outside to kind of, like, my heart was pounding I felt so I don't know, exposed and vulnerable. And oh, it was like, it was just Yeah. But anyway, as I said, she wasn't, she didn't do anything wrong. It was just a really intense experience. So that's the story of how I came out to my husband's family. And they found out that I was not actually just leeching off their son slash Brother. Little follow up to that actually, later that night, we received a call from his sister, I don't think his sister was there. And she was like, Oh, mom just told me about Jenna. And she was like, I think that's awesome. And she said, apparently, you know, his mum was really worried about the safety stuff, which is exactly what you'd expect. And I don't begrudge anyone who who thinks about that stuff. So she said, Yeah, his mom was worried about my safety and, and she was like, oh, it's not like that anymore. Mom, they've got you know, they're independent women these days. And they, you know, it's not like what you're thinking and, and I was like, that's really cool. Like, that's probably also not 100% True, but like, I love that you, you went into bat for me. And then and then I spoke to her brief, she asked to put me on the phone. And she was like, You're so brave. Like that's so kind of, I don't know, inspiring. And she was like, I want sex tips. And, and it actually yeah, it was it was actually really wonderful. And I didn't expect to have that kind of support from from his family. So that was nice.

Holly Harte 59:19

It's a really beautiful silver lining. We'd like to thank

Jenna Love 59:25

our incredible patrons. This week, we have a new giving somebody that is Mikayla our new very generous somebody is Maria. are even more generous somebodies are Timmy Andrew, Adam Smith, Leo Laughlin, sub London, Miss Billy Nora Knightley. Lesley Scott Watson, Andrew. Big M. Our secret admirer Maji Margaret, Wheezy Celeste, Ellen. Liam Fritzi a tits Catherine and Paul, are extremely generous somebodies are Josh, Harry wombat, Nick, John T. Adam Moore, Brino Sienna, St. Amanda Valentina, Pete, Andrew, and Aaron. Hey, thank you so much for listening to this episode, and also to all of the episodes that we have released in 2021. And I apologise if my voice was a little bit on the croaky side, but

Holly Harte 1:00:27

COVID Yeah, but, but COVID so gonna be a relevant excuse

Jenna Love 1:00:32

for everything. Yep.

Holly Harte 1:00:34

Yeah, thanks for coming along. So far on this wild ride, I genuinely did not think this was going to happen for more than like two or three months. So the fact that we're here, like six months later, and that you're all still listening, and still, subscribing on Patreon, or interacting with us on socials is massive, and it makes me feel really loved. And even people who, who don't engage with us in those things, I still have clients who turn up for bookings. And they just sort of mentioned something from one of the shows, and I'm like, Oh, my God, like, there are people out there that really paying a lot of attention and value as highly so that feels really awesome. Yeah, and I really does, it feels amazing. We appreciate it. And hopefully, you know, we've gone some way to, you know, educating you guys, or to answering some questions or destigmatizing. Or just making you feel seen if you are a sex worker or a client. Yeah, and thanks for giving us the platform to do so.

Jenna Love 1:01:27

We'll talk to you next year. Bye, love you. Please look out for us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Patreon. Our name everywhere is somebody you pod as in podcast. Our Patreon started just $3 a month, and you can get all of our episodes ad free and a day early. Plus bonus episodes behind the scenes action, bloopers and more. Thank you for taking the time to listen to the voices of sex workers. And remember, somebody you love might just be a sex worker.

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