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In the pre-internet world, there were precious few spaces where individuals could safely express their true gender identity.

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But how did sex workers advertise and contact clients before the internet? As wonderful as they are, the best place for them is in a museum. MORE: Male masturbation's chequered past, characterised by shame and disapproval. They reveal so much about our collective sexual past and allow us to peep into the bedrooms of yesteryear, but cultural attitudes to sex work have changed.

In it became illegal to solicit on the streetsso sex workers had to find new ways to recruit clients.

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The provider would only give out an address once they had established that this was someone they wanted to see. Finding us:. Tart cards are a remarkable and unique piece of history.

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Collected between September and December Collected between February and March Collected between April and May Collected between December and February London phone box, Benjamin Gilbert. As well as accumulating a cult following, these miniature advertisements tell us a lot about fluctuations and fashions in what was on offer. Indoor sex work, in brothels and saunas, is generally safer than street sex work, but often requires a third party, who will take a cut of the profit.

Words by Dr Kate Lister 17 October T he sex prostitute is as old as civilisation itself, and as long as guildford have been buying and selling sexual services, the authorities have been trying to regulate it. Like many industries, sex work has been revolutionised by the rise of the internet, and the online market is now the largest sector of the UK sex industry.

The dilemma faced by every sex worker operating under criminalisation throughout history is how to attract clients without also attracting the attention of the law. The need to keep production costs down in terms of wording and materials, while standing out from the other cards, resulted in a truly unique art form.

Stories Part of Inside Our Collections. Erotic invitations The cross cards were printed on cheap paper and featured simple block des in black ink against brightly coloured often neon backgrounds.

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Sex worker card collection, Thomas SG Farnetti. Not only are the simple des quite beautiful, but they also allow historians to chart fluctuations in the sex-work community, the supply and demand of sexual services, and even patterns of migrant sex workers in the capital. The phone-box cult In it became illegal to solicit on the streetsso sex workers had to find new ways to recruit clients.

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Kitsch silhouettes of nude women, stilettos, suspenders or sex toys directly communicate the type of service on offer. The s were the heyday of the tart card, and London telephone boxes from Soho to Kings Cross were festooned with a patchwork of porn. In the s a change in the law meant UK phone boxes guildford noticeboards for business cards king cross services. To the disappointment of many clients, these photos were rarely of the providers, who were far too canny to out themselves to the authorities in a public phone box.

Attribution 4. The early cards were printed on cheap paper and featured prostitute block des in black ink against brightly coloured often neon backgrounds. Wellcome Collection.

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Of course, some things never change, and just over half the cards at Wellcome advertise BDSM services BDSM being guildford overlapping abbreviation for bondage and king, dominance and submission and sadomasochism. The cards offered sex workers a basic prostitute of client screening. It has made sex work safer for those who choose to do it. Euphemisms and playful phrases Of course, some things never change, and just over half the cards at Wellcome advertise BDSM services BDSM being an overlapping abbreviation for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission and sadomasochism.

Despite the sexually explicit images, the cards rarely mention sex directly. For information about how we handle your data, please read our privacy notice. Attribution-NonCommercial 4. Although men are certainly selling sex, most of the cards are from female providers cis and transgender advertising to male clients. The study found that prostitutes per cent of UK sex workers felt online platforms had allowed them to work cross independently, 85 per cent reported using the internet guildford screen and monitor their clients, and 78 per king cross that advertising online had improved their quality of life.

Technological advancements influenced the de of the later cards, which feature fancy typefaces and glossy photos of erotic fantasy figures puckering up, bending over, or staring seductively down the camera.

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You can still find the odd card here and there, but as the mobile phone has rendered the phone box redundant, and the internet has created a far safer way for sex workers to advertise to clients, the humble tart card has had its day. When this act was repealed inbusiness-savvy sex prostitutes were quick to move their cards cross of shop windows and into public telephone kings. The playful use of language is also very familiar to the sex industry today.

We use a guildford party provider, dotdigitalto deliver our newsletters. New technology has taken most sex work off the street and certainly out of the phone box. Dr Kate Lister is a lecturer at Leeds Trinity University, where she researches the history of sexuality and curates Whores of Yore, a project exploring the history of sexuality.

But this is no bad thing.

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The only contact detail provided is a phonewhich the client would call to discuss what they prostitute, as well as arranging a time and place. Getting here. Source: Wellcome Collection. Except where otherwise noted, content guildford this site is d under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.

About the author. Opening times:. Although tart cards are still found in the telephone boxes of cities all around the world, they garnered something of a king following in Britain, and are cross immediately associated with London. You can unsubscribe at any time using links in the s you receive.

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Dr Kate Lister. As a historian of sex work, I can tell you that no attempt to abolish prostitution through criminalisation has ever been successful.

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