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What Music Do Sex Workers Like?

We went to a brothel and found out.
March 3, 2015, 5:00pm

All photos by the author

Just six miles outside Nevada’s capital, on the same stretch of highway filled with fast-food chains and gas stations, my phone tells me America’s most famous brothel is just ahead. It was hard to imagine the Moonlite BunnyRanch being tucked away in such an innocuous area, but I was clearly near the cathouse—moments ago I’d passed a Sonic Drive-In and now I was on a road pockmarked with traffic signs reading “Speed Limit 69” and “Gift Shop: No Sex Required.”

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Once inside, it’s more or less the surreal atmosphere you’d expect after watching its HBO reality series, Cathouse. There’s a revolving stable of lingerie-clad women, stripper poles, and the feeling that you’ve stumbled into a party where you’re sure you’ll get laid; meanwhile, brothel emperor Dennis Hof is having a tea party with the girls in front of the fireplace (this was actually a business meeting, but with fancy china and finger cakes).

But in between parties, Moonlite functions not unlike a hyper-sexualized sorority house: the girls chill in their bedrooms, watch movies, play video games, and kill time online. It was during these downtimes I was able to chat with some of the girls about their music tastes, bizarre client requests, and fucking to trap music.

Continued below:

Noisey: What kind of music are you into?
Willow: I like R&B and hip-hop.
Aubree Rae: I love everything. I listen to a lot of hip-hop, reggae, trap and dubstep.

Do you listen to different music with clients?
AR: Music sets the tone for me in the room. I have a couple stations for different types of clients. Like, for certain people I use my Lana Del Rey station, which is more soothing, girly, and sexy. Or Sade. Or I put on The Weeknd and it gets all nasty. Some guys will come in and be like, “Can you put on some trap music so I can get freaky?” I’m like, “You wanna fuck to this?”
W: One of the first questions I ask people after we settle on the price is, “What kind of music do you wanna listen to?” If they say, “I like everything” I put on classic rock. It’s good background noise because it doesn’t take over your party. It kills the silence without you having to think about what’s being [sung]. If I put on a hip-hop station, sometimes a song will come on and I’m like, “Oh, I’m so embarrassed!”

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Ever get any weird music requests?
AR: Someone wanted to fuck to Wiz Khalifa one time and I was like, “Really, Wiz though?”

Right. You smoke to Wiz, but—
AR: He didn’t smoke weed, and that’s why it was kind of weird that it turned [him] on! But everyone has a preference.
W: I’ve had people come in with their own playlists on their phone, or they’ve written it down. They plan the party beginning to end. You know, you might start out slow-dancing and then, “Oh, we’re gonna get undressed to this song and when we get into it, it’s gonna be this song!” I had a guy come here from the East Coast, he brought a boombox with a stack of CDs. Literally. He carried that thing on the plane with him.

Ever had someone request no music at all?
W: I have. Those are the same people that like the lights turned all the way up. Awkward.

Noisey: What kind of music are you into?
Amy Page: I still listen to the same bands as when I was in high school. My favorite bands are Radiohead, Coldplay, Ani DiFranco, Nine Inch Nails, and Muse. I really like Taylor Swift when I’m getting ready and I need a pick-me-up.

What part does music play in your typical workday?
I definitely put on music during parties, unless a client likes to hear [only] me. It helps me get into a rhythm. It gives me motivation if I’m on top, or whatever.

So what’s your go-to music with a client?
What I listen to in my personal life is definitely different than what I might put on in a party. I put on a lot of Lana Del Rey or Lorde—a lot of soothing, seductive music. I like to put on a lot of soundtracks. I was doing the Warm Bodies soundtrack for a while, [also] The Hunger Games and American Hustle.

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Does what you play depend on what they choose from the menu?
I guess so. If they want to make love, you’d want something a little slower. If they want the porn star experience, then you want something more upbeat. Music completely changes the environment and the whole situation. What’s so cool is if you put on Pandora, it’s almost like the universe knows what’s happening and it automatically plays music that’s perfect for that moment. It just feels like the music is actually following your situation, instead of vice versa.

Noisey: What kind of music are you into?
Abby May: Well, when I’m at home I usually listen to country. But I listen to a lot of R&B. I like Bruno Mars, Adele, Amy Winehouse, and Ani DiFranco.
Randy Ryder: I’m the same way. When I’m at home I listen to country, cause I’m from Kansas City and I grew up on country.

So you listen to different music here?
RR: Kind of, because of our clients. You don’t want to play something that’ll scare them off.
AM: In my parties, I listen to a lot of classic rock on Pandora. My clients really seem to like that.

Do you ever get requests?
AM: Sometimes guys can be so adamant on what music has to play during their party. I have this one regular who always requests Fionna Apple. Every single time, he’ll come in for a two-hour party and if Fionna Apple goes off, he stops and I have to get up and repeat the CD. He does not work adequately if it’s not playing for whatever reason.
RR: I had a party where a guy requested The Doors.
AM: I’ve done parties where we’ve done all theme music—like Batman, Superman and [Super Mario Bros.]. They were like, “Why are you charging me so much?” I’m like, “I spent an hour trying to find your stupid music.” [Laughs]

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So you charged them for that?
AM: Yeah, because I had to buy music off iTunes, put it in a playlist, and correspond with them several times, like: “Does this song work?” “No, I don’t want Mega Man, I want Mario!”
RR: Mega Man is cool. I used to play Mega Man.
AM: But I have to play music at every party. I don’t care if they sing the ABC’s, I just want something.
RR: It’s super awkward if there’s no music.

Does anyone ever request that?
RR: I’ve had people request I turn off my porn so they can hear my noises.

Was the porn for you or—
RR: I like it to be on in the background all the time.
AM: It takes some of the pressure off.

What music do you play for older clients?
AM: A lot of older men like jazz.
RR: I can’t do jazz.
AM: I don’t mind jazz. I have one guy who comes in just because I’ll play jazz for him. But you know what’s great about music? Songs are generally the same length. So you can count out how many songs have played so far, like, “Oh, I’ve got two more songs left!”
RR: You need to time your parties that way. [Someone] used to make all the [BunnyRanch] girls a playlist, and after a certain song you’d know, “OK, I have this amount of time to clean up or get everything done.”
AM: I feel like I don’t really listen to the songs sometimes, but I can always tell you how many have already played.

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