WSWM ranch, Heidi’s stud ranch and male priviledge

I started my day by day blog of Bellas and will continue it on my personal blog: marikopassion.wordpress.com so i’m not going to talk about how my first day went here, but I just have to comment about male priviledge in not only the old boy network of brothel owners and in sex work in general.  What Heidi Fleiss is and has been doing is really really phenomenal even though I’ve not met her and she could be a rotten bitch but on the whole “The Stud Ranch” is a groundbreaking concept.  As it has so far been explained to me, the Nevada brothel system is NOT ever due to expand to other brothels in Nevada state legislature any time in the future and all but 2 of them (Bellas and one other) are owned by old boys.  If you were at Desiree 1 you got an idea of what kind of men owned these places and what their blatantly unfeminist views were.  According to conversations I’ve had with Rachel Whotton from Scarlet Alliance, the same is true for brothel owners in Australia.  In Oz, they have become a political lobby and are speaking out against any non brothel sex worker, trying to convince parliament that if a girl were to not work in a brothel there would be no way that she could keep herself safe or clean. This is the overall belief from many people in the general public, and it is the legacy of male priviledge in all its ugliness.

However, in talking with Aunt Deb who helps run Bellas, the woman/family owned and run brothel and she talks about her frustration with working with so many girls whos minds are stuck at the age of 14 and who need so much repetetive direction around basic things.  Anyone who has ever tried to manage an escort or stripping agency probably knows what she is talking about.  I opted to convert my energies from a dying escort agency in LA in to SWOP-LA because I could never possibly profit babysitting the women that I was trying to have on my staff and keep my sanity.  They neeeded guidance and outreach and that was what a sex worker advocate does willingly, not a business person who wants or needs to profit.  These are the women that unfortunately find themselves in the “stables” of abusive pimps either on the streets or in brothels.  It is a continuation of a pattern of abuse many of these women have become accustomed to, perhaps since childhood and it would take serious mentorship and time to guide someone out of that, which is not only not a profit model, but often is draining to even non profits doing advocacy.

An MSM ranch? There is an MSM ranch of sorts in every major city of the world.  They are called bathhouses, public parks or gay.com.  MEN as a whole, do not need any help seeking sex–either for pay or for free.  But because of the legacy of male priviledge (for MSW escorts)  and the decriminalization of homosexuality, male escorts do not get to charge as much as females.  Male strippers doing bachelorette parties is totally socially acceptable, but only in the context of marriage. I have had sex with female clients, but only in the context of when a husband or boyfriend pays for my services.  I can find casual hot sex with women in a sex spaces, but only in a BDSM play party (which may not be the sexual experience I was seeking) or a swingers party where I would either have to fend off all the client types from trying to fuck me for free or put on a show for the husband or sometimes convince him to go away, although in swinger spaces like Hedonism and such bisexuality with women is fine, but NEVER between the men.  Men who want to have sex with men can open any newspaper and find a public outlet do a google search and find what they are looking for or at least go to a venue where they might be able to find it and women either hetero or queer do not.  You see what I’m getting at?

11 Responses

  1. At Sherri’s Ranch they take your laptop? Sound oppressive.

    It seems to me that the labor law should apply to brothel workers the same as any other type of job. Sitting a room bored to death with nothing to do is not ideal. Amazing what they get away with.

  2. All very true. I love what Pat Califia has to say about opening up current venues as well as new sex venues for WSW, and some of the suggestions of Samuel Delancey, too. Do you know of any other writers who tackle this issue?

    I would say: while it’s easy enough for largely White, gay-identified male urbanites to find places for MSM sex in the Big City, that doesn’t mean it’s easy to find places to trade sex for money for a near-living wage. If I work a bathhouse or a club I might make $20-40 a trick, depending, and that’s only if bathhouses or clubs aren’t closed down already by the Health Dept. like they are here in New York. Turning tricks in the park means even less pay. Much less. Escorting without visibility in gay porn or a Rentboy.com account means $100-150 a trick, and, if you’re a man of color a lower pay-grade.

    The State sees all non-reproductive sex in the same light: repression.

    Also, recent immigrant men, transfolks, and some lower-income men of color have a real difficult time finding venues for sex because of white gay male establishments excluding them!

    All these issues are so important when we talk about “sex worker rights.”

  3. I think as a man in the biz you kind of have to find out what your goals are and how much money you want to make and if making a lot of money is your goal, it seems to me, the most prosperous MSMs are sugar babies, because we all know there are a lot of Gay white men with money. Another way, is to target *female sex workers* who are bi or hetero. That’s what a lot of guys do. Get a stripper or other sex worker girl friend and move in with her. Soon enough you will be her driver or her manager and have an income based on her income. There is even a term for it in the porn industry, it’s called “suitcase pimp.” Sigh, ask my ex boyfriend…There is a guy in LA who does massage for other providers who is trying to get me to be his client, and I am like “fuck no, sorry!” His clients are female sex workers. He does back massage and drives them to shows. But perhaps being with women isn’t your thing on that level, but it’s fairly profitible, and the men who do it would NEVER call themselves sex workers or hustlers for that matter but that they are..

  4. While I’m sure many of us have had hard experiences feeling taken advantage of financially by exes, I do not feel good about the tone of the second half of this comment as sarcastic “suggestion” or insinuation about male sex workers, especially from someone who does not identify as such to someone who does identify as such.

    We have choices about whether or not we “hire” our partners or “sugar” them, I see a big difference between the massage guy who specifically advertises to sex workers, or someone who only dates strippers (or any sort of sex worker) to be cared for by their cash flow, and the partner who works for or is sugared by their sex worker partner. I think that this world is full of poor or under-earning people who, if offered, would prefer to drive their partner to work for a cut than get a straight job. I, certainly, am one of them. I think tons of people get supported by their high-earning partners, and some of those people are parasitic jerks. While this may be akin to sex work, I do not see it as such. Men aren’t the only ones who ‘profit’ off of professional or personal relationships with sex workers (‘specially here in queer SF) and there is a difference between a deadbeat partner, a consensual sugar baby, and someone who preys, emotionally and financially on sex workers.

  5. You are totally right Sadie. There are lots of differences, and I DO have a tendency to lump all male privilege into one sometimes. For sure being a conscious sex worker and someone who is doing sexual exchange but doesn’t see it is different, just as an MSM and someone who identifies as queer is very different. Being a driver IS a legit job, and actually because of the romantic relations that often become a part of watching over someone’s life (just like Kevin Costner and Whitney!) the police will arrest all the drivers and automatically charge them with pimping. Boyfriends who drive should either say that they are just in a relationship with the worker and NOT getting paid to get out of pimping charges b/c they can never prove it, unless the couple lives together, then its pimping by definition (living off the avails of prostitution), then you have to prove that you do in fact pay rent and are not being supported by her work. Or you can say you are a hired driver and you don’t have ANY knowledge of what the escort does in her shows (Most cases against drivers in LA are thrown out on this claim). If you have no priors and have your ID on you, you will be released on your “own recognizance.” (O.R) in most counties, but if you don’t have ID, you’ll spend the night in county with your working partner, thus the high cost of watching out for someone in these illegal times. Of course, if your driver is a woman then you don’t usually get assumed to be pimping b/c they never assume you r involved with the worker, which I would follow their lead on.. And if your driver is Black, you r definitely assumed to be pimped and both of you are going to jail. (This is not legal advice, I am not a lawyer, every county is different, blah blah blah).

    sorry, Will and others if you were offended. Sadie’s right, I am most def NOT a male sex worker and have never been one. I think that you are one of the smartest, most conscious male workers I have met in this movement thus far🙂

    I think that we definitely need to look at the definite pattern of frequency of women in sex work who are supporting male partners with their work. And then there are a lot of women out of sex work who also fall into this category too, but I’ll leave you with a joke I’ve heard to ponder the grains of truth in:

    Q: What does a stripper do with her asshole before she goes to work?
    A: She gives him $20 and drops him off at band practice.

  6. I didn’t find the comments offensive, pretty on point, actually. I just wanted to point out that male privilege is more nuanced in a world where there are male immigrants, men of color, poor and working men, transitioned and transitioning men, male pimps, male johns, and male hustlers, as well as psychological intersections that can’t be described in words.

    And I appreciate Sadie parsing out those differences! I really needed them laid bare, actually, to set some things to rest.

    Great thread!

  7. I also appreciate the discussion coming out of this thread.

    Mariko: I LOVE that joke! So apropos for me!

  8. That’s depressing wrt what’s happening in Australia. jesus, why on earth can’t one be an independent worker ffs? that sounds…not good.

  9. Funny joke!! Jessica- same for me. He was pretty, in a band, and not (usually) gainfully employed. But he was good in bed, which I guess is why I continued the relationship. So perhaps he was a sex worker in a not-conscious-of-it sort of way.

    This is a fab thread. Thanks to everyone who’s contributed!

  10. Look at Amanda’s experience with the brothel subtly showing disapproval b/c she showed a man out when he got a bad dick check! I was horrified by it. Brothels create external pressure to make the money no matter the sexual health of the client, which obviously doesn’t exist in an indie escort situation.

  11. PS. Has anyone seen the HBO documentary about Ms. Fleiss and her plans? She seems incredibly unstable, not that that has to do with anything.
    It’s interesting that women buy so much sex in private (50% of payperview porn, at this pt.), but as soon as another live person enters the equation, they just can’t do it…

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