I always fool myself when it comes to the end of a semester, thinking it will be so good to have a nice long break. How good it will be to sleep in, not have to work all day, not have to commute, not have to think.

It is not fucking nice.

The weekends are nice. Astasia and I can actually spend time together. But on Monday she's off to work, and I'm left to decide how I'll spend my day, and somehow make myself actually spend it that way. But going from the constant pressure to complete an uncompletable amount of work and make endless decisions about proportions, materials, colors, door placement.... (the list goes on) to this..... I have been wallowing in a sort of depression that makes it hard to even eat, never mind structure my day and accomplish anything.

Sunday night I slept from 10 pm till 2 am. Unable to sleep and not wanting to prevent Astasia from sleeping, I finished reading Brothel by Alexa Albert, a book I had started on Sunday evening. I had been interested in the book because I recognized the particular brothel it was about, Mustang Ranch, from a radio show on Playboy Radio that Astasia and I had listened to last summer.

Brothel: Mustang Ranch and its Women tells the story of a Harvard Medical student who gained access to Mustang Ranch in order to conduct a public health study on condom effectiveness, and ended up making repeated visits and becoming an installment in the brothel's culture. The book talks about Nevada's history with legalized brothel prostitution, how the brothels are run, the various reasons that women work in the brothels, and the social issues that surround legal brothel prostitution.

Put simply, the book is fascinating.

There are any number of aspects of this book that I could discuss, but unless you all read it and come back and discuss it with me in the comments thread, I'd feel like I was just talking to myself. Which I probably am anyway..... I'll just pretend that somewhere out there is interested in my book recommendations. I recommend this book highly. You will learn a lot, and think a lot too.

One thing that I would like to write about here, however, is the ever-present-in-my-mind issue of gender essentialism in our culture and how much I dislike it. Mustang Ranch, for example, has only female workers who only service males. Women are not even allowed in the front gate. (Which is to say, that if I ever wanted some gay for pay action, I can cross Mustang Ranch off my list of tourist destinations). There is one part of the book that talks about the men who frequent the ranch, painting them in a rather tragic light, and this is a part of the book I had a hard time getting behind. The virgins who can't get laid, the married men who can't ask their wives for certain things, the socially awkward, the commitment-phobes, they need sex, and if they're willing to pay for it, and women willing to sell it to them, why shouldn't these poor souls have their needs met? This is the tone of one of the sex workers, and okay, I see her point. Men have needs right? Sex is very important to most men.

But sex is important to women too. There are female virgins who can't get laid, married women whose husbands can't satisfy, socially awkward women, commitment-phobe women, they all want to have sex too. It's a societal assumption that the sexual needs of men surpass those of women, that their hunger runs deeper. So we are not surprised to hear of men buying sex for whatever reason. In every city, whether legal or not, there are places that men go to buy sex.

I guess I just don't think the situation is so dire for those men. I think it's the way if a woman gets sick she's expected to tough it out and get better while getting the laundry done and dinner on the table but if a man gets sick he's on the couch with a thermometer and a blanky and woman doting on him with chicken noodle soup and a gentle hand on his forehead.

Cheating aside, if you just really wish someone would tie you down and whip you with a crop while plunging dildo into your ass, you should bloody well be able to fork over an exorbitant sum of money to have it done. But a man doesn't need this more than the woman who wants the same.

I don't know. Does the societal attitude that men's need is so much greater contribute to the prominence of men seeking out sex for pay? Were societal attitudes reversed, would the Mustang be filled with men? Is this another part of male privilege?

Go read the book and then come talk to me. I'm soooooooo bored.


  1. I have mixed feelings about prostitution. Deeply mixed feelings. I'm not opposed to it in principle, but I'm certainly opposed to the way prostitutes are treated. It seems to be an ugly business.

    It seems strange to exclude women from the clientele. Maybe the word is not strange, but crazy. Then again, what's so sane about our species?

  2. Anonymous19.7.11

    I tend to believe that in western civilization that it is a matter of social acceptance just like booze is with the people in this story.
    When woman are imbued with a equal footing with men then I think it will simply be a matter of woman's choice and empowerment to seek sexual gratification in the same way men are. I will check out the book. I miss your posts too.