Brothel vs Private Sex Work – By Rain Morgan
By Mayfair Confidential
Brothel vs Private Sex Work – By Rain Morgan

When starting out in the industry, it can be hard to decide whether to trial working in a brothel or private independent work. Or, as a brothel worker it can seem scary taking the jump from parlours to private.

What are the pros and cons of each option? Let us discuss!



  • Brothel work requires no pre-set up. You can call around local parlours and arrange interviews/trial shifts. Just bring some lingerie, toiletries, high heels and sex toys and you are good to go. Most brothels will supply condoms, lube, sponges, and a safe clean space with security to work from. In Victoria, you will require a doctor’s certificate, which you can get from Melbourne Sexual Health Clinic, and just states you have had vaginal and oral swabs and bloods done for STI’s.
  • Brothel work offers camaraderie and support of peers. Working in close quarters with other workers can help you connect, learn about sex industry in Australia and things like asserting boundaries with clients, health checks, and feel safe.
  • You can trial a brothel shift and set your hours if you like it given that varies sex parlours adjust around your schedule. For example, you can work 8 hour shifts on nights only. You can also work on weekends or only work Mon-Friday daytime if you like. This can suit university students and sex workers with kids at home.
  • No hidden costs! As a brothel worker, the venue is handling your advertising including photos for their website and socials. All you need to do is just bring yourself to each shift and don’t need to pay for all the costs that add up as a private worker. When you leave work, you can put it aside. No admin!


  • The unfortunate truth is not all brothels are run by good people. There are unethical managers out there who won’t look out for the safety of their workers or will short them money.
  • There is also sometimes cattiness from other workers. Not everyone will get along, and working close together for long hours competing for each booking can wear on the nerves. If you are good at staying out of staff room gossip, that’s a plus in brothels!
  • Brothels are not always open to those who are fat, disabled, transgender or people of colour. Yes, clients love all people and all sizes and body shapes. But, some managers will not hire curvy people nor trans people, or coloured people. Thus some brothels are not an accessible option for all people.
  • Low rates. In brothels the house charges the client a fee and then splits it with the worker. You could work a 10hr shift and make what some people do privately in an hour. For brothel workers with limited availability and disabilities, this can be exhausting and hard on the body. Yes in parlours you can charge extras and up the profit you receive but not always possible for everyone and some brothels cap the amount of extras you can charge.

So what are you the other options? Do you take the risk of private work?

Here are the pros and cons of those choices!



  • Private work means you can work whenever you wish, as little or as much as you like, and can truly set your own schedule without any managers making demands of you.
  • Higher rates. As a private worker you can set your rates to whatever you are comfortable with, and you keep 100% of the profit.
  • More power and control. As a private worker you decide how you screen clients, who you feel comfortable seeing, and the services you wish to provide. Whereas in some brothels certain services are expected, as a private worker you hold the power completely.
  • Private work is accessible to all people. Plus size, disabled/chronically ill, people of colour, transsexual/transgender and gender diverse. Anyone can post an ad and see what happens. Market yourself as you wish.
  • You can work wherever you wish. Private work comes with the chance of touring and travel. You get to see different places and cities while being paid for it. It’s incredibly freeing!


  • Private sex work can be isolating, if you are new to the sex industry and don’t have social media/industry contacts you may feel very isolated and alone. Reach out to your peers and peer organisations!
  • As a private worker you have many overheads. Advertising costs, accommodation/work spaces, photoshoots, lingerie, websites. It can be a lot to keep up with and cost thousands a month.
  • The Laws. The laws around private sex work can be tricky. In South Australia, sex work is illegal. In Victoria you cannot work from home and you are required to register for a sex work license number before you advertise your services. In Queensland, there are restrictions on what you can list in your ads and you are not allowed to work with another worker or have security/a driver. Regardless of where you live, it’s always best to contact your local peer organisation and read through the Scarlet Alliance website to clarify the laws are in each state.
  • It can feel sometimes like it is very hard to make a work life balance as a private sex worker. Texts, emails and social media content are always waiting to be tackled. Consider if that is something you may struggle with.

Have you changed your mind about making the switch or how you wish to enter the sex industry? Have a topic you would like to see Mayfair Confidential tackle next?

Let us know!

By Rain Morgan