“Rita Therese is a 25-year-old sex worker, artist and writer based in Melbourne, Australia. She entered the sex industry at age 18, and has worked as a stripper, porn and as an escort. She currently works as an escort under the alias Gia James. She has written for magazines like Frankie, Vice and Penthouse Australia, and had a monthly sex and dating column for Sneaky magazine.”
I wanted this to be new and innovative, but in the end I actually felt disappointed. I’ve read a similar novel/memoir in the past that still stuck with me. What really frustrated me about this was that it had a ‘fearless new talent’ but the writing itself wasn’t that amazing. It seemed to reply on shock factor, and speed, in order to keep the reader interested.
Arg! The biggest irritation for me was the way that the timeline endlessly jumped around. The novel seems to open at the end, where Rita has already lost her two older brothers to suicide. But then it jumps between when she is just starting out as a topless waiter through to being a porn star, and then back to working at a brothel. Honestly I wasn’t sure what was going on. Maybe some more informative chapter headings would help? I wasn’t sure if her abusive relationship was before her rape or her brothers’ deaths, or something else. It made it hard for me to follow the storyline.
Some of the things that Rita tells you how to do are honestly really gross, and probably not very healthy for your biological workings! I am slightly worried that some people might think of this as a ‘how to’ in terms of getting into sex work, and take some of the things she’s described as good things to try at home. If you’re looking at getting into kink or exploring your own sexual side more (nothing wrong with that!) perhaps I could suggest Oh Joy Sex Toy? As the name suggests, this comic takes a light hearted approach to reviewing sex toys, discussing kinks and quirks, and also takes on sexual health.
One of the few things I appreciated about this book was that Rita does touch on the fact that she attended therapy to help her cope. But I’m not sure her ‘alternative’ lifestyle should be blamed at all for her personal failings. Not all sex workers are drug-riddled alcoholics? If you’ve looked at an AMA, or watched You Can’t Ask That you’ll know that sex workers can have healthy sex lives as well as working.
An interesting exposé that provides an ironically happy and sexual read that will last you at least as long as a night out at a club (and make you think about what the dancers are doing in the ‘spare time’ they have). Remember that sex workers are people too, and that they are all different. There’s nothing wrong with this book, I just wish it was a bit better organised.
Allen & Unwin | 31st March 2020 | AU$29.99 | paperback