Hookers and Me on Spike TV
The other day, a crew from Spike TV came over to interview me about a variety of subjects for different episodes of their new show with the rather awkward name of “Manswers” (sounds like a pair of plaid flannel hunting briefs). “Manswers” is, so the promotional literature informs, a “fast, funny, sexy and smart show that’s all about the stuff that Spike’s young male viewers are most obsessed about: sports, cars, girls, parties, money, the military, and did we mention girls? It’s a show packed with beautiful women because it’s made for the young guys who’d love to be with them!” Needless to say, this was not an interview about ethical hedonism or world peace.
So, politics aside, let’s talk about something we can agree on: hookers! We love â€˜em. We all know prostitution is the “oldest profession,” probably one of history’s earliest forms of human commerce. I’d say that it’s older than humanity, since plenty of other animals practice their own versions of prostitution. When a male chimp goes up to a female chimp with a banana and an erection, and she takes both, but insists on getting the banana up front, what is that? Okay, so I’m anthropomorphizing a bit, but not much.
Back to human history. Though some say prostitution is the epitome of sacrilege, it wasn’t always so. There was a time when prostitution was a vital aspect of religion. The ancient Hebrew word for “prostitute” is k’deshah, which means “sacred” or “holy.” Organized prostitution was first practiced by temple priestesses in Mesopotamia, ancient Greece, Crete and Canaan, and the money they made was used to support the temple. To be a sacred temple prostitute was to be a powerful, respected woman. To have sex with the temple prostitute was to commune with the Goddess, to have a religious experience. Some were career prostitutes, others were placed into the “service” for a few months or years by their families, rather like a family might send a son into the military.
Temple prostitution, along with the general sexual freedom of women, was crushed with the rise of various patriarchal tribes, such as the Hebrews who called it an “abomination,” and was virtually wiped out with the spread of Christianity. Over time, all prostitution became synonymous with illegal, immoral, sacrilegious sexuality, but it never disappeared. And it never will. Why? Because good sex is very valuable. Hey, even bad sex has value to some people. And some people will always be willing to pay for it.
But Spike TV viewers aren’t interested in history, at least not according to the description of “Manswers.” They’re interested in “sports, cars, girls, parties, money, the military, and did we mention girls?” So, what about girls who happen to be hookers (adult girls, of course)? Where can you find a lot of them? A brothel! And what’s the best known brothel in the USA? Why, the Moonlight Bunny Ranch Bordello in Carson City, Nevada, owned by our old friend Dennis Hof.
Yes, there’s Hef, and then there’s Hoff. The difference is that at Hoff’s place, the Bunnies actually have sex. Hef’s Bunnies don’t have sex. They just model lingerie, ride horses, make gourmet spaghetti and writhe around in waterfalls. Hoff’s bunnies have sex. They’ll even have sex with you! All you have to do is pay for it.
I’ve known Dennis Hof for about 10 years. Screw Magazine publisher Al Goldstein brought him to my show. Al told me Dennis was a pimp. I looked at him and said, nah, this guy couldn’t be a pimp. He looks like an Orange County real estate agent. Turns out he was an Orange County real estate agent. But he had just traded in his life as an Orange County real estate agent for the life of Carson City Pimp. Then he became Super Pimp USA. But it basically started with real estate. Through some real estate transactions, he wound up with the land and buildings that the brothels inhabited. He didn’t have to keep the brothels going. He could have used the land and buildings for something else. But he had a life-changing moment, an epiphany. He realized that this was a chance to live his dream, and he decided to do it. He decided to keep the brothels brothels. Moreover, he decided to improve them in terms of the facilities, the girls, the philosophy and, most significantly in terms of why we are here talking about it on Spike TV, the promotion. Now he’s selling human real estate; well renting it…
I’ve been to the Bunny Ranch two or three times, always for Dennis’ birthday bash. I did my show there a couple of times (and one of these days, we’ll post those shows in the Erotic Theater). I interviewed Dennis, several of his working girls, Ron Jeremy and the Hughes Brothers, the “urban auteur” filmmakers who were making their “American Pimp” documentary at the time.
The Spike TV folks asked me for my most intense memory of the Bunny Ranch. That would have to have been my very first experience with female ejaculation happening right in front of me. This was about nine years ago, and I’ve since learned a lot about female ejaculation. I can even do it myself now! But this was the first time I saw it — and got soaked by it – in person.
It was the Thursday night before Dennis’ big b-day bash. I went into the Bunny Ranch bar with my cameraman and microphone, looking for girls to interview. Since it was a Thursday night, there was hardly anyone there, very few johns. Suddenly, a young blonde girl in tomboy shorts, a sweat shirt and no makeup, came running up to me and my camera, acting frustrated and eager for action. She was different from the other girls who were all very nice and sexy, but matter of fact and businesslike. This girl was super horny, a classic nymphomaniac, very eager to play, to have sex or show off. She was only about 21 or so, from Texas with a hard luck story of being abused by her father and brothers, pretty but not super-pretty, and she was there at the Bunny Ranch to have fun and find herself as much as she was there to make money.
She wasn’t about selling herself like most of the other girls. Nothing against selling yourself (it’s done all the time in business and romance, not just in prostitution). But this girl wasn’t doing business. She was genuinely excited. She wanted to show me and the camera how sexy she was. She was very hot, and very wet. She closed her eyes and leaned back in her chair, kicking off her sneakers and putting her bare feet up on the round black table we were sitting around. She asked if we minded if she masturbated, and we said no, go right ahead. She looked around, as if to make sure no one was looking, then pulled up her skirt (she was wearing no panties) and started fingering herself. Then suddenly she was squirting all over the seat, all over the table, all over me, all over my camera man, sprinkling her Holy Water into all of our drinks. Since I’d never seen this before, except in Deborah’s Sundahl‘s first movie, it was a big surprise, kind of freaky, but very nice. Nothing like urine, very fresh and light. Anyway, the girl was in ecstasy and squirted several times. Then suddenly, she panicked that someone in the Bunny Ranch administration might see her, and we all rushed to clean up her mess, as she made us promise not to tell anyone, especially Dennis, because otherwise she’d “get into trouble,” there being some kind of rule about “No Squirting On the Tables in the Public Spaces at the Bunny Ranch.” So that’s why I won’t tell you her name. Also, I can’t remember her name.
I also can’t remember the names of the Spike TV crew, who were actually from a production company named “Super Delicious,” which is producing “Manswers” for Spike, though they were not at all delicious, and really should have called themselves “Barely Palatable.” Two out of three were sullen as pallbearers. The cameraman went into a blue funk when he saw Canaan filming for his Speakeasy documentary. “He better not film me!!” he shrieked, like he was Pastor Ted Haggard caught on tape getting a 12-inch methamphetamine-laced dildo inserted into his rectum. After we reassured him that Canaan would not film him, he just stood by his camera looking angry and sad. The producer was a little more sane, a sweet but weary-looking young lady in a woolen beanie with a name like Patti. Patti looked like she’d probably be happier working at the Bunny Ranch than she was working for Super Delicious. But that was as likely to happen as me becoming a nun at the Vatican.
Back to our questions. Patti asked me what types of men go to brothels. Being a sex therapist, I usually don’t like to put human beings into categories. We’re all complex individuals, especially when it comes to sex. But the media thrives on categorizing everything and everyone, and Spike TV wanted to know “What types of men go to brothels?” So here they are:
Six Types of Men Who Go To Brothels
1) Married Men – They want variety. They usually love their wives and want to stay married; otherwise, they’d have affairs. They don’t want to become emotionally entangled with other women; they just crave extracurricular sex. Why don’t they become swingers, thus including their wives in their outside fun? They’d be shocked or laugh at the idea, insisting their wives are too prudish for anything like that, though usually they’re the ones that don’t want to involve their wives. Many have what Freud called the “Madonna-Whore” complex which is based on the belief that a Good Woman can’t be enjoyed sexually. A Good Woman is a Madonna, a Virgin, or at least the Mother of Your Children. You can’t do kinky things with her. You have to do kinky things with a Bad Woman, a Whore. These guys are often quite religious Family Men, and then they have their hookers (male and/or female) on the side. Pastor Ted is an example of the quintessential Family Man who keeps his married public life completely separate from his life as a john, until both explode in his face.
Of course, no matter how much you pay, no matter how much you plan…The best laid plans may not get you laid the way you planned.
Patti’s eyes lit up when I talked about married men, but she stopped me when I used the term “Madonna-Whore,” lest the ‘Ho word do irrevocable damage to the delicate sensibilities of those tough-guy Spike TV viewers. I had to say “Madonna-Prostitute.” The cameraman continued to scowl at me.
2) Fetishists — These men have very specific fetishes or fantasies that they are reluctant to bring up with women they’re not paying. They might want anything from a simple blowjob to a complicated roleplay. Whatever they want, they can’t get it from the woman or women in their life. They need a professional. Some of these men might be married or date nonprofessional women. Some are diehard bachelors. All feel that only a professional can handle their fetish. And sometimes they’re right.
3) Horny Dudes — These tend to be young men who just want to try the experience once or twice, or because they’re in Amsterdam or Carson City — sort of like going to Disneyland, except with sex.
4) Wealthy Men — Rich guys want to “have it their way.” They want their sex the way they want it, when and where they want it, with exactly the physical type of woman they want, and they don’t want to work too hard for it. It’s actually cheaper for them to rent a hooker than to take a regular woman on a date worthy of their status. Wealthy men love working girls, but they tend to go for “escorts” and high-priced call girls. They don’t usually patronize brothels, except for a lark. Usually, they have the lady, or ladies (or gentleman or gentlemen) come to their place, or a five-star hotel room.
5) Truckers — A rather high percentage of truckdrivers patronize the Bunny Ranch, because who else is passing through Carson City, Nevada? Though brothels can be pricey, mainly because they’re scarce here in the U.S., brothels cater to the working man on a bachelor’s holiday, i.e., the Spike TV viewer. There aren’t a lot of super high rollers at the Bunny Ranch. The super high rollers get their own super model hookers in 5 star hotel rooms. They don’t go to brothels like the Bunny Ranch, as a rule
6) Losers — Ah, the losers. These guys have a special place in my heart, maybe because they’re so sincerely pathetic. These are the men who can’t get laid without paying. They can’t approach women at work, or at bars, or even at the church social. These are your lonely guys, your shy guys, your stuttering guys, your scared guys, your loser guys. If it weren’t for hookers, these guys would be lifelong celibates. I’ve sent many of these guys to the Bunny Ranch, so they wouldn’t die without having had at least one night of hot sex.
Patti chuckled indulgently over the Losers and Truckers. But she was most intrigued by those married dudes. I wondered if this was a personal interest of hers or had something to do with Spike TV demographics.
Next question: Should prostitution be legalized? I said it should be decriminalized, as lawmakers shouldn’t be able to take the right to have any kind of consensual sex away from us. Why is prostitution still illegal in most of this country anyway? How can a republic that supposedly separates Church and State continue to indulge in something as religiously inspired, paternalistic, innately corrupt and ultimately futile as the arrest and imprisonment of hookers? Sex crime goes down in any city where they decriminalize prostitution. The whole transaction becomes cleaner and healthier for all concerned when you take it out of the realm of the black market and put it where it belongs, in the realm of commerce, or perhaps, the temple.
Social researcher Priscilla Alexander found that “countries with the most restrictive legal systems, including the United States and Southeast Asia, have the most problems with violence against prostitutes – as well as women in general who are perceived to be â€˜like prostitutes,’ thefts…brutal pimping…and involvement of juveniles. Conversely, the countries with the least restrictive measures…Holland, West Germany, Sweden and Denmark, have the least problems.” I imagine there are also fewer cases of criminal activity against customers too. After all, when prostitution is legal, a john is more willing to go to the police if a hooker steals his wallet.
Also, where it’s less restrictive, there are far fewer problems with disease. Many people associate prostitution with the dirt and danger of the street. And yes, “the street” tends not to be the best place for sex, or for finding a sex partner. But really, the simplest, most effective way to get the streetwalkers off the street is to decriminalize prostitution, make them set up their shops in buildings, like tattoo artists and chiropractors, and get monthly or weekly check-ups and health certificates. Then if we tax their practice and let the government make some money off the deal, it’s a win-win situation.
Perhaps it’s the sheer entrepreneurial nature of this venture that disturbs you. Maybe you believe prostitution is evil because it reduces sex to a business transaction. Well, I hate to wake you, Virginia, but many perfectly legal sex acts are business transactions, from employees who sleep with bosses to get promotions, to girls who go out with guys to get dinner, to guys who sleep with women to stay rent-free in their apartments, to women and men who simply marry for money. Now, I ask you, are these approaches to sex morally superior to the regular â€˜ho who asks for her cash up front?
Lots of people already sell sex legally in our society: movie producers, perfume manufacturers, car dealers, plastic surgeons, the Internet. Why shouldn’t prostitutes? Many people are hookers, ready to sell their bodies, souls and principles for whatever price they can command. Women and men use sex to get ahead in life. And then there are the pimps, the agents, the campaign managers, the middlemen. Why should the pimps and ho’s that ask for their cash up front be penalized? Whom is our vice-obsessed government trying to protect against what? Why are our police spending their precious time chasing down panderers, instead of murderers, rapists and thieves?
Just in case you don’t know, I am not a prostitute. Nor am I a pimp, a panderer, a madam, nor is the Speakeasy a brothel. Not that I have anything against prostitution. However, I do have great respect for prostitutes. Hookers are the foot-soldiers in the sexual field. They’re the infantrywomen fighting for sexual freedom in the trenches, putting their bodies on the line. I myself am not so brave. I’m just a simple sex therapist, a pop philosopher, and your designated driver through the intoxicating world of human sexuality. Moreover, prostitution is illegal in the State of California, and everything we do here at Dr. Suzy’s Speakeasy and the Dr. Susan Block Institute is legal. Nobody pays for sex here and, alas, nobody gets paid for sex either.
But pleasure sex isn’t all about the dead presidents. It’s also about the joy. We’re not hookers, but we are happy. BlockStudios takes on the atmosphere of one of the great Parisian bordellos of the Golden Age, combined with the opportunities of a swing party, the information of a seminar and the entertainment of a cabaret, especially on show nights. Most spaces in our society, especially public spaces, are sexually repressed; everyone must keep their clothes on and act dignified, as if sex were irrelevant to the equation of life. A brothel or a place like the Speakeasy, is a place to be sexually free, at least relatively speaking. In fact, some married couples enjoy going to brothels (just as they love coming to the Speakeasy), to spice up their sex life, especially if the wife is bisexual.
But Patti didn’t want to talk about couples going together to brothels. Wearily but firmly, she said she was absolutely certain that the editors with cut that out anyway. After all, the Spike TV viewer is a traditional Family Values Man, a good husband who just wants to cheat on his wife with a hooker.