From Then To Now – The Evolution of Sex Work

Oh Zone > Blogs > Sex Talk > From Then To Now – The Evolution of Sex Work

Fondly coined as the worlds’ oldest profession, the evolution of sex work dates back to before the Bible. It can be found through just about every culture, and is still a hotly debated occupation today with a large emphasis on womens rights and the separation of church and state. Even in 2024 only a select few parts of the world have legalised this profession.

The Ancient World

Similar to sex toys of the ancient world, sex work was very different back in biblical times. The Greco-Romans’ had one of the most complex sex work industries we know of. The society had an estimated minimum of 25 different types of sex workers that were further categorised by the gender of the worker. During these times male prostitutes weren’t seen to be in such a state of disgrace as their female counterparts. A large emphasis being placed on homoflexibility at this point in history.

The Greeks only recognised 3 of the aforementioned 20 plus subcategories of sex worker;

The Dicteriades of whom were of the lower classes and seen as common.

Auletrides who were known to in essence be flute playing lesbians as well as a step up from the previous class,.

Hetaire noted to be “kept women” of a higher calibre than the other prostitutes and were given more respect than their more common counterparts.

Meanwhile, the Romans really weren’t fucking around with their labels during the classing of their sex workers with a few really bizarre and really specific classes of prostitute. My personal favourite being the Forariae, a class of country girls known specifically for lurking around country roads. Or the Lupae of whom cried to imitate wolves. Even the Bustuariae who worked as mourners at funerals. For the life of me I can’t figure out how this one in particular related to prostitution but it did.

The Romans also labelled madams and pimps separately as Leno with there being several subcategories of this as well. They all shared the common trait of being loathed by the public.

As a general rule, prostitution or any kind of sex work was placed within a state of monopoly by the ancient Greco-Romans. Sex workers were even considered public servants, although they were not allowed to mix with the general public in ceremonies. The (absurd) reasoning behind this was that the more sex workers there were = the safer “virtuous” women were. As bizarre as this is, its basis is still seen today.

Evolution of Sex Work

Tang Dynasty China

Tang Dynasty China’s Unique Approach to Prostitution

During the Tang Dynasty, China redefined the concept of prostitution. These women were more educated than the average female population and valued for their intellect and personality, not just their bodies. Many customer-worker relationships were entirely platonic, emphasizing companionship over physical intimacy.

The Chinese character for “prostitute” translated directly to “female performer.” Brothels earned most of their income by hosting feasts where clients and workers socialized publicly. Prostitutes performed non-sexual acts like dancing and playing music, and madams often discouraged sexual activities with clients.

Red light districts were central to high society. Renowned poets publicly reviewed prostitutes, greatly influencing their demand. Cui Ya, a famous prostitute critic, had the power to make or break a prostitute’s career with his poetry. His reviews could significantly boost or diminish their popularity.

This unique blend of intellect, artistry, and social interaction made Tang Dynasty China’s approach to prostitution distinct and influential.

Medieval Times

Prostitution in Medieval Times: A Blurry and Controversial Subject

In Medieval times, prostitution and sex work were controversial and poorly defined subjects. With no separation of church and state, fornication was widely seen as morally wrong. The church forced prostitutes to wear specific clothing to distinguish them from others. The required garments varied by province.

If a prostitute was seen without the specified clothing, any member of the public could strip them on the spot. This profession persisted only because St. Augustine deemed it a “lesser evil” necessary to control lust and prevent unmarried men from violating “respectable townswomen.”

Medieval attitudes towards prostitution mirrored those of ancient Rome, heavily influenced by the Catholic Church. This era’s practices reflect a complex and often harsh view of sex work, driven by societal and religious norms.

The Wild West

Now the Wild West definitely lives up to its name with some truly bizarre happenings surrounding brothels and madams of the time. First and foremost, women who worked in brothels were generally seen to be wearing the customary white “brothel gown”. This brought on the term “soiled doves”, this dress was similar to that of a nightgown.

Six of Dawson City’s Prostitutes Posing for a Photograph
in Dawson, Yukon, Canada c. 1900

With the ratio of men to women being at approximately 3:2 within the west, brothels had a consistent and reliable customer base throughout the whole year. Although working in one didn’t equate to a steady income with these establishments designed to be nearly inescapable for the girls working within. The owners created competition and gave very little compensation. There was also tremendous amounts of racial discrimination during this time. Segregation and fetishisation of specific races was very common and left completely unquestioned. French working girls often times completely separated from the others, as they were stereotyped to be cleaner and have a broader knowledge of sex.

In contrast to the prostitutes themselves, madams of this time often became very wealthy even amidst fierce competition. A particularly entertaining instance of this rivalry between madams is seen in El Paso’s Public Arch Shooting. Etta Clark shot Alice Abbot in the groin, the women were madams of competing brothels located just across the street from each other. The argument spurred when one of the women working for Abbot, Bessie Colvin,  tried to leave her employ and start working under Clark instead. When Abbot was alerted to this she went to Clarks establishment in a rage and punched her in the face as soon as she opened the door. In response to this Clark turned, grabbed a gun and shot Abbot in the groin.

Now what’s truly the kicker of this event is that Clark never faced any repercussions for shooting Abbot. The town thought it was just too comedic that a petite 5 foot woman had done such a thing to Abbot,who was a whole foot taller and a good 50 kgs heavier.

Honourable Mentions

Now before we triapse into the modern history of sex work, I wanted to share the stories of few of the most famous and infamous sex workers to have ever been:

Madame du Barry

Known as Jeanne Becu, Madame du Barry led a real rags to riches to well deserved execution story. She became most well known for her time as the mistress of King Louis XV after catching his eye during a quick trip to Versailles. But before becoming funded by the monarch she worked as a mistress to the Parisian elite under Jean-Baptiste du Barry. She was even married to his brother.

Otherwise known as the last royal mistress of France, Madame du Barry wasn’t the most well liked woman in the room at any time. Even Marie Antoinette was known to hate her, banishing her as soon as she became queen. After the death of King Louis XV Jeanne was exiled and lived in the countryside entertaining two lovers.  Niether knew the other existed until one (Henry Seymour), broke up with her by sending her a painting of himself with the note “leave me alone” written along the bottom. Essentially being the first man ever to end a relationship via snapchat.

Now, you might be questioning why I labelled Jeanne’s execution as “well deserved”? During her time as King Louis XV mistress, and after this, she kept a young boy, Zamor, as her slave/plaything. This of course came back to bite her in the crinoline ,when he testified against her during the French Revolution. At that time she was charged with treason and executed via guillotine.

Ching Shih

Zheng Shi, Pirate Lady of China
Zheng Shi The Lady Pirate

 

 Ching Shih became the influence for Pirates of the Carribean’s Mistress Cheng, and one of the most successful pirates to have ever lived. However before that she worked as a prostitute in her hometown. She started her buccaneering days when she married her first husband Zheng Yi, a pirate. Together they amassed a fleet consisting of hundreds of ships, sailed by tens of thousands of men.

After Zheng Yi died Ching Shih took complete control of this fleet. Iit took several countries to take her down when she negotiated a truce with to spare herself and the vast majority of those sailing under her. She then returned to her hometown,  living out her days running a gambling house until the ripe age of 69.

Mother/Madame Damnable

Mary Ann Conklin, lovingly referred to as Mother Damnable due to her ability to curse in several languages and willingness to do so. She was the long standing manager of Felker House and went on to add a brothel to the second level of the building. This spurred the transition of her title to Madame Damnable. So well known that people started to refer to the Felker House as “The Conklin House” or more simply “Mother Damnable’s”.

As much as a character as we can assume she was, what really sets her apart is her death, or more specifically her exhumation. Which is where we see things really get interesting. She died and was buried in 1873, in the Seattle Cemetery. This was later turned into Denny Park. In 1884 all the graves, including hers, were removed to be relocated. When they went to remove her coffin it took 6 men to raise it.  When the lid was removed it was found that her corpse had “turned to stone”, with all her features still intact.

A lil bit odd if I do say so myself.

We hope you enjoyed the history of sex workers. Why not read about porn?

History of Sex Work
Sex Workers History

Rules of Etiquette When Using an Escort Service for a Date

Most guys struggle with meeting and picking up girls in public so use a Escort Service for a Date. Online escort directories make it easier for guys to plan dates with professional escorts. The plus about escort directories is that there is no fuss in between, unlike what you would expect with dating apps.

Professional escorts provide a range of services. You can also hire an escort to accompany you to an event without sex or romantic activities. However, you need to observe a couple of rules of etiquette when using an escort service.

Use Polite Language

Coming off too strong may be a turn-off for many escorts. Most people think this may seem sexy and score them points, but that is not the case. A professional Melbourne escort will engage you in small talk to help build chemistry.

Please don’t get too personal with questions about her career. You also don’t need to ask her for her social media handles or where she stays. Such topics will portray you as an obsessive guy. Also, avoid trivial topics that may elicit sensitive conversations. It is always good to go with an open mind and let the conversation flow naturally.

Look Good

A good haircut and a nice perfume can transform any guy’s looks. Women love nice scents and your first goal should be making a quick first impression. Whether you are going out of town or not, take your time to ensure that you look good and smell nice.

You may want to take things further later in the night, so we encourage you to get manscaped. All of these tips will make it easier for you to get laid later on. Professional escorts invest in their looks to ensure that they look good for the date, so it is also fair that you match the energy.

Escort Service for a Date

Escorts may offer either in-call or out-call services. You will need to go to the escort’s place for in-call services. However, some escorts offer out-call services where they will come to your house or hotel room.

We recommend getting a hotel room as it is easier and safer for both parties. Make sure the hotel room has enough toiletries and towels for your guest. Getting a hotel room is also better if you don’t like having people at your house. You can also get drinks for the escort if they are open to it.

Discuss Terms

What do you want from the date? Most Melbourne escorts list the services they can offer on their profile. However, you can always make special requests if you have any. Most people use escort services to fulfil some sexual fantasies.

Make sure you talk about this before booking the appointment. Some escorts may turn down requests, but it is better to be on the same page before a meeting. Don’t assume that any escort is ready to go the distance with you regarding sexual activities.

Wrapping Up

Good etiquette will bring up the best chemistry between you and the escort. Be open and communicate freely to avoid issues later on. The tips will help you get the best experience from any Melbourne escort.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *