I Wrote a Book About Casual Sex (Because I Want to Change the World)

...and because I was tired of changing it one person at a time. Let's face it, there are a lot of people out there, and I can't fuck all of them.

I've always been a hook-up enthusiast.

You could say I've been doing casual sex since ‘before it was cool'. Perhaps by virtue of my secular upbringing, or just via my own dogged sense of individuality, I never felt the pressure to conform to what girls were 'supposed' to do. When other kids at school were gossiping about who was kissing who behind the woodworking sheds, I was reading sex manuals on the Internet. While my university friends and I were all out drinking on weekends, they got pissed while I picked up guys at the bar.

My enthusiasm for the casual fling didn't always end well. I hurt partners' feelings, behaved like an asshole and broke hearts. I ended up in a few scary situations. But over time, I learned. My natural curiosity led me to the kink scene, where I learned that talking about sex beforehand is a really great idea. I began to read more on the subject, and discovered the joys of 'the Ethical Slut', 'Sex Before Dawn' and  'SM101'. Ever the nerd, I loved reading up on sex and experimenting with my partners.

At the age of 30 I became an escort.

I had always been curious about sex work ... what was it like? At the age of twenty-eight I began a career as an escort in Melbourne, Australia. Although I fell into the job without much planning, I knew immediately  that I'd found my calling.

Unless you're already part of the industry, it may surprise you to learn that sex work is an essential service. I'd expected to be engaging in a lot of 'recreational' paid sex, but instead I found myself caring for my clients: the lonely, the inexperienced, those affected by disability. Sex work is many things to many people; for me it's a chance to offer emotional and physical support to my clients in a way that helps them feel more accepted, sexy and healthy. I love my job and I found that my previous experiences with casual sex were extremely useful.

It wasn't easy though. As I quickly discovered, the job came with a very steep learning curve.

Sex work is egalitarian - it brought me into contact with a huge variety of people from all walks of life. I met young men and old men, CEOs and tradies. I met women and couples too - people of all genders see sex workers! I spent time with folks of every imaginable cultural background, and with those who were 'different' due to their disability. Most of the people I met were from social spheres that I would never have encountered outside the industry, and I quickly found myself having to adapt to new ways of communicating and interacting. When nobody is on the same page, and everyone has different beliefs about sex, it's sometimes hard to find common ground and negotiate an enjoyable session. I was forced to develop new skills to handle my interactions - mostly communication skills but also skills around enforcing my boundaries, and asking for what I needed.

Then, a few years ago, I discovered online dating.

The rise of online dating apps has completely changed our social landscape. Rather than finding partners through friends or at events, I can now be connected with hundreds of potential hook-up partners within minutes. But as my friends and I swipe our way to RSI, I'm noticing a lot of the same sorts of problems I encountered when I began sex work.

Apps allow us to meet people who never would have crossed our paths a decade ago - the potential for new connections is great. But because the folks we meet aren't from our immediate social circle, we don't understand each other and there's a huge potential for abuse and bad experiences. Also... Because online interaction is such a new way to meet people, we don't have a fixed 'social code' yet. Often we're not sure what we're doing or how to get the best out of the experience.

What I realised - from listening to my friends and from experimenting with online dating myself - is that a lot of the skills I learned from sex work and the kink scene are totally usable in the online dating space.  I knew I had something to share that would help people...

...so I wrote a book about casual sex.

The book is called 'the Art of the Hook-Up: a No-Bullsh*t Guide to One-Night Stands, FWBs and Other Modern Adventures' It's a repository of accumulated wisdom about casual sex - all the skills and attitudes I have found helpful when picking up, both in person and online.

I believe hook-ups can be a force for good.

'Casual sex' isn't always casual. Sex can power personal growth, connection and learning. I really believe that everyone who chooses to pick up (whether online or 'the old-fashioned way') should be having the best experiences possible.

For me, a great hook-up means:

  1. Finding the right people

  2. Negotiating an amazing experience, and

  3. Parting in a way that leaves everyone feeling better off.

The Book: read the first 50 pages

The Book: read the first 50 pages


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