Why You Should Want “Adult Massage Parlours” Like Kendra’s Red House in Your City

The sex industry – the oldest profession in the world – should remain above ground, not underground.

41f7d077fd52b724d0a3078f1b52ca4cBy Chad Pelley

Yes, there are adult massage parlours in St. John’s … and you should want there to be.

Not so you can get your rocks off, but so that the sex industry – the oldest profession in the world, and the one industry no one will ever successfully eradicate – will remain above ground, not underground.

Forcing male and female sex workers out of legitimate places of business forces them to work alone and in the streets, unprotected and vulnerable. And we’ve all heard about the fates of such sex workers when the stories of local gang rapes caught media attention last fall.

If you’re the type of person who doesn’t care about their safety, and leave internet comments on gang-rape articles like, “But can a prostitute really be raped?,” then consider this: wouldn’t you rather your quaint city not have hookers on your precious little streets? The sex trade is real, it’s going to happen here, so it’s best we relegate it to legit, in-house businesses.

Despite the fact that the city has several really shady adult massage parlours,
or flat out underground brothels, Councillor Jonathan Galgay has made it his mission
to target and destroy one very respectable and legit operation on Wood Street.

Kendra’s Red House is a nice, clean house with ample security measures in place.
This provides safety and dignity for its workers, and class and discretion for its many
very normal clients. “Kendra,” as the owner is known, will confirm her clients aren’t
derelict weirdos. They’re normal men and women who are too shy or too busy or
too insecure to find release elsewhere, or they just like the idea of such a service,
done well.  And, newsflash, they don’t do sex or even straight-up “adult massage,”
but something called nuru and body slides.

It’s disheartening that this perspective, to my knowledge, has not been part of the
discussion. The news shouldn’t have just been “This is happening! Jonathan Galgay
Versus Kendra’s Red House!” Rather than saying what is happening , we should
be thinking more critically about why this is happening.

Kendra’s Red House exists because a few sex workers decided to try and add
some class and safety to their industry. And our reaction is what?
Ew, gross, shut it down! Wake up. The sex industry is like that amusement park game
where you whack a groundhog out of one hole, and it pops up in another.
We want the sex trade in a controlled, respectable hole, not out in the streets.

In an ideal world, we would not be shaming and banning
sex trade workers who are trying to make the best of an industry that always
has and always will exist. Because that is, from her own mouth,
exactly what Kendra wanted to do: add some safety and dignity to it all.
If indeed a sex house is disgusting and disruptive, shut it down.
But don’t stereotype and shut them all down, or we’re not fixing a problem,
we’re creating one.

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22 Comments

  • Well besides the obvious message which Iam on board with… why is erotic massage always misinterpreted as prostitution? Your main goal on erotic massage inst having sex. In any respectable parlor (for example https://eroticmassagepraha.cz/en/ ), you wont get that anyway. Your goal is to deeply relax and relieve your stress. Yup, the massage ends with orgasm, but you gonna get there differently and from very relaxed state.

  • Like many contentious issues, it has become an argument of extremes. Either you want to allow parlours anywhere or you want to cast sex workers into the shadows.
    In reality, many people see it differently. I have no problem with what consenting adults do for money. I also strongly believe that the sex trade should be legitimized and that the workers should be protected.
    However, I do not believe this business should have been approved for a residential neighborhood. I have seen many businesses turned down for many reasons. In fact, just a couple weeks ago a yoga studio was denied in a residential area for reasons similar to the issues cited in this case. I also know registered massage therapists who have had 12-18 months of red tape to open their clinics because it was in a home. I think council is doing the right thing. The current zoning rules do not have a proper classification for this type of business. Let’s be proactive and come up with rules around these businesses that allows for clarity for all involved.

  • I would far rather have a rub and tug, brothel, adult massage parlour, whatever you wish to call it, next to my house than the drug houses that operate in plain sight.

  • My 2 cents, as an RMT:
    We struggle against these establishments because of their association with the word “massage”. We, as a group, cannot copyright or trademark the word massage, but have some legal rights to the title “Massage Therapist” and “Registered Massage Therapist”.
    There is no way for us to force these businesses to stop using the word massage – I personally think an “intimate touch parlour” may be a better term for these establishments, but I digress. I also personally believe that the sex trade should be a safe, clean, taxable industry, but i’m not willing to be mistaken for someone who could be convinced to “give a little extra”, even in a clinical setting.
    Massage is a medical service. Sex is sex. Call it what it is.

  • As someone living with a sex worker across the street from me, these types of places do not belong in residential neighbourhoods. I can’t even go out in my own driveway to shovel or clean up without sketchy dudes cruising slowly past or parking in front of the drive, staring at me wondering if my house is “the house”. Vandalisim, police at all hours, I’ve seen it all. When i lived in Ontario, these places were in strip malls. Sort of like the area on topsail road where tims & jungle jims are & second page used to be. Well lit, 24 hour businesses nearby & not out in the boonies or in the getto. I think something like this is the answer.

  • Mike, I have to correct you on a few of your comments, as they are based purely on misinformation.

    Charging for sexual services and/or having a place indoors where you offer these services is NOT illegal, nor has it ever been in Canada. December of 2014, Parliament introduced new legislation (Bill C36 if you wanna actually get your facts straight), which was in response to the Supreme Court “Bedford” Ruling, which struck down several laws related to the sex trade as unconstitutional.

    Kendra’s house doesn’t offer sexual services. It’s an adult massage parlour. (Oh and no where do they state they are an adult therapy massage studio– nor do they profess to be registered massage therapists). It’s relaxation massage.

    The problem isn’t that people don’t want it in their neighbourhood. I don’t want a Walmart in my neighbourhood either, or a Tim hortons drive thru that is side on to my back yard. Does that mean I get to shut it down when one is built? And spare me the “this isn’t the same” arguement…

    Sex is a fact of life. It isn’t something that only happens when humans procreate. It isn’t something shameful. It FEELS good. It is a basic human need no less than water or shelter. Sex happens behind your closed door. And your neighbours. And their neighbours. I guarantee it happens behind the door of almost EVERY house on the street. I guarantee you sometimes it’s with more than one person; perhaps two men or two women; perhaps it’s a group of swingers; perhaps it involves fetishes or role playing. Yes… Your neighbour may dress up as a naughty nurse.

    This does NOT make them bad people who don’t deserve to live in your neighbourhood. This makes them HUMAN, with fantasies and desires and curiosities like everyone else, and a HEALTHY sex life to boot.

    But you know who else is on your street? Sexless marriages; recent divorcees; widows; disabled individuals. And ALL of those people have the same basic human need to be touched and have sex, but lack the conventional ways of meeting people to meet those needs, OR lack the ability.

    Those people have every right to go a few houses down the street to a licensed, legitimate business which offers these pleasurable services to those who wish to avail of it.

    You don’t want to avail? Then don’t go. You don’t want to purchase things at the Hemp Store around the corner? Then don’t shop there. What about Our Pleasure – also around the corner? Should we shut them down so we aren’t encouraging that dirty sex stuff??? Oh no… Cause the idea is that it’s ok so long as it’s happening between a husband and a wife, or a boyfriend and a girlfriend…

    I have news for you. Adults make their own decisions. The sex trade, when regulated, is CONSENSUAL. All those who walk into Kendra’s know that they are going there for an erotic relaxation massage. And there is NOTHING wrong with that.

  • Wood street is a collection of boarding house skeets and rental houses. There may be 3 houses that are owner occupied. Ive lived on york st, and there is some major sketchiness happening . If you choose to live in a small street on the corner of Duckworth you can’t bitch and moan about parking and the odd noise. No one’s mentioning the fact that a strip club that was disruptive and full of criminal activity on the corner for years never gets mentioned. the house in question operated as a busy b&b for years and there were annoying tourists in and out all hours.
    Just some food for thought.

  • I think adult massage parlours, electric power stations, and drug dealer’s houses all have something in common. They all exist in St. John’s but no one wants to live next to one.

    I used to live on Wood Street, and since it’s a small street, I probably know some of the people who complained about Kendra’s. And I can’t blame them. Sure it’s fine and dandy to say we need to keep it above ground, but would you want the next Kendra’s franchise to open next to your home? And we’re not talking about a CBS neighbourhood, we’re talking about Wood Street where things are a little tighter together. It might seem impossible, but it’s like a little quiet neighbourhood there – right off Duckworth Street. You’d be very aware of such a sex trade operation. The same way you’d be very aware of the guy living in your basement apartment was selling weed.

    I do agree that sex trade is going to exist, and I’d support legitimizing it, as I would support legitimizing marijuana and other drugs (à la Amsterdam). Same goes for a bit of weed; it’s going to exist, so you might as well accept it. But right now, both things are illegal.

    But between this article, and all the facebook commnents, I think a lot of people are off track on the issue. Right now, running a brothel is illegal. Yeah, yeah, it was a “adult massage parlour”. Or was it? Because this very article says “sex trade is real, it’s going to happen here, so it’s best we relegate it to legit, in-house businesses”. So for the purpose of this discussion, as per the implication in this article, Kendra’s was a brothel.

    And that’s illegal. You can’t just set up a brothel and complain when someone shuts it down. Sure, it might be playing whack-a-mole, but that doesn’t stop police from making drug busts across Canada for the last 100 years (or whatever).

    What if someone opens up a Weed store on Cochrane street tomorrow? After all, marijuana use is not going away. We might as well get rid of some of the scum that sells it around town. Would we all applaud this? No, we’d say “what an idiot, how did he think he’d get away with that?”.

    Also, just like opening an Amsterdam-style-coffee-house is illegal in St. John’s, so is charging money for sexual services in a premise such as Kendra’s.

    Again, I support legitimizing, decriminalizing or whatever, both drug and sex trades. But lying on your permits to open a sex trade permise in a residential neighbourhood is a scumbag move. And maybe Johnathan Galgary is a dick for lots of reasons, because he has certainly come under personal attack and I assume everyone has good reason for it. But I support his move to shut down Kendra’s

    Sure, open one up somewhere else, but please… not in my neighbourhood. Donovan, Leslie, and all the other pro-residential-neighbourhood-brothel people – you can have next to your house.

    • Operating a brothel is no longer illegal in Canada (purchasing their services is, but that’s not on the brother owner or the girls inside).

  • Can we please take the word massage out of it. This is not massage and should not associated with the word. Otherwise I agree with this article.

  • Unfortunately I think Jonathan Galgay is seeking attention from wherever he can get it. Commenting and making judgements on anything that will get him media attention.

  • This argument doesn’t entirely add up. Yes, a place like this will provide a safe environment for a small group of sex trade workers, but the most vulnerable will still be on the streets – the youth, drug-addicted and those with pimps – because they are not able or ‘good enough’ to work in these places.

    • Lori. This comment doesn’t entirely add up. What does some people being undesirable have to do with the topic at hand here? The topic being why is Galgay closing them all down like a militant profession-shaming freak? He doesn’t approve so we all shouldn’t? Dude needs to loosen up. And, consdier Pelley’s point here.

  • Sorry people but I would just as soon see them either gone or Gov. Regulated. I can tell you that these Massage parlors( perhaps not this one but I question that and who would ever know) do indeed do rub and tugs and much more some of the young girls that go there to work often end up on drugs and controlled. I spent a year trying to get a young woman that I knew out of this lifestyle. She went in there thinking she was only going to be giving massages( I didn’t know she was going there or I would had discouraged it) she left it drug addicted and broken . Nope sorry!!!! gov. Regulated or not at all.

    • What?? By “there” do you mean Kendra’s specifically, or some sketchy place? Mind yourself being libel here. I think the article was clear on that: these places are not all the same, and this piece focusses on KENDRA’S! To quote the author, “If indeed a sex house is disgusting and disruptive, shut it down.”

    • I don’t believe anyone was suggesting that sexual activity does not take place at Kendra’s, but that it is the kind of place where outcomes like the one your friend met are less common. Government regulation would be preferable, but “not at all” is a fairy tale, not an alternative. Live in reality.

    • You’re delusional if you think the government is going to run a place like this or even regulate it, at least under the Harper Cons. What actual difference do you see that making anyway? I don’t see any myself.

  • I agree. With this article. 100%, Cheers. I would stand up and parade for Kendra’s. House and their Right to remain open. Stand up, be proud, you shall overcome.

    “There’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.” Those unforgettable words made famous by Pierre Trudeau in 1967 caused a tidal wave of respect for a very young and charismatic prime minister. This right and all that the Charter of rights and freedoms will protect this business and its employees and customers.

    So “why” is the question.? Why, Does the prolific grandstanding councilor Sir Johnthan Galgay Esquire viii …continue to to speak without hesitation in a derogatory manner about this particular house. Repeatly advertising the address aggressive tones and snide remarks…. I know why,! He’s a politician on a political operative to have everybody here his voice…and stand and be the knight in shiny sin Jawns.
    I think its time he actually did some work.

  • Very well said, whoever wrote this. Consider me enlightened and converted to Pro-Kendra’s status! But … wtf is a “body sldie?” lol.

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