Meeting in the house

Prostitution around the world:

On Saturday May 12 the Nevada Libertarian Party held its state convention at the Bunny Ranch Bar in Mound House.

I knew that Dennis Hof, owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch brothel, wanted to run for public office, but I thought it would be a symbolic run at the U.S. Senate. Instead, he is running for Assembly District 36, currently held by Republican James Oscarson. Assembly 36 is comprised of part of Clark County and almost all of very libertarian Nye County. Oscarson is being targeted because he voted for the Sandoval commerce tax.

“Anyone who voted for the commerce tax must be fired,” Hoff said. “It is hurting small businesses bad. I am a self made man, I don’t have to listen to special interests.” In the year of the outsider, Dennis Hof can run as the ultimate outsider, sort of a Nevadan Donald Trump.

“Education is a mess,” he said. “They say they want to spend the new tax revenues on education, but they’ve been saying they will improve education now for 40 years, and what do we have for it, that we need a new tax? The Republicans gave us the largest tax increase in Nevada’s history. They ran on a pledge of no new taxes. They all need to be fired.”

There is no question what else is on Hof’s mind. “Legalization of prostitution in Nevada is great, except that it doesn’t include the population centers of Clark and Washoe Counties,” he said. “Prostitution can be a dirty, nasty business, except when it’s legal. Then it is clean and safe.”

The Libertarian Party has been a refuge for sex workers to speak about the plight of prostitutes. Only occasionally have sex workers run serious campaigns for public office, as when Democrat and brothel manager Beverly Harrell narrowly lost a race for the Nevada Assembly in the 1974 general election and Jesse Winchester lost primary bids for the U.S. House in 1996 as a Democrat and for lieutenant governor in 1998 as a Republican. In this last case, Nevada wasn’t quite ready for a former brothel worker to be in charge of promoting Nevada tourism.

Sex work is currently under attack by liberal government. A Republican control of the federal government could make it worse, except possibly if a certain casino magnate is elected President. Would Trump work with Hoff to bring prostitution out in the open?

Over lunch with Dennis and a quartet of working ladies the conversation turned to prostitution and the law. At one point Caressa Kisses broke into tears and left the table. When she returned, she said: “The police in the streets rape and beat the girls, rape them without even a condom. In Nevada, they come to party, but they pay just like the rest. They pay, and they party.”

The ladies are proud of their work. They stress how they work with the disabled, the elderly, the impotent. They have earned health care certificates and work in hospitals and clinics outside the brothel.

All acts of prostitution, from the tawdry truck stop blowjob to the $1000-an-hour penthouse escort, are a recreation of the girlfriend experience. They activate the archetypes of the madonna and the whore, evoking the time before marriage and kids when a woman was able to excite both primitive images. I asked them if they ever experienced the act as a spiritual one. They all enthusiastically agreed they had experienced spirituality with their clients. After all, prostitutes were once housed in temples.

“I know who is the perfect archetype for the new age, who blends the two female aspects better than any other,” said Alice Little, a pixie-faced redhead. “Who?” I asked. She smiled coyly. “It’s Ishtar.”