RFSL Stockholm is the local Stockholm chapter of RFSL, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights. We have many activities for and by LGBT people in Stockholm – read more about this on our website.
This page is based on interviews with men who have experience of selling sex. We thank you warmly! The editor for the page is Nicklas Dennermalm at RFSL Stockholm. All texts have been written by RFSL Stockholm's staff and reviewed by Rose Alliance, Venhälsan STI clinic and RFSL sexologist Suzann Larsdotter. English translation by Charlotta Haldén.
RFSL on the Sex Purchase Act
The ideas about people who sell sex are stereotypic. The current law that forbids the buying of sexual services is based on an analysis of sex work from a gender power order perspective, where sex for money is seen as an example of men's sexualised violence against women. The law is based on a hetero normative understanding of sex work, which excludes a large majority of LGBTQ people who sell and/or buy sexual services. Therefore, the law gives a simplified picture of sex work. This can lead to greater difficulties for people who seek help, if they do not fit the analysis that the law is based on.
When people sell sex because they are forced to, in economic, social, psychosocial or physical ways, there are a number of risk factors that can hurt the parties involved. RFSL does not think that criminalising laws are the answer to these problems. Criminalisation leads to more stigma, vulnerability and alienation for the person who sells sexual services. Instead, RFSL recommends more social work in this area, as well as activities against the social exclusion of those who sell sex, and support for sex workers' own organisations.
RFSL Stockholm on alcohol and drugs
In Sweden, we make a distinction between legal drugs and illegal drugs. Alcohol is a legal drug, and so are some medicines that are classified as narcotics and only available with a prescription from a doctor. Some effects of alcohol and other drugs can feel nice, like feeling a stronger sex drive for a while, or finding it easier to relax and talk to people. Other effects are unpleasant or dangerous, and risk leading to hard consequences now and in the future. Some illegal drugs are cocaine, amphetamine and ecstasy.
Alcohol and many other drugs are addictive, whether we like it or not. The addiction can be mental and/or physical. If you use a drug regularly, you often need higher doses after a while to get the same effect as before. After a time, the drug may not get you high anymore and just give you negative feelings. Then, you can feel like you need the drug to feel ”normal” and handle everyday life.
En.rodaparaplyet.org is a web site that aims to help people who sell sex have better sexual health, no matter if you drink or take illegal drugs or not. The relationship between alcohol/drugs and sex is complicated. Studies show that there are connections between drug use, alcohol and unsafe sex. If you are drunk or high, there is a greater risk of forgetting to use a condom – so it is extra important to be well prepared and have condoms and lubricant handy if you drink or take illegal drugs. Some drugs and medical products are also often used for sex, such as poppers. Therefore, we feel that it is important to have information about this on a site about sexual health. Being sober during sex is always the best thing, because then your judgment is clear. This lessens the risk of doing things you would not do otherwise, and the body's signals are also clear so you do not risk things like hurting yourself because you can't feel pain.
RFSL Stockholm's texts do not presume that the reader is HIV negative. Likewise, we do not presume that our readers do not use alcohol or drugs. We want to give comprehensive and correct information on drugs and their consequences. This is important information to have in order to have control of your health. We do not turn a blind eye to the serious and negative consequences of alcohol and drugs. A life without drugs is always better than a life with drugs or too much alcohol.
Selling Sex Här finns allt du behöver veta för att sälja sex bekvämare och säkrare. Texterna bygger på intervjuer med personer som sålt sex så det är verkligen på riktigt.
Facts Under den här rubriken har vi samlat en massa fakta om sexköpslagen, kondomer och hiv. Allt är självklart granskat av Venhälsan och Rose Alliance.
Testing & PEP Det är bra att testa sig regelbundet för hiv och könssjukdomar, gärna var tredje månad om du säljer sex regelbundet, även när du använder kondom.
Alcohol & Drugs Bra och korrekt information om alkohol, droger och rådgivning kan vara svårt att hitta. Därför har vi samlat det viktigaste informationen här.
Support & Info Ibland behöver man hjälp med det stora, ibland med det lilla. Här har vi samlat det lilla stöd som finns för er som säljer sex.
Selling Sex /
The sex itself
Overview Just like sex means many different things to different people, selling sex is also very different for different people. Some do it because they enjoy it, or because it’s the best alternative they can find. Others do it for financial reasons, because they have mental health issues, or because they are forced to. Whatever the reason, it’s always good to have some advice on how to make the sex act feel better. The tips below come from people who have experience of selling sex. Anal sex If you are being penetrated, there are ways of making anal sex feel better, even if you are not sexually excited. Most importantly, try to relax your body and not be tense. Some find it easier to “warm up” first with a little lubricant and a finger, for example. Some positions give you more control of the situation. This can be a good idea, especially with a new customer or a large penis. One position that gives you better control is if you “ride” the customer. Which positions are comfortable also depend on the shape of the penis. Find what works for you. You decide the tempo, even if someone has paid you for sex. If you want to stop having sex, do so. You always have the right to stop. Just give the money back and leave. If you are doing the penetrating, it’s important to have the right condom size. You can read more about different sizes of condoms under “Facts”. There is only one way [...]
Selling Sex /
Before you meet
There are some things to think about before meeting a buyer, no matter if it is your first time selling sex or if you have done it before. First, think about what you are okay with doing, what rules and limits feel good for you. What types of sex are you okay with selling? Is kissing okay or not? How will you start talking about safer sex? When you know the answers to those questions, you can make a deal with a buyer. Not before. And stick with the rules you have made for yourself, even if the buyer wants to pay more for things you have decided you do not want to do. When it comes to safety, we have collected some tips from people who have sold sex. If the buyer sounds drunk or high on the phone, or if they are drunk or high when you meet, you may want to leave. Do not meet buyers when you have taken drugs or drunk alcohol, it will be more difficult for you to see if a situation is dangerous. Find out as much information about the buyer as you can before you meet, and save the information. Call a friend before meeting the buyer, and tell your friend the address, the phone number and other information about the buyer, and how long you will be meeting them. Call your friend afterwards too. Make sure that your mobile phone battery is charged and that you have money on your phone card. Have some cash in your [...]
Selling Sex /
To stop selling sex
For some people, it takes an active decision to stop selling sex. Others may just phase it out gradually, with no problems. For the money? Most people who sell sex do it for the money. Because we need money for rent, food and othr things, it’s difficult to stop selling sex if you can not get money from somewhere else. If you feel that you want to stop selling, but you need the money, you need to start thinking about the situation and make a plan. It’s good to think about your alternatives. Could you study and get student loans? Are there any jobs around that you are interested in and qualified for? If a first step is to become less financially dependent on selling sex, you could set a goal that half your money could come from selling and half from somewhere else, until you reach the day when you can get all your money from somewhere else. But of course, if you do not have complete grades, or a residence permit, it’s difficult to start studying. And it’s not easy to get a job, even if you have experience and education. If you sell sex to finance a dependency on alcohol or drugs, it’s important to work on those problems. It’s not easy to become free of alcohol or drugs, but it is possible if you want to and work hard. En.rodaparaplyet.org has information on alcohol, drugs and counseling, if you want to drink less or take less drugs, or stop completely. Click [...]
Using a condom is an effective way of reducing the risk of HIV transmission and of many other types of STIs. Condoms give you the freedom to have great sex with anyone you fancy, regardless of whether or not you live with HIV. Some may choose not to use a condom in a relationship, while others might feel it’s an interruption in a steamy situation. However, a condom is a good way of showing that you take care of yourself and that you respect the people you have sex with. What do you personally think is good about using a condom? GENERALLY Condoms come in different sizes, fits, flavors and materials. Try different brands, sizes and materials and see what feels best for you. Lubrication makes anal sex much more comfortable. Remember only to use a water or silicone-based lubricant with a condom. Condoms aren’t only for penises, they also fit a wide variety of toys for safer sex there as well. Remember to change condoms if more than one person is being fucked by the same penis or dildo. Always bring your own condoms in a variety of sizes when you meet a buyer. Do not reply on the buyer in this case. Then you know that the condoms are “fresh” (look at the back for expiry date) and undamaged. If you keep condoms in your wallet, replace them every month or if the protective wrapping is damaged. Also, if you are the bottom, make sure that the buyer keeps the condom on the [...]
No matter if you have anal or vaginal sex, lubrication usually makes the sex more comfortable. It’s reducing the risk of minor wounds and injuries on the mucous membranes inside the ass or vagina. Lube can, of course be used for other types of sex as well. Silicon-based lube also makes an excellent massage oil. Cremes that contain fat (such as ointments, skin lotions, massage oils and other oils), weaken latex condoms and can make them break easily. Instead, it’s better to use either a water or silicon-based lubricant if you’re using a condom. Water-based lubricants are thick and may dry out after a while, so you’ll need to apply more as needed. Silicon-based lubes are thinner, don’t dry out and last a long time, even if you don’t use a lot. Both can be washed off with soap and water, even though silicon lubes are slightly harder to rinse off. If you prefer to use oil based cremes you can always use plastic condoms, they are not usually avaliable in regular stores so you might have to order them online. You can buy lube at the pharmacy, online and at some supermarkets. Sex shops and condom shops generally have a bigger selection. Feel your way and try out different kinds of lube, and see what’s best for you.
Femidom is a trademarked brand, but is used as a general term for the female condom, or receiver’s condom. The partner on the receiving end inserts it, rather than the person doing the penetration. Femidoms are either made of latex or plastic. In some ways they look quite similar to regular condoms. The femidom has an outer ring that prevents it from slipping into the the vagina or rectum. Some also have a softer inner ring that holds it in place inside the body. Inserting a femidom takes a bit of practice, whether you’re inserting it by hand or threading it over the penis or dildo and carefully “penetrate” it into place. If you’re using a femidom with an inner ring, you may need to assist with your hands. A femidom can be used in either the anally or in the vagina. It is an effective way of reducing the risk of HIV or STI transmission. The femidom is an excellent alternative to a regular condom, and gives the receiver a chance to take control of their body and the degree of safe sex. A femidom can be inserted in advance, which is great if you’re cruising, for example. Never have sex with both a condom and a femidom as they can chafe each other and break. Use plenty of lube, both when inserting it and inside the femidom itself. This will increase both your comfort and your safety!
Testing & PEP /
Condoms provide by far the best protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), but they still don’t provide 100% protection. Even if you always use a condom, it may be a good idea to get tested for STIs. There are different STIs and they can affect you in different ways. Untreated STIs have a negative impact on the body, sometimes without the person noticing. If you have an STI it could also increase your susceptibility to other STIs and HIV. So it’s a good idea to get tested regularly, even if you don’t have any signs or symptoms of an infection. By getting tested, you take control of your own health. For people selling sex, we recommend to get tested every three months. Safer sex means making a conscious effort to minimize the risk of transmitting STIs. Keeping an eye on your own health is a good start. If you know you have an STI you can do something about it – such as get treatment, but you can also avoid passing it on. Many STIs have no visible symptoms, so many people don’t realize they have one, but they can still be bad for your health and be passed on to others. Most infections can be cured and are easy to treat if they’re discovered in time. Untreated STIs also increase susceptibility to HIV. Testing can also put your mind at ease. If you’re worried or just want to check, go and get tested! Everyone has an HIV status, but not everyone is certain what [...]
Testing & PEP /
PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis) can be a savior in an emergency when things don’t according to plan, like a condom splitting. PEP is a relatively effective treatment that reduces the risk of HIV being transmitted, but it does not offer 100 % protection. PEP can be given if an HIV negative has had unprotected sex with an HIV positive person in the past 36 hours. The sooner you get PEP, the better. The PEP treatment is not a single pill but a 30 day treatment. Afterwards you are recommended to get tested after six weeks, 12 weeks and 6 months. PEP treatment is available Venhälsan at Södersjukhuset in Stockholm and the ER at Karolinska Sjukhuset in Huddinge. For availability in other cities, ask your local health care or send us an e-mail for more info.
Testing & PEP /
If you were born with a vagina, 23 and over and have not changed your social security number, you will routinely be called in for a smear test every three years to find out if there have been any cell changes in your cervix. You will receive this notice to attend a smear test, and must go, even if you haven’t had sex (but if you’ve never had sex you don’t need to get tested). It may seem like a hassle or an inconvenience to go for smear tests, but you’re called so that you can have a better overview of your health. Many women who have sex with women choose not to go to these smear tests because they think them unnecessary, but HPV can easily be transmitted between women too. Remember, whether or not you have sex with men, these tests are an important way of helping you keep an eye on your health. The smear tests are carried out at gynecology clinics and young people’s health centers, and the samples are taken by scraping a small speculum, cotton bud or brush against the cervix. The test takes just a couple of minutes, it’s painless and also free of charge. If the tests show cell changes, they will be followed up with an HPV test. In 2010 the examination method changed and only one test is now necessary.
Alcohol & Drugs /
Support & Advice
Stockholm county’s healthcare system can give you advice and medical and psychiatric support, through the addiction centre Beroendecentrum in different parts of the county. Beroendemottagningen HBT (The LGBT Addiction centre) specially welcomes people who are homosexual, bisexual and/or transgender. You can find them at Hantverkargatan 73 in Stockholm, and you can call them to book a visit at 08-655 67 29. More information (in Swedish) at beroendemottagningenhbt.se. The closest subway station is Fridhemsplan. The blue city buses 1 and 4 also stop at Fridhemsplan, and blue bus 3 stops at Kronobergsgatan nearby. See map. The social services in your town or district (kommun in Swedish) can also help you prevent and stop drug abuse. You can ask them for counselling and other social support. Often, your kommun can also offer anonymous counselling over the telephone. Call your kommun’s contact number (look for the word växel in Swedish) and tell them what you want help with, and they can help you get further support. You can also visit AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) who sometimes have special meetings for homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender people. Click on their links for more information in English. You can find more information about where to find help and support at More information about alcohol and other drugs can be found here. Information for young people on Drugsmart.
Alcohol & Drugs /
Viagra is a medicine that you need a doctor’s prescription for. It is meant for people who have a problem getting their penis hard and/or keeping it hard. For other people, it can give the opposite effect, or give an erection that is so hard you need a doctor to get it down. Viagra can be deadly in combination with poppers, or with medicines for heart problems or vascular (blood vessel) problems. It is a bad idea to buy Viagra copies, so called generic Viagra, on the Internet. If you have erection problems or want to keep your penis hard for a long time, talk to a doctor. Do not self-medicate. There are many different reasons for erection problems. Often, mental and social issues affect your ability to get sexually excited or to get your penis hard and keep it hard. A cockring can help with keeping it hard. If you often have problems with this, talk to a doctor who can see if there are any physical reasons, and give you medical help if you need it. There are many different medicines that are said to be similiar to Viagra. Your doctor can help you choose the right one for you. Always follow the dose recommended by the doctor. Support Have you thought about drinking less alcohol, taking less drugs, or stopping completely? Are you using a medicine in a destructive way? Are you worried that a friend is drinking too much? Sometimes it is a good idea to talk to a professional [...]
Alcohol & Drugs /
It is not a good idea to take drugs before you meet a customer. Drugs make your judgment worse. Never accept anything from a customer or anyone else, because you can never know what you are actually being given. Have you thought about drinking less alcohol, taking less drugs, or stopping completely? Are you using a medicine in a destructive way? Are you worried that a friend is drinking too much? Sometimes it is a good idea to talk to a professional who can give advice and support. Amphetamine Amphetamine is a chemical drug that stimulates the central nervous system. It can be found as pills or as a powder, and it can be swallowed, snorted (inhaled through the nose) or injected. When you take amphetamine, your brain gets an increase in the synaptic activity of dopamine and noradrenaline. This gives you feelings of intensity, heightened energy and self-confidence. Amphetamine also speeds up your heart rate and gives you higher blood pressure. During the high, you often stop thinking about eating and sleeping, and get a higher sex drive and more energy to start with. If you use amphetamine often, the positive feelings will go away, and instead you will feel withdrawal symptoms and extreme tiredness. It can be very different how much amphetamine there is in the pills or the powder, and this can lead to unwanted overdoses. If you overdose, you risk collapsing or dying because of the effect on your heart and breathing. Amphetamine and alcohol together leads to worse health. If [...]
Support & Info /
Advice, support, counseling for LGBTQ people who have sold or bought sexual services. Sex for money is more common among gay men, lesbians, bisexuals and trans people of all genders. But it is often something we do not talk about with anyone. Sex for money can make you extra exposed to risks. Things can get worse if you keep everything secret, and if you do not know where to get help if you encounter problems. If you need advice, support or treatment – contact us. Every Monday between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. we have a live chat on our web page to answer your questions. Other times, we answer as soon as we can. There might be other opening hours during the summer and during the holidays. Chat, call or email us! We provide: • free condom subscriptions • anonymous HIV testing with quick results • support and advice on safer sex • counselling/ treatment • help if you want to contact other authorities or places for support • advice and support via chat RFSL Rådgivningen Skåne Drottninggatan 36 (map) 040-6119951
Support & Info /
It can be nice to talk to someone about what it’s like to sell sex, how you feel or what you’re thinking about. Sometimes you can have specific questions, and sometimes it just feels good to talk about it. RFSL Göteborg Counselling Office RFSL Göteborg has got a counsellor which is free of charge for LGBTQ people in Gothenburg. If you want to talk to the people working there, please send an e-mail to ylva.gellerstedt[at]goteborg.rfsl.se. Please state that you found her e-mail adress at Roda Paraplyet. Tjej- och killmottagningen If you are 21 or under, you can visit Tjej- och killmottagningen, a clinic for young people. You can go there to talk to someone, or to get tested for HIV or sexually transmitted diseases. This is their homepage – it’s in Swedish, but it lists phone numbers you can call. The address is Norra Hamngatan 8, 4th floor. If you identify as a trans person, we recommend that you go to Närhälsan Sexualmedicinskt Centrum, see below. Närhälsan Sexualmedicinskt centrum Närhälsan Sexualmedicinskt centrum welcomes everyone regardless of age, gender or gender expression for talking or testing. Their homepage can be found here. It’s in Swedish but you can always call them at 031-346 06 80.