Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Few Good Men

Nevada has had legalized prostitution for some time. I never realized that this didn't apply to male sex workers:

Brothel owner Bobbi Davis got the go-ahead Tuesday to hire what her website cheekily calls "a few good men."

Her Shady Lady Ranch is searching for "service-oriented" guys willing to become Nevada's first legal male sex workers.

"I personally feel, as do the many other women who have made contact with me since I started this, that this is a service whose time has come," Davis said in a letter to Nye County officials.

A county board's vote Tuesday affirming that Davis could offer "shady men" to her clientele followed months of rancorous debate among the state's legal brothel community. The industry, in its own peculiar way, is somewhat conservative: Considered an anachronism of bawdy mining camps by some Nevada newcomers, it often balks at change.


George Flint, longtime lobbyist for the Nevada Brothel Assn., has said that allowing male prostitutes could be the industry's Pearl Harbor. He has hinted that brothels possibly offering gay sex -- a choice each prostitute, as an independent contractor, would be free to make -- might sour some legislators on the entire brothel system.


"This is the first time in the history of the world . . . that men have been licensed to sell sex," Flint said Tuesday, his voice rising. "It's never been done!"


Davis figures that, even if it's a flop, adding men to her roster is worth trying. She has been inundated with more than 100 applications, she said, though she held off on hiring until she'd cleared all bureaucratic hurdles.

This is a topic I should handle only with a hazmat suit and a very long stick, because to give it proper attention requires a book.

That book would discuss the question whether ownership of women's bodies is public or private, and if the latter, whether it ever belongs to women themselves. It would discuss sexual violence, the question who has "the right" to have sex and the question whether bodies-as-property really lies behind the trade and kidnapping of women for sex work.

It would then study prostitution layer by layer, in the context of cultures and religions and time moving on. It would discuss the dangers of sex work and the stigmatization of sex workers and the question why the customers in these markets are so overwhelmingly male. Only then would the book ask under which conditions and in what type of a society would feminists think that having male sex workers as well as female ones would be egalitarian.