CW: assault of SWers
This week we get to hear Holly’s origin story! From strange encounters on a sybian to considering buying a brothel, she shares how she became the independent sex worker we know and love. Our Misconception of the Week is that our clients are old, ugly, fat, creepy, and/or desperate, and Jenna deals with an old client who is upset that he doesn’t hold the power over her he once had. We answer a whole bunch of your questions - how many regulars vs new clients, which is the busiest day of the week, more incalls or outcalls, and how much of our time we spend in bookings vs doing admin.
1:23 Main segment: Holly’s origin story
26:20 Misconception: Clients are old, ugly, fat, creepy, desperate
31:02 Shit People Say: “You must have crossed over to the dark side”
37:37 Question of the Week: Stats
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 0:00
Welcome to Somebody You Love or The Sale of Two Titties. I'm Jenna Love.
Holly Harte 0:08
And I'm Holly Harte,
Jenna Love 0:10
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 Ngunawal 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 0:47
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 0:59
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. Welcome to part two of Somebody You Love became a sex worker. Today, we are going to hear the origin story of Holly.
Holly Harte 1:32
Okay, I was a very sexual person in my teens. I've always been a very tactile person. I've always been a bit of a weird person, I think. I don't know whether those are precursors to anything. But anyway, when I was a teenager, I started dating a young man. And I think it was actually our first like, like date night, he took me over to his house, which was his mom's house, which was an apartment. And I don't remember at what point he told me, I think we were sitting at the table? I can't really remember, but he said, "Oh, by the way, I just wanted to let you know, my mom's a prostitute". And I was like, "Oh!", and I was a teenager. And like, I had had no exposure to the sex industry. And I think he was sort of preparing me because it might come up in conversation, you know, and it was--he didn't want me to have this awkward moment or anything of, you know, shock. And I was already a super open minded sort of kid. And I was like, 'Yeah, cool!'. Like, 'wow, that's awesome". And like, you know, I said, "How do you feel about that?" You know, and he was like, "Oh, well, you know, she supports us, you know, her three kids. And she's supported us as a single mother, and she's done a great job". You know, he was really proud of her. And, you know, he said, "I've, you know, some people sort of made jokes about it, or whatever. But, you know, I respect her and I'm really proud". And I was like, "wow, like, That's brilliant".
Jenna Love 2:55
Oh, good on him. And good on her.
Holly Harte 2:57
I mean, look, honestly, he was a really lovely guy. So anyway, at whatever point she comes in, and she came to the apartment, she's this like, just glowing woman. There's big blonde hair everywhere, bubbly personality, loud, funny, and warm. Like the minute you met her, you just wanted to be her best friend. She was just--she'd make you feel included. She really wanted to know all about you. She was so interesting, and caring and fun, and just the life of the party. Like, I just got this electricity from her as a person. And I was like, that's what I want to be like, she is amazing. I'm not sure (look, this is probably controversial) but I don't know if she was working that night. I suspect she maybe was because a few people were turning up and coming in and out the doors. And there was some noises happening and stuff. Look, it was a--there's a lot to the story, in that, you know, we were partying, which I think is shorthand for getting on some drugs. You know, we were just having a lot of fun, but it was that youth thing. We were just, you know, being wild and young and, and she was sort of being wild and young as well. But it was really cool. So yeah, him and I sort of kept seeing each other for a few months. And look, it never turned into anything particularly serious. But we spent, you know, him and his mother had quite a close relationship and got on really well. And she was just, I mean, she was so nice to me. I don't know, you know, I think I just tend to think mothers don't ever like me, but I felt like she really liked me. And I was just in awe of her.
Jenna Love 4:34
Does that say something about your relationship to your mother?
Holly Harte 4:39
That's very Freudian of you. And yes, most likely. I think I just tend to be, I just, I think I don't tend to be someone that's very, I think we've had this conversation before I don't think I'm very likeable immediately. And in general for mothers, because I'm a little bit bogan and I'm always a little bit rough and I'm a bit crass and things like that. I think I'm not the the ideal, innocent perfect daughter in law. I'm like the naughty girl, you know. And that's usually means that, you know, my partner's mothers have been like,'Oh god, not her'
Jenna Love 5:08
Which is bizarre because you are so loving and kind, but
Holly Harte 5:12
Just a little bit a little bit wild, bit weird. So anyway, I just loved her immediately. And that was sort of my first time of ever realising that sex work was like, a job and it was an okay job. And it was not a big deal. And it could be not a big deal. And that started to unlock some little things in my brain that you know, were sort of pivotal, I think. So over the next few years, it was something that I sort of dreamed of privately, but I always felt like, you know, I was slut shamed a lot at school, I was a very sexually active person in my teens, as I said, and I used to get bullied, horrendously for it and treated disgustingly as a result. So I was terrified to enter the sex industry and just make concrete that I was worthless. Like I'd been told I was, because I was promiscuous. So that was a real battle I had within myself for a long time. I think I've mentioned before, that I used to sit with the yellow pages and look at the escorts part, the E part of the Yellow Pages was so worn down from me flicking to it over and over and over again. So I was 18 years old. And one day, I finally got the guts to call up this brothel. It was like the nicest add in escort part of the pages. And I talked to this lady, and she was so nice on the phone, and she was like, I want you to go and have a look at a few other brothels so that you'll know that ours is the best, and then come in and meet us. And I was like, 'Okay, cool'. So, I didn't do that at all. I just went straight to her. I had a male friend, but
Jenna Love 6:41
That was her plan all along
Holly Harte 6:41
She knew, she got me. And, look, I had a male friend, he was the only person I told at the time and I didn't have a car. This is part of the reason why at the time, I was quite pressed to get into it as well, because yeah, I needed a car. I was very broke. And yeah, so there was a few factors. But you know, I'd always wanted this and I was still a super horny young woman. So my male friend drove me out to this brothel. And I did my first shift. And I still remember, actually, I remember entirely what I looked like in the mirror. I remember what dress I wore. I remember I had never done makeup. I was not a makeup girl. So I had this little innocent baby. 18 year old face like, I can't tell you how young I looked. I had this little tiny dress. I didn't have big boobiess. I was skinny as, I was about 50 kilos, little tiny, scrawny innocent looking girl. But I was so excited. I was so nervous. I remember my heart thumping. And I remember my first client. And he was so sweet. The sex itself was relatively unremarkable. But I remember afterwards, he was telling me a few things about his life. And then he gave me an extra tip. And at that time, the tip to me was a lot of money. I think it was like $150. But to me at the time, that was so much, that was more than I was earning in a day.
Jenna Love 6:45
I mean that's a good tip.
Holly Harte 7:56
Yeah, I was in the public service at the time. And yeah, yeah, to me, that was that was massive. And I was like, 'oh', and he was like, 'Look, please leave the industry, please don't do this', blah, blah, blah. And I was like, 'Oh, okay'. And that frightened me. So I did a few more bookings. But in my head, it was more concrete again to, you know, not to do this, or there's something wrong with me, bla, bla, bla, I did a couple more shifts. And I just could never get past that gut feeling that there was something very wrong with what I was doing. Even though I was having a great time. Also, in this brothel, like I said, I was 18, I was not a very tough girl. And the women in that brothel were very intimidating, and just wouldn't really speak a word to me. And it was just too much. So I left. And I went back to the real world and did that for however many years until I got the guts again. So during that time, when I was trying to be a civilian and failing because in my heart, all I wanted to do was be a sex work, I would get into relationships with people. And then the minute I was in a relationship, I would think, 'fuck, I should have been a hooker while I wasn't in a relationship, because that's, now I'll never get to do it. I'll get married to this guy, and I'll never get to be a hooker like I always wanted to do'. So it was always something that I would regret not doing. And then I'd single again, and then I wouldn't do it. And, you know, it was still his ongoing battle for years,
Jenna Love 9:15
Even though I got married and then was like, I'm gonna be hooker!
Holly Harte 9:19
Yeah, I know. Well, I had a lot more issues. When I would would date guys, I would eventually tell them that I had done sex work, which, in hindsight, I'm like, well, fuck, I didn't have to tell them anything. But I was, you know, so honest with the men that I loved and I'd tell them and they would be disgusted. horrified, they'd 'out' me. One of them went to the trouble of turning up at my mum's house to tell her, things like that. So I've-Yeah, it was not not a good time. The concept of having a partner and working was so alien to me. I could not imagine having a partner that would be on board with that at the time. So I looked into a few other ways to ease myself into the industry. I did the sugar baby thing. I signed up to the websites. There was one fairly prominent individual who booked me, who paid for flights for me to come and meet him in another state. And I chickened out and I didn't go, because I just.. it was just too much, too intimidating. I also was terrified to work in Canberra because I didn't want to be recognised. So I drove to Sydney one day, I went up to Potts Point, and I met some escort agency owners who had some really questionable methods and questionable things that happened.
Jenna Love 10:26
(facetiously) I'm shocked.
Holly Harte 10:27
Yeah, I look, I think I mentioned they scanned my ID, they did just some weird things that that I just wasn't on board with. And I was planning at that point to maybe come up to Sydney each week and do some escorting work. But yeah, I just didn't get a good vibe about it. So I didn't go ahead. I have mentioned as well that I have a friend who introduced me to the brothel in Canberra, so we'd sort of talked about sex work, but she hadn't really, you know, dived in like I did. She contacted me one day, and she said, 'Look, I've got this guy who wants you to test a sex toy for him'. And I was like, 'What are you talking about girlfriend? Like, what the fuck?' And she's like, 'I've done it for him once before, and it's totally fine. It's like 200 bucks. You go to a hotel, and he's got this like, brand new sex toy he wants you to use and blah, blah, blah'. And I was like, 'Okay. Alright. Well, if you've done it, and he was fine, then, interesting'. And $200 at the time was a lot of money to me. And I was like, 'Fuck, yeah'. So I went, and the guy was lovely. And he had, he poured me a bath. And he bought a few bottles of champagne for me to sit and drink in the bath and take like my time to relax beforehand. And then I got out and he had a Sybian. And this was my first experience of seeing the Sybian, which I think some of our listeners will know, and some won't. It's basically like a very expensive sex saddle, which is super high powered, like, apparently there's like a motorcycle engine in it not, you know, like a motor, not an engine sorry. So, but it actually like, it vibrates really hard and produces quite exciting orgasms. So, I don't know what this guy's deal was he ostensibly loaned them out all over the country. And he just needed to check they were working. But I don't think that was what was going on here. I think it was very much for his own excitement. So, which sounds obvious saying it but this was the narrative at the time. And I was like, 'Hey, man, I don't care what your, your deal is, like, I'm in, I'm getting my money'. And so I jumped on this machine. And off I went, and I had a great time. And I made the money. And I was like, that was brilliant. Anyway, he contacted me again down the track, and he asked if I could do it again. And I was like, 'Oh, yeah, but it'll be more money'. And he was like, 'hmm no'. And so that was it.
Jenna Love 12:46
I think that's such a common experience that we have a client who tells us this story. And we're like, okay, I don't believe you for a second, babe. But you didn't like you didn't need to spin the story. But
Holly Harte 12:56
Right? I would have gone along with it. Yeah, like he could have just said, 'I want to watch a girl cum on this toy'. And I would have been like, 'yeah no worries!'. Cool.
Jenna Love 13:06
Sure, sounds good.
Holly Harte 13:09
Anyway, I had a blast. And that, to me felt like a little bit like escorting so I got the opportunity to go to a hotel and meet someone and earn some money without the pressure of the actual sex together. And all of that, and I, you know, got that that adrenaline rush and that excitement. And I was like, 'Girl, what are you doing with your life? Why do you keep insisting on public service jobs and private enterprise? Like, what are you doing?' I was so tired of forcing myself into this mould. So then again, that girl told me that this brothel was opening which I mentioned in our last episode, I went and worked there on my own, super raw, super green, didn't know much of what I was doing, but fumbled my way through it. And just was like, this is where I'm meant to be. I did go and then become a stripper for a little while, because I dunno it just looked fun and trendy and cool, and eventually made my way back to full service. So yeah, it was an interesting journey for me. And as I said, in between there, I did brothel reception for a while, and I did strip club management, and I did a bit of everything. So when I worked at that brothel on my own, they asked what name I wanted, and I'd had a lot of names in the industry at the time. I had been Bec, I had been Nikki, I had been Skye, I'd been so many things. And I decided on Holly because I was in love with Holly Madison from the Playboy Mansion. And I decided on Harte because I had a broken heart at the time that I went back to the industry. So I became Holly Harte.
Jenna Love 14:31
Oh my goodness. Stop it.
Holly Harte 14:34
Yeah. And also Harte was the name of a boss I'd had in the public service who I just thought was like a glamazon. And so that just worked for me, Holly Harte, and Holly Harte. So that was it. So I took that name on in like 2011. Like I've had that over 10 years. Eventually I came back to that brothel when it was running successfully. And there were, you know, quite a few of us there. The management was very lax. It was like a one in a lifetime sort of brothel experience, because the owners were two guys, they were really, really cruisy about it, they would bring us chocolate every night and like, come and hang out. And it was really cool. And the girls who were running the show who were doing reception, were just like, our friends. And so they were like, 'If you want to go, go', you know, so we just got away with fucking murder there. It was still aboveboard, like, you know, we were still paying our house fees. And we were still doing all the all the right things. But it was also really careful and considerate. And we all sort of looked after each other quite well. And I fell in love, like, with the work even more than I ever had, I had amazing sex, I had clients that were just, you know, made me feel so great, and that I enjoyed. And, yeah, I knew that this is where I was. And I having that community around me then, working with that camaraderie of the girls in the brothel just reinforced to me that it was okay. And this was a potential viable career, and I'm not a fucking freak, for loving, having sex for money. So all of those doubts I'd had for years started to evaporate, and I started to get a little bit more confident about my direction. So I thought I'd be a brothel girl forever. That was what I loved. The rhetoric that a lot of brothels push is that, you know, not just the brothel that I just been working in, but like the the brothel where I've been a receptionist and things like that, that it's very dangerous to be a private worker. I think that obviously is in the brothels interest to promote that idea. Because you know, then they keep you in-house and making money for them. But also, you know, there's this idea that dangerous things happen when you work for yourself. Well, you know, dangerous things happen everywhere. And I was not aware of screening measures and things like that. So I didn't know the possibilities that I had to make myself safe. So I thought I was going to always stay in the brothel, then the brothel owners, it was very short notice, they they said, 'We're shutting', I think we had about two weeks notice that they were just going to shut down. I think there were some tax debts involved or something like that. And they were going to shut down the shop. And suddenly my livelihood was gone. And I was terrified. So I asked them how much they'd like to buy the brothel because I thought, I want to keep it open. And I want, I'm happy to buy this. And they asked for $60,000, which... the it just wasn't worth it. Honestly, the turnover may have been, but they didn't put that much into it. Look, there's a lot of reasons why financially it just wasn't-Yeah, and I couldn't have come up with 60. I could have come up with a certain amount, but not $60,000.
Jenna Love 17:31
Gosh you could have been a brothel owner, what a different journey.
Holly Harte 17:34
I really wanted to, yeah, I really wanted to keep it for us, for the girls, because we loved it there. But I spoke to,
Jenna Love 17:40
God I can't think of anything worse, but good on you, for trying to save it.
Holly Harte 17:45
It was really special to us, you know. So I spoke to another guy who was sort of like a part or former owner and he said, 'Why don't you just go hire an apartment and work?' And I was like, 'Oh, I couldn't do that. Oh, no, that's too hard. I don't know how to do all that sort of stuff'. And I was like, 'Gosh, I'm just a, you know, a lowly brothel girl. I don't know what's involved with these real, you know, escorts like, that's like too, too much for me'. And, yeah, the brothel closed, and I sort of just didn't have any choices. So Cracker was around at the time, which was $1 per ad. And I booked at the local hotel for $100 a night and put my $1 ad up, and my phone just went crazy. It just didn't stop. I put a poster on the front of the brothel, that had closed down with like 'Holly's phone number or Holly's email'. So a few of my former clients that had turned up and found that it had closed could contact me. And the way I decided my rate at the time was I advertised as the same rates as the brothel. So, you know, obviously, the brothel wasn't taking a cut now, but you know, I just started from, from charging those rates. Yeah.
Jenna Love 18:47
That's logical, y
Holly Harte 18:47
Yeah! And it was very, very busy. And then so I did that for a few months until I got my own little place here. And now I work from home. So, the only thing I will say about all of that is that I, as I said, was not aware of screening processes. I did not have any idea. I wasn't connected to the community. I had one friend who was telling me to get on social media for a while, but I just didn't get organised. So I was just seeing anyone. Anyone could text me and turn up at that hotel door, and I had no idea who was turning up. And that's so dangerous. And in hindsight, I'm like, gosh, that's frightening. But I thought that was just how it was done. I just didn't think there was any other choice.
Jenna Love 19:25
Well, and that, I think that our society tells you that that's the way it's done.
Holly Harte 19:30
Jenna Love 19:30
The brothels certainly contributed to telling you that. And I know, that that's how my friends and family, whenever I talk about my work, that's the image that people have, and that is part of why people will say that sex work is dangerous. And, you know, again, another episode, but I think that a lot of people think that we don't have any, you know, measures in place. And that was one of the reasons why I didn't, I was terrified to leave that forum that I was a part of, and to actually advertise because I was like, but then anyone can contact me. And whereas I had this screening method with the forum, and now I have a lot of other resources, which is wonderful. But I was so scared at first to advertise. I was like, I don't want just anyone to come and see me. The irony being that that meant I was only seeing forum clients. And now, you know, I don't not see forum clients, but I'm certainly more hesitant to do so.
Holly Harte 20:23
Jenna Love 20:24
But that was in my comfort zone.
Holly Harte 20:26
Yeah. So I had no idea about that, you know, option. So, unfortunately, I did end up taking a booking from somebody who had targeted me for some time in the brothels and who did end up assaulting me. And I did not take action at the time over that incident. Because it's that whole thing, that I thought I had gotten myself into a stupid position. I should have done this, I should have done that. And yeah, I really questioned at that point, should I leave sex work? And what you know, is not what I should do. And I decided that night, I was sitting there and I was like, nope, fuck him, do you know what that would give him so much satisfaction to know that he drove me out of this industry that he ruined something I loved, I'm not going to let him have that power over me. And I'm going to stick to this and this is going to be what I want it to be. And so I do not let him kill that for me. So I have proceeded to take further action now. But yeah, so now, you know, my procedures are much more thorough, I will be checking who I see, all the time. And people, you know, question that occasionally. But I think when you think of the risks that we can be exposed to, you realise that telling, you know, your sex worker or providing some information to them to prove who you are, is very minimal compared to the risk that that we can face. So, but saying that, out of how many clients I've ever seen, it's a it's a .0001% incident of, of shittiness. So mostly, it's been wonderful. People have been exceptionally kind, generous, loving, I've made people who I think will be friends for the rest of my life. I've been fulfilled, my sexual urges are satisfied, because I mean, I have a high sex drive. And yeah, it's, I now just feel like, that dream that I had forever, that I kept trying to squish down has been fulfilled. And I know that that's a hard thing for people who, who, you know, maybe don't take the sex industry that seriously, you know, it's hard for them to sort of realise that it can be so fulfilling, but it is. And I'm so glad that I continued to push through every doubt that I had,
Jenna Love 22:29
As am I, or I wouldn't know you.
Holly Harte 22:31
Yeah, and then we met. Happily ever after.
Jenna Love 22:34
It's true, though, and I think that I mean, I spoke to both Holly and to Mr. Love before we recorded this episode, and said that I was a little bit hesitant about it, because the story of how I got to where I am now involves some some hardships. And it can be really, really difficult as a sex worker to talk publicly about negative things that have happened to you as a sex worker, because, you know, people love to tell us that our job is dangerous, and that, you know, harm will come to sex workers, people love pushing that narrative forward. So to sort of admit that, you know, things haven't been roses the whole time is really hard to do. But at the same time, it's important that we, that we share that as well, as well as the the good stuff. And I mean, you know, things can happen to you anywhere. And particularly, I think when you're a woman, or if you're a non binary, or if you're any kind of minority, you know, things can and likely will happen. And that's the reality of the world we live in. And let's try to make this a better world. But it is what it is. And and both Holly and Mr. Love said to me, you know, I think you need to say this stuff. Because, you know, and now listening to your story as well, Holly, I'm just thinking about, potentially, I mean, we don't have the biggest listenership in the world, but I just wonder how many sex workers are out there at one of the various points in either one of our journeys, and I hope that they, they can listen and hear that they are normal, that there's nothing wrong with enjoying this job, and that they can advocate for themselves. And that the most important thing is, is to make other connections in the industry, because I think that's what saved both of us. Right?
Holly Harte 24:13
Yeah, I think the connections are incredibly important. And I also think recognising your own agency, I think when you feel like, like when you work in a brothel, and particularly if you're really broke, you have no savings, you feel like, you may not have options, but there are options and there are, you know, it's not necessarily about going private, but you know, there's always another brothel, you can try. And there are private options that you can do. And if you're worried about the safety, there are ways you know, I guess, peer orgs are helpful with that sort of thing as well, with helping guide you. You know, you don't have to, if you want to be in this industry, you don't have to endure things that you don't want to, there are ways to turn situations into more desirable ones. You know, there's always something else so, yeah, I think that the short way of saying that is basically yeah, definitely there is more importance in peer orgs. and in your peers, I think as much as you can reach out to them.
Jenna Love 25:05
And peer organisations in Australia are always listed in our show notes. And if you're in another country, I don't know. You can find them, but DM us if you need and we'll help point you in the right direction.
Jenna Love 25:23
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 25:37
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 25:49
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 C-H-U-F-F-E-D
Holly Harte 26:00
Donations are tax deductible, 100% of funds raised go directly to sex workers in need. And most weeks the amount of people applying 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 26:21
Our misconception for this week, I feel like Holly actually touched on it a little bit towards the end of the last segment. But the misconception is that all of our clients or the vast majority of our clients are either ugly, old, fat, weird, creepy, etc. And I feel like I hear this a lot. Like it's a very common question when I will tell people that I'm a sex worker, they'll go, 'Ohh, what are your clients like?' Or 'Aren't your clients really weird? Do you see a lot of creepy people? Do you see a lot of creepy guys?' is usually what they say because the assumption as well, is that they're all men, of course,
Holly Harte 26:59
I think another part of that misconception is that there's a lot of guys who think that they're the exception. And it's not in an arrogant way. But they sort of think, 'Oh, you know, I'm a normal guy. But I bet the rest of her clients are weird'. And it's like, I've said to a few of my clients, I actually think if you got like, my top 20 most regular clients and put them in a room, they would all get on so well. They'd all be best mates because they are so similar in personalities, and they're all normal guys, like they're, I mean. And most people are normal people, like we're all weird, and we're all normal. That's what being a human it's we're all multifaceted. But I think, you know, my clients are a variety of looks and personalities, and interests and ages. And all of those things are fine and healthy and normal and attractive in their own ways. And I think they're all wonderful people, and they would adore each other. And I think a lot of people would be surprised how... I I don't think saying, how attractive my clients are is a way to say it, but how just normal they are. I think like, you know, it's not about a level of attractiveness, but it's just about human beings. I think we sort of when we put people in these boxes of ugly, you know, old whatever, we're caricature-ising people, like that's not what humans are, they're, you know, these really relatable entities that's a soul and that you connect with. And that's the whole experience. So I think it's just really weird when people have this assumption that our clients are, you know, little narrow checkboxes of a cartoon of like a creepy old man, like,
Jenna Love 28:30
I have to say it is, I find it so amusing when clients ask this question, and they say, 'Oh, do you get a lot of weirdos?' And I just think like, the cognitive dissonance to think, clients of sex workers, are weirdos. I'm a client of a sex work- like, by that logic, you're a weirdo, dude. And I don't think that but it's like, but that's your logic. So as you said, it's not that they think they're hot shit, but it's like, what part of your brain is telling you 'oh, I'm different'. And we do. I mean, all of us, I'm sure, have received text messages that are like, 'I'm not a creep. I'm not like those other guys'. And I'm like, 'What, who other guy- what are you talking about?'
Holly Harte 29:08
Yeah. Like, my clients are awesome. Like,
Jenna Love 29:12
Yeah, they're so great. And as you said, like I've always said I feel like my clients are like a microcosm of society. Like, it is just such a mix of people. There are people who are who are rich, there are people who are not rich, there are people from all different ethnic backgrounds. There are people in all different lines of work, jobs that I've never even heard about or thought might exist. And that's something that I love about my job is that I get to meet all these people with all these massive different life experiences that I can't even sort of think of, and they're just yeah, they're so varied. I mean, I've dated three of my clients. So obviously I don't find those three people at least, unattractive and and yeah, some clients are young, some are old, some are perhaps conventionally not super attractive, some are conventionally very attractive. And as you said, some of them are weird, just like us. Because we're all a bit weird. And that's fine. But as yeah, most of them are just normal people. And, and I- this frustrates me because I think it really contributes to the stigma around our job, that there is also a lot of stigma about seeing a sex worker, and there's, I see so often hear things, someone will throw that as an insult, like 'Oh, well, at least I don't have to pay for sex'. And that's the other thing. Who says that they have to pay tax? I mean, that sometimes there are, you know, we do have some clients who are not able to have sexual contact if they don't pay for it. And isn't it amazing that we're able to provide that for them. But there are also so many clients who don't necessarily need to pay for it, but they want to pay for it. So good on them. Like, it's just that simple.
Jenna Love 31:03
For Shit People Say I thought that I would pull up an old one, because I thought that was quite relevant to us telling our origin stories. So there's a little bit of setting up here, this is a client who I first started seeing, oh, I don't know, 2014, maybe, and I accepted a phone call from him. Now I have accepted three phone calls from potential clients in my career. And every single time I've had my boundaries pushed, and I've agreed to things I didn't want to do. So I do not answer phone calls anymore. And I've learned that lesson. But from this person, I accepted a phone call. And he happened to live near where I was working, I had a job at this particular location every Monday, and he happened to live very close to that location. So what he worked out, what he came up with, what he convinced me to agree to, was that after work, I would drop in to his house, I would give him a blowjob, he would give me $50. And I'd head home. And as we've mentioned, at the time, 50 bucks for that sounded great. Of course, the reality is that many times he would try to get more than just a blow job. And at times, he would also succeed in getting more than a blow job. Oftentimes, I would be there for, you know, up to an hour. And you know, it just really didn't make all that much sense financially, really. But I got on well enough with him and whatever. But I then moved out of that area completely and moved to the Blue Mountains where I live now. So he texted me a bit here, there, whatever. I gave short responses because I was like, well, you're not giving me money. So whatever. He texted me saying 'They must miss you at insert-the-location-where-I-was-working. I know I do. Do you ever get down my way?' And I said 'No, not really sorry'. He said, 'Damn and blast lol'. Okay. Then a couple of days later, he said, 'Are you still reasonably close to a station?' I said, 'No, I'm not sorry, the closest station is blah, blah, but it's too far to walk'. Then two months later, he must have seen that I was doing a Sydney tour. And he said 'I don't suppose a quick stopover in insert suburb next week on your way to or from the city could be arranged?'. Now the suburb that he lives in is not on the way to the city from my house. So I didn't respond to him. Because I was just like, no, I'm going on tour where I'm going to earn a lot of money from clients who have booked in, well in advance and have booked in at my at my current proper rates. And no, I'm not going to go completely out of my way. For someone who kind of pushed me into something I didn't want to do in the first place and then pushed my boundaries repeatedly. The next day, I got everyone's favourite message, two question marks. I responded 'probably not, sorry'. He said 'once more for old times sake as a big favour? Pretty please?' And I responded, 'Honestly, my minimum outcall fee is $500. It just doesn't make sense for me financially, I'm sorry'. Like he was wanting me to do a booking for 1/10 of my rate. And I was like it just doesn't make sense. I can go earn my rate with somebody else. So why-? It just doesn't make any sense. And his response was, 'Oh, Jen, I never thought I would hear that from you'.
Holly Harte 34:31
Jenna Love 34:31
Mmm. So I didn't respond to that. Then a few hours later, I got 'You must have crossed over to the dark side lol'. And I responded, 'What's the dark side?' and I know full well what he's talking about, but I was like, oh, what's this dark side you're talking about? And he said 'Just an expression, not literal'. And then a few hours later wrote 'Pity nonetheless'. And I didn't respond to any of those. And this is what-I wanted to talk about this like, there's nothing wrong with me accepting $50 for a blow job that was on my way home from work. But I should not have been put in a position where I felt like I had to accept that. And for him to then come at me years later, when I had established myself and was able to charge a lot higher than that, and was was booked out regularly. And then to suggest that, 'oh, I never thought I'd hear that from you'. Like what? You never thought that you would hear that I'm charging appropriately for my time? Like, fuck you.
Holly Harte 35:32
Yeah, it's so insulting.
Jenna Love 35:34
And to be like, 'Oh, you're one of those girls', you know, who works for a fee. What an absurd idea. And then anyway, the the only follow up is that a few months after, I got another message, it said, 'Hi, Jenna, you know quite a few girls that work, don't you? Would any of them benefit from having a room to use on an as needed basis?' And I responded and said, 'I don't think so, most workers are pretty particular about only hiring residential spaces from other workers'. So he came back and said, 'Well, you know me and you know that I am honest and reliable and trustworthy. You have also used the room in the past, so you know that it's clean and tidy. If you can recommend anyone to me or me to anyone, it would be most appreciated.' I said, 'I can keep that in mind. But I also don't know if there would really be a need for a room in that location. Everyone wants to be in the CBD'. Because where he lives is not, it's not a big like, city area. He responded 'Only 10 minutes from Parramatta' which, Parramatta is a largeish city area. His new message, he said, 'If there's anyone and you can vouch for them, please feel free to give them my number to discuss'. I just didn't respond. A few hours later, I got another message from him. 'Do you remember the room?'
Holly Harte 36:48
Oh, my God.
Jenna Love 36:49
I said, 'Yep'. He said, 'Excellent. Do you know of anyone?' I said, 'I've already explained that the location isn't suitable and that workers don't want to hire off non workers'
Holly Harte 36:59
Take a hint.
Jenna Love 37:01
Yeah. He said, 'Oh. Well, it has worked extremely well in the past, location wise, and with a large number of people'. And it's like, well, if it's worked,
Holly Harte 37:11
Well get them!
Jenna Love 37:11
Yeah, get them. If that's worked really well for you then contact them, because... And anyway, I just, that was the first thing that popped into my mind when I was thinking about Shit People Say and origin stories, because, you know, he was upset that I was doing well for myself, and that he couldn't get his dick sucked and probably try and get more for $50. And I'm not interested in that. I don't care.
Jenna Love 37:38
We've had a few questions recently that are sort of about like, percentages and statistics of our work. So we thought we might do like, a rapid fire of a few questions this week to answer some of them. So the first one is, 'What do you think is your ratio of regular clients to one off clients? And has that changed over time?'
Holly Harte 38:00
Oh, Jenna, you've got very specific data here. Why don't you start us off?
Jenna Love 38:05
Yeah, this-the person asking this question said, 'Oh, I'm sorry, if it's not an appropriate question. I don't need to know like, exact numbers and stuff'. And I was like, 'Well, let me just pull up my spreadsheet'. But I think you and I know, we measured this by a slightly different metric,
Holly Harte 38:19
I was just gonna say we're both really spreadsheet people. Like I don't think a lot of people keep this much tracking of their of their booking information. And I thought I was a bit weird for doing it until I saw what you do. And then I was like, 'wow, okay, this girl is organised'. But I love it. We're both about that, you know, it's really good.
Jenna Love 38:39
So I can tell you that the percentage of my bookings that were with repeat clients in 2020, was 55%. And in 2021, so far, it's been 64%. So that is just weighing up whether a client was a first time, a new client for me, or whether they are somebody that I had seen before. So it's not I wouldn't say it's necessarily measuring regulars, in that it's been people that have been seeing me for a long time, you know, really regularly, but it's just measuring how many of my bookings are from people that I have seen before. If that makes sense.
Holly Harte 39:13
Yeah, determining a regular is really hard. Because is that somebody that sees you every month? Or is that somebody that you saw once two years ago, that's come back. So I tend to base mine a lot on repeating clients as well. Have I seen them before? Basically, look, generally I only meet one or two new clients a month. That's the maximum. Most of my bookings that I take are repeat business. I don't have specific numbers, but I only see one to two new clients a month, basically. So most of my clients are regulars. And that's yeah, how my business runs. I did the measurements and about about a quarter of my clients that-new clients that I see, come back to see me again.
Jenna Love 39:48
Yeah, I think Holly's percentage of regular versus new clients is higher than mine. And I sus-one theory I have, well one theory is that I'm terrible at my job, but I don't think that's the case. The other theory is that I tour quite a lot, when we don't have COVID restrictions, of course, whereas Holly stays in the same location. So I find when I'm touring, when I'm going around the country, I'm opening myself up to more audiences and more new people. And I also find a surge in new people whenever I do different bits of media. So whenever I am interviewed for newspaper articles, or do a video for a company or something, I tend to get a bunch of new people that have come because of that.
Holly Harte 40:30
I found last year, about 50% of my income was made from my top 10 clients. So it definitely is a thing for me of repeat business. Most of my you know, income comes from the same people who sort of come back or each year, you know, I develop new regulars as other regulars move on. But yeah, it is always really nice meeting new people, and trying to grow that that base and build those relationships. But yeah, 25% of my clients coming back doesn't sound like a very high number. But there are a lot of people who see sex workers just once and then go and see other sex workers. I'm sure there are some that see me and I'm just not their favourite. There are some that are passing through Canberra, there's a multitude of reasons why people, you know, do or don't come back, but hopefully the ones that do, it's because, you know, they're having a great time.
Jenna Love 41:16
Yeah, absolutely. And the second part of that question was, 'has that changed over time?', and I only started tracking these particular statistics in 2020. So I can't tell you with figures, but I don't think it really has, I would say that from the very beginning, I've had regulars and new clients. And I mean, if anything, maybe as I said, when my name gets kind of thrown out there into the media, I get occasionally new clients, but generally, I think it's fairly consistent
Holly Harte 41:46
Not for me, I think it's changed a lot over the past five years, I used to see, I think, a lot more variety in clients, a lot more new clients, particularly when my rates were lower, I think I'd get a lot more, you know, short bookings, and a greater number of bookings. Whereas now my bookings tend to be with the same people, longer bookings and, and fewer. So it's changed a lot. But for the better, because I think those relationships I've had with those clients have really grown. And we do like to spend whole afternoons together. And that's really sweet.
Jenna Love 42:18
Do you know what your busiest day of the week is?
Holly Harte 42:22
Look, I don't have the statistical-the data like you do. But just roughly it's Thursdays and Fridays tend to be my busiest day.
Jenna Love 42:31
So my busiest days are Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. But I think that that is heavily skewed, because when I'm not on tour, when I'm working at home, I only work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. So I'm obviously, my bookings overall, I'm not going to have as many on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, because I only offer those when I'm on tour. Usually.
Holly Harte 42:51
I tend to find weekends are dead for me. And that's why I started doing Snuggle Sundays and doing, you know, my indoor social sessions on a Sunday because I just never had bookings. And I thought that'd be a really low-key chilled way to still make a bit of income and have a really relaxed time with some clients.
Jenna Love 43:06
I love that. I also love that I just usually don't work on the weekends, because that's not the life for me. Do you know what your like busiest months are in a year? Because I find it interesting like with my statistics, I like to I like to make little graphs? Of course I do. And the the graph of the months showing which how many bookings per month, is actually quite a different shape to the graph that shows how much income per month so like my two biggest months in terms of amount of bookings for the last financial year were June and July. But the highest income months were July and December. So they're not always the same.
Holly Harte 43:50
That is very interesting. I also have graphs on this. So my highest income months last year were July and December.
Jenna Love 43:59
Holly Harte 44:00
Yeah. So that's very interesting. And in terms of my busiest months last year, they were May and June. So yeah, just right around that winter
Jenna Love 44:12
Yeah so different as well. Yeah, winter I get the most as well! How interesting.
Holly Harte 44:17
It is interesting
Jenna Love 44:17
We've never compared these ones.
Holly Harte 44:19
The definite the lowest is January, every January, it's pretty dead. And last year, April. That was when I was shut down for COVID. So that was very, very dead as well.
Jenna Love 44:31
Something I find interesting, often January and December are the months that I ha- January, December, February, even, those few months I have lower booking- I have fewer bookings, I should say, but I tend to get more overnight and longer bookings. Yeah, period. Yeah. So sometimes that actually means, which I know you don't offer overnight bookings. But for me one or two overnight bookings in a month has a huge impact on the income for that month.
Holly Harte 44:57
Yeah, I think in January the business tends to be so dead. And it's pretty routine for me that every January, nobody is booking. I think it's coz all the families are away on holidays. It's really hard for the husbands to sneak away when they can't say they're at work.
Jenna Love 45:13
And even people who don't have families, there's a lot happening in January. And people are just recovering from whatever fuckery the year before brought on. And people have spent a lot of money in December, December is just an expensive year, expensive month.
Holly Harte 45:28
So true. The next one was the amount of time spent in bookings versus the amount of time doing admin. Now, Jenna, I know you track this stuff brilliantly.
Jenna Love 45:36
I do. I am a little time tracker. Um, so yeah, I track all of my time that is non personal. So stuff that is Jenna-related, to my Jenna business, stuff that is volunteer work, or activism work, podcast work. So I have it all like broken down, which I really enjoy. I don't really do anything with the information, like sometimes I look at it and go, 'Wow, I earnt no money from that and spent all of my time on it. Oh well.', like, I don't really care. But it's just interesting to look at. So out of the Jenna Love work in 2020, 28% of that time was spent in bookings. And in 2021, so far 38% of that time has been spent in bookings. And I was thinking earlier about why a higher percentage of my time has been spent in bookings this year than last year. A part of it will be that last year we- I where I lived had, I had two surgeries, and we had three months of lockdown. And this year, this is only tracking up until the end of the financial year, currently, who knows what's happening in Sydney. Now, these stats are a bit tricky because of COVID. Like that has really impacted how much physical work I've actually been able to do. But I think it's really, really interesting and very exciting. I just looked at these and discovered this. Well, actually, I didn't discover it, my husband pointed out to me, because apparently, I'm a bit of an idiot. But the fact that there's been such a jump in my, the percentage of my time spent in bookings with my clients from 2020 to 2021, is quite possibly, because at the beginning of 2021, I automated my booking system. That was a lot of work, it took me a few solid weeks to get it up and running. But it has reduced my admin so much. And I was aware of this and like just the like, it feels like a weight lifted, I just do so much less admin. And I'm able to actually focus more on my time with my clients on the time that I'm actually paid for. But now to actually see that in the stats is amazing. I'm so excited to be able to look at those numbers and go, yeah, I've cut down the time spent answering emails and dealing with questions that aren't making me money, basically.
Holly Harte 45:40
Yeah, look, my information is nowhere near as accurate as Jenna's. Look, I don't spend a lot of time on admin, I do spreadsheets, sort of for fun, I do them, I update them every month or two, I spend a fair bit of time interacting with clients via text and things like that. And you know, which I try not to too much, but it's hard to resist. And I don't have a whole lot of social media going on, like Jenna. So I don't put a lot of time into that. What I do find though, is I spend a lot of time cleaning. I think for me, the cleaning is a big part of the job. So you know, before you arrive, particularly because I've got four pets, I'm trying to keep the house as clean as possible. So it's not as revolting when you walk in the door, cleaning up after, you know, sanitising everything, all that sort of stuff takes a lot of time. And you know, then the whole, you know, the hair and the makeup and the upkeep and the nails and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. That all takes a lot of time. So I mean, every week I'd probably do. I'd say I probably spent twice as much time doing all those surrounding things as I do doing bookings. That would be a pretty accurate thing. I'd say it's about 30% of work, and 70% of all the other things so yeah,
Jenna Love 49:12
Yeah, I just realised I should probably explain what the things are other than booking time. So when I do my time tracking, I have everything in different categories. So one of those categories is preparing the room and cleaning up the room as Holly was talking about. Another is getting myself ready. So bathing and shaving and putting makeup on and making myself look nice and smell appropriate. One is answering emails and organising arranging bookings. And that's the category that's really massively dropped down for me with this automation stuff, marketing, so putting ads up, writing the copy for them, and deciding what photos are going to go up, all that sort of stuff. And then the other thing that I do that Holly doesn't, is create my own porn. So I also include that, creating the the content. So there's filming or taking photographs, then there's the editing, then there's the uploading, then there's coming up with captions for everything. And as Yeah, as Holly said, I have a million different social media platforms as well as my porn site stuff. So there's a lot of coming up with shit to post and scheduling things involved with that.
Holly Harte 50:25
The last question in this sort of category is incall versus outcall. What are your proportions?
Jenna Love 50:31
So for me, it varies obviously, but every month that I've looked at, over 90% of my bookings have been incall, I do very few outcalls. Obviously, this will vary a lot like for sex workers who live in Victoria incalls are illegal. So their numbers are going to be very different to ours.
Holly Harte 50:52
The vast, vast majority of mine are incalls. I probably do one to two outcalls a month, and I tend to prefer to do them with clients I've already met before, but it's not a big thing.
Holly Harte 51:06
We'd like to thank our supporters on Patreon this week, our new Generous Somebodies our Ellen, Brian M and Mike, our Very Generous Somebodies are Lochlan, Timmy, Steve, Our Footstool, Spaceman Dan, Pete, Adelle, The Alice grey, Big M, Scott C, Sammy Jane, Bart, Barliman, Randy Wagner, Robbie Hart, Andrew, Andy, Leo Narnie
Jenna Love 51:37
Theodoric, Natalie, Adam Smith, Mal, Bruce McDermaid, Gricey, Pedro, Ben, Dale, John the PM, Mamma B, Maddie Andrews, Larry, Celeste, Leslie, Sub London and Scott Watson and Our Extremely Generous Somebodies are Aaron, Samuel and Andrew, Thank you so much. You are absolute legends. We can't thank you enough patrons.
Holly Harte 52:08
Thanks for listening this week to our origin stories and other shenanigans. We really appreciate you joining us this far. Thanks so much.
Jenna Love 52:16
Holly Harte 52:17
Jenna Love 52:20
Please look out for us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Patreon. Our name everywhere is Somebody You Pod 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.
Jenna Love 52:52
Do you miss the free and affordable ads and social networks without all of the anti sex rhetoric?
Holly Harte 52:57
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 53:06
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 53:18
And both are free to join and open to all.
Jenna Love 53:20
You can find both of our profiles on Tryst and I love how it is so clearly designed by sex workers.
Holly Harte 53:27
Yep. And I love how straightforward and easy it is to use and how much they clearly support the sex working community.
Jenna Love 53:33
And also how responsive they are when it comes to feedback and customer service.
Holly Harte 53:37
Check out their website assemblyfour.com, four the word not the number, for more info.