ISBN 9781479820702, 1479820709
Trade Paperback | 320 pages
An intimate and original look at the lives of Nevada’s legal sex workers through the voices of current and former employees, brothel owners, madams, and local law enforcement
The state of Nevada is the only jurisdiction in the United States where prostitution is legal. Wrapped in moral judgments about sexual conduct and shrouded in titillating intrigue, stories about Nevada’s legal brothels regularly steal headlines. The stigma and secrecy pervading sex work contribute to experiences of oppression and unfair labor practices for many legal prostitutes in Nevada. Sex and Stigma engages with stories of women living and working in these “hidden” organizations to interrogate issues related to labor rights, secrecy, privacy, and discrimination in the current legal brothel system.
Including interviews with current and former legal sex workers, brothel owners, madams, local police, and others, Sex and Stigma examines how widespread beliefs about the immorality of selling sexual services have influenced the history and laws of legal brothel prostitution. With unique access to a difficult-to-reach population, the authors privilege the voices of brothel workers throughout the book as they reflect on their struggles to engage in their communities, conduct business, maintain personal relationships, and transition out of the industry. Further, the authors examine how these brothels operate like other kinds of legal entities, and how individuals contend with balancing work and non-work commitments, navigate work place cultures, and handle managerial relationships. Sex and Stigma serves as a resource on the policies guiding legal prostitution in Nevada and provides an intimate look at the lived experiences of women performing sex work.