Daily grind.

About eight months ago I nearly slept with a Thai hooker. It was an interesting experience and de-mystified things a little for me, but it was emotionally negative. I didn’t come out of it feeling particularly good.

About eight days ago I slept with two hookers in New Zealand. And I came out it bouncing off the walls. I was grinning ear-to-ear for days afterward, and wouldn’t hesitate to repeat the experience.

I think it felt good (beside enjoying the group sex, champagne and hot tub) because everybody accepted the process as normal. It was the most natural thing in the world that I was in a room choosing from a line up of girls, and the receptionist was reassuringly matter-of-fact about talking money.

The demeanour was one shared by people in all parts of the hospitality industry – service you’d expect checking into a hotel or at a restaurant. Which I think includes the slight acknowledgement that you are paying someone to be nice to you; in a restaurant you don’t think, “They brought me this sea bass just because they like me.” It’s fine to accept that people might work there because they love food rather than love customers.

Right, enough tortured analogy. The girls were chatty and good-natured and asked the boss to hold off starting the hour-long egg timer until I’d finished faffing around. And they had the good grace to only roll their eyes a little bit when I was told, “No kissing on the mouth,” and responded with “Ooh, just like Pretty Women!”

Bearing in mind that I have no means of comparison, across brothels in NZ or across different countries; I think NZ is really doing something right. What? Well, prostitution there is legal. Brothels are legal. Advertising, streetwalking and yes, even pimping is legal.

The reform was unsurprisingly contentious – it scraped in by a single vote and seven years later is still being contested and appealed. The main arenas for this are local councils. They cannot prohibit prostitution but they can restrict where it takes place and how it is advertised. But the most stringent council by-laws have always been overturned.

The bill that became the Prostitution Reform Act 2003 was drafted during a Woman’s Forum in Wellington, with contributions from sex workers, academics, women’s groups and the AIDS Foundation. It was championed in parliament by various MPs including the Associate Minister of Health.

It requires prostitutes to have a certificate in order to work, which in turn requires a clean bill of health. Certificates can be refused on the basis of previous convictions for non-sex work crimes (convictions for sex work prior to the reform can be removed from a prostitute’s record).

Importantly, the act prevents anyone on a temporary visa from working as a prostitute, and prohibits immigration for the purpose of sex work. This sounds like a good defence against trafficking, although the country’s isolated location probably helps just as much.

One thing the act doesn’t do is protect children. Within brothels it’s apparently reasonably hard to work underage (although there have still been some cases tried) but social workers report taking girls as young as 10 off the street. This may not be a failing of the act – children sadly also sell themselves in places where prostitution is illegal.

I have plenty more to say on why women (or men, I have been trying to avoid gender terms) have the right to fuck for money, but that’s a whole new post. Right now I’m gonna leave you with my new found realisation that while sex work in my mind was previously rarefied, exotic, socially awkward or exploitative, this isn’t always true. Sometimes a job is just a job.

And sometimes a job is sex, hot tubs and champagne.

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5 Comments»

  threeyearsout wrote @

Interesting. The medical agency highlighted the bit stating I wouldn’t be allowed to sell sex due to my immigration status – in bold, no less!

I’m curious to know how it works in terms of seeing who the other clients are, is there a ‘common’ area as such for mingling/drinks or is it more anonymous than that?

  elle wrote @

In central urban areas, brothels tend to be attached to strip bars. The one we were in had a discreet door at the back of the bar leading to the brothel upstairs, but I saw others with two doors side-by-side on the street.

Once we were upstairs there was a reception area manned by a receptionist cum maitre d’ (ours looked like Simon Amstell). There were girls milling around behind him, but we were taken into a side room. We were provided with (and charged handsomely for) drinks but there was no bar to speak of, just a kind of waiter service.

The side-room was pretty much a doctor’s waiting room. On the nicer rather than the dingier end of the scale (although I suspect the low lighting helped there), but not Harley Street. Sparsely furnished and perfunctory.

The receptionist brought five girls in, left while we had a short chat with them, then they left, then reception guy came back in to ask which girls we liked.

I don’t remember seeing another client at any point – I don’t know if they have more than one waiting room or if it was chance that no one else came to the reception while we were there.

The bedrooms themselves were off a long corridor – I think with around five doors on each side. We were shown to a room and weren’t supposed to go wandering around the corridor after that; I don’t if this is for privacy, security or both.

The room had a hot tub on the left as we went in , then a really big bed beyond that. It had a motel feel, without the crappy bulk-bought paintings, and was notably brightly lit – all the common areas had low lighting.

The spaces and moving between them felt like a new combination of previous experiences (this reminds me of x, that reminds me of y), except for one thing that jarred slightly – at 45 minutes a loud buzzer sounds in the room to tell you you’ve got 15 minutes to finish up. Weird. (Also the rooms had intercoms to allow the girls to talk to the front desk, but that seems sensible.)

tl:dr version – All carefully anonymous, although I imagine if you went a lot you could bump into another John on the stairs or in a corridor.

  s wrote @

>Bearing in mind that I have no means of >comparison, across brothels in NZ or across >different countries.

You clearly need more experience 😎

Lots of love
S

  elle wrote @

Clearly I do!

Prostitution is legal in Singapore, but brothels are not. Hmm…

Although seriously I am not at the point where I would make a cool, clear-headed decision to pop into a brothel one afternoon, but if my role in the situation arising was more passive I would be ok to go with the flow.

  s wrote @

Yes it is the same in Denmak – prostitution is legal but brothels are not. You are not allowed to live off immoral earnings in Denmark that is the official reason for no brothels in Denmark. They might change the law so that all prostitution is illegal. I think Holland is also anout to change the laws. Still legal in various states in the US and in Germany.

Good old wikipidia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Europe

Good luck


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