Economics of the Mustang Ranch

Stephen Fry’s television tour of America took him to the Mustang Ranch in Nevada. As a legal brothel in the US, Fry’s interview revealed the nature of the economic transactions entered into – almost any discussion seems to have a double meaning, but let me proceed.

The Ranch is privately owned and managed providing the infrastructure for the services provided. The girls are independent operators who do business with the clients that visit the Ranch. They make their own deals and give a percentage of the transaction to the Ranch owners.

The related activities are closely regulated by the State of Nevada. For example, each week the girls must have a medical check for AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. The health of clients is also checked as explained below.

Each client passes through a series of stages. On entry, there is a room where the available girls are presented and the client makes a choice or if not satisfied is directed to the bar. Assuming a choice is made, the girl escorts the client to an office where the deal is discussed and priced – the house has no involvement in the details of the transaction except that it takes a percentage of the price. At this point a DC is undertaken, known as a Dick Check or inspection of the client’s genitalia by the girl. This is to ensure (as far as possible) that the client is not suffering from any disease that can be sexually transmitted. How a layperson can ensure this from a short examination is unclear to me, but the client is required to use a condom as well as having the DC, even for oral sex.

From the office the two proceed to an elaborate bedroom each of which has a particular theme and is provided by the Ranch owners as is its maintenance. The foregoing provides the basics of this brand of whorehouse economics. There are many variations that occur. Further detail is available on the Web where clients recount their experiences, some favourable, some less favourable, from their visits. The information provided is similar to that for a book, movie or restaurant. A legal whorehouse has similarities to other businesses and so it is not surprising that there is both advertising and client reporting.

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