Comedies, which regularly dealt with what society deemed as the less salubrious aspects of life, have provided historians of sex with significant evidence of brothel life. One girl has red eyebrows?
They paint them with lamp soot. One girl happens to be black? She anoints herself with white lead. One girl is too white-skinned? She smears on rouge. One part of her body is beautiful? She shows it naked. Her teeth are pretty?
She must, of necessity, smile so that the men present may see what an elegant mouth she has. In another comedy from the same era, the playwright describes the women on display in brothels.
From them you may select one for your pleasure: The passage also includes a statement that explains the popularity of paying for sex in ancient Greece; namely the safety-net it afforded men who could not even look at freeborn women for fear of reprisals. As a woman aged, the chances of being able to access a means living through sex work became decidedly more difficult.
Turning to a comic play once more, there is a description of an aged hetaira called Lais and the difficulties and humiliations facing her, which is evoked by the lines: Lais was an actual person who lived around the same time as Aspasia, and was reputed to have been a stunningly beautiful hetaira.
Nevertheless, some scholars now question the practice, offering several alternative explanations, including the possibility of brothels having been associated with such temples but not strictly related to them, and the confusion over accounts of women donating to temples of those goddesses under whose divine ordinance they practised their work. In addition to hetairai, lower-grade sex workers who populated brothels from the slave and resident alien classes and possibly, temple slaves, there were also young men who serviced clients.
Like their female equivalents, young men worked in the ergasterion workshop and the porneion brothel at the bottom end of the market, which were were dismal environments for the porne harlot and pornos rent-boy alike. The word hetairos male companion is also attested in some sources but rarely in its reference to sexual activity. As with females, youthful men were the most desired, with a preference for those between the ages of 12 to At these social events, young sex workers would entertain the guests, serve them food and wine, and if required, service them.
Outliving Pericles by almost 30 years, Aspasia was said to have become the companion of another politician, Lysicles. She was a survivor and experienced an exceptionally long life as a hetaira.
As such, she was a rarity. Bust of Aspasia, identified through an inscription. Marble, Roman copy after an Hellenistic original. From Torre della Chiarrucia.
Wikimedia Commons Aspasia c. Kylix with a hetaira holding a large cup playing kottabos a drinking party game where men flicked the dregs of their wine at a target , circa BC. In an extract preserved from a comic play from the 4th or 3rd century BC, the lengths to which a pimp would go to alter the appearance and behaviour of new girls is recorded: Allissa agrees that the escorts she knows have an end goal in sight. And it was also hard for her to argue with the money. When Brighton quit the industry, she says it was all thanks to her clients.
Allissa, who works at the legal brothel Sheri's Ranch in Nevada, says her job isn't all about stripping down: She and her clients also partake in PG-related activities from spa sessions to long walks. View author archive Get author RSS feed. Starz Jess Brighton , who moved from the Midwest to Washington, DC, in in her 30s to become an escort after losing her job in finance, reached out to a few agencies she found online and made her pick after cross-referencing on the Erotic Review , a sex work-review website that rates agencies.
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