Prostitution Not Just for Women: Nevada Brothel Cleared to Hire Men

VIDEO: A number of unemployed men have applied for work at a Nevada brothel.

The oldest profession in the world just got a little more inclusive.

A small Nevada brothel is taking pride in becoming the first to put legal male prostitutes on the payroll, a move some say could fall flat but others think could re-energize the state's sagging prostitution industry.

The Shady Lady Ranch, located about a two-and-a-half hour's drive from Las Vegas, won the right from a county commission this week to hire men. The ruling cemented proprietor Bobbi Davis' sentiments that prostitution regulations were outdated and discriminatory.

VIDEO: A number of unemployed men have applied for work at a Nevada brothel.
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When the economy affected her business, Davis said she figured she'd be the one to lead the fight for change.

"With the economy the way it is, why don't we try it on a small scale and see how it works out," she told ABCNews.com.

Davis said there is demand for male prostitutes, adding that she's gotten "a lot of requests" both from women and couples "who want to add another person to the mix."

"Sometimes they want a woman," she said. "Sometimes they want both."

Prostitution is largely governed at the local level in Nevada with prostitutes required to get work cards from the sheriffs where brothels are allowed to operate. Brothels are, by law, not allowed in counties with populations over 400,000.

But state health regulations have effectively banned male prostitution in the past by requiring regular cervical exams for anyone working as a prostitute. A brothel who hired a man faced state fines and revocation of its license, Davis said, because men do not have cervixes and are not physically capable of meeting the state's health requirements.

In late November the state granted a one-time waiver to the Shady Lady Ranch that would require regular urethral examinations for male employees in place of cervical exams. The waiver also required male prostitutes to wear a condom, as is required for male patrons.

Nevada's brothel industry has been AIDS-free since the mid-1980s, and the Shady Lady Ranch has not had one case of an STD in its entire 17 years, Davis said.

Davis, who oversees weekly exams and monthly HIV tests, assured Nye County officials that she doesn't intend to break that streak when she hires men.

But George Flint, a lobbyist and director of the Nevada Brothel Association, said the urethra waiver doesn't cover the industry in terms of diseases.

"The brothel owners statewide are only reluctantly supportive of this," he told ABCNews.com.

Critics of Male Prostitutes Concerned With Disease, Social Acceptability

Flint insisted that male clients visiting female prostitutes undergo a physical examination to ensure they are free of disease, including checking the foreskin and pubic hair. Flint said he's proposed to the Department of Health similar measures for female clients, including checking their genitals for lesions, before they patronize a male prostitute.

"They are intimate," he said of his proposals.

The few women he's run them past haven't been enthusiastic.

"You know what their reaction has been? 'Oh, it's too intimate, count me out,'" he said.

Nevada State Health officer Tracey Greene said said such examinations typically exist in practice, but are not required by state regulation.

Flint said he and other owners are also nervous that the headlines generated by the Shady Lady Ranch will rock the boat in a state that has generally been tolerant of something that makes legislators in most other states squeamish.

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