‘No sex’ sex worker making thousands
A typical job for sex worker "Mistress Blake" might involve a three hour bondage session, with her and her client both in fetish wear and the client restrained with chains and ropes.
But there's one thing this erotic marathon meeting won't involve - for Blake at least - and that's actual sex.
Mistress Blake is a no sex, sex worker. And it has been a pretty lucrative profession.
"It can be a sexual experience for the client and they can finish, but they don't touch my body in any way. It's all one way touch," she told news.com.au.
Blake, who asked that her full name not be used, is based in Sydney and travels across Australia to see clients. However in Queensland, the laws around sex work are so baffling actually advertising the fact she doesn't have sex, known as full-service sex work, could land her with a hefty fine.
"I can say 'fetish' and 'rubber' but I can't say 'no full service'. It's incredibly frustrating," she said.
Another sex worker told news.com.au the regulations in Queensland were so perplexing she was convicted for using the word "threesome" in an ad, despite the fact the ad was aimed at people in New South Wales where sex work is decriminalised.
Sex work is legal in Queensland, but comes with a raft of bewildering dos and don'ts.
Some have said the laws could also put their safety at risk.
A sex work advocate has slammed the laws as "absurd" and called for decriminalisation north of the Tweed.
The Prostitution Licensing authority, which regulates sex work in Queensland, has acknowledged there may be "scope for some element of relaxation" in the rules but has said that's up to the Government.
STRICTLY BDSM, NO SEX FROM ME
"There's lots of escorts who do full-service sex work that includes BDSM (bondage, discipline, domination, submission, sadism and masochism)," Blake told news.com.au.
"But what I do is strictly BDSM or fetish with no sex involved.
"Traditionally dominatrixes didn't have sex. They controlled gentlemen and while it can be erotic for the client, it's very clear we're facilitating that for them."
Domination is common, but clients have an array of requests.
"They might really like stockings or high heels. They wear them or sometimes just I do and we talk about how the stockings might make them feel."
All her clients are absolutely aware she is hands off when it comes to sex.
"There's a huge market for it. It was more lucrative before COVID but I still make a comfortable living."
Blake said a typical three-hour session might rake in $900-$1200. But, she stressed, she only earned when she was with a client and not the many hours put into finding new clients and general admin - made all the worse by Queensland's red light red tape.
BAFFLING QUEENSLAND SEX WORK LAWS
The Queensland Prostitution Act forbids sex workers to "directly describe the services offered". This has the perverse outcome of meaning while she can randomly drop the word "fetish" into her ads, if she states she doesn't offer full-service sex work to her Queensland clients she could be fined.
Certain words and phrases, including "juicy" and "natural" are out. Even images of her posing with a whip could be illegal in Queensland as sex workers' "tools of the trade" as the legislation calls them - whips and handcuffs to you and me - are barred.
But if a farmer advertised a farming business by posing with a whip on an ad, that would be fine.
"And I'm usually head to toe in latex, so I'm wearing a lot more than a farmer," she said.
Nikki, a sex worker from Queensland, fell foul of the law when she used the word "threesome" in an ad.
Nikki said she thought that as the word only appeared on a section of her website where she described services provided to clients in New South Wales, she would be fine. She wasn't.
"I spent 17 weeks in court and many thousands of dollars, and lost. In NSW they can use naughty words like 'sex' but in Queensland, boom, you're done."
She was convicted in 2006 but little has changed with the regulations since.
"It's frivolous. They've created all these ridiculous laws to create revenue or control us and instil fear when we should be allowed to make our own decisions about our own bodies and the words we use.
"It's long past time for decriminalisation," she said.
Even if her website and advertising managed to pass muster in Queensland, there were other hurdles Blake says she has to overcome.
Some clients, who understand she isn't full service, ask for another sex worker to be brought in so they can have intercourse.
It's not unusual for some men to ask to be put into a role play situation where they are "forced" to perform oral sex on another man.
"They want to explore their sexuality and if I 'make' them do it, they still feel they are heterosexual."
But if Blake is in Queensland and brings in another sex worker she and they would be breaking the law. Outside of a brothel, sex workers in Queensland must work alone.
"If they want a session of mine to end in sex, in NSW I could bring in a full-service sex worker for that - but not in Queensland.
"I can't even have another sex worker on the premises. When I'm touring I'd normally have a safety person in another room to help if it's late and I'm covered in latex. In Queensland, I can't have that person," Blake said.
Not being able to describe her work poses challenges.
"In Queensland we have clients who are constantly cold calling trying to find out what we do or don't do. It's incredibly frustrating and time-consuming and having my time wasted is my biggest pet peeve."
Janelle Fawkes leads the #DecrimQLD campaign at sex worker advocacy group Respect Queensland. She told news.com.au sex work laws in Queensland were "excessive overreach".
Earlier this month, the organisation held an online forum focusing on the state's confusing laws.
"It is beyond my understanding how anyone could be expected to operate without being able to describe the service they provide. No-one is harmed by a sex worker advertising they offer a 'full service'.
"Queensland police use the advertising laws as a step-off point to charge sex workers for other offences including implementing basic safety strategies. What might start off as police identifying one word wrong in an advert often results in police posing as clients and requesting illegal activities," she said.
"It's just another demonstration that decriminalisation is urgently needed in Queensland."
'LIMIT EXPOSURE OF PROSTITUTION'
Queensland Police previously told news.com.au it was "obligated to investigate offences against Queensland legislation" but would not comment on policing methods. The service pointed to recent arrests of people accused of forcing women into sex work.
A spokesman for the PLA said the laws were in place to "to limit the exposure of the community to prostitution and ensure that the content of advertising meets reasonable community expectations".
However, the public body suggested the rules could change.
"Prostitution advertising has overwhelmingly shifted online, limiting the potential for inadvertent exposure to this form of advertising, so that there may be scope for some element of relaxation but that is a matter for the Government."
In 2019, the Queensland Government said it would ask the Queensland Law Reform Commission to look at regulations surrounding sex work. Eighteen months later, the matter has still not been referred. A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman told news.com.au this would now happen in June.
"Regulation of Queensland's sex work industry arose out of the 1987 - 1989 Fitzgerald Inquiry which revealed entrenched links between corrupt police, illegal prostitution and other forms of organised crime," a spokeswoman said.
She added that "numerous reviews" of the state's sex work including a 2006 Crime and Corruption Commission report that stated that "the risk associated with (expanding the industry) were not worth taking. Moreover, evidence could not be found to support any benefits, such as improving the health and safety of sex workers. Indeed, at the time of that report available evidence suggested the contrary."
Blake's fear is that she will eventually fall foul of the minefield of laws in Queensland, for the crime of telling punters she won't have sex.
"If I have to go to court over these regulations, that leaves me open to be outed with my real name and personal details which puts my safety and the safety of my family in jeopardy."
Originally published as 'No sex' sex worker making thousands