By Tristan Taormino for the Village Voice
Every year at kinky sex camp, we create a multi-room erotic play-space for attendees, and for one night, each room has a theme. We like to keep things fresh, so we change up the themes every couple of years, but one never seems to go out of style: the Brothel. It’s a modest space with eight stations, each with a bed, a little table, and a flimsy curtain separating it from the next bed, plus a back room with a double bed and a little more privacy (which costs more, natch). We have our own currency at the event (kundalini kash), which campers can win, earn, borrow, and eventually spend. There’s a madam who recruits and organizes the whores, collects kash, matches clients with workers, and generally oversees the place. It’s always the busiest room.
People don’t tire of the sex-for-money fantasy. Actually, there is no one fantasy, but multiple scenarios, dynamics, and roles possible within the brothel setting. I talked to a bunch of this year’s whores (who included men, women, transfolk, and cross-dressers) about what they got out of their experiences. Some said they like being a whore because it’s taboo, naughty, and transgressive; the fact that it’s illegal prevents them from pursuing it in real life. For others, being a sex worker is a longtime fantasy, like Nikki, a newcomer to both the camp and the brothel: “Being paid for sex is an ongoing fantasy of mine. If I had had more confidence in my looks and body, and much less emotional baggage when I was still a young woman, I would have loved to have been a call girl or mistress in my real life.” Nikki said she enjoyed the experience so much—with one client, she had her first orgasm ever in a position she usually can’t come in—that she wants to do it again.
Playing this role can trigger other turn-ons, like having sex with strangers, no strings attached, and no pretense of romance. Mr. G., a fortysomething straight guy from New York, told me: “It creates a ‘container’ for the experience of sex. We’re both there for the same reason. There’s a beginning and an end, and no confusion about our roles once they’re negotiated.” Pink Pet, another whore, agreed: “At a club or even a play party, there is usually a certain amount of small talk and flirting that takes place. Don’t get me wrong—I love flirting, but I also love when that barrier is removed and you can get right to the lust. You can walk right up and suggest what scene you want to do. It’s a way to cut to the chase.”