I first started looking at the personal ads on Locanto for a laugh with my housemates. There was the usual: panty sniffers, sugar daddies. I had a part-time job, but I still fitted the "poor student" trope i.e. too many lattes, not enough money for new shoes.
I was also having a lot of mediocre Tinder dates with "beers, footy, mates, and gym" guys who I should have not been swiping right to. Basically, I thought: How bad could it be? I knew I was ok with having sex with people I wasn't attracted to, and afterwards I could blow $500 [€320 EUR] at Dymocks, on fancy clothes, hide it in my broke friends' sock drawers—whatever. I'd be loaded.
It usually went the same way: After messaging back and forth, I'll ask to meet them in a public space first because, you know, catfish. Sometimes it's a shopping centre car park, sometimes a dodgy coffee shop. It doesn't really matter where, the paranoia kicks in. I'm always certain people around me know what's going down, and are judging me big time for it. Basically, being a sex worker would be ok if it wasn't for the clients.
There are two kinds of guys I've encountered: those who know what they're doing, and the ones who post an ad but don't actually expect a response.
The "surprise butthole" was probably one of my worst clients. He just went straight in while I had my back turned. It was a really sudden pain, and I turned around and slapped him in the face yelling "That's not ok!" He was sympathetic about it afterwards, but it just shows how distorted people's ideas about sex and consent are. He seemed to be an emotionally intelligent guy, if a little lonely, but he also felt perfectly entitled to enter my anus without permission.
When I have told close friends about this they treat it as serious sexual assault, which I guess it is. But it never really bothered me, and I hope to keep it that way.
There was also this gross bald guy, who drove around in a black Chrysler (you know what they say about men with expensive cars). He wanted to pay a sugar babe $500 [€320] to meet up once a week. But in reality, there were daily texts sprung on me while I was in class, on the tram, or in the supermarket.
After meeting once, he picked me up and drove me out to his suburban house. His house was in one of those developments where all the facades and gardens look the same, but the inside was actually quite unique. It was filled with porcelain horses. There were literally dozens of them around his TV cabinet. To be honest, if it wasn't for that, I probably would have followed through. Instead, I got stuck with a scalding cup of tea and a burning desire to leave, immediately.
When I said I wanted to go, he insisted on a cigarette in his empty garage, which was mildly terrifying. I gave his dog a pat, and he started complaining that I would pat his dog but not him. Even on the drive to the train station, he kept saying he wanted to lick me out, and that his years of experience meant he was better than anyone I'd ever been with.
Then there was the "natural sex" guy. His backstory was interesting, but I never know how much of it to believe. Apparently, he had a similar relationship with a sugar babe a few years ago but all while he has a wife and child in the Philippines who don't know he does this. That made me feel really uncomfortable, especially when I realised I was willing to ignore my morals for a few bucks.
When we met, I downloaded an app so a close friend could follow where I was. The hotel was real basic, located between second hand car dealerships and discount rug and tile stores. Who even goes to these hotels? I guess now I know.
When we were in the room alone, after desperately trying to avoid eye contact with the concierge, his tone suddenly changed as I pulled out condoms. "I thought we agreed on natural," he kept saying. He began arguing that he couldn't cum unless it was "natural." Yeah right. He also said he had never had "natural" before, and wanted to try it. But you just said? He also said his nurse friend told him you can't contract STIs the first time you have sex with a new partner. Sure.
I started getting dressed to leave, making it clear I wasn't going to take his shit, when he suddenly backflipped, and agreed to sex with a condom after all. Contrary to his earlier claims, he was done in less than 10 minutes.
He'd paid me $350 [€225] as a down payment at the start. But as we left and were standing in the carpark, he refused to go to the ATM to pay me the remaining $150 [€100], making out I had agreed to some kind of "condom discount." As we argued, I was filled with sudden shame at the stereotypical image of a screaming prostitute in a cheap motel carpark. I stormed off, blocked his number, and hoped that was the end of it.
After this guy, I quit. I didn't really regret anything—the right client at the right price gave me a lot of freedom. But in the end I decided it just wasn't worth the anxiety and uncertainty. It wasn't all doom and gloom though. One time I made $1000 [€645] off a one-time gig with a guy who worked for Gina Rinehart. There was another regular who I would blow in his car for 10 minutes, brush my teeth, and hit the club where I would blow—ahem, spend—the money on drinks for my friends. I'd yell in celebration: "10 minutes! Only 10 minutes!"
As told to Lewis Eyers-Stott.