Out at many Australian mining sites, the men are hundreds and often thousands of kilometers away from friends and family for weeks at a time, and they get very lonely.
As a result, things often become extremely freaky, and during my time as a FIFO (fly in fly out) worker on a coal mine, I witnessed plenty of sexual depravity.
To give you an idea of how deranged things can become, take this recent headline, ‘Brisbane mother admits to engaging in sex acts with dogs to please FIFO worker she met online’.
The man in question asked the woman to have sex with a dog, she did, and he recorded it.
The pair were then only found out after he shared the video among his FIFO workmates, and one of them finally reported him.
While I was working as a FIFO, I received a few offers to hang out with the guys and watch, ‘Some seriously messy and messed up porn’.
I knocked them all back, as the idea of sitting in close proximity to a whole bunch of men with erections has never appealed to me.
Considering this recent story of a beastiality video that has done the rounds, I’m now more glad than ever that I always refused.
Plenty of personal porn watching also undoubtedly happens out at mining sites, and one evening I was chatting to one of the cleaners, an older lady who told me, ‘These poor men. So many of them constantly seem to have a cold, as nearly ever room I clean, the rubbish bin is always overflowing with tissues.’
Another cleaner, younger and less clueless, reported that she’d come across, ‘Plenty of rubber vaginas and fleshlights, dildos in both the guys’ and girls’ rooms, porn aplenty, and even a couple of collections of rubber nipples.’
Over the years I’ve also heard multiple stories about those who had a girlfriend onsite and a wife back home.
One guy I worked with had all the dating apps on his phone, and regularly scoured the local area, ‘You know, just to keep up with what’s available’. At the same time as receiving photos of his newborn daughter from his wife.
In terms of sex for cash, every two weeks onsite we got one day off, and there was always a procession of cars and mini-buses that headed to the nearest city over two hours away, for its smorgasbord of strippers, massages with happy endings and brothels.
Frequent justifications for this sort of thing included:
‘There’s nothing wrong with reading the menu as long as you eat at home’,
‘It’s not cheating unless you stick it in’,
‘It’s not cheating if you pay for it’,
And the classic, ‘It’s not cheating if she never finds out’.
There were even men out there who told their partners that they needed to work through their week off.
Then instead of going home, they took off to Thailand or Indonesia for a week packed with drink, drugs and sex.
It was always a minority of men who indulged in this sort of behaviour, however, and the vast majority of guys didn’t seem to get up to anything untoward, or were smart enough to keep quiet about it.
Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian.
His second comedy memoir ‘Going Out of My Mined’ features true stories from his time as a FIFO worker and is available now.