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Experienced mistress Fatale explains her situation:. I like working in a dungeon where it is quiet and I have full control over the environment. I put on music which I know will heighten the experience. I am conscious of every move I do, and it is an exercise in all my skills.
The compatibility with her working environment can be explained as being an extension of her private preferred home environment:. I feel comfortable in the dungeon. It's like the way I live at home, in total darkness, like a cave, and this is how I am. My home is like a dungeon and a dungeon is like my home, so I am going from one comfortable environment to another as I go from home to work.
To enter a bondage parlour is like passing into another world; a world of science fiction, of fairy tale, or Disneyland, or of a Hollywood set for a Gothic horror movie. The lighting is dim, reminding one of gaslight, and the hallway walls are festooned with chains, whips and graphic images of torture and pain.
The dungeon is the centre piece of this world; a large room painted black and red, with racks, torture wheels, ceiling harnesses, a complete set of whips and canes of every imaginable type on display, and leather suits for confining movement, like the ancient straight jackets of medieval torture chambers.
But the dungeon is not the only room in the house for client fantasies. For those with transvestite fantasies there is a "tranny" room, by contrast well-lit, and decorated with fluffy, frilly ultra-feminine dresses, rows of over sized stiletto-heeled shoes, and a dressing table that would make a film star envious. There is also a medical room, equipped with an operating table, charts and pictures of male and female anatomy on the walls, and every conceivable cutting, slicing, pulling, grasping surgical instrument available.
Water sports with enemas and urinal pans are usually conducted in this room too. Then there are schoolrooms, baby rooms, kindergartens, the variation from house to house is endless.
Like most parlours, bondage houses have a "girl's room" where the women can relax between sessions, adjust make-up, hair and clothing, and chat about the last client. Where most prostitutes in other parlours change into conventional garments in this room at the start of a shift, mistresses will be stepping into rubber outfits, zipping up studded leather garments, bat-suits, nurses, teachers or infant costumes ready for a day's work.
According to brothel workers, working in a parlour has one distinct advantage over working the streets: For a lonely woman, working in a parlour can offer an opportunity for regular contact with other women and even for striking up friendships.
Cameraderies between brothel workers are not unusual because of the ample time to communicate with one another between visits by clients, especially since they have shared experiences at work, regardless of their individual backgrounds. There is less opportunity for this on the street, and whatever bonds form among streetwalkers these tend to be more often related to the after hours common experiences of scoring from the same dealers and using drugs together. But brothel workers also express some disadvantages to working in a parlour.
High among these are the restricted working hours, splitting half the takings with the house, and the imbalance of power with the boss in command dictating working conditions. Another common complaint, especially where workers are not communicative, is boredom, sitting around waiting for the next client. Some workers blame their high level of smoking and drinking on this. For avid readers and students filling in time with an assignment, this is less of a problem, and may even be an advantage.
But for some women, the parlour can be a lonely, tedious, stultifying environment relieved only by the occasional session with a client. Where intra-staff relations or relations between staff and management are strained, the confined space of the parlour can intensify disharmony and alienation, and a petty disagreement might trigger off months of tension and exacerbate an already explosive situation.
While this sort of situation can arise in any workplace, in a brothel, where there is an atmosphere of sexual tension, anxieties about clients, perhaps anxieties about one's own role, and the constant fear of public exposure, strained industrial or staff relations will exaggerate events to such a level that resolution becomes impossible.
This kind of situation can encourage an ex-streetwalker, who may have left the streets because of the daily hassles of visible prostitution, to return to the free-ranging life of street soliciting. Escort work also takes place in a brothel which offers house or hotel calls. An available brothel worker will be sent by taxi or hired driver to the place designated by the client over the phone. It works much the same way for escorts attached to an agency independent of the brothel trade.
I would phone up and tell them I would be on call that night. Then I got dressed ready to go out, and sat home waiting for the phone to ring. I would catch a cab to the hotel, meet the client in the bar, fill in the Bankcard or take the money, phone through to the office to tell them I've arrived, have a drink with the client and go out or up to his room.
Most of the work was fairly chatty, chatting about his business or silly small talk, do the job in his room, and then phone through after it to let them know I've finished. Escort work can sound glamorous and exciting, especially with a client with a high public profile.
But it can also be the most dangerous of all prostitution work, as Zoe points out:. The job risk is much higher than in parlours.
You are very vulnerable in the client's room and have no control over the situation, which can be pretty frightening if things get nasty. You always let the client know that you have to phone the office before and after the job so that he is aware that you are being guarded. If you haven't phoned in an hour after you've told the office you've arrived when you are booked for an hour job, presumably they would send someone out looking for you.
But meantime you could be dead. What is referred to as "private prostitution" in Sydney is the equivalent to the work of the American "call girl". This is the most clandestine operation of the "professional" forms of prostitution. The most basic example is one or two women in a rented flat answering phone calls from clients thus, the term "call girl" and making appointments to see them in the flat.
The number of women involved in one such business can be as high as four or five. There are also situations where a person rents an apartment or house and hires a few women as "call girls". The owner-manager might take all incoming calls and arrange the appointments.
Although this kind of arrangement has all the earmarks of privacy and exclusivity, and certainly no one is seen without an appointment, in structure it is more like a mini-parlour then an independent "call girl" business.
In October I estimated there were some 76 "private prostitution" businesses see p. To gain an impression of numbers of private operations the advertisements in two major weekly publishing outlets for prostitute advertisers, viz. Under the column heading of "Home Entertainments" in Naughty Sydney were 46 entries; but after eliminating all duplicate phone numbers the total left was 38 businesses. Under the column heading of "Escort Services" in Naughty Sydney were 62 entries; but after eliminating all duplicate phone numbers and the obvious parlour advertisements the total left was 44 businesses.
Under the column heading of "Personal" in Wentworth Courier were entries, but excluding those for "straight" massage, male escorts, "call boys" and obvious parlours, the total left was businesses. Consideration, however, should be given to the probability of some businesses with two or more phone numbers which are impossible to determine by looking at the entries.
It is likely that, if known, the elimination of these would reduce the total quite significantly. This estimation does not necessarily mean that the number of "call girls" has doubled, but, applying the "rule of thumb" approach of , and comparing this with the decline in numbers of parlours, there does seem to be some correlation between the decrease in one and the increase in the other.
Ignoring probable discrepancies due to some businesses with two or more telephone numbers, and what appears to be a much higher ratio of single workers in than in , the calculated average of two workers per business decided on in the estimates will give us a total of women, compared to only in Since as many as 10 parlours have closed between and , it might be argued that more "call girls" in represents the shift of previous parlour workers into private operations.
Such a calculation, however, especially without knowledge of actual individuals involved in this surmised relocation, should be treated with caution, and used as a guide to possible trends only. Can this mean that "private prostitution" has become more attractive to those "professional" prostitutes as business in general declines in the sex industry? Private prostitution depends solely on advertisements for recruiting business. The amount of new business acquired through word of mouth is almost negligible and certainly not sufficient to maintain a business.
The trick to advertising prostitution is not to be blatant so as to attract the law prohibiting the advertisement of commercial sex, yet to make it obvious to the male reader what the advertiser intends. This can be done without mentioning sexual services which also contravenes the obscene publication law nor prices because the implications are potent enough for the interested parties.
Advertising prostitution is highly competitive and for the "call girl" totally dependent on it she has to offer a "personal service" in order to compete with the big parlours, and she must individualise her advertisement to attract the potential client searching for his special sexual fantasy in order to compete with other "call girls". The result is often highly imaginative text, coupled with wit and a childish prattle which seems to accompany the fantasies of male sexuality. Some advertisements pander to male fantasies for exotica, others to coquettishness, and yet others to a kind of adolescent or infantile sex romp.
A few examples of the text of these advertisements will suffice to illustrate the point:. Oriental Delights Excitingly different International ladies of your choice. Try our new Spanish and Indonesian delight.
Mediterranean Magic New to Sydney, leggy attractive lady, black hair, fair skin and very, very friendly. Black is Beautiful So too is Santina Carribean Beauty Dark hair, dark skin with fabulous body and a soft, caring touch.
Leeza is sweet and serene but will make your desires just sizzle with satisfaction. She adores dressing up and will fantasise beyond your wildest dreams. I am a sophisticated intelligent well-bred well spoken lady offering an opportunity for discreet executive to experience The initial contact with the client is by the phone. He may be enquiring about prices, or just trying to find out if the woman on the other end sounds like his fantasy or suits his personality.
It is this moment when the "call girl" needs to exercise all her skills at salesmanship, by coming across as pleasant, sexy and nice to be with, without giving too much away.
After all, it might be a policeman on the other end and mentioning sex and prices could be construed as advertising. The most successful "call girls" are those with a pleasant disposition on the phone, a sense of wit and alluring. While the advertisement might arouse a man's interest, the phone conversation has to make the woman irresistible because even after making an appointment some men fail to keep it.
Many clients ring a number of "call girls" and then decide which they most like the sound of. The "call girl" also needs to be skilful in evaluating her caller by his tone, expression and enquiries in case she invites a dangerous man to her place.
But once this is done to her satisfaction and an appointment is made, the next step is to try to develop the new client into a regular. The business of the "call girl" turns over at a much slower rate than in a brothel, so she needs to cultivate a higher ratio of regular clientele.
Men who prefer visiting a "call girl" to visiting a brothel are usually seeking more than sex; they are often looking for a female friend, companion or mistress. The "call girl" recognises this and acts the pseudo-mistress with her regular clients, so that she might have a number of mini-relationships going at the same time. The emotional strain of keeping such pretence going is much more draining than the brothel worker who sees her clients for the express purpose of sexually satisfying them.
Although some clients in brothels do develop an attachment for certain women and this adds a strain in the relationship for the workers, the "call girl", from the first visit when the man arrives nervous and uncertain, must appear calm and amicable towards him even though she too might be secretly anxious, and thereafter as he becomes a weekly regular she has to maintain an intense level of intimacy with him. And, while she might be the only woman he has such intimacy with, she is on the same terms with as many as a dozen or more men.
The streetwalker who refers to the "call girl" as a "lazy flatbacker" obviously has never been in her situation. There are certain distinct advantages to the working life of the "call girl". Not the least of these, so far as she is concerned, is the anonymity of the work. Whereas the streetwalker is in public view for all to see, and the brothel worker is occasionally discovered by a man known to her, or worse, a member of her close family like the Canberra parlour worker whose father walked into her workplace as a client , the "call girl" through the expediency of "sussing" a caller out on the telephone can usually detect anyone known to her.
In any case, she can always spot a man who has made an appointment through the "peep-hole" in the door. Since much of their work is carried out in the daytime, a mother of young children can work as a "call girl" between say 10 a.
She does not have to abide by a roster system. The chief disadvantage to working as an independent "call girl", especially if a woman decides to work alone, is the risk of violence. In spite of great skills at detecting a maniac on the phone a misjudgment sometimes occurs, and then the woman has to call upon all her powers of persuasion and remain calm in a potentially deadly situation if she is to escape injury.
If this fails the results are sometimes fatal. The history of prostitution is filled with tragic situations when a woman is alone with a crazed misogynist, like Julie Plater, who was bashed to death on Christmas Eve, , when she saw a man alone in a parlour in Harris Park, or of the horrifying death of the Kings Cross worker who saw a man alone and died with a leg of a chair shoved into her eye and brain.
The heavy dependence upon advertisements is another distinct disadvantage of running a private operation. If a newspaper in which an advertisement appears regularly suddenly decides to cease taking advertisements from prostitutes or deletes the "personal" column a "call girl's" business is drastically affected immediately. When the Manly Daily stopped running its "personal column" in the number of private operations on the North Shore rapidly declined almost overnight although when another printed outlet was found some re-opened.
These then are the main types of prostitution carried out by "professional" prostitutes in Sydney. As stated at the beginning of this Section they do not differ much from similar operations in other western cities, and if they do differ noticeably it is usually in degree rather than kind. The famous "window" prostitution in Amsterdam, for instance, is not unlike the east Sydney brothels, except the Dutch prostitute sits behind a house window while the Sydney worker stands in a doorway.
The women's attire, the male cruising, the bargaining, and closing curtains or door when busy are basically the same; the minor differences are but variations on a theme.
Perhaps the aspect of prostitution which most fascinates many people is why women enter the sex industry in the first place. Many researchers have attempted to answer this by providing psychological motives from events in childhood or early adolescence. But as we have seen, there have been so many conflicting opinions on the subject that little has been gained in this line of investigation. Jennifer James found early negative sexual experiences as a possible predetermining factor for her street and juvenile samples.
In the previous Chapter, the present study indicates an early coital experience as a possible predisposing motive for women entering prostitution at a later date, based on a more representative sample of sex workers, and, unlike the studies of James , Mimi Silbert and Nanette Davis , these early sexual activities were little different in kind to the similar experiences of other women.
This Section, however, concerns the immediate motives for women becoming prostitutes, and attempts to reconstruct a scenario linking reasons given by the prostitute sample for entering prostitution, with the findings in the social background variables discussed in the last Chapter. Distribution of streetwalkers, brothels, strip clubs and bars in Kings Cross Distribution of streetwalkers, brothels and houses of assignation in East Sydney and Darlinghurst Brothels and streetwalkers in Sydney metropolitan area Firstly, it is useful to consider some general social perceptions on why women enter prostitution.
The two non-prostitute samples of female university students and health-workers as indicators were asked if they had ever considered taking up prostitution themselves. Keeping in mind that in the preliminary stages of this study 13 completed questionnaires from these two groups were discarded lest they biased the findings, the balance responded as shown in Figure 4.
Quite obviously prostitution is largely rejected as a job option. But in view of the high level of social resistance to the sex industry and the negative misconceptions about it, it may be surprising to find so many of the health-workers and students considered it at all, let alone nearly 9 per cent of the original number of respondents to the questionnaire who admitted to actually working as prostitutes. Because the prostitute stereotype is a constant image of the archetypal "bad girl" in the subconscious of most women, it frequently flashes into the conscious mind whenever the individual thinks of "sin", "sexual promiscuity", "wantoness" and other concepts of negative socio-sexual behaviour.
Other images, such as the nun stereotype for "purity", the temptress stereotype for "seductiveness", the virgin stereotype for "innocence", the housewife stereotype for "duty", the mother stereotype for "nurturance", also play their part of emerging from the subconscious whenever the conceptual occasion arises.
Women therefore relate to any of these at different times depending on the situation. Thus, a woman who is constantly concerned about her sexual behaviour with men may often fantasise about herself in the role of a prostitute, but she more than likely will never actually take on this role. Many more women imagine themselves as prostitutes than actually become them. Those who do may simply be women who have put their fantasies into reality.
In view of this, the imagined prostitute role will no doubt include motives for entering prostitution. The two samples of non-prostitutes responded to a question on why they thought women entered prostitution. The reasons they gave are listed in Table 4. Very clearly the non-prostitute sample imagine drug-taking and economic imperatives as the most frequent reasons for women entering prostitution.
They also imagine that pimp manipulation, greed and a higher income incentive, and a past as uncontrollable children or juvenile delinquency are powerful motives in women becoming prostitutes. It is interesting to note the high ratios of psychological motives, such as low self-esteem, lack of love or affection, loneliness and nymphomania, supposed as underlying reasons for taking up prostitution.
The list complements the usual assumptions about prostitutes made in the media, such as drug addiction, pimps, low self-esteem and poverty as the main contributors to women's entrance into prostitution.
The general assumption here is that prostitution is such an odious existence that no woman in her right mind would freely choose it as an occupation; some powerful driving force over which they have no control gets them involved. The reasons prostitutes give for having entered the sex industry, however, tell a very different story, as is seen in Figure 4.
These subjects gave multiple answers, so that separate reasons were given. Percentages are of number of subjects to each reason. An immediate contrast with the imagined motivations for entering prostitution suggested by the health-workers and students presents itself Whereas the non-prostitutes supposed that drug addiction and pimp manipulation were high level motivations for becoming prostitutes, the reality of the prostitute sample is that these feature quite low among motivations.
The economic motives of unemployment, supporting families and pursuing higher incomes given by the prostitutes as reasons for their own entrance into the sex industry do coincide more closely with the assumed motives given by the non-prostitutes. Another economic motive often overlooked by non-prostitutes is that of offering commercial sex in order to pay for an education, for money needed to take an overseas trip, to pay off debts, to purchase a car, house or other large expensive item, or for some other specific purpose.
It is far from unusual to find a prostitute with a specific goal, giving herself a time span in which to earn a high income and acquire the desired object or objective. The reality is then that the vast majority of prostitutes have entered the business for money and remain in it for money.
In other words, prostitutes see and treat prostitution as a job option, unlike most non-prostitutes, who see it as an expression of a psycho-social deficiency. The age of entrance for the prostitute sample provides further insight into this phenomenon. Most prostitutes seem to enter the sex industry in their late adolescence to early twenties.
Very few were in their early adolescence and little over 10 per cent were over 30 when they began. An interesting pattern occurs in the 16 to 25 years age group which would indicate that there are two age periods when large numbers of women enter the sex industry: The first period saw the entry of many of those girls who had experienced early coitus.
These girls may have been promiscuous teenagers with a long history of coital activity, or, just as likely, they may have been girls who found prostitution the only means to pay for their drug habits. The women entering prostitution in their early twenties, on the other hand, are mostly women making clear and rational choices about becoming prostitutes based on a strong economic motive, either in order to pay for an expensive item or some other benefit, or, as Figure 4.
Women who choose prostitution as a higher paying occupation represent over 40 per cent of the sample: Like many women in their early twenties, they have become dissatisfied with their low-paying jobs and little chance of an early promotion, and sought other means of earning much more in a much shorter span of time.
Well, possibly no other job options for higher earning power are open to them, and maybe, as women confident of their sexuality, prostitution seems attractive to them as mature young women. But it is not that simple. There is one other important, almost essential, ingredient for entering the sex industry which enables the mature woman despondent with her working life to cross the barrier of social taboo and adopt the role of prostitute.
Let us listen to what some of the prostitutes I interviewed have to say. Martine entered the sex industry for a clearly economic purpose:. I didn't have any money and I couldn't get a job. I was very depressed because I couldn't make any money, and I knew women working in bondage and discipline and this sounded too good to be true. It did also fascinate me and I wanted to do it. So I just started because there were opportunities there.
I didn't have any trouble getting a job because one of the women running the place was a personal friend of mine. I needed some money because I was having legal hassles and my present job wasn't bringing in enough to pay for this.
A girl friend of mine had an escort agency and this seemed the quickest way to get the amount of money I needed. She was the first prostitute I had ever met. I sat around with her listening to her conversations about work, and sat there with my mouth open hearing her on the phone making appointments. There was my girlfriend, Sharon and Kerry, the prostitute, who needed two girls to see two men.
The phone call came and we just happened to be sitting there, and Kerry said: All you have to do is make love to these guys. It will be real easy. The whole fear was getting over the first time. I met an old school friend and we had lunch together. She told me she was a prostitute and how much money she made. She asked me if I would "sit" for her one night at five pounds a night in the s.
But the fellows kept asking for me, not her. So, I thought, I must be sitting on a gold mine. And that's how I started. Caroline had also worked in the sex industry other than as a prostitute before becoming a sex worker herself:.
I arrived here without a job or money. Because I had worked as a receptionist it was easy for me to look for a parlour to work in. If I had not worked as a receptionist in a parlour before, there's no way I would have become a prostitute. I would rather have begged on the street than become a prostitute. It's marvellous just how many cops have got girls jobs.
The first time occurred because I needed money to go overseas; I was determined to go overseas. But it probably wouldn't have happened, or I wouldn't have thought about it, had it not been for the fact that I lived in the Cross, where a lot of my social life was spent. Although I didn't personally know any prostitutes, I knew of many hanging around coffee shops and other places.
I thought about prostitution as a possibility to earn money for about a month before I actually tried it. We have earlier seen how Jeanette's husband turned out to be pimp and put her on the street pp. Streetwalker Kelly had very similar experience:. I was living with this guy for four years and his ex--wife was a prostitute.
As the years went by I found out he was having an affair with a girlfriend of mine and he started her working. Being as it may, love is blind, and I gave him an ultimatum: Apart from Kelly and Jeanette, these women entered prostitution for economic reasons although one could argue that pimping is also an economic motive, except the motivation is from the pimp, not the prostitute.
But in all of these examples one common factor clearly presents itself. Each of these women knew someone - a friend, a policeman, a prostitute who hires her, or prostitutes and their work generally - before they entered the sex industry. It would appear that for most women an economic imperative or even a psychosexual inclination is not enough otherwise, the argument goes, all poor women and nymphomaniacs would automatically become prostitutes, which, of course, they do not.
It seems that just as important as these two factors is the need for a woman to be closely associated with the industry first, or to have acquired some knowledge about it, before she actually takes the step to become a prostitute herself. But there are exceptions.
Marie is one such exception. You will recall that she was raised in a home with exceptionally frank views on sexual behaviour p. This might indicate that for Marie becoming a prostitute might present less trauma than for most women. However, she entered the sex industry without prior knowledge about it:. I could see my money getting smaller and smaller, and I didn't really want to go back to one of those casual jobs; that kind of thing didn't appeal to me any more.
I could easily have got a job and I had lots of offers in the fashion industry, but it just didn't appeal to me. I thought I would like to do something different. I had seen these ads in the paper, which said something like: It took me a whole day to make the phone call, and another whole day for me to get it together to go around there and see them.
I was surprised to find the other women there a lot like me because I had expected them to be different, like floozies. Here is an insight into the reason for so few women entering the sex industry as prostitutes. If a woman with Marie's liberal and open family life was so hesitant when her economic and psychosexual inclinations could have been motivation enough, it is understandable why simply being poor or inclined to promiscuity is not enough for most women not to just contemplate prostitution, many women do that , but actually to become prostitutes.
Knowledge or knowing someone is the key nexus between economic or sexual motives and practising commercial sex. Certainly, those women above, judging by their comments, would never have become prostitutes had it not been for a friend, a cop or contact with the industry previously.
If Marie is an unusual case and, I must suppose, that there are other women with similar backgrounds who underwent similar experiences , then Katherine's case might even be more unusual. Because I have been overwhelmingly curious about it, and having lived in London and run a wine bar, I used to see a lot of guys who needed extra attention.
Having given it away for such a long time and feeling that that is not very fulfilling, and having travelled around living out of a rucksack for a few years, I wanted a bit of comfort as well.
Not to make a fortune, but just to live comfortably and have a bit of money to spare to help people and involve myself in other areas that I like. Prostitution gives you the security, but it also gives you a lot of free time. Katherine had an economic motive for entering prostitution, and it seems that her "overwhelming curiosity" might have been the other side to a sex life that was not "very fulfilling".
You will recall she had never had an orgasm before the day she began prostitution p. Obviously there was a very powerful psychosexual motive propelling her towards sexual experimentation. It seems that for her, prostitution was an inevitable conclusion, or, at least, would have eventually been attempted in her quest for fulfilment as a sexual being.
As it was she was nearly 33 when she became a prostitute, an age well beyond the average for entrance. None of this should detract from the fact that overwhelmingly entrance into prostitution in inexorably linked to the economic situation of the women who become prostitutes.
According to an American study conducted by John Decker in , 31 per cent of his sample of 29 mid-west prostitutes took up commercial sex for entirely economic reasons, 10 per cent did so for psychological reasons, and 59 per cent became involved due to a combination of factors.
Eileen McLeod's , pp. It was clear to all of these researchers that the economic position of women entering prostitution is a reflection of the situation of females generally. In spite of women's better education and involvement in the nation's productive output, men still remain the economically privileged sex. Hackneyed arguments to prop up this inequality, such as men need more money as the family "breadwinner", no longer have validity in the face of increases in double-income families, divorce rates and single mothers.
The high ratio of single mothers in prostitution is one example of this. Prostitutes generally are women who have tried to address the disparity in wage-earning power by entering the sex industry.
But, as we have seen, they are just the tip of the iceberg. A common assumption exists that prostitutes are women incapable of other kinds of employment. Little separates the three groups in their past work experiences. Popular perceptions might have assumed a much higher ratio of other sex work, such as stripping and pornographic movies, for the prostitutes.
But the most instructive finding here is the low ratio of prostitutes who had never had any other work experiences. What this configuration indicates is that prostitutes are women who have emerged from the general workforce; prostitution is not their first and only work.
A comparison of Table 4. A glance at both Tables 4. Little can be gleaned from this profile, however, that might provide some indication of the prostitutes as a group of women with special work skills. In fact, on the contrary, they appear to be a highly diversified group. But if anything, their work experiences do seem to lean towards the lower paid occupations of factory work, office work, sales work, domestic work and work in the service industry.
This might explain why prostitution might appear an attractive economic alternative to the women involved in those occupations, but it does not help us to understand why women in high paid administrative occupations or in arts with a high level sense of creative achievement would turn to prostitution.
Comparing this Table 4. Fatale, you may recall, is the bondage mistress with a close affinity with her working environment p.
She is also an artist, and to understand this side of her is to understand why an artist could find sex work attractive. She tells us something of her background:. I've been a landscape artist, professionally. I've made money out of performances, and I've done art work both for nothing and for remuneration. And I've played in bands professionally, and as a professional musician I've taken part in sculptural performances.
I'm working in a band at the moment on the performance piece called "Lady Macbeth", extracted from Shakespeare, of course. She describes a period of her career as a sculptor, which she quite clearly associates with her role as a bondage mistress in one of Sydney's best known parlours:. I started doing little sculptures called "cult objects", which were suitable expressions of my own suffering.
They represented a mythical evolution, which I had created myself for figurines showing stages in this evolution. They were quite distorted with their facial expressions of agony and ecstasy. They all appeared androgynous, except the last figure, which looked as though it were pregnant. Having had the kind of childhood that I have already spoken to you about [p.
I wished to express some kind of ecstasy inside the pain of my own past, and I was drawn to the images of our cultural past for inspiration, such as Christian iconography, like Bernini's "St Theresa". I actually did a piece on St Theresa's ecstasy, an installation involving a painting and, since I'm a symbolist, an electric fan to symbolise energy, and a turning crucifix as a mesmerising object. In addition, I included a film of Bernini's sculpture with the camera scanning the length of St Theresa's body.
I was definitely struck by the state of agony and ecstasy shown on Theresa's face. I suppose this state might be described as "masochist in tendency". Now my little figurines also expressed that state with the higher order of St Theresa, and I think that state is related to the primal substances that are a part of our inherent nature.
In a lot of primitive cultures this state is in evidence through the shamanistic rituals of pain involved with an ecstatic experience. I am drawn to that state and empowered by it. A lot of my sexual pleasure derives from it. You might call me a masochist, but I think sadism is a primal state too, so the two go together.
By doing sex work I am in touch with other people's energies, and I don't mean just physical energy either, but mental and spiritual energies as well; I mean primal energies. As an artist I've made it a goal to tap deep into the recesses of my own being and I think I have been given a gift to show how others can reach inside themselves to tap the common human and vital source of our primal energies in our primitive roots.
Pain is an abstract term, but it stands for a common experience to all living things which comes from deep within us. Pain has so many ways of being delivered, but being delivered in a sexual way, the experience starts with arousal and a vulnerability which opens up deeper feelings rarely opened in normal everyday existence. I think it is necessary for the whole being to tap into your primal energies, as I do in sex work and in my artwork. None of the other women I interviewed had such exotic work experiences, and certainly nothing to which they might apply an esoteric understanding of the sex work in which they became involved.
But, taken together, these women had an extraordinary range of past work experiences. Take Martine as an example:. I've been a strapper, looking after horses; I've done that for years. I've worked on farms, and as a nanny.
I've worked in radio, and worked on a woman's newspaper for a couple of years. I've worked as a television presenter for a while, and I've also been a waitress and a dishwasher.
I used to work as a manageress of a fashion boutique. I've also done modelling. Once, when I was much younger I had this job selling hired television sets door to door. Also in my younger days before I came to this country I used to buy items cheaply in other countries and sell them for a profit when I brought them back into Germany.
Basically I've gone in for office work, or running an office; anything steady, that was me. But I had to be in the front part of the office because I've always been gregarious and enjoyed the company of people. When I finally branched out by doing some travelling, I did anything, including farm work; I loved getting a bit of dirt under my fingernails.
Just recently I began working full-time in an advertising firm and continued prostitution part time. I've worked in chemical laboratories, nursing, cinema projecting, teaching English as a second language, bar work, work on a prawn trawler, and waitressing. But for all their broad work experiences, qualifications, and their obvious abilities at adaptation, these women in the end turned to prostitution for their major source of income.
And the reason for that was simple: These women were no struggling poor, although at the time of their entrance into the sex industry many of them were out of work, tired of mundane and unsatisfactory work, or in desperate need of extra cash. The figures in Table 4. Over half of the prostitutes earned less than this as their highest weekly income, compared to about 45 per cent of the students and almost none of the health-workers.
Since most of the health-workers were professional women they might be expected to include a number with very high salaries. A few of the prostitutes had also achieved high weekly earnings in their pre-prostitution occupations, which raises the question of their economic motive for becoming sex workers. Other factors, such as job dissatisfaction, might have been at work.
The evidence in this and the preceding Chapter indicates that women enter prostitution in two waves, based on age.
The evidence of age of entry see Fig. Overwhelmingly an economic motivation was given as the reason for becoming a prostitute Fig.
Earlier we discovered that women destined for prostitution more than likely had histories of coital experiences back to their early adolescence Table 3. From these findings we can construct two scenarios for entry into the sex industry.
In the first scenario are girls of 18 or less. Most of these had "lost" their virginities before their sixteenth birthdays and more than likely initiated the occasions of initial coitus. They felt sexually mature by 16, but were still curious about their sexual passions and no longer held men in awe.
They had learned that men most desire young female bodies and "innocent" girls, and were willing to pay handsomely for them. Coupled with the atrociously low wages paid girls in "straight" occupations, the economy of sex has an enormous appeal to these young women. Some of the girls were already practising virulent promiscuous lifestyles, so that prostitution is a mere extension, albeit profitable, of this kind of sex life.
Another sub-group within this age group are girls who experimented with drugs in their early adolescence, so that by 16 to 18 they had developed uncontrollable addictions to expensive narcotics or other drugs. For them prostitution is the only occupation open to them able to support their habits. The second scenario includes the bulk of women entering prostitution. They were above 20 when they first exchanged sex for cash either in the context of the sex industry or in a private social arrangement to a persistent stranger.
They too had learned that the sexuality of young women has a price on it. The vast majority of this group were "broke", out of work, or bored with their present job when they decided to take up prostitution. They too had a mature approach to sex and had learned not to fear men, derived from long histories of coital interaction with males as far back as their early adolescence. But they had none of the wide-eyed excitement of their younger colleagues.
These women were pragmatic in their decision to become prostitutes. But even so they required knowledge about the sex industry first from trusted friends or people already involved in order to dismiss the myths and negative popular notions that act as a barrier to entry.
Thus, we have two entrance scenarios, different in age, motives and kind. These are, of course, flexible, for, as always among prostitute women, there are exceptions, such as some a little older or a little younger than these pictures suggest, in which case they fall within the intermediate age group of 19 to But this after all is the human diversity in prostitution, as in all social institutions.
In the first Chapter we viewed prostitution as a work-based occupation from the perspective of the prostitute. Whatever sexual gratification or other emotional satisfaction a sex worker might obtain in commercial sex doesn't make it any less work, but simply more pleasant work. Earlier in the present Chapter the reader was introduced to "types" of work undertaken by the "professional" prostitute, including the structure of these "types" and their functions.
In this Section we will delve deeper into the work of prostitutes by examining its nature and determining both the benefits and the drawbacks to being a prostitute.
For example, how much is earned, how much time is involved, what is done, what workers think of their job. Prostitution may be work, but it is also a service for men although occasionally women also use the services of a female prostitute , for which they must pay a fee to the prostitute.
This fee forms the basis of the sex worker's earnings, whether it be a portion of the fee in an arrangement with the management of the house in which she works, or forms her gross income from which must be extracted her overheads.
These figures were collected in , but since the prices for sexual services have not changed in three years nor had they for at least ten years prior to that these earnings may serve as an example of prostitutes' weekly incomes today.
If anything, in the wake of much negative publicity surrounding prostitution as a possible source of AIDS, prostitutes in Sydney at present may actually be earning less.
Most people may have thought a prostitute earns more than that, and a few might be resentful that she could earn so much for "doin' what comes naturally". Most prostitutes feel that they are not paid enough, and they are impatient towards those who think they "get it easy".
But, all resentment aside, the fact remains that prostitution is a highly paid occupation, certainly one of the highest possible for women. If the weekly earnings shown in Figure 4. From this comparison we can see that half of the prostitute sample earned on average as much as the highest earning two per cent of the Australian population, or as much as the highest earning 0.
Over three-quarters of the prostitutes earned as much as the highest earning 9 per cent of Australians. Thus, there is no question that prostitution is an extremely lucrative occupation.
Still, while most Australians in the workforce earn their salaries including such benefits as five weeks annual leave, public holidays or weekend double-time, not to mention other fringe benefits, these annual earnings for prostitutes may be considerably less if they do not work 52 weeks a year.
Many prostitutes will leave the sex industry if they cannot earn at least twice the salary they would earn in "straight" employment because they have a value on what it is worth to work as a prostitute. Another misconception about prostitutes is that they do not pay taxes, and therefore not only get "easy money" but "bludge" on the system as well. However, many prostitutes do pay taxes on their incomes, especially "career" sex workers who have been working for many years, otherwise such large capital expenditure and property, dwellings and cars would leave them open to suspicion and likely indictment for tax avoidance.
The lesson of Tilly Devine is not lost even today. But numbers of young prostitutes do not pay taxes. Some work only as their economic needs arise, others are so committed to a drug habit that every cent earned goes towards supporting their addiction so that their actual living expenses are negligible and they live like paupers, and there are those who feel resentful at paying taxes to a government which stigmatises them, does not support their demands for improved working conditions, and spends their taxes on paying police to persecute them.
Martine compares her situation with that of another taxpayer of equal income rank:. I pay the same kind of taxes that a doctor does. But, I actually receive a lot less because I can't work until I'm 65 like my father can, I get no prestige from my job, and no recognition for what I do.
In recent years taxation agents have approached brothel management to assist them in collecting taxes from their employees. This has especially been successful in Melbourne's legal brothels where the tax deduction arrangement is similar to other places of employment. This is another reason why Sydney prostitutes oppose the introduction of legalisation in New South Wales.
They maintain that prostitutes are free agents, even in a brothel where they are not paid a salary but share the service fee with the house on a contractual arrangement. It is not the place then for brothel owners to deduct tax on behalf of the government, but it is up to the individual prostitute to pay her taxes as a self-employed income-earner rather than as a wage-earner.
After all, the brothel worker is treated as a hired agent by many owners in that they are not supplied uniforms and are expected to pay for their own overheads. In the case of a bondage mistress this can be exorbitant, as Martine points out:. We have to buy all our own equipment, our own dildos, our own enemas, even our own amyl nitrate as the clients like snorting in a session. We have to buy our own leather clothing, which is very expensive, and our own lingerie, which is also very expensive.
So, we do have considerable expenses. For an independent "call girl" like Laura, who has her own business, her high earnings are offset against the overheads required in a successful operation:. But that depends on how long I want to sit in the apartment. Whatever I make, the deductions of rent, electricity and phones are the same. And then there's the initial outlay for furnishings, linen and such like.
I have to consider this apartment as part of my business expenses because I have my own apartment elsewhere. Any expenses I incur in the business apartment have to be considered business expenses.
On the other hand, for the streetwalker, overheads are comparatively minimal, as Kelly assures us:. Apart from rent for a room, cab fares and babysitters, there aren't any other expenses.
I don't go out of my way to buy working clothes. The clothes that I wear at work I've had for a while. I don't think it matters what you wear.
I've gone in all dressed up and feeling really good and not done very well. Other times I've gone in dressed really casually in a pair of jeans and a top and done better than with a short dress.
Ultimately prostitution is a business of chance, dependent on the whims of customers, the general financial situation for example the vagaries of stock market or a recession , the time of the year Christmas and the end of the fiscal calendar are usually slow for business , and media hype on AIDS or police blitzes, which "kill" business altogether immediately afterwards. So, while it might be a lucrative business, it is also very erratic. A third of the prostitutes work 25 to 36 hours a week, or, as brothel workers, three to four days a week.
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