International Women’s Day:  Meet the women championing female pleasure from within ClubX.

International Women’s Day: Meet the women championing female pleasure from within ClubX.

Club X Blog

Interviewee Names + Positions:

Svetlana Glavenko, Finance Manager

Ivana Coleman, HR

Anh Vo, Retail Operations Manager

Penny Peng, Assistant Accountant

Jill Mellon-Robertson, Part Owner

Club X has been empowering female sexual pleasure and exploration for decades, so in celebration of International Women’s Day, we spoke to the women of Club X about their experiences of working in the adult entertainment industry. These ladies are breaking down the societal taboos around sex, promoting sex positivity and championing better sex lives for all women – shame and judgement free.

How long have you worked at Club X?

Jill – I have been a part-owner of Club X stores for over 30 years. Owning and running a print and marketing business, I worked as a consultant for Club X as well. I have worked at HO for 3 years.

Penny – I have been working here since 2020, so more than two years.

Ivana – 8 months

Anh – I have been with the company since August 2021.

Svetlana – I started at CBX in September 2020.

What drew you to work for this business and can you tell us about your journey to the role you hold now?

Jill – Business networking and relationships provided an opportunity for me to be involved in the growing adult Industry. It was exciting and fast-paced, often challenging your nerve to move into unknown territory, and challenging government policy, both State and Federal. Pushing back against outdated community norms was big for me.

Svetlana – As a finance professional it doesn’t matter to me which industry I work in. I also have an interest in retail.

Ivana – I like the idea of working in a more creative place and company that was open to discussing topics such as sex life.

Anh – I love retail and customer service. Club X has a strong customer-focused direction, and we are the market leader in adult retail and entertainment.

Penny – I am doing payroll in Club X. I talk to everyone here. I knew what our business did and what kind of industry it was in before I came to the job interview. I was fine with it as I believed it would be interesting to work here. Still, it has exceeded my expectations––I found people are very friendly and the culture here is very impressive, which makes me want to work here.

What unique challenges have you faced as a woman in a typically male-dominated industry, and how have you overcome them? 

Jill – During my working life, and then owning and running my own business, I have faced many challenges in male-dominated environments, but few of those challenges were in the adult business world. Honesty, confidence and assertiveness are paramount, but most of all a sense of humour and a warm smile works for me. [In the adult industry] I have found a collaborative environment, which I think is due to the many obstacles and stigmas involved. I see people of all different sexual ideologies working as one with dignity and respect. 

Svetlana – I have not encountered any challenges related to gender. Management is very open-minded and inclusive. I have also worked in other “male-dominated” industries (e.g. dealerships) and can tell the difference. The adult industry is open, inclusive, and respectful.

Ivana – I love working with a male-dominated company. I have always felt heard and important. I have a great way of getting my voice out to them. 

Anh – As a woman in this industry or any that I have been given the privilege to have joined, I do not encounter challenges. I see them instead as opportunities to flex and evolve my abilities to meet them head-on. Happy to say that Club X has an inclusive and fair culture.

Penny – Things might be different for me as I am just working with numbers, but from my interaction with all my colleagues, I found that they don’t have this kind of challenge as they can speak out whenever they want.

In what ways (if any) do you feel the adult entertainment industry empowers or oppresses women, and how do you work to address those issues from within Club X? 

Svetlana – Throughout my tenure, I have worked in a number of industries and can tell that the adult industry empowers women as well as any other human being. They value people by their merits, and they are not judgemental.

Ivana – I have been able to talk more openly to everyone on this topic. When I share with anyone where I work and how I see this industry they are very surprised by what I have to say. I feel that I have changed a lot of people’s views on the industry.

Anh – I know that I have always felt valued and empowered in my role at Club X. The adult retail industry, in my opinion, empowers women (as well as our LGBTQ+ community) as we offer a safe and friendly space for our customers to explore what excites them. Our staff also feels empowered as they are passionate about what we offer in both knowledge and products.

Penny – I don’t agree that it is a male-dominated industry, as a lot of our products are for women’s needs. No other industry puts female needs into consideration in such a direct way. The adult entertainment industry empowers women absolutely.

Jill – We provide the opportunity for people to come together in a space that is comfortable and safe for them without judgement. They are free to be their authentic, sexual selves and we have been providing these venues during a time when it was not safe for queer folk to act naturally in community spaces without stigma, criticism, or even arrest. Our venues provide safe comfortable meeting places for adults with adult entertainment.

How do you respond to critics who argue that the adult entertainment industry objectifies and degrades women, and what steps is Club X taking to promote positive representations of women within the company?     

Svetlana – In no way does the adult industry degrade women, at least I haven’t come across any such instances. Women are represented in management positions across the company––the Operations Manager, Finance Manager, most Store Managers, and Magic Touch Brand Manager are all women.

Ivana – We can show them the % of employees that are female. When you enter one of our stores you can definitely see that 80% are women, working in all divisions and areas. And they are all amazing women, mothers, daughters, wives and sisters. As HR I am proud of all of them and I work super closely with them to encourage them to be proud and feel safe at work.

Anh – Our Movie Preview Lounge offers a clean, safe, and private space for our patrons to enjoy what makes them happy without the stigma or judgement. We encourage and nurture a thriving Discord community where like-minded people can connect. All staff, regardless of gender/s or sexual preference/s are given equal opportunities to work and be promoted within Club X.

Jill – Women are very present in our industry in all areas. In government, Fiona Patten, and Rachel Payne, the previous General Manager of our industry organisation, EROS. Working women are strong and we work together to change the outdated opinions about women working in our industry. Fiona and EROS worked together to decriminalise sex work. Through these strategies, we change the public perception of the adult industry. Club X is a member of ERO and was instrumental in the establishment of The Sex Party––A very successful party that lobbied for better, fairer policies for the industry and influenced public opinion. Women are doing it for themselves––think female erotic production companies, female board members and female store owners. Club X stores have a female-dominated workforce.

In what ways do you believe the adult retail/sexual wellness industry can empower women, and what is Club X doing to achieve this?

Svetlana – Sexual health is fundamental to the overall health and well-being of individuals, couples, and families, and to the social and economic development of communities and countries. Club X can promote sexual happiness and empowerment through design innovation, research & development, and great customer service, by being open about the topic of sex and creating products and content that anyone can use.

Ivana – I’d love to see sex psychologists out there talking to women, showing them that we can all expect a great sex life.

Anh – In the recent changing climate of the adult retail industry, we can see that platforms such as OnlyFans can offer women an avenue where they can take full control over what they offer, their customer base and most importantly, income. As this can be done remotely and at the content creator’s time preference/s, this has enabled a better work-life balance, especially for women who are juggling family or educational commitments. Club X supports this community as we offer a 10% discount for staff in this industry.

Penny – [The industry] can educate women to pay more/only attention to their own bodies, not to meet someone else’s expectations and interests. To achieve this, Club X is working with Kennedy Marketing Studio to improve our branding on all social media platforms.

Jill – Club X has promoted sexual equality and sexual wellness for over 30 years. Our mantra is, Health, Sexuality and Lifestyle. Club X establish Sexpo to promote sexual equality, healthy sex and lifestyle choices through entertainment and social interaction. Our philosophy was to normalise sex and pleasure, which is healthy for the mind and soul. Our public awareness campaigns through EROS and political parties have helped change the public image of the adult industry. Pride has contributed enormously to ensuring sexual wellness and mental health are linked holistically to general health and well-being. 

How do you see the adult entertainment industry evolving in the coming years, and what role do you see women playing in shaping that vision?

Svetlana – The business landscape is changing. COVID-19 pandemic aside, attitudes towards ‘traditional’ ways of doing business are changing. What’s more, there’s evidence to suggest that women are playing a large role in shaping the future of this business. According to a study in 2019, women accounted for 32% of worldwide visitors on Pornhub, up 3% from the year before. Combined with the buzz around feminist porn and the rise of Femtech, the time is ripe for brands to embrace the self-love movement.

Ivana – It will be the norm; women will be more open to saying what they want and how they want it. I can see how much I have changed from working at Club X.

Anh – I am hoping the adult retail industry will continue to thrive as it has been in the last few years due to more discussion, education, and awareness. As we progress with more female leaders at the forefront, I can see a colourful future where we can continue to discover what excites and empowers us.

Penny – It will consider sexual wellness from the perspective of mental health, not only physical health. 

Jill – Over the past 10 years or so, women have established very successful adult porn and erotica production companies that have changed female representation in the films. Content made by women for women is empowering for those in the films and those who watch them.

What advice would you give to other women looking to pursue leadership roles within the adult entertainment industry or other traditionally male-dominated fields?

Svetlana – Be assertive. Own your career choice. Trust your skills. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Cultivate friendships. Avoid getting easily offended. Never stop learning.

Ivana – Always take the opportunity to do something new, it does not matter what it is and where it is, you learn so much from a new place like Club X. A year ago, I could never see myself working for a company that sells sex toys. I was one of these women who does not talk about their sex life. thinking, this is only for the bedroom. Now I am open to every conversation. I am so proud of myself.

Anh – Go for what challenges you. Reach out to your supporters and most of all, NETWORK.

Penny – Be more confident.

Jill – Club X operates within a professional framework like any business. It offers a strong career path for women as an equal-opportunity employer.

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