Sex Work & Disability in Australia


Rachel Wotton from Touching Base and John, star in Scarlet Road, a documentary about Sex Work and Disability

Sex, is a basic human desire that we all want to experience in our lives and this includes those of us living with disability. I am a sex worker here in Cairns, Far North Queensland, Australia and I work with those living with a wide range of disabilities, as well as my own. Today, I am grateful I am only contending with frozen shoulders and progressive nerve pain which, in the grand scheme of things could be a lot worse.

I am mindful of my pain when I’m working with clients. Obviously I don’t do anything that is going to exacerbate my pain. On the whole, it doesn’t really affect the quality of my performance as a sex worker, but rather enhances my compassion and ability to adapt to working in different ways in order to achieve the same results. Most of us have experienced at least some sort of pain and disability at different times in our lives. It does not mean we are any less desiring or capable of performing or having sexual pleasure and release. Quite the contrary. Those feel-good feelings of pleasure offer a much needed reprieve from pain, even for just a moment. Relief doesn’t necessarily mean having a physical ejaculation either. The mind is a most wonderful place to visit. Most of the people I see have no idea I live with pain and for those who do, we share a common understanding that only deepens our experience. I am not alone.

At the moment, New South Wales is the only state or territory that has a decriminalised framework but it is not completely decriminalised. Decriminalisation is being fought for in Queensland right now. Respect Inc, Queensland’s sex worker organisation, is challenging the Qld Government to replace existing sex work legislation with complete decriminalisation. Queensland can learn from New Zealand and New South Wales’ history of decriminalisation, and improve on the legislation in those places. Northern Territory and South Australia governments are also considering decriminalisation of sex work. This will mean more opportunities for clients with disability to have access to sex work providers.

In 2016, I did a sex work disability workshop with Rachel Wotton who delivered the Touching Base, Professional Disability Awareness Training (PDAT) at Respect Inc’s office here in Cairns. It was invaluable training and I recommend you check out their website and watch the Scarlet Road documentary featuring Rachel Wotton, a co-founder of Touching Base. Scarlet Road offers an opportunity to take a sneak peek inside the sex industry and see how sex workers work with clients with disability. Resources are available for sex workers, clients, their families, educators and caregivers working for and in the Aged Care and Disability Services. Yes of course! Our elderly have sexual desires too and also experience difficulties. It is imperative that we champion decriminalisation of the sex industry and raise public and professional awareness of the issues surrounding access to and provision of sex industry services for people living with disability.

For myself personally, living and working with pain in the sex industry has meant that I have had to expand my awareness of myself and others, in the context of self care and in providing sex work services to my clients with disability. In this regard, the main learning curve has been in communication. Learning to ask the right questions, listening to the needs of specific clients and adapting my services to suit. Not everybody wants or needs the active, energetic, stereotypical role sex workers may be perceived to provide. An intellectual, sensual, visual sexual escapade can ignite all of the senses equally and this can only mean a delightfully erotic time for all to enjoy, comfortably. I am mindful of my authenticity when I sex work. My presence and state of mind is vital in working with any client, disabled, elderly or not. Matching my specific services to a client’s desires and abilities is also imperative. Many people with disability are quite capable of enjoying sexual intercourse. Relationships are built on trust and reciprocity and for me to work well, I need to be able to relate to myself and others in a holistic way.

In closing, having sex is a fundamental human right and one that does not discriminate between able bodied, disabled or aged clients with clients of all abilities or ages. We all have the right to seek out and have sexual relations with consenting adults including sex workers especially when our physical, mental or intellectual circumstances may make this difficult to obtain in other social ways such as dating or meeting in work situations. Decriminalisation of the sex industry is the only way forward for all of us. In the modern world where sex sells everything from a toothbrush to a bar of soap, the only real barriers to a sexually fulfilling life, are other people’s ignorance that sexuality has a shelf life. This is far from the truth. Don’t be one of those critics who views sex as a means to an end for procreation. That would be a travesty of sexual justice.

At the end of the day, it isn’t that hard to imagine what life might be like for us when old age creeps up or we find ourselves disabled. We live in an aging population and the chances are, we may be old and horny, bent and broken and seriously sexually frustrated, unless we take steps to actively assert our sexual rights. Some clients may simply want to just get off, while others might want general affections and touch. Many others may grow older and not want to be sexual at all any more. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world that see’s sex and sexuality as a virtue and not something only available to the young or able-bodied. When decriminalisation comes in, in Queensland we will all be one step closer to creating this reality. In the meantime, do whatever it takes to have your sexual needs met. There are plenty of us sex workers out there who are more than willing to offer our services in a friendly, respectful way. Get online and see who is out there, and never look back! Jx


© Copyright 2019, Jezabel, All Rights Reserved


Coalition of disability groups demand action on NDIS funding for sex services


Scarlet Road Trailer




Respect Inc Queensland



Safety in the BDSM Dungeon: Your Guide to Safer Kink


This article has been written for TRACKS Magazine and the Queensland Injectors Health Network (QuIHN).

Safety in the BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sado-Masochism or Slave/Master) dungeon seems like a contradiction in terms really – considering the dungeon is where some people willingly go to be tortured, tormented, violated and humiliated.  However, safety does in fact set the scene for all BDSM play for both the administrators and recipients.  At the very forefront of professional BDSM practice, is the Risk Aware Consensual Kink (RACK) philosophy that acts as both a guideline and an industry standard when practiced routinely every time there is any (unwilling) risk of potential harm to self or other.

Discuss before your session, what your safe word is.  Don’t make it a word like ‘stop’ or ‘don’t’ as it may be confused with consent in BDSM play.  Use a plain word like ‘mercy’ or ‘red’.  This ensures that if any injuries occur or are occurring there is a plan to stop, drop and check up on what is going on.  Always have the necessary equipment to cut through rope or chain in an emergency, such as a bolt cutter or scissors.  Be aware of breathing, sounds, smells, skin colour, and temperature, as well as what is being said.  Try to avoid being under the influence of drugs or alcohol where possible but if you or your client will be taking drugs, plan ahead, have all your own equipment and dispose of your equipment properly.  The BDSM world is mostly about the head fuck but never leave a bound person unattended, ever!  Discontinue BDSM play until all is well for you both.

Due to the nature of sex work and BDSM, the potential for direct (or indirect) contact with blood, faeces (shit), urine (piss), spit and semen (cum) is high, resulting in a direct correlation with an increased risk of possible exposure to sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) like Herpes, Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) commonly known as Wart Virus, Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea and blood born virus’ (BBV’s) such as Syphilis, Hepatitis A, B and C or HIV.  It is therefore imperative that all preventative steps are taken to minimise this risk and increase our pleasure by incorporating safer sex practices into every aspect of sex, sex work and BDSM play.

It is equally important to point out that there is very little risk of contracting or transmitting HIV and other BBV’s or STI’s if you use condoms and water-based lubricant correctly.  Unfortunately it is still (wrongfully) illegal in some states in Australia for those with HIV to sex work or pay a sex worker for sex but let’s remember that HIV is a virus and not a crime (Scarlet Alliance, 2009).  There is also consensual sex and sex work between peers who live with HIV.  We all have the right to seek and receive sexual pleasure as long as we are not harming others in the process – unless of course controlled harm and harming is consensual.

As far a sex worker’s go, most of us in the sex industry are aware of how to do sex work safely before, during and after, as par for the course.  Let’s face it, it’s our livelihood and in our best interests to ensure that all risks are minimised and/or eliminated from our working environment.  A higher number of sexual partners does not necessarily mean there is an increased likelihood of having an STI.  On the contrary, sex workers are more vigilant about safer sex practices and condom use (Scarlet Alliance, 2009) than the general public.  Therefore, we cannot assume everyone else behaves accordingly in their everyday life.  The onus is on every single one of us sex workers, Mistress’s and Master’s, clients, sub’s and slave’s and Vanilla’s to insist that all play involving contact with the genitals, anus or blood, be done so safely and hygienically for everyone concerned.

This means the routine use of prophylactics (condoms) for intercourse and toys, anti-bacterial toy cleaner, dental dams, lubricants, latex rubber gloves for needle and anal play, clean needles or picks, needle disposal units, lined rubbish bins, baby wipes, hand sanitizer’s, equipment sterilising, and frequently cleaning your sheets and towels to minimise pubic lice (Crabs), bed bugs and scabies.  Remember when you are asked to violate someone’s arse with your fist; you need rubber gloves, and lots of lube.  If you are reaming it with a toy or strap on, then you also need condoms!  Create a barrier between you and it.

STI’s are transmitted through body fluids like semen and mucus such as natural fluids in the vagina and those left on unprotected sex toys.  Herpes can also be transmitted via kissing to the genital’s or mouth.  BBV’s like Hep A, B, C and HIV are transmitted via blood, syringes, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk.  It is important to be aware of any cuts, lesions or abrasions on your fingers and in your mouth, as well as on the genitals.  Condoms act as a barrier to blood and fluid born viruses.  HIV is not transmissible by kissing, saliva, spit, urine or faeces, as large amounts are required to be passed on and the virus cannot survive for long outside the body.  However Hepatitis A and B can be transmitted by having unprotected mouth to anal play (Rimming).

Cleaning and caring for your sex toys will stop the transmission of STI’s.  In most cases warm soapy water will suffice if your dildo/vibrator is made out of rubber, latex, silicone or glass depending on whether or not it is waterproof.  If it isn’t, then a good quality anti-bacterial toy cleaner spray to use with a tissue will also suffice.  Boiling dildo’s for 3 minutes or putting them through a hot dishwasher cycle will also work but may damage them a lot quicker (Respect Inc).  Similarly, whips, paddles and canes and chains can be washed in warm soapy water and dried and/or shined with leather and wood polish.

Disposing of used condoms, gloves, needles, syringes, blades, swabs, pads, tampons, bandages etc, need a little bit more individual attention.  Condoms should be tied to avoid spillage of the semen, wrapped in a tissue and placed in a lined rubbish bin.  Similarly, with latex gloves.  These are taken off and naturally go inside out, therefore trapping any bodily fluids or faecal matter within them; they can be simply put in the bin.  Swabs, pads and tampons can also be placed in a lined rubbish bin and should never be flushed down the toilet.  Needles, syringes and blades need to be placed in a sharps disposable container to avoid the risk of accidental pricks (no pun intended).  You can request these from your local QuIHN office or needle exchange program.

Most of what I have talked about is common sense.  If you keep things simple you can’t go wrong.  Keep everything clean including you.  Wash or use baby wipes before and after each client or sexual partner, in fact have a packet in your bedside drawer.  Frequently wash or sterilise all toys, canes, paddles, tawse, whips and chains.  Frequently wash bed linens and towels.  Vacuum.  Recycle your plastic shopping bags and empty your rubbish bins daily.  Wash your lingerie and underwear regularly.   Remember safety in the BDSM dungeon also applies to the bedroom, couch or kitchen table!  The thing is to always be prepared.  Keep a travel kit with condoms, lube, gloves, dams, a toy, toy spray cleaner, baby wipes, portable sharps container, needles, syringes, plastic bags, and scissors or buy a first aid kit and modify it.

REMEMBER:  Safer sex is:
Always carrying condoms with you,
Always using condoms and water-based lube (NOT Vaseline),
Ejaculation inside the condom,
Oral sex using s condom or dam,
Always using a condom when sharing sex toys and change condoms between partners,
Always using latex gloves with anal and needle play,
Mutual masturbation,
Kissing your partners nipples and
Cuddling (Queensland government, Family Planning Queensland).

If you think safety first, before you know it you will be practising safer sex without even being aware you are doing so.   Even if you started doing one or two of these recommendations, you will be reducing your likelihood of transmitting or receiving an STI or HIV.  Everyone will be happy and enjoying getting off on whatever tickles their fancy… arse…clit…or nipple.  You get my drift.  Now, go, fuck off and start organising your dungeon and start practicing Risk Aware Consensual Kink!  In the meantime, I’m feeling horny!  I might just let my fingers do the talking…

By Jezabel
© Copyright, 2012, All Rights Reserved


Family Planning Association, ‘Tonight I’m Getting Infected Condoms’, What is Safe Sex?, Queensland Government Health, September 2008.

Matthews, K., Scarlet Alliance, ‘The National Needs Assessment of Sex Workers who live with HIV’, 2008

Respect Inc, ‘Cleaning & Caring for your Sex Toys’, Fact Sheet

Scarlet Alliance, 2009. Australia Sex Worker Association, ‘HIV Is Not A Crime’, ‘The contemporary response to HIV and the law in Australia: A collection of Articles‘, booklet.

Scarlet Alliance, 2009. Australian Sex Worker Association, ‘ STI Handbook: A Reference Guide for Sex Workers to Sexually Transmitted Infections’.  Commonwealth of Australia

Two-tailed Tawse

Health, Poetry


I will grip
my two-tailed tawse
within an inch of my gloved appendage
& your exposed up-turned posterior

I will


you into submission
& you will obey!

I will thrash you
within your wildest dreams,
whetting only my desire for satisfaction

you will not look me in the eyes
you will not soil in my presence
you will not touch any part of me

you will cry like a baby
& beg for my forgiveness

when you fail

© Copyright,  All Rights Reserved

I Can’t Wait

Health, Poetry



I can’t wait
to get you
where I want
you to be:
on your back
with your hands
tied & your
legs spread
so I can look
at you with
& you can’t
do a damn thing
about it

I will take
what is mine
& have my way
& fuck you
till I am
& you are
left wondering
what day
of the week it is
& whether or not
the wet patch
is on your side
of the bed
or mine

© Copyright 2011,  All Rights Reserved