Story Brain Storming Sunday: Brothels! Bordellos! Whore Houses!

It’s that time!

I give a  prompt, and people come in with stories they’d like to see.  You can do anything from a full polished story to a sentence on what you’d like to see.

I encourage people to give suggestions to mine or any story posted.  If you think somebody’s idea totally rules or totally sucks that’s cool. BUT you have to give at least one reason why.  I will probably be doing some playful devil’s advocate all over the place.  Hopefully we can have fun and learn about writing from each other.

It won’t have to be BL orientated, but combating beaten to death cliches will give you major bonus points.

This week prompt is: Brothels, bordellos, and whore houses!

We have all seen our fair share of poorly portrayed prostitutes, and horrid husks of hustlers.  What would YOU do with it?

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27 Responses to Story Brain Storming Sunday: Brothels! Bordellos! Whore Houses!

  1. Skarto says:

    I started something where one of the main characters is a whore in a shithole of a brothel, in the poorest district of a city (dystopian futures ftw). It sucks, he doesn’t enjoy it because it’s just his job, and clients regularly abuse him. He doesn’t fall in love with one of his clients, either. I just really hate the trope of ‘it’s sex so it’s awesome and orgasmic 100% of the time’ that Teahouse espouses.

    Don’t know if that’s stupid or cliche. I just like writing downtrodden people.

  2. cc says:

    I’d like to see a “daily life” story of a brothel, I’m not particularly picky of if it’s because they were sold into sex slavery or if they were fortunate enough to choose the line of work, I’d just like some consistency and no “found tru wuv in a client and rescued” romance schlock.

  3. wanda says:

    I tend to use whores a lot in my historical fantasies. It’s the oldest profession in the world, so of course people are interested in writing about it.

    In one story, the main character, a duke, is totes gay, but he’s a party animal and has a shit ton of money and needs to get married, so he befriends a whore and they get married and they have a baby and stay best friends forever, because while I like to write slash, I also like to write about awesome lady characters who call men out on their shit. She’s not very much a “downtrodden” whore, and while she felt “meh” about the whoring, she’s not much into monogamy, which makes her and her husband perfect for one another. He sleeps with dudes, she sleeps with everyone. WIN WIN.

    Current story involves whores but it’s sad. The male whore is straight but is gay for pay, something you pretty much never see in stories even though you probably should. What I found interesting about writing this story is that the main character falls in love with straight-dude-whore’s best friend Malli, but she of course does not love him. She likes him as a person, but she’s not gaga over him. So it’s interesting to see the relationship in HIS eyes, because he projects his love onto her and thinks they can run away together. Meanwhile, this woman decided to encourage it because it means he pays her more, which means she can save up some money to run away with straight-dude whore. Then it all crashes down when main character walks in on Malli’s abortion, another thing that never shows up in whoring stories, even though uh, yeah, before condoms and birth control, you basically had two options: have child or have abortion.

    UPLIFTING STUFF, YO.

    I think Teahouse is the manual on how NOT TO DO SEXUAL SLAVERY EVER. Problem is that they so easily could have saved themselves by making their whores voluntary. But nooooo, they’re SLAVES, making it 100 times worse.

  4. wanderingaddict says:

    haha, whores! I want to see more pirate hookers, I think. a floating bordello! courtesans who kick ass and take names when it pleases them maybe? corsair courtesans? courtisars? it’d be an excallent, sea-worthy adventure.

    the main thing that I’m really tired of is really the whole “forced into sex” thing, either by circumstance or through “uncontrolled female desires”. Teahouse is 100% the former, where even freakin’ Axis, the apparently top-earning prostitute who’s number 1 with the ladies and brings in a good chunk of their money (I’m assuming?? since most of their clientele are women apparently??). okay, so assuming all that is true, why would any smart boss pull him from a job he does well and then put him up for choosing – even if it’s the prince? unless Rhys had specifically requested “I wanna fuck a straight man” then how would it in any way be worth it? especically since Rhys is apparently perfeclty fine with fucking the lowest-earning prostitute, Fatty McGee or whatever they decide the lovely Claret is that week. anybody with half a brain would just be like “derrr, I could have my money-making whore making tons of money AND my money-losing making tons of money, but no I think I’ll just pull the top-earner and have the lowest-earner continue to do nothing.”

    wow, great utilization of human resources there, boss. and also like, god damn, I know I’ve belabored this point a ton but it’s just too bad that they aren’t courtesans. or at the very list, not shown as skilled manipulators and people who sell an entire lifestyle. they could really pull a lot out of that – especially if it were things like Lilith is making power plays amongst the nobles, or the entire bordello is specifically for the gays and bis and women of the court, which makes it this enormously popular but hush-hush secret for those members of the court that are interested in it and so you see Axis, like, having to play to that. he’d have to tread fine lines around making sure that his clients like him enough to come back, but that they never fall in love, for example. same for anyone working there – it could be a great, powerful, and moving distinction that sets him and Lilith apart as the top, hard-hearted senior authorities aside from Pimpy himself, while Claret, Lineaus, and Rory all have to struggle with clients who fall in love with and fight over them, or that they encourage because they “dream of getting taken away from the place” (because sure, some of the courtesans work there because they love it (Axis and Lilith) while others are indentured servants (Rory)). instead of having Pinky sit there like a bump on a log, he could be seen struggling to get away from enamored clients who start fights between each other over him, which in turns draws ire from their noble families, and he’s forced to realize that, say, his dream of being whisked away could happen, but the reality of that dream is jsut that he’d be a kept lover with no worth other than the dude’s interest in him. even though he’s from peasant stock (or whatever, eye-roll), we’ve seen from his chidlhood that he essentially grew up pampered right along-side Atros, so you know… it’d be pretty neat to see him get a dose of what reality is like when one is not a kept pet. no jewels, no time to idly work up a sweat picking roses (or whatever the fuck he was doing in hotpants). and you know, I didn’t know until I saw you guys talking about it here that the Teahouse authors had rescinded his trans status. I thought it was a neat direction they were semi-heading with him and there could have been a ton of different ways of resolving it, 90% of which certainly don’t need him cutting off bits in order to feel fulfilled. I mean, hell, he could just end up accepting himself as incredibly feminine and embrace an intersex idea, sheesh. and then there could be more too, sure, why not bring Gildar in as a rival for Pinky’s affection (although I would actually insist on Sascha actually being incredibly buff and ripped to shit under that coat, and him actually being the thirstiest ladies-man anyone’s ever seen and pursue Lilith like nothing else, and wrap up their story arc with her falling in love with a man that’s even prettier than she is, lawlz) (they would also trade icy barbs at one another 24/7 as foreplay. amazing).

    but yeah, I mean, Teahouse is a neat idea in that it’s a bunch of people who are loosely connected and there’s no “grand threat” that these people have to solve, unlike the Kushiel’s Dart series, which is mildly interesting for its remake of European history but at the same time it’s just like “okay, come on. she’s a courtesan, let’s see her do some normal things instead of save the world every book”.

  5. I’ve had a few ideas when it comes to this theme.

    While thinking up GOOD ways to do a brothel-themed story; I got attached to the idea of a pudgy gay accountant falling in love with a gay-for-pay macho Fabio-looking prostitute.

    I also love the idea of a effeminate young guy playing the role of “dom” to a big tough celebrity guy. The young guy tries to play “dom” with him in public and gets into a heap of trouble.

    I’d also like to work with the twin dynamic, since it seems popular but rarely touched on in a serious way.

    Though it would be touch to link all of these stories together in a meaningful way. Perhaps do something along the lines of the brothel is in danger of being discovered by authorities?

    • wanderingaddict says:

      it just occurred to me that there are actually a LOT of sci-fi/fantasy books out there with brothels that are in positions of power, or run by the thieves’ guild, or even the kingdom’s spymaster. a lot of the time, the story would be as-or-more interesting if it just followed the people from there instead. if medieval isn’t your thing, you could always try it in more of a steampunk universe instead? the brothel could double, as, say, a smuggler’s den – it’s where the wealthy of the city can safely meet to discuss and collect illicit goods, while at the same time the most powerful and well-connected of the smugglers get to play at being part of the gentry themselves. that way it’s less of a “courtesan” thing – because the people who work there ARE mere servants – but at the same time is an excuse to keep keep all the whores in, around, and near people and places of power.

      • I do like the smugglers den idea! That the higher ups are in on it and are cool with it thanks to bribes or perhaps discounts of their favorite servants. Though I suppose this could easily get dark if you mix the slave trade in with it. Though I do like that setting idea!

        • wanderingaddict says:

          well one of the things that I think people forget when writing about whores and prostitution – particularly in non RL settings – is that indentured servitude was really common and done for any number of reasons, along with the fact that “getting fired” when one didn’t have a trade-skill might mean having to beg on the streets. we live in a modern society where we place great status on sexual restraint and comforts are relatively common and readily available, but if making a wealthy patron climax meant you weren’t getting beaten by thugs on the streets at night or having to scrabble for whatever coin you could with odd-jobs in order to scrape a living out of a ramshackle apartment, it’s perfectly reasonable that the prostitutes – while perhaps not “loving” their jobs – do still enter into it with a very clear sense of consent. I mean sure that can eliminate a lot of the “romance” of the idea if it’s played too strong – or overshadow a character if the constant theme is “these people are only here because they’re harder and colder than everyone else” – but it doesn’t have to be all about slavery or intense feelings of personal revulsion and loathing. especially in this case – if someone was unwilling and not about to provide good service, how the hell would they have gotten so high in terms of clientele? these are people with whom any number of men AND women would sleep with for free, in the off-chance that they might sprinkle some wealth/favor. for them to want “night company”, that company had better be damn good.

          • Yeah people got into indentured servitude all over the place! Sometimes it was to work off a debt or to earn land of your own. There was white and black indentured servitude all over the place in early settled America with people coming over with contracts to work for masters for so many years and at the end of it they’d get their own chunk of land. That’s something they certainly willingly got into.

            So there can be clear lines of consent when it comes to hopping into that indentured servitude, but one should EXPLAIN that and preferably early on as to not confuse readers about the morality. Not go “lol I guess its slavery” but go, “Well it was dong-gobbling or back-breaking farm work and they picked dong-gobbling.”

            if someone was unwilling and not about to provide good service, how the hell would they have gotten so high in terms of clientele?

            This is one of my big beefs with Teahouse. They’re a super wealthy place but the highest earners act like cunts to their clients.

        • wanderingaddict says:

          I mean, I only say this because I like treading fine lines and such, but especially in a pirate/steampunk setting you could have a ton of gray areas of what constitutes “slavery” – I mean, if people at the bordello want unwilling/inexperienced one-night-stands, there could just as easily be bordello recruiters that buy-out attractive men and women from among captured crews, in whatever case that the said crew member is willing to comply. it’s another area where it’s again a choice between “well, the pirates who pulled me out of the ocean saved my life but took all my belongings and I’m bottom-rung on the ladder. I could suffer through this or through that, which can I suffer least?”

          personally I like stories that address all those issues and recognize that okay, sure, someone’s unwilling, but that at the same time that doesn’t equate to rape. coercion, manipulation, and bargaining are all things that should absolutely occur in any story about a bordello!

    • wanderingaddict says:

      your accountant could be someone high in the city’s treasury, which is why he’s even allowed in such a place, but at the same time the place has these lords and smuggler captains bringing their bodyguards and thugs, so it’s a mix of the refined AND dangerous, which adds to its appeal and mystique!

      • Yes I was thinking that, despite being on the meek side, he was somebody from a high position of power. The wealthy criminals and corrupt officials all hang out, WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

        • wanderingaddict says:

          lol it’s a match made in heaven! and then you could have the Tough Guy be like, a smuggler’s high-up lieutenant! and femme guy could have been a pretty street tough who made a name for himself or something before slipping into the rank and file of the bordello, so he’s got his own little inflated ego, and while he’s seen these corsairs in their restrained, refined airs that they wear around the bordello, he’s never actually seen “intent to kill” fighting that occurs out at sea/on their airships/wherever they fight elsewhere. Tough Guy’s captain could even be like, a crazy woman who’s idea of being “hard” extends to dominating men in the bedroom (pegging, etc), and so for her to find out her lieutenant likes to be dominated himself during sex would markedly lower her opinion of him. ya know? like, maybe not “deadly” lower, but he knows he’d be shuffled off to a side-fleet or be left behind to guard the base all the time instead of doing whatever it is he likes doing out and about (getting contracts? organizing spies? eliminating privateers? etc).

          • Oh man I’m loving all of these ideas. I mean one could even add the element of internalized homophobia by making tough guy a gal, or make the captain a dude. Therefore when the captain punishes his/her lieutenant (beatings/etc) they think, “Oh shit, do they get OFF when I do that?! Oh man I’m not gay/lezzie! I feel sick!”

            OR

            The female captain and the lieutenant are/were lovers and she gets jealous/feels inferior that he’d much rather be dominated by a girly boy than her. Or just that she thinks the girly boy is a better “dom” than her when that has nothing to do with it.

            Though I would definitely want the femme guy to have a big inflated ego, that gets smacked down throughout the story for a good measure.

          • wanderingaddict says:

            well with the lover or internalized homophobia thing, I guess the main question is whether you want Tough Guy to experience internal conflict towards the captain in romantic terms (and be at least mildly antagonistic in terms of former lovers), the internalized homophobia (which might then show why the like Pretty Femme if they admire the prostitute for living how they ideally would), or a third option is if Tough Guy actually looks up to and admires the captain; this would (probably) remove the beating component (unless that’s just the captain’s favorite punishment method period in which case, lawlz, yeah they probably are getting off on it) but would add the mental strife of “I’m not like the person I aspire to be oh god” sort of thing.

    • Wanda says:

      This is all I have to say to you.

      (I was thinking of doing a futuristic story about a highly introverted shut-in who has vitiligo who repairs robots, and some shady friend of his gives him a multi-million dollar sex bot to repair, and the sex bot is so realistic that the dude kinda falls for it. Also, he does see a sex worker who helps him deal with his social anxiety, and he falls for the sex worker even though the sex worker is like “oh honey, no”. IT IS SUPER SAD.)

      • I’m with you on the tragic falling in love with prostitute story! I would want the accountant falling for the macho guy to end up being super sad. The Macho guy is a nice guy but not very bright. The two of them end up forming an odd friendship, originally based in their mutual annoyance with the corrupt systems they work for.

        In my mind Macho guy introduces accountant to his girlfriend which just totally destroys the accountant. (He kinda figured but put it out of his mind, actually SEEING the two of them just dismantles him completely.) The accountant excuses himself and the girlfriend turns to macho dude like, “ARE YOU FUCKING FOR REAL? THAT GUY IS IN LOVE WITH YOU, YOU MORON! HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO HIM?!” Macho guy just totally had no idea he liked him like that. So tragic, tragic romance everywhere.

        • wanda says:

          Oh, stupid well-meaning manly dudes. You are my weakness. XD People don’t write enough of that shit. Even though I want to be all “FUCK GENDER ROLES”, part of me really likes fiery girly dudes and stupid and nice manly guys who let the girly dudes boss them around. I THINK IT MIGHT BE A KINK.

          And while my sex worker guy was not particularly manly or straight, the mc sees him in a grocery store with his boyfriend and mc is all “THIS IS NOT AWKWARD WHO SAYS IT’S AWKWARD SOOOOOOOOOB”. Cuz I love angst, forever and ever and ever. It’s kinda the same thing in my other story. Dude loves the prostitute, but she’s kinda like “ahaha, no” and loves a fellow prostitute. I think unrequited love is a big thing for me. IT’S AWESOME.

          • I’m with ya, I have a soft spot for macho guys who mean well but fall flat…Hell I think my 1st solid gay couple has pretty much evolved into fiery flamboyant guy and giant sap. GREAT MINDS THINK ALIKE?!

            Oh man that sounds heart-rending! I think people under utilize how big an emotional stir simple things can be, like spying somebody you know in a grocery store. I do enjoy angst myself, but (like bl in general) I get disenchanted cause a lot of it hinges on, “easily fixed misunderstanding cause the couple refuses to communicate cause lol that’d be awkward.

  6. RayneofCastamere says:

    Something based on sacred prostitution. You know, how like every married Sumerian woman had to sell herself once to appease I think Inanna.

    Maybe an entire temple dedicated to full-time sacred prostitutes and how the whole thing would work. Like maybe on certain days the heads of noble families or head priests had to join with the priestesses/prostitutes for fertility. I have no idea if I’m making sense.

    I just think it would be an interesting alternative take on prostitution and how it would work in a certain culture and how the priestesses/prostitutes consider themselves and are considered. You know, something the complete opposite of Teahouse’s “Oh, look at all the hot sexxors! We totes don’t needs a real plot so long as we have kawaii!” Bleh.

    • cc says:

      This sounds interesting and depending on person could very much be used for the best having your cake and eating it too.

      Though I do wonder what kind of overarching plot could be built around it that showcases all of the culture.

    • I would like more fantasy cultures where sex isn’t taboo at all. Where prominent parts of their religion and culture openly feature sex. So I like your idea of sacred prostitution.

      That instead of the lowest rung of society is filled with sex workers, instead the most spiritual and religiously revered are the sex workers. Such as, they’re needed for religious ceremonies, rights of passage, so on and so forth. I do know in ancient times masturbation was seen as helping the fertility not just of the people but of the earth, and that gay male sex was seen as DOUBLING the virility of a male by “fertilizing” him if you will. So if you want to go a BL route you can have a male sex-worker priest, where part of his job is to have gay sex with men who have just entered marriage in order to (according to their tradition) increase their chance of having children.

      You could follow the story of an individual who has worked all their lives to be able to obtain this highly honored status, but finds out its not all its cracked up to be.

  7. Jane says:

    So I’m almost a year late and stuff, but I have a slowly-growing idea of a brothel that also basically functions as a women’s shelter in a Mad Max style post-apocalyptic lawless desert. Those who can emotionally/physically handle sleeping with warriors of the waste for stuff are the prostitutes, and other people work in the kitchen, mind the children, process and catalog all the barter taken in by the prostitutes, and so on. If it’s still there in a hundred years, it’ll probably just be a town. XD

    • Jane says:

      Ooh, almost three years late, even better. :D

    • cc says:

      Follow those plot trails! With a little work it can be a neat story, just be careful of how it might be seen as a little “women are the caretakers” from an outside perspective.

      Just remember, it’s never too late to do a better story with sex workers!

      • Jane says:

        Even later still! But yeah, anybody in a caretaker role would be taking care of other women and children. No mending a brutal warlord so he’s only nice to Florence Nightingale or anything.

        • cc says:

          Well I meant it more in a “don’t pigeonhole” them.

          Redemption is not a story off limits, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to balance it and bring it across. Faps links some helpful articles to read on the tumblr side of things.

          Either way, it’s good to see you’re still working at it! Do share it when you can!

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