- Lots and lots of enjoyable sex. The most simplistic examples often portray prostitution as nothing more than having fun and getting paid for it.
- No physical stresses: sexually-transmitted diseases don't exist, or no one has a problem with using condoms, dental dams, etc. Reliable and side-effect-free birth control (or abortions) are available as well, and easily obtained without a lot of rigamarole. No one has to work when not "in the mood" or so much that it causes them physical wear and tear. Working girls and guys also have complete control over the calendar and can take time off whenever they want.
- The social stigma attached to prostitution is very mild, if it exists at all. In many cases, the sex trade is considered no worse than any other service job. Indeed, it might even be sanctioned by that society. note If and when s/he decides to pursue a different career path, their sex work won't be held against them. Nor does it hinder their chances of getting into real long-term relationships or marriages, and no one is considered Defiled Forever by having been in this career path. Sex workers are never harassed by police or the Moral Guardians. This problem especially is what has now led some countries to ban the act of paying for sex, but not prostitution. Sweden was the first country to do so in 1999, followed by Iceland and Norway in 2011, Northern Ireland in 2014 and France in 2016.
- High profits for low effort with no taxes (or at least not exorbitant ones) and no one demanding a cut (see #6).
- Safe, pleasant working conditions: no customer is ever violent or dangerous; no one is unwashed, unattractive, unsanitary, or unsavory. If the customer has a kink, it's one that the prostitute is happy to indulge, and often thoroughly enjoys themselves. No one ever has to do for money anything that s/he wouldn't do otherwise — or if s/he does, this doesn't cause any emotional problems afterward. Also, the prostitute has the option to turn down any clients s/he chooses, for any reason.
- Any middlemen (pimps or madams) are always looking out for the best interests of the prostitute and are never abusive. Or all pandering, security and other support services are dealt with by a completely worker-run and non-exploitative Band of Brothels.
- Everybody cheerfully pays whatever the sex worker's going rate is. S/he never gets (''ahem'') stiffed.
- No drug problems which might be seen as making the situation degrading. The prostitute isn't doing it to support a habit of cocaine or a similar hard drug, and it's probably best if there's no drug use by the client either.
- Most critically of all, no one is forced into the trade, either by poverty or with violence or blackmail. No one is tricked into it, either. Also, everyone is above the age of consent.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In the hentai comedy manga Spunky Knight, the exceptionally lusty female protagonist is a part time adventurer for hire, part time prostitute. She only prefers adventuring because the brothel customers aren't as exciting as those she encounters on missions. Ironically, being a prostitute actually pays the bills a LOT better even though she takes on a lot of high paying mercenary jobs. This is she has a tendency to mess up the guild's plans, whether or not she mixes business with pleasure. She once unintentionally snaps the neck of an escaped mook the guild was interrogating. She also kills or nearly kills targets like by draining a Hero Killer down to an unrecognizable husk so couldn't collect his bounty. Or she spends so much time masturbating that she is late to an exam. She's considered The Load almost only good for sex, which Torre figured out how to make work to their advantage i.e. Honey Traps and her immodest orgasms that can be heard for miles.
- Played very straight in Buck Godot: Zap Gun for Hire, where the Velvet Fist is a famous galactic corporate brothel-empire and the workers therein are, as far as we know, quite happy with their jobs.
- Finder: Vary, a high-class prostitute and anthropology student. Her job has its stresses, and she's more complex than the usual example of this trope, but she's still mostly fulfilled and happy in her career. It's clear that nastier forms of prostitution do exist in the Finder universe, however.
- Jill: Part-time Lover covers all of the above criteria to a tee as the title character's Establishing Character Moment is waking up in a gangbang with three Latin Lovers she brought home last night and admitting she's a "horny nut and nuts about fucking" while feeling like she's practically getting away with murder with how much fun she's having, it's an STD Immunity world with only an offhand mention of putting in her diaphragm otherwise she takes her clients completely raw whenever she wants, her clients both respect her staying on the DL and would be even more fucked if word got out given these are uppercrust executives and the like, she's self-employed, makes a minimum of thousands per call where only half of her first client's payment as merely a sex-free incentive would've covered her rent and then some with her rich clients doing the networking for her by word-of-mouth to other rich guys and the closest thing to a truly bad customer is one that hurt her in a slapstick way before she left him and his blue balled brother for some nearby Scary Black Men that she had a free orgy with involving friend, Jaliera Dane.
- Red Ears: There's a comic where a High-Class Call Girl brings a john to her apartment, who is amazed by her collection of classical paintings, academic literature, and refined taste in music. He asks her why a beautiful, intelligent, educated young woman like herself became a prostitute. Her response: "I guess I was just lucky."
- The Kantai Collection doujin "Glasses That Show the Number of Sexual Partners of Ship Girls" makes Akitsu Maru into a veteran army prostitutenote who refers to herself as a "comfort woman" and loved serving with the soldiers.
- This is Played With in Fullmetal Alchemist fanfic Beautiful Fiction's Babylon the Riders brothel. The brothel is very upper class with the motherly madame looking out her workers and most of the workers do seem happy but she met Edward when a john tried to rough her up in order to get a refund and a girl left because she felt stifled on the brothel's set prices.
- Numerous My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic apply this to the Emotion Eating Changelings in order to give them an, erm, less invasive means of acquiring their food.
- The American, where the main character starts dating a woman that he's been buying sex from and after barely interacting with her apart from that. There doesn't even seem to be any problem with the line between work and personal relationships here.
- Deconstructing Harry has Cookie Williams, a hired professional who seems at peace with her choice ("beats waitressing") and overall well-adjusted.
- In Pretty Woman, a hooker (played by Julia Roberts) is picked up by a millionaire (played by Richard Gere) and they fall in love. Julia's character is a good person (although she does have some emotional baggage, it's not related to her work) and, over the course of the week he hired her for, completely turns around the millionaire's way of dealing with the world through her sheer goodness and sweetness. Although this is a change he wanted to do for as long as he can remember - what she gave him is emotional support rather than insights. His business partner doesn't care either way about her, until she gets in his way; then he calls her a dirty whore and tries to rape her.
- The original script was a huge deconstruction of it. To start off with Julia Roberts character was heavily addicted to cocaine and emotionally unstable, and the movie ends with the millionaire throwing her out of his limo, tossing the cash at her and driving off. She then dies of a cocaine overdose brought on by a mental breakdown. Some real prostitutes blame the final glamorized version for making them feel it was an okay profession to take up, and ruining their lives in doing so.
- Sin City: While the violence and drugs are present, the girls have banded together so there are no pimps and violent customers are quickly disposed of without police interference. However, they are constantly threatened by the organized crime families.
- In Mammoth Selling sex and "girlfriend experience" to silly white guys comes across as emotionally stressful or maybe even draining... But it still comes across as far less awful than the alternatives presented. Try being a night-shift doctor, not getting enough sleep and spending your nights watching children die without being able to save them. Or try being a nanny, hearing on the phone how your own children's lives are spiraling into hell while you are busy taking care of another woman's child... a rich woman who is jealous of you, frightened that her daughter may love you more than she loves her.
- In Trading Places, Jamie Lee Curtis plays a prostitute who gives a short rundown of the reasons why it's a safe and profitable venture for her.
- Moulin Rouge! is a deconstructed version. Satine appears to be this trope, reveling in the fortune and fame of being the nightclub/brothel's star attraction, but in reality it's more of a Gilded Cage for her. As the film goes on, we see how little control over her life she actually has.
- Dangerous Beauty portrays high class 16th Century Venetian prostitution in a glowing light. There's a scene where lower class prostitutes are shown to be in desperate shape, but for the most part, prostitution is looked upon as a way to empower intelligent women, allowing them to interact with wealthy men on their own terms (of course, the film totally overlooks the fact that its main character had, in the Real Life story this movie was based on, six kids with her high class lover. Oh, and also, the earliest, most virulent form of syphilis was raging through Italy at the time, making prostitution a dangerous gamble). However, the main character cautions a friend who thinks her daughter becoming a courtesan is a good way to get an education and independence against romanticizing this, as it's easy for courtesans to fall from grace into the dire straits of street prostitution.
- Memoirs of a Geisha averts this trope most of time. It is stressed that geishas are not prostitutes nor courtesans (although they have their own problems and miseries), and the protagonist's sister, who is sold as a slave prostitute, lives a very different and miserable life until she manages to escape. Despite all those statements and implications, it is portrayed as an absolutely normal and mundane thing that the protagonist sells her virginity to the highest bidder. The way it is done is especially shocking: her mentor makes her give wealthy men a special gift that means they are invited to make an offer for her maidenhood, without her even knowing the symbolic value of the gift. When she is told the meaning of her acts she is neither shocked nor angry for getting manipulated, and the selling of her virginity itself apparently has zero consequence on her mind or her relationships with anyone. The film focuses much more on the relationships and rivalries between geishas and puts a lot of emotional weight and drama in these issues, but it seems getting pushed into prostitution by your mentor without anyone asking for your consent or even informing you is just a normal and boring thing.
- Many Russian books and films of the Perestroika era had a strong tendency towards this when they dealt with the topic. A common figure was the "currency prostitute" (i.e. a High-Class Call Girl who works at a foreign tourism hotel and receives her payments in foreign currencies) eventually finding her Prince Charming who marries her and takes her away to his wealthy homeland. Most prominent example was the 1989 film Intergirl (Интердевочка) which, despite actually being a Deconstruction of this trope, popularized prostitution to the extent that in the following years, 35-40% of female high-school students cited it as their dream job. Meanwhile, in the Russian Nineties, the gap between trope and reality was much, much wider than in the West.
- In King Of Hearts, the inmates of an abandoned insane asylum find their way into a deserted village in World War I France, and set up business there, including a bordello that feels like a pleasant social club.
- In Guilty Of Romance, this trope is an opinion of the character Mitsuko, a prostitute who thinks that by demanding money for sexual intercourse a woman recognizes the value of her body.
- The Cheyenne Social Club: The girls of the Cheyenne Social Club seem to like nothing better than hanging out in corsets and servicing whoever shows up; they are all mortally offended when John says he's shutting down the business. The men of the town, who hold the sex workers in high regard and imagine the brothel to be a public institution, are outraged as well. (The women of Cheyenne, not so much.) The Social Club's special place in town is confirmed when John learns that the railroad actually owns the facility, and he will lose it if he converts the building into a boarding house.
- This trope is later averted, however, when Jenny gets beaten up by Corey Bannister.
- Spider Robinson's 'Lady Callahan' (Callahan's Lady/Lady Slings the Booze) books. She runs a "house of healthy repute" where both the staff and the clients have a good time. It's noted that this is far from the norm. Lady Sally's place is special.
- Used reasonably straight in Mercedes Lackey's Bardic Voices by "Amber's," a house of High Class Call Girls where Rune spends some time working as a musician. None of the girls mind what they do, and Amber, the madam of the establishment, is a kind and lovely woman who looks out for all of her employees like a mother (the books do at least acknowledge that places like Amber's are not the norm).
- Xaviera Hollander, called her autobiography The Happy Hooker: My Own Story.
- Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love. In the far future on the planet Secundus, prostitutes are considered as artists who are looked up to. They don't just provide sex, but emotional comfort as well.
- The Dresden Files both subverts and plays the trope straight. The first Velvet Room, Chicago's chief brothel, is run by the Red Court of Vampires (flabby, disgusting bat monsters with narcotic drool that can put on a 'Flesh Mask' to look like the Vampires Are Sex Gods are concept) subverts this trope - the girls are hinted to be controlled by addiction to the narcotic saliva, they get fed on by the brothel's vampire Madame, Bianca St. Claire, who kills at least one when she loses control. She's also implied to recruit quite forcefully, with Thomas Raith relating that she hates him because she wanted his drop dead gorgeous girlfriend Justine to be one of her 'girls'. After Bianca, who blames Dresden for provoking her and 'making' her kill her favourite prostitute/lover, makes an enemy of Dresden and gets burned to ash along with the rest of the Velvet Room, the city's resident Noble Demon crime lord Gentleman John Marcone sets up the new Velvet Room, effectively disguised as a gym/health club about which this trope is discussed: Sergeant Murphy remarks that the girls in places like this are usually well paid, given/required to have medical tests on a regular basis, and volunteers not coerced or controlled by drugs or violence - all of which fits very much Marcone's habits of being good to his employees and savage in his retribution towards those who harm them. So, aside from token gestures, the cops don't generally do anything because they have bigger problems. However, it is clear that this is not the norm outside of Marcone's control.
- Fanny Hill, a novel by John Cleland, was all about this. Of course, it was an openly pornographic book, and most people do not especially like reading about explicit rape, so this may be a justified trope.
- Paulo Coelho's Eleven Minutes. The protagonist (and her fellow hookers) is perfectly happy being a prostitute out of her own will, the only drawback to the job being that she's unable to achieve a proper orgasm.
- Used with Rosa in Much Fall of Blood, an army Camp Follower.
"Some of them have lost everything and had nothing else to sell. Some who want money. Some, like Rosa, who are too wild to keep to one man."
- In Discworld:
- The Seamstresses Guild (hem hem) of Ankh-Morpork takes very good care of its members. Any client who causes trouble will have to answer to the Watch if they're lucky, or the Agony Aunts, Dotsie and Sadie, if they're unlucky.
- As shown in Monstrous Regiment, this is far from the norm outside Ankh-Morpork: the good Sergeant in that book relates that usually, he goes in and gives the poor girls a chance to rest, as their jobs are long, hard, and often thankless, even in a house of ill repute.
- Many of Anne McCaffrey's series feature organized sex workers who are, at worst, seen on about the same level as modern Western society would see a stripper. In particular, in Damia young Afra has a relationship with a "companion" who openly hoped to be more to him.
- Zig-zagged in Kushiel's Legacy series. Justified in that the d'Angeline Servants of Naamah are Church-affiliated High Class Call Girls and boys in a country with "Love As Thou Wilt" as its main creed and no stigma against prostitution, so they're quite well-regarded and can attain positions of high rank. However, they're Indentured to brothels as children and obligated to work off the debt, which can be nigh-impossible if they fall short of the brothel's standards of beauty; and Phedre campaigns against the element of debt bondage in later books.
- The Companions in Fiona Patton's Tales of the Branion Realm series. In fairness, they are really courtesans rather than regular prostitutes, are organized into a guild, are generally under contract to the nobility and basically use their roles as kept lovers of said nobility to manipulate the politics of the realm. Although this is frowned upon, quite a few of them end up in loving relationships with their clients, who in turn just keep renewing their contracts so they can basically live as couples.
- Most of the prostitutes/courtesans from the Street of Lights in Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series. With a generally upscale clientele, a society with open attitudes about sexuality and access to healing magic things are generally pretty good for them. However, regular prostitutes, mainly patronized by the lower classes, also exist and do not have it anywhere near so well.
- In the Vorkosigan Saga sex therapists are a respectable profession on socially liberal and technologically advanced Beta Colony.
- The ladies of the night in the city of Camorr in the Gentleman Bastard sequence started an actual gang war with the men in order to earn the right to run their own jobs. Even Capa Barsavi doesn't want to mess with the hookers' union.
- Fortunato's "geishas" in the Wild Cards series. High-class call girls who received higher education as part of their training to become ideal fantasy women. In addition to making a lot of money, most of them had advanced degrees and extensive contacts in upper-class society by the time they were too old to continue in the business.
- Dirigent Mercenary Corps: One of Lon Nolan's fellow officer cadets in the first book is engaged to a prostitute at a brothel, and recommends her to all his friends. The implication is that on Dirigent it's a legal, regulated profession. Lon still isn't comfortable with it, although it's more having a hangup about sleeping with another man's fiancee.
- In Vampire Academy, Ambrose, the male blood whore, tends to sleep with women old enough to be his mother or grandmother. He still believes he has a great job.
- Misty Carpenter in The Identity Matrix simply loves being a a prostitute and a stripper, as she's both a nymphomaniac and an Attention Whore in all senses of that term. But this is not considered normal within the setting — it's the result of a Government Conspiracy deliberately messing with her mind and giving a formerly depressed, introverted person the life of constant attention and sex she always craved as a form of self-reinforcing Stockholm Syndrome. It's implied that her environment (a high-class legal bordello in Nevada) is an intentionally Disneyfied establishment used just for this purpose.
- Both played more or less straight and subverted in Karen Memory. The title/Po V character works at the Hotel Mon Cherie (sic), a bordello run by a madam who truly cares about her girls and where most of the unsavory men in town are priced out of the clientele. However, even there not all of said girls are of age (Karen herself is 17; another girl, Bea, is younger) and it's uncertain whether they enjoy their work- Karen, a lesbian, gets no sexual gratification out of it and would rather be training horses. In an accurate reflection of the broad spectrum of sex work in The Wild West, it's made plain that the Hotel is far from the norm. Karen's eventual girlfriend Priya and her sister Aashini were forced into sex work by the man who paid their passage from India- and who owns a dockside crib of mostly Chinese and Indian girls, drugged or beaten into submission. For an extra Steampunk twist of skeeviness, he also has a Mind-Control Device that he uses with impunity on anyone and everyone who tries to oppose him.
- Explored in great depth in The Comfortable Courtesan. Clorinda Cathcart, a very high-class prostitute in early-nineteenth-century London, is entirely happy to be a prostitute, but a major subject of the story is the amount of effort and intelligence that it takes her to keep things positive for herself, and she still sometimes fails to escape some of the hazards of the lifestyle. There are also other characters for whom things don't go so well.
Live Action TV
- Two and a Half Men: To the point where Alan's attempts at being respectful to a hooker was Played for Laughs. The joke being, mostly, that Alan overthinks the whole situation because he's hopelessly neurotic.
- Firefly shows two extreme ends of the spectrum of prositution:
- The Companions Guild, whose members are among the Alliance's upper class, can wield a fair amount of influence with their favored clients. It is also Guild law that a Companion chooses her clients, and they are paid very well for what they do. Companions get regular health screenings and have systems in place to blacklist clients who don't treat them with respect. One such Companion, Inara, is considered to be the most respectable of Serenity's crew (above the on-board reverend, even), and the only one who makes a completely "honest" living. She is shown to enjoy most aspects of her work, but at the same time her lifestyle causes some degree of friction. One of her clients snubs her when she politely refuses to settle down with him (and it is implied that this happens a lot) and another calls her a "whore" when he loses his temper with her (and she subsequently blacklists him from the client registry). Companions are also more than simply prostitutes, and are shown providing counsel and psychological help with their clients.
- "Heart Of Gold" shows the other side, with a decrepit brothel run by Nandi, a former Companion, where the girls are explicitly not Companions. Their harsh lives make a big contrast against the good companion life. Nandi also remarks that it used to be much worse, with many of the girls being abused drug addicts, until she killed the brothel's previous owner and seized control.
- Dollhouse encompasses most versions with how their prostitute dolls don't mind it at the time and don't remember it later. They are very well-paid in flat-rate service, their pimp tends to protect them, and they don't even know they're being prostituted, genuinely believing that they are in love during the encounter. Later though things aren't so glamorous.
- Secret Diary of a Call Girl has frequently been accused of this. The protagonist loves her job, and when it causes her problems, it's usually depicted as being due to anti-prostitution prudes unjustly condemning or pitying her.
- That Mitchell and Webb Look parodies this trope (and more specifically Secret Diary of a Call Girl) using the recurring scriptwriters who never, ever do any research. Their show "My Shags as a Whore" is about a prostitute who outright states that "being a prostitute is brilliant!"
Who wants to be a doctor or a lawyer when you can be a prostitute like me? A proper one I mean, not one of those grim ones, a nice, pretty, clean one, which in reality, most of us are.
- Wild West Tech: One episode harshly deconstructs this trope.
- In the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Republic of Murdoch", it turns out George's "aunts" are a group of prostitutes who George's adopted father, a Good Shepherd minister, encouraged to form a Band of Brothels. Having observed their business (and possibly having compared it to prostitution in the back streets of Toronto), Murdoch concludes that the reverend was a very wise man.
- The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
- In the musical Tenderloin, the prostitutes have only one thing to be unhappy about: reformers trying to close their Red Light District down. They do have corrupt police to pay off, but that's just a cost of doing business.
- Sweet Charity: While Charity is a taxi dancer rather than 'officially' being a prostitute, this trope is still played with; it's not presented as a bad life, although she hopes for something better. Her problem, according to one of the other girls, is that she falls in love too easily.
Nickie: "You run your heart like a hotel — you've always got people checking in and checking out".
- In George Bernard Shaw's play Mrs. Warren's Profession, Mrs. Warren defends having sold herself to men as having been at least better paying and less damaging to the health than other supposedly respectable occupations for women.
- La Traviata is a deconstruction similar to Moulin Rouge!, which owes a lot of inspiration to it. The audience's first impression of Violetta is of a lively, cheerfully cynical party girl who revels in the luxury and "freedom" of her life. But we soon learn just how lonely and unhappy she really is. Ultimately, all she wants is a quiet life in the country with a man who really loves her... but she can't have that, because society views her as Defiled Forever and won't allow it.
- Dragon Age: Origins, which comments on just about any other aspect of Thedas society, doesn't use the brothels for anything but throwaway sexual adventures for the player and sources for information about missing people (because everyone seems to frequent them).
- Mostly avoided in Fallout 2, in which many prostitutes are Jet addicts, and some in New Reno are actually chattel slaves. Played straight in the case of the Cat's Paw, which seems to be a brothel of clean, consenting, prostitutes who take professional pride in their skills.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, the prostitutes working for Pretty Sarah are fairly content with their position, particularly since they consider it safer than working for the Omertas, who would control them through drugs and are not above raping them or handing them over to dangerous customers who can pay for the damages.
- In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, you can convince a maid to give up her terrible job for a glamorous career as a brothel prostitute. You can visit her later at the brothel, where she is ecstatic about her new job and even gives you a freebie as thanks. One has to wonder exactly what her old job required of her...
- Dorothy Haze from VA11HALLA. She's a Lilim prostitute with an earnest enjoyment of her work and the body of a 7-10-year-old (Lilim are built young but can earn a free upgrade to an older body after passing three 'maturity tests.' Dorothy never opt-in for the upgrade.) As you can guess, this gives Dorothy a bit of an advantage, in her line of work.
- In Drowtales, the "Guild of Flowers" has a permanent seat on the city council and is hosting this year's carnival-style parade. Considering drow culture's comfortable attitude towards sexuality and multiple partners, this is perfectly justified.
- One such hooker appears in City of Reality. Justified by the setting itself.
- A complaint levied against Teahouse by its detractors. While it's true that none of the characters have it easy, sources of drama include social differences, messy politics, and at least two unhappy marriages (among many, many others). True, all are tangentially related to the titular brothel, yet the more typical problems that real-life prostitutes would face haven't come up yet.
- Discussed (and ultimately averted) in the Zinnia Jones episode "Overstating the case for full decriminalization of prostitution".
- Several different Chakona Space stories mention licensed brothels. Some page time is devoted to the fact that some of the "employees" at these establishments are former sex slaves who are now getting paid to do what they were genetically engineered and psychologically conditioned for. Page time is also given to speculation on the happiness of said former sex slaves.
- The Oldest Profession may be older even than humanity, as it appears to emerge in the presence of money. An article in Cracked (6 Things You Won't Believe Animals Do Just Like Us) describes several experiments in which researchers introduced money to communities of monkeys. In one, a female monkey ended up trading sex for money so she could buy some grapes.
- Cracked also had an article titled "No Fat Tourists: 5 Facts of Life You Learn as a Prostitute in Vietnam" that painted the life of a prostitute in a ridiculously rosy way. According to the article, prostitution was just a nice way for the author to earn some pocket cash, had no social stigma among the locals, she was kept safe by both the police and her "street caller" (pimp), and in fact it enriched her life because it taught her English. The whole thing is criticized as glorifying Sex Tourism and reads like it was written by a Vietnamese tourism board.