CW: sexual assault, boundary pushing, poor attitudes towards SW
It’s time to hear Jenna Love’s origin story. From sugar baby to forum escort, brothel worker to career whore, Jenna shares the ups and downs, and the factors that shaped the sex worker she is now. Our misconception is that no little girl dreams of being a prostitute, Holly encounters an accountant that thinks he is a paramedic, and we talk about dreaded phone calls from unhappy wives.
2:16 Main segment: Somebody You Love became a sex worker
35:39 Misconception: No little girl dreams of being a prostitute
39:20 Shit People Say: *haggles* “I'm not haggling"
42:43 Question of the Week: Have we ever been contacted by unhappy wives?
Scarlet Alliance Chuffed fundraiser: https://chuffed.org/project/sex-worker-support
Patreon (from $3AUD/month): http://www.patreon.com/somebodyyoupod
Somebody You Love is sponsored by Assembly Four, empowering sex workers through technology: https://assemblyfour.com/
For more info on sex work in Australia, please check out the following organisations:
ACT (SWOP ACT): https://meridianact.org.au/swop/
NSW (SWOP NSW): https://swop.org.au/
NT (SWOP NT): https://www.ntahc.org.au/swopnt
Qld (Respect Inc): https://respectqld.org.au/
SA (SIN): http://www.sin.org.au/sindex.html
Tas (Scarlet Alliance): https://scarletalliance.org.au/links/
Vic (Vixen Collective): https://www.vixencollective.org/vc
WA (Magenta): http://magenta.org.au
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, their two products tryst.link and switter.at are refreshing and well needed changes in both presentation and mission.
Holly Harte 0:27
And both are free to join and open to all.
Jenna Love 0:29
You can find both of our profiles on Tryst 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 0:42
and also how responsive they are when it comes to feedback and customer service.
Holly Harte 0:46
Check out their website assemblyfour.com (four the word, not the number) for more info.
Jenna Love 0:55
Welcome to Somebody You Love or The Sale of Two Titties. I'm Jenna Love.
Holly Harte 1:03
And I'm Holly Harte
Jenna Love 1:04
and we're experts in disappointing our parents, breaching community guidelines and banging the people who vote against our rights. First up, we'd like to acknowledge that the traditional owners of the land from which we record, and on which many of our listeners listen, have a continuous and deep connection to their country. I'm on Darug and Gundungurra land and Holly is on Ngunnawal land. We extend our respects to any elders past or present. And we recognise the strength, capacity and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across this land.
Holly Harte 1:42
We'd also like to acknowledge that we as cis, white women are very privileged within the industry. And we can't speak on behalf of those within the industry who face more stigma and discrimination than we do.
Jenna Love 1:53
This week's episode, as usual, contains quite a lot of adult content. So please turn it off if you are not an adult. We also have a trigger warning for this one as we're going to be discussing sexual assault, boundary pushing and just your general stigma and mistreatment of sex workers, which we often talk about to be fair.
Jenna Love 2:17
Hello, it's Jenna from the future, just editing this episode, and we realised that it has finally happened. We've talked for far too long. And so we're going to divide the main segment of this episode up into two parts. So today you will be hearing many from me. And next week in part two, you'll be hearing many from Holly.
Jenna Love 2:39
So today, we're going to do our origin stories. And this is something I've been a bit hesitant to do, because I don't know honestly, I just don't find this question of "how did you get into the sex industry?" or "How did you get to where you are now?" very interesting. Maybe I'm just not--like maybe I'm a psychopath? I don't know. But you seem to be into it. Right?
Holly Harte 2:58
Yeah, maybe you are a psychopath. But on the topic of origin stories--No, obviously, I think you're a wonderful and very empathetic human being. But yeah, look, I love origin stories. I think they're really interesting. I think it's such a unique industry and such --there's no defined way to sort of start. I think it's really interesting how people do start because, you know, most jobs, you you know, submit applications, and you go for an interview and you begin, whereas in this industry, there are so many different ways that you can begin and gain experience. And that's so fascinating.
Jenna Love 3:35
That's really true. I never thought of it like that. I think I've just been asked the question,
Holly Harte 3:39
Have I sold you?
Jenna Love 3:40
Like I'm, I'm getting there. But I think I've just been asked the question so many times, and every time I do media, like that is always the first question. And so I've told my story a bunch of times, so I feel like it's quite boring. But you're absolutely right. Like one of the cool things about the sex industry is that, you know, that there isn't really a barrier for entry, or certainly not much of a barrier for entry. And that's what makes the industry so diverse that you can kind of come from any background and get your start in it, which is really cool. All right. Okay, I'm feeling more positive about this. Okay, so this is Jenna, I'm going to tell my origin story. First, I have to tell you who I am because we didn't realise apparently a lot of our listeners can't tell our voices apart, which makes sense, but we thought we sounded very different, but apparently we don't. So it all started... how many years ago? I really should have worked this out. I think it was in 2013. And my husband and I, at the time, had just gotten ourselves into a bit of a tight state financially. I think we'd had--both of our cars had been written off within the space of a week or two of each other, and then our fridge broke or some other appliance broke. And at the time I was a student and for that whole beginning of our relationship. My husband's been working full time but I was a student, always working jobs, but never, you know, never anything really substantial and wasn't able to contribute too much financially to the household. And we just, you know, we didn't have savings, that was never something that we could have - that we were in a position to do so. And all of a sudden, we didn't have cars or a fridge. So we needed money. And I think at that point, I had sort of come across the idea of sugar babying on reddit. And, you know, the idea appealed to me. And I mean, the sex industry has always appealed to me. And I think sometimes you hear the argument from who we call antis, they'll say, you know, 'no little girl wants to be a sex worker when she grows up'. And, you know, I've heard this from a number of other sex workers, including myself, that I really did--not when I was a little girl, sure, but as soon as I knew that, that was a thing that you could do, as soon as I heard about exchanging sex for money. I was like, "Ah, that sounds amazing". And the only reason I hadn't looked into it earlier was because I didn't think I was kind of worthy of it. I didn't think that somebody would pay to spend time with me and or have sex with me. So yeah, but I had come across the idea of sugar babying. And to me, for whatever reason, that felt more achievable. I think, I thought when I was quite young, I think I was 23 at the time. So I was like, well, I fit the demographic, I was a student. And I've always kind of had a bit of a kink for dirty old men. So I just kind of thought, well, I fit the demographics. So maybe I should give this a go. So of course, I broached it with my husband. And I was like, "well, maybe this is a way that we could increase our income". You know, and we obviously had a big kind of chat about it, because that is something that isn't the most common, I think, suggestion in a relationship. And I was like, "how would you feel about that?" And he was like, "Well, I mean, I think I feel fine with that. You'd be working for money. That's--I don't think I have an issue with that. But that being said, the case might be different when you actually do it. I kind of--I won't know until it happens", which I think is really fair. And yeah, really great of him to be so.
Holly Harte 7:23
That's really cool.
Jenna Love 7:24
Yeah, yeah. Look, we all know Mr. Love is a fucking legend.
Holly Harte 7:29
Jenna Love 7:29
He will continue to be a legend throughout this story. Yeah, look, and I was he was like, "how would you feel about it?" And I was like, "honestly, I think, I think that'd be really cool. I think I'd really enjoy that. But same thing. I don't know, I might get there and it's like, oh, god, this is horrible". You know?
Holly Harte 7:45
What about it at that stage (apart from the obvious money thing?) What about it appealed to you, were you a highly sexual person? Or was it the promise of a certain amount of money? Or was it the, you know, the intrigue, like what, at that point, really attracted you to it?
Jenna Love 7:59
Honestly, for me, I think it was a sexual kink. I was incredibly turned on by the idea of being paid to have sex.
Holly Harte 8:10
Wow, that's cool
Jenna Love 8:11
and that's something it--I mean, it's--Look, it's very bloody handy in this line of work. And I don't, I probably don't feel it as much now simply because I've kind of had that, that, you know, that need and that desire fulfilled. But like, in the early days, I would just be so ready to go the moment the client arrived, simply because of the situation and that I was like, "I'm a whore". And that was so hot to me. Like, I loved it. And, you know, I think there's a lot of women and men out there. I mean, certainly a lot of the men I have love roleplaying them being, you know, a whore and a slut. And, like, I think there's a lot of people that actually really love that sort of thing. But of course, you know, society gets itself in the way as it does. So what happened next is somewhat I, you know, I probably would do differently if I was to do it today. But I went and I had, I created an account on Seeking Arrangement, which was the site to go to back in the day. And I went and met up with somebody from there and didn't tell my husband at that time.
Holly Harte 9:15
Oh, my gosh
Jenna Love 9:16
Yeah, I know, terrible. I'm the worst. Oh, my face is actually getting flushed talking about this now because it's it's embarrassing.
Holly Harte 9:23
I'm just surprised because you're so open, you know, and I'm like, wow, that's a big thing. Yeah.
Jenna Love 9:28
Yeah. I mean, these days, I am. And I used to be as well, but I obviously wasn't as open as I could have been. And when I think about why I did it that way. I think I was so, and this is stupid thinking back on it, but I was so concerned that I would fail. I thought that no one would kind of want to pay me money. And then I'd have to come home after being like, "babe, are we sure we can go through this?" and then I'd go through it and then come home and be like, "Oh, he didn't want to", and I just thought I was I was embarrassed and I didn't want to fail in front of him. Again, as I said, it would absolutely not do it that way if I was to do it now, but that's how I felt, stupidly or whatever. So I'd met up with a couple of different people. And I was really enjoying it. My first booking I'll never forget, was very strange when I say booking, I mean, sugar, baby meet. I mean, they're basically bookings. But that's probably a topic for another episode. I met up with had coffee with this person. And because it was, you know, I was new to it. It wasn't like escort bookings, we met up and be like, "are we going to get on?" and we chatted really well, he was quite intellectually stimulating, had a good time. And then we went to a hotel room. And then it got very weird. And I have this, I have the most distinct memory of just two sections of the booking. One was me walking down the hall to get to the room. And my heels were like clacking and I'm not a big, like fancy heels wearer. And I just felt like such an imposter. Like, I felt like the little kid dressing up in mom's shoes. I was like, this is...this is... okay. Anyway, that, and then the second memory is me standing in this hotel room, and it was only on like the first or second level. So the view was like, very average. And I was looking out the window, and I was naked. And he was standing behind me kind of running his fingers up and down my back. And literally, he was like, moaning like he was like, going *moans* Like, while like it was--it's a fucking horror movie, right? And I just have this image of me, I was standing there looking out this window at this very average view, being like, ah, alright, well, this is what my life is then. It's just so surreal. And in hindsight, how the fuck did I ever do that? Again, like that is on paper. so creepy. But anyway, I mean, he was lovely, but it was very odd. Anywho. So then I was like, "Alright, well, I need to tell my husband about this, obviously". So I sat down and was like, "Hey, you know how we had that chat?" Yeah, he was like, "yeah". And I was like, "Well, the thing is that I've actually been doing it". And he was so shocked. He wasn't angry at all, because he's an amazing human. And he'd have every right to be angry. But he was just so surprised. He was like, "holy shit, what when", like, you know, and we talked about it, and he said, you know, how's it been? And I said, "I've been really enjoying it". And then I showed him the wad of cash that I had. And I can't remember how long they've been, I'd only been doing it for two weeks or something. And I showed him this wad of cash. And he was like, "oh, oh, okay". And I think that moment was quite a big moment for us. And we both kind of went, "Hmm, this is, this is all right". So then I was like, "right, let's do this". Or I guess I'm doing it. And I followed the sugar baby route for just a little while, not too long. And one of my sugar daddies, I guess, introduced me to another sugar daddy. And that one I got on quite well, with
Holly Harte 13:10
Did you have a specific arrangement with these people? Like, like, I know how the sugar baby sort of thing works. But did you find you were doing transactional? You know, one session for X amount, or like, you know this per week? or what was your situation with them?
Jenna Love 13:23
My situation was essentially full service sex work
Holly Harte 13:27
Jenna Love 13:27
It was absolutely transactional. It was $200. For a meetup.
Holly Harte 13:32
Jenna Love 13:33
It was that--the only difference was that there was less clearly defined boundaries, and more boundary pushing, which again, I think I can, you know, go into more details about that in another episode, but it was more just yeah, it was like $200 per meet. But that meet didn't have a defined set of time. Yeah. It would normally be multiple hours, you know, but again, at the time, I mean, $200 in a day.
Holly Harte 13:58
Jenna Love 13:58
I mean, it's, that's a lot of money for anyone. So I was really happy with that. So one of the sugar daddies that I had at the time introduced me to another one. And the second one I really quite liked, we got on really well, I have a lot of like, fond memories of our time together. And he said to me, like, "you're really like, good at this. Do you want to do more of this?" And I was like, oh, like, "What do you mean?" And he was like, "do you want to be like, an escort?" And I was like, "Oh, no, there's no way I could do that". Like, and you know, at that point, the images I had seen of escorts were immaculate, very beautiful, very slim. That was probably the biggest factor in my mind was that I'm not slim. And you know, sort of well travelled and highly educated and all this stuff. Like I just was like, "Oh, God, I can't do that". And he was like, "No, you definitely can" like "you've got what it takes", you know? And I was like, "Whoa, really? Like, I would love that. That would be awesome". And he was like, "yeah, you can definitely do it". So I said, "Yeah, let cool, okay. Sure, I'd love to". And what he did was he was like, basically, "all I have to do is write a review of you on a review website". And that's what he did. And he checked that I was comfortable with everything he had said and stuff. And he put up this review. Now, review websites, again, we can probably put a whole episode together of them, but they exist as they do for most industries, they exist about the sex industry. Somewhat, I think most people would agree that they're probably a bit more problematic when it comes to the sex industry than other industries. And there's a culture that like, I don't think inherently at their heart, having a website dedicated to reviewing the sex industry is necessarily a bad thing. But the culture that tends to brew in those environments, we've seen it be a little bit not great. Anyway
Holly Harte 15:57
Jenna Love 15:57
So he put a review up of me and he sort of talked to me about how there's different review websites out there, some of them are better than others. And, but this one's really respectful. And, and to be fair, like looking back, I do think it's one of the better places, but it still is what it is, he put this review up of me and I started getting bookings. He said to me, okay, you've got to stop using your legal name, you've got to stop putting photos of your face anywhere, you've got to get a separate phone number. So I did all those things. And I picked Jenna because my husband's celebrity crush is Jenna Fisher. So that's weird. And then yeah, I just started doing bookings. And at that point in my career, the--my screening method, my method of choosing who I would see was that I only saw clients who were on that forum, and who had contributed a certain amount. So the way I would screen them was I would read every single thing they'd ever posted on the forum. So I would read their reviews and how they wrote about the women and the providers that they saw. And I would see how they interact with each other, and who they were friends with. Because of course, you know any online community, it's a community, and you do get friends and people who dislike each other and stuff. So I felt very, very safe with that screening method. And I think it did work quite well for me. At one point, I went to a sexual health clinic to get STI testing done, which before that I just done it through the GP, whatever. But I went, "I'll go do it properly, I'll go to the proper designated place for it". And I went to this place, and it wasn't a very nice experience, to be honest. And the nurse that I had said to me, "where are you working?" And I was like, "Oh, just at like, at home, like, you know where I live?" And she was like, "Oh, you can't do that". And I was like, "oh, what do you mean?", and she was like, "you need to go to--you need to go to a brothel, you need to work at a parlour. It's not safe to work on your own. It's incredibly dangerous". You know, I sat there being like, "oh, okay, well, like you're the expert. You're the professional that I've come to. Okay, that makes sense". And I felt like this naive little girl who was stupidly putting myself in danger and doing the wrong thing. And she she made me feel that way. Like she you know, looking back, I'm like, "Well, that was wrong, you idiot". And again, looking back, I think, "Oh, you don't actually know anything about the sex industry. And you shouldn't be giving out advice to sex workers. Sure, maybe perhaps medical advice, but you shouldn't be giving out sex work advice". As we mentioned, on last week's episode, I didn't have any connection with peer organisations or with friends in the industry to turn to and so the things that she said made sense. A lot of the clients I had had also echoed those same sentiments and said to me, "oh, aren't you worried this is really dangerous, you should be working in a brothel". And I think that like, that's something that I hear a lot from a lot of civilians, a lot of people who aren't in the sex industry, I think it's generally accepted that brothels would be safer than working on your own, because it makes sense logically, right? There are people around you. And that's the big difference. And anyway, so the same client, actually, who had kind of got me into it all in the first place, said like, he knew the like a madame at a brothel very well. And he was like, "do you want me to see if you can work there?". And I was like, "Okay", and now again, the idea of working in a brothel actually really appealed to me. The idea of like, being in a dark room and banging all these strangers all day and them throwing cash at me, like that whole whore fantasy. I was like, "Yes. Like, that's really, really hot. I--yeah". So I was excited about it. So I went to work at a brothel. And I can't remember how long I was there. I want to say three weeks or something. It wasn't long. And I just had bad experience after bad experience. Almost every single client was really unpleasant. And this is not to say that clients in brothels are inherently more unpleasant than private clients. But that has been my personal experience. And it got to the point where the final day that I worked there, one of my clients assaulted me and the brothel themselves did not handle it well at all. I came out of the booking, obviously incredibly upset. And they, you know, one of the--the madame person said to me, "oh, why didn't you ring the buzzer? Why didn't you call out?" And they, I mean, they were sympathetic, but there was stuff that is objectively victim blaming, and was not what I needed to hear at that moment. And of, you know, I can answer those questions now. And the answer is "because I was being assaulted you fuck, like, what do you think? I was a bit busy", like fucking hell. And they, you know, they tried to convince me to stay and see the next customer. And I was like, "No, I need--I'm going", I had called my husband in tears. And the poor man was sitting at home waiting for me to come home, you know? And they were like, "Oh, no, but the next client's here already". And I was like, "yep, and I'm going home". Like, it was just not--obviously handled incredibly poorly.
Holly Harte 21:07
I think that's interesting that you say that, because when I was a receptionist for a year, at a brothel, there was a lot of pressure on me. And I'm not saying this is the situation, these, you know, the people you were working for, at the time, were in. But I felt a lot of pressure as a receptionist to just keep getting people into the next booking. And people would say, you know, the workers would say, you know, "I'm sore, I'm tired" and and I'd be like, "can you please just do one more booking?" and that sort of lack of empathy, and that sort of robotic, just get the workers into a booking is really depressing I look back now and I think "God", like I wouldn't do it the same. I don't think I coerced anyone or you know, but I definitely think, you know, I felt like if I didn't, because there was, you know, another manager that lived on site, and if she found out that I was letting people not work or get off the shift, or go home or whatever, that that I'd be in trouble. So there is such a culture in brothels of just work through it just push through, which is really unhealthy. And I think that's where a lot of the resentment towards brothels comes from because, you know, you don't have as much agency, when we work for ourselves, we can go look, I'm not up to this, you know, but in a brothel, you know, you may not overtly be coerced, like I said, into something, but there's a lot of subtle ways that someone can make you feel like you have to do things you don't want to. And that's really sad.
Jenna Love 22:20
Absolutely. Thanks for sharing that. I think that, you know, people will say, "oh, but what about", you know, "is this brothel better?" or, you know, "are there brothels that are really ethical?" and, you know, there absolutely may well be, but at the core of it, when somebodies income is dependent on another person doing sex work, there's always going to be a conflict there. And that's where I think that, you know, I think it's, it's really, really tough. And I imagine a lot of people who own and run brothels may well go into it with the best of intentions. But the bottom line is that they're running a business, and they have to make money. And so we are then treated as the product, which, you know, makes sense in one sense, but it doesn't make sense in a human sense. So after that happened to me, I went to get a checkup at my GP and my GP was very difficult to get into, so I just saw a different doctor who was there at the time. And then later, I went to my regular GP for another reason, but obviously, she had my history there. And she said to me, "oh, what happened in August?" whenever it was, and I was like, "Oh, I was assaulted". She handled it so poorly, which was a real surprise to me, because she had been my family doctor for a long time. I know that she specialises in mental health that she's one of like, she has won a bunch of awards. She's a very highly respected doctor. And she said to me, she was like, "now how did that happen?" And I was a bit like, I kind of stuttered, I think, and she said, "were you doing something you shouldn't have been?" And again, like, you know, hindsight, what the fuck, that's awful. Are you serious? Like, and even at the time, like, I knew she had said the wrong thing. And intellectually, I was like, "Well, that was really inappropriate. And I'm never coming back to see you again. You're not a good doctor, for me. Cool. Moving on". But in my heart, I think anybody that's been any victim of any kind of trauma knows that you can know it's not your fault. And you can read 40,000 times that it's not your fault. And you can be well aware of that. But your heart just tells you a different story and with the way that society treats sex work, and suggests that it is--that sex work kind of inherently is abuse, and that you are asking for abuse if you are a sex worker, which is not the case. But I had all of that in my head. And so I went, "Okay, well, obviously, I'm never going to be involved in the sex industry again, obviously that was a poor choice". That's what happened. I now know that that's not the case. But I felt, you know, the case was somebody wanted to hurt me and they hurt me. It had nothing to do with with my job, but I had these negative feelings towards the sex industry. And so I stopped. And at that point, I didn't think I would ever go back. I was like, "right, that was a foolish thing that I did in my youth" or whatever. And so I moved on, I started studying hair and makeup, which I really enjoyed. And that was great. But I found that I really missed the work. I really missed having sex with strangers. I missed being paid for sex. But more than anything, I missed connecting with strangers on such an intimate level. Because nowhere else do you get--I mean, maybe psychologists and therapists maybe experience that to an extent? But I don't know of any other job where you can go to work, and just fucking get to know people and hear their innermost thoughts. And I missed that. So then, so I had taken I don't know, maybe 18 months, two years off, and I had decided that "I think I wanted to try again". And that was incredibly difficult to bring up to my husband, because he had had to go through my trauma as well, of course. I, you know, saw his face that night when I came home. And I had to say to him, "Hey, I think I want to put myself in that position again". And I was pretty certain that he probably be like, "babe, you're an idiot. Why the fuck would you do that to yourself?" But of course, he wasn't like that. Because as we all know, he's amazing. And whenever I've bought anything to him that I've kind of been thinking, "oh, maybe I want to do this". He said, "Well, then I think you should do it, if that's what you want to do", you know, and he had enough trust in me and respect for me to know that I would go about doing it in the best way possible. So I did that. So I contacted the first sugar baby guy, who had told me a long time ago that he was friends with the madame of a different brothel. I don't know who these--I don't know what that whole situation is about why there are so many dudes that are like mates with madames, but anyway, and he said, you know, "this one, this is a really classy brothel. And this one's very, you get to be picky about who you see, you don't have to see anyone you don't want to see. You don't have to do full service with everyone. The only expectation is that you do a massage and a handjob. And any it is a fully licenced brothel. But anything you do beyond that is totally up to you. And so you can decide, you can pick your prices. If there's a client, you don't really like you can say, yeah, I'll do full service, but for a lot more or whatever". So I went, "yeah, okay, that sounds good. Like, that sounds a lot better than the other place I worked at". So I went for like an interview, which was just me standing in a room talking to a woman, this friend of his, and I walked in, and I said, "Hi, I'm Jenna". And she said, "okay, you're too big to be able to get work here". And I was like, "Okay, cool". And I felt a bit like, well, this, this guy knew the size that I was. Like, I wasn't under the impression that I was skinny, but you know, anyway, okay. And she was like, "What experience do you have?" And I sort of started telling her that I'd worked privately and stuff and was wanting to get back into the industry. And as we talked, then she said to me, "oh, yeah, no, yeah, you could you could work here, you've got a really pretty face", which I mean, anyone, any woman who isn't skinny, has heard that before
Holly Harte 28:23
Jenna Love 28:24
And you just go Yeah, cool. Thanks. Great. Fabulous, because you know that when somebody says you've got a really pretty face, it means
Holly Harte 28:30
The rest of you is shit.
Jenna Love 28:30
Shame about the rest of you!
Holly Harte 28:32
Jenna Love 28:35
And I mean, I was, you know, I worked for years, back in the day, I didn't advertise anywhere. I worked solely on reviews alone. And I was booked out constantly, I was constantly burning out. Which, a big part of that is because I was just completely under charging because I was allowing these clients basically to dictate my prices. But, you know, she's like, "you're not gonna get work here". And I was like, "um okay. Because actually, I get a lot of work. Like, I don't know what you're talking about, babe". But anyway, I know a lot of people can relate to that. Anyway, I mean, again, if this happened to me today, I'd be like, "Okay, cool. Fuck you". And I'd leave. But at the time, I was like, "Yes, well, I am bigger. And that's, you know, obviously, that means I'm a second class citizen. So I guess I'll take what I can get". So she started me working and she had me there and at another venue of hers, which were both quite similar. And, you know, again, I think I was there for maybe 3-4 weeks, I quickly discovered that it was not a classier brothel. It was, you know, it had nicer decor, and a bit more light and slightly bigger rooms and was in a more prestigious area, but it was still a fucking brothel. And it was still 12 to 14 hour shifts with no break at all. Actually, when I went the first day I worked at the previous brothel. It got to like lunchtime and I was like, "okay", it was like next to a shopping centre and I was like, "I'm just going to go get--grab something for lunch". And the client who knew the madame the next day said me, "oh they said you went to get lunch?" And I was like, "yeah". And he was like, "Well, you can't do that". I was like, "What? What do you mean I can't go get lunch?" And he was like, "Well, time is money".
Holly Harte 30:13
I've never heard of that.
Jenna Love 30:14
Yeah. Right. And he was like, "you could have done a booking in that time". And I was like, but I was having my lu--what?" And you are like, the shifts are 12/13/14/15/16 hours. And I had--so I mean, from then on, I just packed my lunch with me, obviously. But it's, they don't allocate time for you. They're still--if they can get 12 one hour bookings in a 12 hour shift, they'll get 12 one hour bookings. So I have my food there with me, but doesn't mean necessarily, I've, I'm getting a break to eat it, you know? So yeah, this brothel was the same. And I had the same experience as in the first one, which was that every single day, at least 50% of my clients would ask to have sex with me without a condom, and at least 50% of that 50% would go beyond asking and would just keep trying to make it happen. And I would just wake up in the morning, ready to go to work, and just have to steal myself to say no, in 50,000 different ways. And it was absolutely exhausting. And to the point where a number of them would just try and do it. Which is completely not okay. And I don't know why I wasn't able to do anything about that. I mean, I could have called the cops on them. Like that's, that's assault. That's a fucking crime. But that was just what it was like, for me. And I didn't have the strength to say to them, hey, what the fuck, that's not okay. But yeah, it was just exhausting. And I was like, well, this is exactly the same as the other place class has nothing to do with it. There is something about the combination of me and a brothel, which means I'm just going to get my boundaries pushed the whole time. And, you know, I've spoken to workers that have done plenty of work in brothels, and they've hardly ever, if ever had that happen to them. So it's not a case that that is just reflective of brothel clients, or who knows, but that is what my experience was. And it was just, it just wore me down. And the last time I was supposed to go in for a shift, I just didn't go--because I just couldn't do it. I was like, "I can't keep saying no to people". But in that few weeks of doing that, I had also contacted a few regulars from my time before and had started working privately again. And this was the other thing, my private bookings were cheaper than my bookings at this fancy brothel. And I was getting less money. So the client was paying more, they were getting a buzzer at five to and then repeated buzzer at the 60 minute mark or whatever. There wasn't even a bed - there were massage tables. I was exhausted and run off my feet and hadn't had lunch, you know. And then my private clients were paying less to see me I was getting more money out of it. And they were getting a way better experience. I was like, this is ridiculous. Like, why--this is so stupid. So I had started doing those bookings again, and a couple of them had said to me, "You should really get on Twitter". And that is where my life changed for the better. Isn't that insane?
Holly Harte 33:18
Jenna Love 33:19
Twitter actually improved my life. That's concerning. But it did. So then I got on Twitter, then I met other workers. Then I found my stride then I was like, right, "I am Jenna Love. And this is what I do". And all throughout this period, I had always had other jobs, particularly because I'd had the assault and I kind of had seen how the sex industry could be ripped away from me, you know, overnight, I'd always wanted to have backups. And my husband and I both were like "yeah, that's a really good plan we should have", you know, you need to have like civvy work so that you've got that there. But after a year of coming back into the industry, I was struggling so much to manage all of the work and Jenna Love was really taking off and I started doing the online content as well. I was loving life, I was just so happy. And I decided to quit all my other jobs and decided that I would show my face in my advertising, which was what I wanted to do in the first place, and that I would be a career whore and not have any backups anymore. And that's been me for quite a few years now. And I'm fucking happy as ever. So I'm sorry that it was a bit of a bummer of a journey that got me here, but I love life. So whoo!
Holly Harte 34:34
You're killing it now.
Jenna Love 34:35
Jenna Love 34:40
COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the sex industry. And snap lock downs and travel restrictions mean that there are times when sex workers require emergency financial relief in order for them and their dependents to stay safe housed and fed.
Holly Harte 34:54
sex workers don't get sick or holiday pay and many have no savings to fall back on. The stigma and discrimination that we face means that some have no proof of earnings to access government support. And of course, migrant workers are often forgotten
Jenna Love 35:07
Scarlet Alliance and their state and territory member organisations joined together to create an ongoing fund that is hosted on the website chuffed (that's CHUFFED)
Holly Harte 35:17
donations are tax deductible, 100% of funds raised go directly to sex workers in need. And most weeks the amount of people who apply outweigh the amount of funds raised. And sadly, people have to be turned away. The link to this fund is in our show notes.
Jenna Love 35:37
Seeing as I touched on this when telling my story, we figured a good misconception to talk about is the old "no little girl wants to be a prostitute when she grows up".
Holly Harte 35:48
Yeah, I think that's a really obvious misconception. It's a really easy one to say. Because, I mean, there's only a limited amount of things that a little girl does dream of, and most of them are quite far fetched. I think it's a really shitty thing that people do is to infantilize people to invalidate their choices as adults, like we, you know, make totally different choices when we're aware of our options in the world and what exists. And they might not be the things that, you know, we know about when we're kids, I certainly didn't dream of being a data entry operator for the public service when I was five, or six. And the minute I was old enough to know what sex work was, I was immediately fascinated, it was straightaway something that intrigued me because it sounded really nice, really soothing to be someone's, you know, short term wife, that's really exciting to me. A friend of mine used to tell her kids before they were old enough to understand what sex work was that she worked for a cuddle factory, and that is just wholesome as fuck. And that is a lot of what we do. And look, you know, as the kids have gotten older, that's something that she'll discuss with them when the time is right. But I think that that is the crux of what the job is, is that we give people companionship, and physical affection. And I mean, if kids don't think that that is really sweet, removed from the idea of, you know, sexuality, if you look at the wholesome side of it, it's a beautiful job. So,
Jenna Love 37:10
I mean, I worked the job that I had first dreamed of as a little girl, which was to be an actor and a director. And I did that job. And I was miserable. And I'm, I'm really, really happy and grateful that I'm not currently doing the job that I wanted to do as a little girl. As you said, now that I'm an adult, isn't it wonderful that I have a lot more choices and a lot more knowledge, and I can make a much more informed decision about what is an appropriate job for me? And it just, it comes back to--it's another one of those examples of "Would you say that to any other job?" If you met someone who was a plumber? would you go "Well, no little girl dreams of being a plumber".
Holly Harte 37:51
Holly Harte 37:52
Well, no. And yeah, as you said, the spectrum of things that kids are into, is quite limited. So it's just, it's just stupid. I feel like this one is often like a precursor to the "Oh, you're all fine with sex work, but you wouldn't want your daughter doing it, would you?" And we often get asked that it's like, oh, okay, so how would you feel if your daughter became a sex worker?
Holly Harte 38:14
If I did have a child I would want my child to pursue whatever fulfils them. And if that involved sex, maybe I don't want to know all the specific details. But at the end of the day, I want my them to be happy, I want them to be fulfilled. You know, there are other confronting industries that your child can work in that, you know, have upsides and downsides. And you know, potential stigma and things like that. And that's just a part of being an adult, you know, wif my child was gay, would I prefer that they weren't gay? bcause that's going to be hard for them? If that's who they are, then that's who they are. If they choose things, if they don't choose things, who embrace them for all of what your child is, I think. I don't think you can pick and choose who your offspring becomes. And that's life. Yeah.
Jenna Love 38:53
Even if they become like a politician.
Holly Harte 38:55
Jenna Love 38:56
You're still gonna have to accept them.
Holly Harte 38:57
Yeah. I mean, I my mother has said you know that she'd much rather me be a sex worker than a liberal voter. So here I am, you know?
Jenna Love 39:04
Jenna Love 39:09
It is time for Shit People Say, or a word that Holly introduced me to the other week was unenquiries.
Holly Harte 39:16
For this one we are going back almost 12 months way back in the middle of the pandemic. No, it's still the middle of the pandemic, isn't it? Okay.
Jenna Love 39:25
Yeah, where things were exactly the same as they are now.
Holly Harte 39:26
Yeah, pretty much. I received an inquiry from a gentleman who was at this stage entirely unknown to me. He inquired about my availability, which I said, "well, it's listed on my ad" as usual. He said, "I only have $100 and wanted to check if you can accept that for a quickie". Now my quickies are usually at least double that. So you know, this was already off on a bad foot, look like he was haggling. I was not into it. So I replied. "Are you stupid?" He replied. "Thank you". I said, "Get a job". It then came up that he is a chartered accountant. And I said, Well, you know, "you should be ashamed". He said, "you could have responded in a nice way", and I said, "Why? Because you disrespected me trying to haggle. Why would I owe you a kind reply? I'm sure you make a decent living, stop being rude by trying to haggle businesses". He said, "I don't know what you're talking about, but in your ad, you said you offer a discount. So I wanted to check with you with my current budget. So you could have responded in a good way, not rude messages". Now, I offer a 20% discount to people who are in the ACT Ambulance Service, because I think ambos are just, you know, angels on earth. So that's written very clearly in my advertising. I replied, "I offer a discount to people who are paramedics. Why would you think that includes accountants, are sex workers allowed to haggle your accountant rates for a percentage of the normal price?" He said, "I'm not haggling your rate. If you read my previous message, I said I was checking within my current budget". Well, that's written on my ad. I don't know why you would then come to me with an arbitrary number and hope that I would agree to it
Jenna Love 39:41
What is haggling if not asking if somebody will do the service for a cheaper rate, Is that not--?
Holly Harte 41:06
Exactly. I said, my rates are listed. Clearly. If the price is too high, go elsewhere. He said, "No problem". That's it. So I don't think he's going to book me anytime soon.
Jenna Love 41:25
Unless he undertakes the paramedics course and comes back to you then
Holly Harte 41:28
look, that's an option,
Jenna Love 41:29
but then it still wouldn't be that cheap.
Holly Harte 41:31
It wouldn't be that cheap. No.
Jenna Love 41:33
And I think there's this--I've often had a similar response, where I've kind of said something pretty cunty to somebody who has contacted me, and they've come back with "oh you didn't have to be mean about it". And I think it's like, well I was never going to be mean. But rudeness begets rudeness, like you've shown as a serious lack of respect for me, and for my work.
Holly Harte 41:56
Jenna Love 41:56
And I know that that's not necessarily entirely your fault. I know that society has told you that there's no point in respecting me. But the reality is, you've either you've haggled, or you've you know, you've asked for things that are really inappropriate or whatever. And so I'm going to respond to you and to see some of these men get butthurt because a woman was sassy back to their sassiness. It's like settle down, babe.
Holly Harte 42:19
Yeah, there are a range of industries in which you can haggle. And sex work is definitely not one of them. It's definitely a personal insult when somebody does that. So yeah, you're probably not going to be on the best foot with the sex worker you're contacting, if you straight up try to offer her less money than what her advertising says. For our question of the week, this week, we have "Have you ever been contacted by an unhappy wife? And if so, how did you deal with it?" Jenna?
Jenna Love 42:51
Yes, but it wasn't because I was a sex worker--it was before I became a sex worker. So that's a story. Um. And it was awful. It was very unpleasant.
Holly Harte 43:03
Jenna Love 43:05
Yeah, that's me. But actually, as a sex worker, I have, I think twice, I have received messages from unhappy spouses. But both times the person they were asking me about was not a client of mine, there were people who had been in contact with me, but that had not secured a booking. So I'm sure there'll be people that will not be pleased about my actions here. But I was like, well, I have no allegiance to these, these men. These are just people who contacted me, and failed to make a booking. So frankly, they wasted my time. And then so--I received--both times I received messages being like, "Did this number contact you? What did they say?" And I just sent them screenshots of exactly the conversation, because I was like, well, yeah, I don't owe anything to this guy. I don't know anything about this dude. And I don't feel the need to protect him. But yeah, I'm sure there are people that will be like, "Oh, God", and there'll probably be potential clients that hear that and go "right. Well, I'm never booking Jenna". But I think it's a very different story when you've actually met somebody. But that being said, I don't know, you know, I really feel for people in that situation. And I think it very much has to be context dependent. And client dependent as well. It might depend how much I like them and how much of a good person I think that they are. But I think that if I was contacted by someone's wife, I think it would be very difficult for me to say, "it's not my business go away" because I would really, really feel for them. But at the same time, I'm not going to be able to provide them anything. Like I feel like if they're asking that question, they know something's up. And they really need to have that conversation with their partner, which is going to be really unfulfilling for them to hear. But coming from a stranger, I don't think it has much value. They need to hear that story from their partner not from me. So I yeah, look, I don't really--I don't have a plan. If and when that happens, I think I'll be looking at it on a case by case basis. But it's quite complex. And I, I have a lot of empathy for almost for both parties really in that situation. Have you ever had that happen to you, Holly?
Holly Harte 45:15
I have, I would disagree with you. I think on the point of having--that they haven't actually booked and sharing that information for me. I just, look, I've been the crazy girlfriend before. And I just don't think it changes anything to hear it from somewhere else. I think if you know inside what's going on, everyone else can tell you that they fucked your boyfriend and it's not going to change it. But for me personally, that would be--I would not share that sort of information. But you know, to each their own. And as you said, it's a case by case basis. Maybe if the guy had messaged me, intentionally, like obviously wasting my time for shits and giggles I might be like "yeah girlfriend, your husband is a lunatic like can you rein him in?"
Jenna Love 46:00
Well, this is just it. I think it's not so much that I think I'm going to be helping them. It's that this person has wasted my time, and it's not a very attractive quality, but I guess it comes from more of a place of revenge. I'm like, "Well, they've not respected me. So fuck them".
Holly Harte 46:15
Sure. If I think it's an intentional yeah time fuckery thing then yeah, but if it's like they've contacted and we just haven't been able to, you know,
Jenna Love 46:24
Sure. I should have clarified that wasn't the case. But I think Yeah, a really valid point.
Holly Harte 46:28
So yeah, I had a client I saw ohh let's see, last year, I've got the messages in front of me Actually, no, early this year. Anyway, I got a message about a month after I'd seen him. And it said, "Hey, Holly, it's x, y, x. How are you? Can I please book in again". And I was like, "sure I'm available this day, blah, blah, blah". And they wrote back and said, "Sorry, about last night". This is the next day they wrote back "sorry, about last night, my phone was playing up. I'd like to rebook with you. It's blah, blah, blah". And I said, "Okay, sure". And then they wrote and said, "I can't remember what we did last time. Do you remember? Just so I can put the money aside?" And I was like, yeah, straightaway, I got that feeling. And I was like, that's just a weird question to ask me. And I said,
Jenna Love 47:16
and if you don't remember, why would you come back and spend the money again,
Holly Harte 47:19
Jenna Love 47:19
If it's that forgettable...
Holly Harte 47:20
like, yeah, yeah. And it was only not that long ago, you know? And I said, "Can you give me a quick call when possible, please", like, I will never take a phone call from a client. Like if you know me, you know, I hate phone calls. Yeah.
Jenna Love 47:31
But you knew this wasn't a client.
Holly Harte 47:32
I had a feeling, yeah. And they wrote back and said, "I'm just with family at the moment. From memory it was full service 200 for an hour?". And I was like, "sorry, I think you might have the wrong number". Because I was like, now this is a girlfriend for sure. This is a girlfriend messaging.
Jenna Love 47:46
and also, it was not $200 for an hour.
Holly Harte 47:48
It was definitely not. I don't know, like she was replying from my Scarlet Blue ad. So I don't know - she must have read the price. But anyway, so she was replying from his phone number, like this is his number. I said, "Sorry, I think you might have the wrong number". She said, "Holly Harte, I saw you a couple of months ago at your house, we talked about me being down and I was having problems with my ex girlfriend". He most certainly did not tell me any of this during the booking so straight away, I was like, you--oh girl like this sucks for you. But obviously, like, obviously, they weren't together at the time anyway, it's not my business anyway. And I'm not going to validate this, this is--you need to work this out between you two. And I will not put my clients privacy at risk like that. Like, maybe it's a little bit risky discussing this now, maybe she's listening. But I doubt it. And like I just wrote back and I said, "No, I think you have the wrong number. I've never seen anyone matching any of the above. Sorry". And that was it. And eventually,
Jenna Love 48:46
And that's the thing as well, like you don't even know what this person's relationship is.
Holly Harte 48:50
I have no idea
Jenna Love 48:51
Are they somebody they have a restraining order out on like,
Holly Harte 48:54
You just never know. 100% It's not, no. And yeah, I actually called that number a few days later, did I call it off a private--I think I called it off a private number so that it wouldn't cause any issues. And he answered and I said, "Were you contacting me three days ago?", and he was like, "No", and I was like, "Okay", I said, "I've received a few messages from your number. I think you need to work this out. Just giving you a heads up". I haven't heard from either of them since. Look, it's a really shitty position to be in, as we've said before, I don't judge my clients for what they, you know, their relationship situations, because I don't know, it's not my business to judge anyone's, you know, life decisions. But yes, certainly, it's absolutely not my place to get involved with those sorts of things.
Jenna Love 49:05
And frankly, it's not their place to try and get us involved. You know, it's not, you know, that being said, I understand that they are in, you know, a really heightened place emotionally and that they are presumably not sex workers, and so they don't understand. And they may not even know that there was money involved. They may think that we are a girlfriend or a lover or something. So yeah, it's really complex. And yeah, As I said, I think like the default for most sex workers is 'I don't give out any information about my clients and if you are concerned with your partner, you know, you need to speak to them
Holly Harte 50:09
You need to sort it out. Yep
Jenna Love 50:10
For me. I just feel like there's this tiny little part of me that I don't know. I feel conflicted about it.
Holly Harte 50:21
We'd like to thank our supporters on Patreon this week, our new Generous Somebodies are Ellen, Brian M, and Mike, our Very Generous Somebodies Lachlan, Timmy, Steve, our footstool, Spaceman Dan, Pete, Adele, The Alice Grey, Big M, Scott C, Sammy Jane, Bart Barliman, Randy Wagner, Robbie Heart, Andrew, Andy, Leo, Narnie,
Jenna Love 50:52
Theodoric, Natalie, Adam Smith, Mal, Bruce McDermaid, Gricey, Pedro, Ben, Dale, John the PM, Mama B, Mary Andrews, Larry, Celeste, Lesley, Sub London and Scott Watson and our Extremely Generous Somebodies, Aaron, Samuel and Andrew, thank you so much. You are absolute legends. We can't thank you enough patrons. If you're still listening, then thank you so much for sitting through my long winded story. Make sure you check back in next week and have a listen to part two, where we will hear how Holly Harte became Holly Harte. Bye bye. Please look out for us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Patreon. Our name everywhere is somebodyyoupod (as in podcast). Our Patreon starts at 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.