Not because you’ve ever wanted to visit a brothel. You’re just curious, in the same way you might be curious about what it’s really like for a Navy SEAL who has to survive in a swamp with just a straw. It’s exotic and something the majority of us will never experience.
Maybe you’ve seen reality shows like HBO’s Cathouse, or heard prostitutes talk about their lives on Howard Stern. But those are usually exaggerated performances, and have about as much to do with reality asSurvivor does with what it’s actually like to live on a desert island.
Meet “Lydia” (not her real name), a legal prostitute who’s lived and worked in Nevada for 5 years.
Selling sex for a living wasn’t her first aspiration. She originally considered a career in sports medicine, and then majored in art therapy in college. She settled on what she calls “a very, very good job with a huge, international financial company.”
Corporate downsizing led to her taking on “a string of jobs for several years, including being director of a grant-funded, indigent health care clinic and pharmacy.” She eventually moved to Nevada, deciding to give legal prostitution a try.
“It looked like a no-brainer,” she says. “Earn money doing something that, for me, is as easy as falling off that proverbial log. Or is jumping on the proverbial log?”
She’s worked at several brothels across the state—she’s avoided the streets, she says. “I chose legal for the safety.” She’s currently employed at a small brothel (which she prefers not to name) in a northern Nevada mining town, several hundred miles away from the bright lights (and big money) of Las Vegas.
We asked her to keep a diary of her experiences during a typical week, and she was happy to oblige, warning us that it probably wouldn’t be what we expected.
“It’s definitely not the misery anti-traffickers would have you believe,” Lydia says. “But it’s also not all glitz.”
This is not a user’s manual for soliciting prostitutes. Nor is it a salacious exposé, or an excuse for moral grandstanding.
It’s simply an honest, unadorned, unromanticised account of an industry that reflects, for better or worse, a segment of human sexuality.
If you want an insider’s look at what actually happens behind closed doors at a brothel—the good, the bad, and yes, sometimes the gross—keep reading.
Weekly doctor visit. Can’t miss or work permit’s pulled. At least I get to wear real clothes and a comfortable bra, not the boned thing that shoves boobs up to my chin.
Last night was long and tedious; full hooker gear until four a.m. Shiny pink stilettos are calf-killers.
Coffee at bar with girls. Window shoppers will start around noon. Glad I don’t have the early shift.
Lily talking about customer who couldn’t get off last night. Had him jerk himself to finish in time. She was pissed he got cum in her hair and she missed next line-up.
We get both ends of the spectrum—customers like Lily’s, or like my first who exploded the minute I touched him. Shortest booking in history. I caught another newbie last night whose wife won’t give him a blow job.
Got doctor money and a bit extra from bartender. Not being allowed to have cash in-house just sucks. Madam’s always late getting our pay ready.
Now I know why Cinda used to roll money in a condom and carry it inside her—the only place they won’t check in a room search.
Back at House. Cops are checking doctor slips. Time to get ready for work.
Phone call from regular who will stop in over weekend. He drives from Oregon every few months, for the same thing: Strips me down, puts me hands-and-knees on the bed, checks out my ass like he’s a doctor, starts talking about Canadian politics while he reams me. (Reminds me, need more lube.)
Every visit same thing, same talk, always 90-minute booking. Good money. We’ve nicknamed him Doc Banal.
Show Time! Two line-ups already. Doorbell just rang again so about three minutes before the Avon Calling line-up bell.
Bunch of jerks just came and went. Once, just once, I wish we could make them line up so we could point and giggle like they do. But most are nice, just want someone who’ll listen to them, make them feel like most important thing in the world for a few minutes.
Feet hurt. I’ve switched shoes again. Booked three, changed clothes twice, brushed teeth four times. Noshed on London Broil sandwich.
Glad we have a swing-shift bartender who can actually cook. Sex makes you hungry.
Shit. Doorbell, again. Shoes back on, will try not to hobble to line-up. Ouch.
Caught one more for the night. Repeat customer who likes to hog-tie me. First two visits, I charged him a double-rate so that another girl, Bella, could be in the room with us for safety. Turned out to be okay guy, so now it’s just me.
Strips me down with fake roughness, puts me face-down on bed. Restrains and gags me, not too tightly, with torn strips of sheets, ankles fastened to wrists. Early adolescent training as a gymnast means I’m flexible. It comes in handy.
He sits in a chair across the room, naked, jerking off, while I struggle and moan. Finis. Thirty minutes all-in, if that. A towel he puts on floor in front of him ensures no sticky clean up.
Washes himself, unties me, asks if he tied too tightly. He never does. Fifteen minutes at bar, quick drink and small talk, he’s gone. Four or five months he needs another fix.
Nearly bedtime. I’m toast. Clothes can stay on the floor tonight. Love my down comforter.
Giggling in the hallway woke me up. Almost asleep again, then a crash and non-stop, really ugly cursing. Peaches returning from two weeks off.
Darius was dragging her suitcases into her room and knocked over lamp. Peaches is tiny with amazing gold-blonde hair. Darius is six-five, black as black, a schlong almost the length of my forearm.
Peaches won’t line-up for black customers “out of respect for Darius.” She calls him her boyfriend but we know better. He’s her pimp.
I know better because he tried to recruit me—smooth talker—after he booked and fucked me, once. Can’t believe I looked that easy or desperate.
Time to get ready. Half of a major New England fire department is spending a week at the Fire Science Academy, next town over. One of them called, asking about rates. Bartender quoted the minimums and assured them there’s no obligation.
All Houses used to accept Fire Bucks—“currency” doled to the trainees to be spent in any business in the two towns—until some prude with power in the Academy squashed that. Brothels would not be reimbursed for Fire Bucks. So it’s cash on the barrelhead for these guys.
Whoever killed our Fire Bucks is probably another orally deprived dude in desperate need of a blow job.
Peaches is on the House computer, logged in on the brothel boards. Seven or eight line-ups, half-dozen parties booked.
Barely legal guys show up earlier in the evening before heading for a local bar to drink the night away. They’re usually with older buddies who brag they “don’t have to pay for sex.”
We remind them they’ve always paid for it, one way or another.
Firefighters are here!
Twenty-seven of them. They were friendly and polite and fun. Which seems to be true of all the firefighters we’ve had visit.
Most of them look, not book, but they’re generous with drinks and tips, right there at the bar. They’re also smart. A breath of fresh air.
Last summer I sat at the bar next to a pair of suits who couldn’t stop with the shop-talk even in a brothel. Sporadically, they’d try including me. Finally one said to the other “well, that would be an equine of a different hue,” and he turned to face me. “Sorry, you probably have no idea what that means, do you?”
“Related to a bovine of dissimilar tint,” I shot back, and left them there.
The firefighters are gone, along with a good part of our inventory of Scotch and beer. Two of the single guys booked girls. A few whispered that they’ll be back in a few days, alone.
Sunday. Slowest day of the week—local fellas are nursing hangovers. Lily and I outlined holiday plans for the House. Single guys always get invited for Thanksgiving and Christmas, everyone cooks, gifts all around.
Exhausted from two nights of party and noise. With Peaches back in-house, I’ll be able to beg off early at least one night this week.
Shot an email off to my “guy”. We’re pushing a decade, probably because we recognise that each of us are individuals; neither of us fit a traditional mould.
I recapped the most insane moments of past week, for him to read. He’s sending me a new Bullet pen, industrial strength. He kids that I need one that’ll plug directly to a generator.
He’s checking fares to Italy for me, again. And maybe one day . . . a flat in an ancient building off Florence’s Piazza del Duomo, Brunelleschi’s masterpiece from my window each morning. If you ain’t got a dream . . .
Eight doorbells, three line-ups since 5. I’m catching up on brothel boards. Message popped up from a guy I’ve talked to past six months.
He lusts after bald women. My hair’s pretty short. He wants to make it shorter. Keeps asking if I’ll let him shave everything off my body before he fucks me.
Answer’s always been no. Don’t want unfamiliar people having razors near me. Plus the offered price has been too low.
Tonight he says he just sold a business in Vegas, might I reconsider his request? I prevaricated. He pressed. It remains unresolved.
Van of barely legal Mormon boys arrived from Salt Lake. Younger girls got a few, the rest are drinking.
Another line-up. Boys still drinking hard.
Religion. Holy fuck. I know an older man who drives from Salt Lake to the nearest Nevada brothel. Always arrives after the girls are asleep, hits the men’s room right off, spends ages in there. Makes the bartenders nervous until they get used to him.
He comes out as a woman. Dress, stockings, heels, wig, make-up, handbag. Says he “can’t do this in Salt Lake.” He’s a Mormon Church Elder. Hidden his cross-dressing most of his life. Nevada’s the only place he feels safe.
Last year a young guy visited us to do his hair and make-up. Made a fantastic girl! With stunning wardrobe. A year of pep talks and we set him up online with gay groups, the support he needed.
He moved to Reno where being different doesn’t risk his life. Never came out to his religious family but keeps in touch with us.
Jeez. Effin doorbell again.
Dozed off for a while. No traffic and the Mormon boys are gone.
Bella just woke me, she got a call from Double Dan, a regular we trade off on. He’s wanted Double the Pleasure, both of us together, for ages. Has never liked the cost.
Just sold a restored vintage vehicle and ready to party. Wants 12 hours in the VIP suite. I’m good with price she suggested so she’s calling him back. He’ll be here Thursday.
Great to sleep most of the night. Lily’s ‘friendly’ doctor, two hours away, has scheduled her for late afternoon. He’s bringing syringes of vitamin B. Thank God. We pay him, he uses that toward paying her.
One line-up so far. Other doorbells are regular clientele who’d rather sit here and drink than endure the mayhem of a downtown bar. Mandi’s got them feeding the jukebox, she’s pole dancing.
I made lemon bars for everyone. Might try to finish Madeleine Albright’s bio.
Tom, a Haulpak driver, just left. Didn’t book tonight, bought me wine and visited at the bar. Has some real health issues starting. Just diagnosed with gout and he’s using a cane. He liked the lemon bars. Maybe he shouldn’t be eating them?
Booked quick blow job around 11. Covers R&B for today.
Email from a trucker who fancies himself a Dom. He’s so un-Dom, I have to fight to not giggle at him during a party. He puffs and postures, I “yes Master” and “no Master” him for 30 minutes (20, after wipe-down and Dick Check).
He’s on a budget, cheapest Dom on the planet.
Ed, a 78-year-old retired rancher from Idaho drives three hours, every month, to sit and visit with me. Too old to do anything in bed but loves my company. Eyesight’s failing, we worry about him driving back so late at night.
He gets sandwiches packed for a promise to call when he makes it home. Don’t think it’ll be much longer we won’t hear from him again.
Bella just woke me. Double Dan’s hit town. Checking into his hotel now, he’ll be here in 20. Which means he’ll be his usual stinky self after the long drive from Tacoma. Have to check temp in VIP hot tub.
Double Dan wore out after 7 1/2 hours. So did Bella and I.
First thing when he arrived this morning, we put him in a bubble bath. Which he fought. Didn’t want to lose any precious sucking and fucking time. But he is oh so gross.
Tag-teamed him in tub, trying to clean turd berries from his ass hair without being obvious. He always smells. Getting my face close to his groin—or trying to find his tiny dick among the fat rolls—make me nauseous.
He’s an awful lot of work. We traded off quick breaks under variety of pretences, he complained every time one of us left. Thank God we exhausted him before 12 hours were up. Neither of us thought he’d want a girl on his dick the entire flippin’ time.
He’s back at the hotel now. Bella’s asleep in the recliner in the parlour. I’m collapsed in bed.
Mr. Bic just called. He’s offering six grand, plus a thousand-dollar tip in total secrecy from the House. Wow. And I wouldn’t have to talk Canadian politics or clean up his ass.
I need a vacation.
My hair grows fast.
I can tell people I lost a Super Bowl bet.
This article originally appeared on Men's Health.