How the History and Practice of Whorehouses Have Changed Over the Years
From ancient times to present day, the practice of keeping a “whorehouse” has been an integral part of many different societies and cultures. According to scholars, these dens of vice have a wide-ranging and unusual history, and the way these establishments have operated has changed drastically over the years. In this article, we’ll take a look at the evolution of the whorehouse and the different ways in which it has been used.
In ancient times, the most well known whorehouses were found within the Greek and Roman Empires. These brothels, known as lupanaria, were considered a socially accepted element of the culture, and it was commonplace for rulers to give their permission for them to operate in their city. These facilities were usually run by women and offered a variety of services for their clients. Some of the services provided included prostitution, gambling, drinking, and hosting private parties. It’s estimated that there were more than 300 lupanaria in Ancient Rome alone.
Europe has a rich history of brothels, with many cities becoming known as hot spots for prostitution. The Rarity of the Dollar, located in London in the 1600s, was probably the most famous whorehouse during this time. It was owned by a wealthy man named Sir Francis Drake and attracted an array of famous clients, including poet John Milton and playwright William Congreve. Other popular European whorehouses included the Tête Noire in Paris and the Notre Dame des Postes in Rome.
In the United States, whorehouses have been around since the early days of the country’s formation. Though they often operated under the guise of saloons or “gentlemen’s clubs,” these establishments were rarely hidden from the public eye. Some of the earliest known whorehouses in America were located in the western states, such as the notorious Chicken Ranch in Nevada. This establishment gained notoriety for its luxurious services and even inspired the popular musical “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”
Since then, the practice of keeping a prostitute has become much more frowned upon and regulated by states and national laws. Today, brothels are typically found in rural areas, far from cities and other large population centers. In some states, these locations are regulated by the government, while in others, they are operated as illegal operations. Because of the different regulations in place, the scope of services offered in whorehouses have changed dramatically, ranging from simple sexual services to so-called “companion services” that are more akin to traditional dating.
Over time, the popular perception of whorehouses has changed drastically. What was once an integral part of many cultures has become a taboo subject in many parts of the world. While some places may still tolerate brothels, most governments have strict laws in place to ensure that they are run properly and that all participants are of legal age.
The practice of keeping a whorehouse is as complex and fascinating as it is controversial. It is a practice that has changed drastically over the years, with different regions adopting different approaches to how these marquees are regulated. Though it may never return to the level of social acceptance it once had, it is clear that whorehouses have played an important part in the history of many cultures around the world.