Aussie women are taking control of the world's oldest profession using the world's newest technology.

Cosmopolitan, May 2012.

HER milky white breasts heaving out of her tight, black lace corset, her red lips pushed into a perfect pout, the girl lies back on the bed, opens her legs and snaps a picture with her iPhone. Thirty seconds later, it's on Twitter.

Within minutes, her inbox is flooded with cheesy pickup lines, return nude photos from male fans and, more importantly, booking requests.

It's not exactly the typical start to a work day - unless you're escort Grace Bellavue, one of the growing number of professional business women behind Australia's online sex trade.

With a private school education, impeccable grooming and a fondness for designer clothes and gourmet food, Grace, 24, doesn't exactly fit the stereotype of an internet sex industry magnate.

But with more women like her logging on and launching sexy businesses online, that stereotype could be about to change.

It's estimated that 12 per cent of all websites – that's more than 24.6 million - are pornographic, part of a $4.9 billion industry worldwide.2

Every day there are 75 million internet searches for “sex”, and not all by men – a 2010 study found over one third of women regularly visit pornographic websites, with Australians among the most enthusiastic searchers.5

So with adult sites booming and an increasing number of women starting to seek them out, it was only a matter of time before they started to make their own.

Adelaide girl Grace launched her professional website and sex blog,, after falling into escort work as a “horny and bored” teenager.

Now as one of the growing number of prostitutes harnessing the power of social media to sell her body, she receives hundreds of Twitter messages a day.

With her services starting at $450 an hour and rising to $6000 for a weekend she certainly isn't cheap, but thanks to her frank and funny tweets about everything from her favourite sexual positions to what she's eating for dinner, she says inquiries are streaming into her inbox.

“I think the success from Twitter has been the ability for people to see me in a social context - they feel as if they have a greater insight into who I am, and therefore want me more,” says Grace, who also posts semi-nude photographs on Instagram and plans to branch out with Facebook, YouTube, podcasts and video blogs.

Not all of her 3000 plus followers are interested in booking her, of course. Some just like to see her occasional nude photo tweets and read her exploits (sample tweet: “Best Valentines Day Ever. Men, Women, 12 orgasms, anal play, strap-ons, sissy sluts, lingerie, D&M's, kisses. Plus I got paid! #winning”).

“I have gotten a client purely from Instagram - he saw a suggestive photo tagged for me from another woman, followed my account, went to my website and organised a booking,” she laughs.

When it comes to selling sex online, Grace isn't the only Aussie woman making it big.

Sydney writer Violet*, 33, spends her days watching porn and playing with vibrators, dildoes, butt plugs and lubes, all for the benefit of her thousands of internet fans.

Every week the self-described former “bored, depressed, suburbanite housewife” is sent dozens of products from adult companies wanting a write-up on her popular sex toy review website, which attracts tens of thousands of hits a month.

Violet, who also uses Twitter, earns income from web advertising and commissions on sex toy sales at websites she recommends, but says the love of the job is more important than money.

“I love being able to help direct my readers to great products and help them avoid the crap,” she says.

“I also love helping small companies that have great products and ethics to get extra publicity.”

But if lying around pleasuring yourself all day sounds like the ideal job, Violet says it has its drawbacks.

“I missed out on a great job at my local sex toy store partially because the owner was scared I'd blog about the job and use company time to write,” she says.

“And guys that normally wouldn't hit on me can start to talk inappropriately to me if they find out about my work. The majority are great ... but there are three or four who have crossed my boundaries.”

Online male escort agency owner Eva* has also discovered the hyper-connectedness of the internet can allow clients to get closer than you'd like.

One half of the female duo behind Sydney's, which hires out young men to single women and couples for sex or “companionship” for up to $3000 a night, Eva relies on the internet to retain her anonymity – she has a “senior role” in a corporate day job and a teenager, both of which she keeps separate from her sex work.

The 38-year-old takes phone and email bookings for her “companions” 24 hours a day but says being constantly connected isn't always a good thing.

“I'll have men who want to work for us email me explicit photos, they'll ring multiple times at all hours of the night, some will send me texts with photos of their genitals over and over again,” she says.

“There's been situations where I've been threatened – someone was dating someone who found out that she'd been using our service. He sent me a nice message saying 'I know who you are and where you live'.”

But for Eva the anonymity and speed of the internet, as well as the ease of starting up an online business, outweighs any negatives.

“The internet has provided a way that women can participate in the sex business, but do it discreetly and confidentially and not be exposed to prejudices or negative connotations,” she says.

“I would never have thought of starting any business like this in the past, and I'm sure if the internet hadn't existed I wouldn't have. The internet just enables you to be discreet.”

*All names featured in this article are pseudonyms provided by the interviewees

First published in Cosmopolitan, May 2012.