A Legal Sex Worker on What It's Really Like to Work in a Brothel
Imagine you’re standing in line, shoulder to shoulder, alongside 20 or more incredibly beautiful women, all vying to be “chosen” by the same man. Stressful, right?
Now, picture doing that 12 to 14 hours a day, five days a week. In a nutshell, that’s my job. I’m the highest-earning legal sex worker, not only at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch, but also in the United States. Over the past two years, my chosen career has taught me invaluable lessons about myself, about men and about how we view sex work as a society.
So, what is it like to be a legal sex worker? It’s countless hours of my life I’ll never get back sitting at the nail salon. It’s spending more than $2,500 per year on condoms and lube. It’s stigmatizing, degrading, difficult and the best thing I’ve ever done with my life.
My job is that of a psychologist, relationship coach and sexpert all rolled into one. During downtime, I continue to educate myself on matters of human sexuality, psychology and sociology — books, lectures, online videos — anything I can get my hands on. This knowledge bank has become my lifeline when figuring out how to navigate the masses.
I spend intimate time with men, couples, single women, divorcées, virgins, kinksters and widows: There isn’t just one type of person that sees sex workers. In that same vein, there isn’t one type of person that becomes a sex worker. My colleagues are retired servicewomen, grad students, mothers, doctoral candidates and more. We are an incredibly diverse group of ladies with one commonality — a genuine passion for intimacy.
The technicalities of my job are fascinating: Sex work is only legal in Nevada and only in specifically licensed brothels. We are hired as independent contractors, which means we set our own rates. We can say no to anyone or any activity we don’t consent to.
Safety and consent both factor heavily into Nevada’s system. For example, when you visit our location, you’ll notice an electronic entry gate. This lets us track who is coming and going and prevents minors from entering the facility. In our rooms, we have two-way speakers that allow us to communicate an emergency to the cashier instantly with the push of a panic button. They are seldom used. Each week, ladies must visit with the in-house doctor for STI testing. We must be free of disease in order to work the floor. In addition to this, once a year, we must update our license with the local sheriff’s office.
My day begins at 7 a.m., with an hour-long workout. Fitness and health are incredibly important to me, personally as well as professionally. Then I shower and begin the daily ritual of putting on my war paint.
While I’m perfecting my mascara, I’ll visualize the day ahead. Do I have any appointments? Am I working floor traffic today? What are my goals? This internal dialogue continues through my 10-minute drive to work.
Each lady has their own suite, decorated to their tastes. For me, this means a Keurig and coffee station.
When the bell rings, it means we have guests wanting a “lineup.” Remember that shoulder-to-shoulder image from earlier? We smile, say our names and try not to wiggle (it’s considered disrespectful to the other ladies and is a form of what we call “dirty hustling”).
The guest then walks up to the lady of his choosing and she takes him on a tour of the property. They finish the tour back in the lady’s suite, where they negotiate. Personally, I hate that word: I always consider it to be more of a conversation.
At this time we review what activities they’d like to try, experiences they’re interested in, and discuss any fantasies or bucket list items. We then settle on a price and proceed to the office to book the party.
The cashier is an invaluable part of the team. She handles the money, keeps track of our time and notifies us when our time has come to an end. I am a member of a team. The brothel machine extends far beyond myself as the sex worker. The cashiers, bartenders and door attendants all work together to create the legal Nevada brothel system we know today.
You may assume my job is primarily about sex, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Sex is assumed — it’s already on the table. What I’m really selling is intimacy.
Intimacy is a crucial element of health and wellness. It affects our physical, mental and emotional health in tangible ways. Much like petting a cat can lower your blood pressure, so too can a quality hug. With this concept in mind, it’s no wonder there are a vast number of reasons people patronize sex workers. Their spouses may have died, or they’ve yet to have a sexual encounter with a woman. Sometimes it’s a couple seeking their first threesome or a gentleman with autism wanting to have a “practice date” so they feel more confident in their skills.
Sex work is a public service, and not one that everyone in society is comfortable with. As we move into yet another renaissance of sexuality and identity in the new millennium, attitudes may continue to shift and change.
Is sex work right for you? No one can make that decision for you, but understanding there is more to the industry than most people see at first glance is the first step to thinking differently about the topic in general and how it affects society as a whole.
A version of this story was published January 2018.
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