Australia’s ‘rent boys’: Male prostitution is ‘everywhere’, sex industry boss says
A “rent boy” chats to a prospective customer in a car.Source:News Corp Australia
WHEN *Christopher was growing up in a small NSW country town, strangers would stop his mother in the street and comment on his big blue eyes and curly blond hair.
Fast forward 15 years and Christopher was cashing in on those same charming boyish looks, listing them as his best features in online advertisements where he pimped himself out for sex.
Christopher, 26, has been a fulltime sex worker for the past seven years.
He said his first job as a “rent boy” — a term used to describe male sex workers who advertise their services on gay escort sites — was “a bit daunting but fairly straightforward”.
“It was in a nice hotel room with a guy who didn’t want anything too full on, so if anything it just confirmed that it was something I could keep doing,” Christopher told news.com.au.
“I’ve had a few strange requests since but nothing I couldn’t handle.
“Most of my clients are men but I also book couples and women.
“The women are usually in bad relationships and just want to remember what its like to feel desired again.”
Christopher said prostitution wasn’t a career he dreamt of pursuing as a child but that it was a decision he wasn’t ashamed of making.
“A lot of people stereotype and think sex workers are all drug addicts or messed up people, but a lot of us just do it because we get satisfaction out of the work and make good money while doing it,” he said.
“I couldn’t imagine doing anything else and I’ll keep doing it as along as people keep booking me.”He said there was less demand for male sex workers than women but that the industry was easier on men.
“I think it’s even easier for male sex workers than women because there’s less stigma and its more of an even playing field in terms of strength so you’re less likely to be taken advantage of,” he said.
“I’ve never been attacked or robbed or anything like that.
“Women sex workers have always been visible when it comes to prostitution but men not so much … now we’re out and proud all over the internet and just as accessible and visible.”
He said he makes a minimum of $1000 per week, charging clients $280 per hour.
Christopher said he was raised by a loving family and always had healthy self-esteem.
“I remember going to the shops with my mum when I was a little kid and strangers would just come up to me and start commenting on my eyes and my blond hair because it was really curly and I always felt special because of that,” he said.
“I don’t think there’s any connection between that sort of attention and where I am now.
“If anything this career choice would be considered fairly unexpected by most people for someone like me.”
According to Christopher, the catalyst for his career choice came when his relationship with his first long-term boyfriend broke down and he found himself unemployed and living alone in Sydney, aged 19.
He decided sex work was the solution to his financial struggles.
A young male prostitute waits on the street in Melbourne’s St Kilda.Source:News Limited
“I’d always had guys propositioning me online and at gay clubs and stuff like that so it didn’t really feel it was a big leap to go from hooking up with them for free to putting a price on it … especially because it meant actually digging myself out of a financial hole,” he said.
“I was essentially just doing the same thing I would have been doing anyway except people were leaving me money on the table so it kind of felt stupid not to do it, plus it was flattering.
“I put ads on sites … and started getting contacted by clients pretty quickly.”
Christopher is one of hundreds of men in Australia who offer sex in exchange for money online.
One male sex worker, who goes by the name Jack, has advertised his services across many sex work sites.
“Bad boy good looks, wildly passionate with a strong masculine body and I’m also extremely well endowed,” his ad reads.
“I frequently get asked to be in pornography and nude movie scenes, so I must be doing something right, or maybe I just look slutty haha.
“I’m the whole package, tailored for your personal requirements and satisfaction.
“I am mentally and physically tuned to take on anything that’s thrown at me.
“I’m active, healthy and happy with an education.
“First timers, married men, straight guys, all races, all genders, everyone is welcome and everyone will be treated with the same respect and receive the same quality of service.”
Sex Workers Outreach Project chief executive Cameron Cox said the internet had opened up a new world for sex workers who no longer have to walk the streets and hustle for work.
He said the majority of sex workers now used the internet to pick up work.
“[The role of a male sex worker is the] same as any stand-alone service industry business: to provide a quality service and gain regular repeat customers.”
Mr Cox said the appeal of sex work for many men included “high levels of mental and emotional job satisfaction and good pay”.
He said male sex workers were made up of people of various ages, races, genders and sexualities and came from all sorts of backgrounds, with many having professional careers, and others being students, backpackers or homeless.
“Male sex work is common worldwide; Australia is no exception,” he said.
“We are as diverse and varied as our clientele.”
The main clientele for male sex workers is other males, according to Mr Cox.
“I wouldn’t say there has been significant recent increases in demand, though there has been in interest and visibility,” he said.
“As male sex workers often do the work on a casual, part-time and very often occasional basis a headcount would be irrelevant and in any case is not possible due to sex workers having to hide their work.”
Mr Cox said although there was increasing acceptance of those who work in the sex industry, there was still a long way to go.
He said all sex workers faced stigma and discrimination from society.
“In general, [it’s] reinforced by laws that restrict our freedom to work,” he said.
“These laws need to be removed and stigma and discrimination reversed.
“It will be great when they can all say ‘Hey Mum, I am a sex worker’.”