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  • Writer's pictureVenus Van Gogh

A Melbourne Escort & Photographer on Exhibitionism & Consent

If you're not a fan of mouthy, sarcastic women who swear like sailors, read on at your own risk because this issue really fucks me off.

There are very few escorts who openly share the details of their other businesses and there's a huge reason why, which I'll get into. Regarding my own circumstances, with my other business being heavily industry adjacent, I find it a wonderful marketing tool to advertise both my escort business and my boudoir photography business very closely.

My escorting presence brings in other sex workers as photography clients and allows for a certain level of comfort and safety for sex workers who are nervous about the stigma and discrimination they may face when approaching a standard boudoir photographer. My seven years of experience as a sex worker brings an intimate and intricate knowledge of what sells and the kinds of things particular client demographics are drawn to.

My photography business is another infallible form of verification for my escorting clients to know that I am real, am connected to the industry and other escorts can vouch for my existence and integrity. It also serves to humanise me outside of being a sex worker and works for my higher-end branding. I am an artist, this is my art, support my art by booking me as an escort so I can buy all of the super expensive photography equipment and locations and lingerie to make more art. People are enamoured with the idea of it especially because I'm actually pretty good at photography. It's up there with escorting to pay for uni to become a pediatrician to help all of the sick kids in a developing nation. Give me the hooker of the year Pulitzer prize already!

However, some are too enamoured with the idea of it. Some don't understand that while I run a business as an escort and a business as a photographer that those two businesses are completely separate entities and I do not offer sex work as part of my photography business model.

I am allowed to exist as something other than a sex worker in this world when I am not engaging in sex work. The fact that I am a sex worker does not define my role in every other aspect of my life or give consent for you to sexually harass me in my other ventures.

This is the risk I take in advertising my businesses so closely and this is why many sex workers who have other businesses and jobs choose not to. Some of you will find any fucking excuse to sexually harass us in contexts where we are not consenting. From approaching us in the street to private investigative digging for info. It's not uncommon to hear of clients or twitter followers finding our other jobs or hobbies, showing up unexpectedly, winking at us and muttering our nom de plume because you know what we get up to and it's some sexy secret we share hawhawfuckinghaw. If you've ever approached a sex worker outside of their sex working context and thought you were cute and clever by pulling this shit, fuck you. I hope you step on a lego during the night on your way to the bathroom and piss all over yourself and aren't able to get back to sleep before a huge important day of something you actually enjoy doing or have a serious vested interest in.

At least twice a month I receive an email directed to Goddess Photography from men that ask for an "exhibitionist" "fantasy" shoot. It is an incredibly popular niche. I can completely understand why, I'm an exhibitionist in the right context myself! But the one thing that doesn't seem to register is that

exhibitionism and fantasies surrounding the sensation of being nude in front of a stranger are sexual fantasies

and I hate to break it to you, but:

photographers are not sex workers and you should not assume that it is okay to ask them for sexual services.

Shocking. I know.

After making a post on twitter today about this exact issue, I actually had a well-known industry photographer DM me to share their own similar experience with being made uncomfortable on set by the non-consensual actions of a client. This is not an issue that is isolated to me because I advertise sex work and photography so closely.

But hey, you know what, you've actually come to the right person because, guess what? Yeah, I'm also a sex worker, and I am more than happy to bring my camera and equipment along to a booking with me as an escort - a context where I am getting paid the amount that I think is appropriate for me to consent to fulfilling someone else in a sexual manner. I even advertise a SEXY EROTIC EXHIBITIONIST PHOTO SHOOT in my inclusions - and as far as I'm aware, am the only sex worker in Australia to advertise it. What a trip! I offer such a unique and high demand service and don't even charge a premium on top of my escorting rates to bring my photography skills into the bedroom, and effectively do two highly-skilled jobs at once for you. An absolute steal!

But you know, it's really funny, because despite the dozens of requests for this service and the dozens of polite and professional responses I have given indicating that YES! I DO OFFER THIS SERVICE! IN A DIFFERENT CONTEXT! I have had not one single taker from the people who have approached Goddess Photography instead of Venus Van Gogh in the year or more that I have been offering it. An added note that 100% of those people who contact Goddess Photography first don't even have the courtesy of responding, even to politely refuse the offer.

Here's why:

The price factor.

As a highly educated, worldly person with over 7 years of experience in various parts of the sex industry as well as the tools and capital to market as a high-end escort and high-value woman, I can command starting rates of over $1000. As a creative - a field that is notoriously under-valued and under-paid for highly-skilled work that takes years of learning and practice to master - only 3.5 years in to a business I started from scratch, have never paid for advertising for and have solely relied on word of mouth to grow, I can charge mid-range rates. I'm not a bargain photographer, but I'm not expensive for the amount of time I put in and the quality of work I put out. I'm still building and my rates for both businesses will increase over time, but they are starkly different in terms of my hourly rate.

To book me as a sex worker the rate starts at $1100 for 2 hours of erotic bliss. My photo shoots start at $400 for 1.5 hours behind the camera. What a bargain, right? A high-end escort for almost 70% off! I will definitely be naive enough to fall for this, right?

After all, it's not like you're asking for penetration, because penetration is the only sexual act that counts. I shoot other sex workers in the nude all the time, so it must be the exact same thing, right? Surely, I would be fine with you masturbating in front of me for the sole purpose of your own pleasure and not for the purpose of actual work. Surely, the fact that I am comfortable shooting pornographic performances featuring professionals at this rate means that I'd be fine with you, a random man who simply wants to get his rocks off on camera "for the experience" at the same rate... because it's the same. Fucking. Thing. Right?

Consent isn't sexy.

The issue I find with many of my fellow exhibitionists is that part of the thrill of being an exhibitionist is people unsuspectingly catching you in the act - thus violating their right to consent. You know the fantasy. Your hot busty blonde secretary or Pamela Anderson look-a-like runner accidentally happens upon you rubbing one out in an inappropriate setting. After dealing with the momentary shock, she offers to lend a helping hand or hole... She doesn't usually do this, but the sight of your glorious penis has her oh, so aroused, she just simply can't fathom living another minute without slobbering all over your wonder cock! "OH! YES! THIS ISN'T SEXUAL HARASSMENT AT ALL!" She screams as she rides your blessed (note: bless-ed, because it's godly, divine) shaft, tits bouncing in every direction and slapping your face and protruding tongue as she orgasms every 15 seconds from you doing basically nothing at all... or perhaps you're the type who is into humiliation once you're caught. Whatever floats your boat.

What I'm getting at, is that for most of these requests, it's fine when you're getting a photographer to participate in your little fantasy... but a sex worker who is actively giving you the go ahead with full consent to participate in both a hands on and off sense just doesn't have the same thrill, you know?

I'm not saying all exhibitionists are boundary pushers and have a disregard for consent. I've had a few respectful exhibitionism requests that I am happy to indulge via Venus Van Gogh. It's quite a popular request to hire an additional sex worker to watch or to have a partner watch you with a sex worker. In my own experience as an exhibitionist, I have, in the distant past, gone to kink parties and put on a show, I was a stripper for three and half years and did many solo and lesbian sex shows, and have been part of orgies with up to eleven people. It's a completely valid and fun fantasy that can be ethically enjoyed in the appropriate settings or with the appropriate professionals.

There is one thing that separates ethical exhibitionism from the sexual harassers, flashers, unsolicited dick pic senders, public masturbators, sexual assaulters and rapists. It's the humanisation of others and the respect for their right to consent to witness.

Being exposed to sexual things you have not consented to causes the trauma of violation. It is dehumanising. It is fucking disgusting. It is an awful thing to experience and an awful thing to impose upon another person.

So this is where I make my stand. Enough is enough. Sort your shit out. Understand consent thoroughly before you even think about expressing yourself sexually. Book sex workers for sexual services and, for the love of god, allow us to live our goddamn lives outside of sex work.

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