When Shelby first contact me with the idea of a Hooker Retreat I envisioned a party of women, wine glasses in hand, soaking in a steaming hot tub, with nothing else on their minds except relaxation. Alas, it wasn’t quite the direction Shelby was headed – she had bigger plans!
Upon further communication, it was clear the Hooker Retreat was to be an education, discussion, and networking event, bringing those in the New Zealand Sex Industry together. The event was to be held across two days, allowing for a vast array of industry related topics to be explored, including tax, worker’s rights, kink, marketing, photography, self-defense and more, with dedicated speakers representing their fields of expertise.
The weekend of the 25th/26th the Hooker Retreat took place in Auckland, and here’s a little run down, for those unable to make it. But before I begin, I want to take a moment to congratulate Shelby once again for the amazing job she did. The venue, topics, and speakers were all arranged out of pure passion.
While the event didn’t always run to schedule, it didn’t matter, because the discussions that took place could flow freely. It was a gathering between both like mind and diverse peoples, and it was comforting to be surrounded by people who understood your industry, that you could relate to or learn from.
Accountants aren’t so boring after all
Ian Fenwick, an accountant based in the Lower North Island, takes us through our tax obligations and why being legit is beneficial to us. From the business structure, tips for record keeping and cash flow projections, Ian’s approach to tax was clear and easy to understand.
Discussions with NZPC
Catherine Healy, a sex worker activist and founder of the New Zealand Prostitutes (Sex Workers) Collective talks us through sexual health trends. How sex workers have lead the way in terms of safe sex, both here in NZ and internationally. Catherine outlines our progress since the 1980’s through to today and the influence sex workers play in sexual health.
Skype with a Dominatrix
If you were expecting leather, latex, and whips you were at the wrong meeting. While Eve Minax is a dominatrix, the skype session with her dove deeper into the psyche of BDSM. Her demeanor during the session is calm and almost mother hen like. Why do people seek BDSM, how can it be used for healing and what is involved? Eve describes herself as a “Psychic Waste Manager”, taking the issues weighing you down and recycling them into something new.
Self Defence is not always Aggressive
When I think of self-defense I think of my mother telling me to hold my keys between my fingers if I’m walking alone at night, in case of any trouble. Glenn Green, an ex-police officer, and private investigator teaches a passive approach to self-defense called RAID, a way of giving yourself time and not wasting your energy. The techniques behind RAID were practical and the theory behind them easy to master.
Knowing ACC is important
As a sex worker, have you ever thought of ACC? Ever made plans to protect your income if you could no longer work? Danna Burton takes us through what is ACC, how do they work and what pitfalls to avoid.
Advertising while stigmatized
Steve Crow talked about the advances and changes for advertising when it comes to the sex industry, from the good old days of an ad in the paper to radio ads, to online advertising and even to guerrilla marketing.
Tips from the Starr herself
Venus Starr introduces us to how she became involved in the industry and the evolution of her brand, from tips to get yourself out there, marketing and most of all, good photography with simple yet effective 5 tips for good photos!
Probably the most moving and unexpected speakers for the retreat was Nina Powell – Sexologist and Coach. Nina walked us through what it means to exchange energy with another person, breathing techniques for releasing tension and creating arousal, and steps towards creating our own futures. While I cannot speak for others, I would describe this session as leaving me feeling both vulnerable and euphoric!