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Platonic Prostitution

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Tommy: How can I fulfill your fantasy?
Sheila: Go paint my house.

Suppose you have a Hooker with a Heart of Gold. She's probably had a world's worth of men, ranging from unsavory to less savory. But sometimes, either to her relief or to her profound annoyance, she meets one of these.

These men — and they're almost always men — visit prostitutes not to have sex with them, as one would expect, but for some other purpose. Perhaps he's religious and trying to reform her. Perhaps she's too young for the business and he wants to get her out of it. Perhaps he just wants conversation and can't think of another way to get it, or he wants his friends to think he's more promiscuous than he really is. Perhaps he wants information concerning one of her clients. Perhaps he's Transgender or a Sweet Polly Oliver, and doesn't want her to discover this. Perhaps he needs a grunt for something and figures, "If you'll have sex for money, there's not a lot you won't do for money." Perhaps he's a widower who misses the warmth of a woman sleeping next to him. If other characters find out, they will rarely believe that he's not in it for the sex.

This is Truth in Television — in real life, surprisingly common and known as "emotion work." In Japan there exists an industry called "hostess clubs" where they pay for conversation rather than for sex. See also Enjo Kosai.

May be a consequence of the customer being asked Need a Hand, or a Handjob?.

Shady Lady of the Night is a closely related trope, where sex may or may not be involved, just usually not with the original commissioner (if there is one).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kenji does this in 20th Century Boys in order to gain access to Professor Shikijima's daughter.
  • In Blade of the Immortal, Magatsu hides out at a brothel occasionally, since he's a wanted man, and befriends one of the girls there. However, while he does share a bed with her, he refuses to touch her out of respect, even though O-Ren makes it clear she loves him and wants them to have sex.
  • In the Doll manga, one of the main characters owns a sophisticated male robot designed for sex, but refuses the robot when it comes onto him, much to the robot's confusion (turns out he has bigger plans for him).
  • In one of the side stories written for Emma: A Victorian Romance, a prostitute propositions the lonely-looking young opera singer protagonist at the pub. He spends a pleasant evening with her — by buying her dinner and having a nice chat.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Everybody just chalks Colonel Roy Mustang's frequent visits to Madame Christmas's place up to Handsome Lechery. They are wrong, he's actually nice inside. The proprietor is his aunt and adoptive mother, and he uses the girls as an information network.
  • Near the end of Full Metal Panic!: The Second Raid, Sōsuke is approached by a prostitute who looks almost exactly like Kaname. Since he's deep in the throes of a Heroic BSoD, he lets her pick him up as a client, but he's only really interested in talking through some of what's on his mind. When she tries to initiate sex with him, he freaks out and leaves.
  • Gintoki in Gintama is maneuvered into this situation with Tsukuyo. (To make a long story short, he was promised free drinks.) Tsukuyo assumes that she's supposed to sleep with him to pay him for saving Yoshiwara. Gintoki is appalled at the suggestion. It would have been a nice, friendly evening after that except for Tsukuyo's alcohol intolerance and subsequent violent behaviour.
  • In Ino-Head Gargoyle, when Saejima's feeling really depressed, he calls up his regular, the "Little Grey Alien", just to hug and comfort him.
  • In an episode of Samurai Champloo, The Stoic Jin falls for a girl when he sees her standing on a bridge and discourages her from jumping (characteristically enough, he does this by informing her that the water is too shallow and the drop too short — she'd most likely just wind up breaking a leg). He later finds out that she was contemplating suicide because she'd been sold to a whorehouse to cover her husband's gambling debts, and after shaking down Mugen for cash, he buys his way in to see her — in order to try and convince her to leave her husband and run away. They eventually do end up having sex, but only after it becomes clear that she's fallen for him as well.
  • Ichimatsu from Samurai Gun is one of these. To the frustration of the lady, since she's in love with him and would actually like to sleep with him, especially after he rescues her from the whorehouse and gets her a proper job.
  • Happens in Texhnolyze when Yoshii gets a prostitute who starts acting like a Dominatrix, he stops her and tells her he just wants to talk. We soon find out he killed her after getting information.
  • X1999: Seiichirou Aoki met Karen Kasumi during her workshift. Rather than asking for erotic service, he interviews her. They become good friends afterwards. At the end of the anime, Seiichirou visits Karen's grave together with his family.

    Comic Books 
  • Knights of the Dinner Table: Chad had a girlfriend whom he hadn't told about his roleplaying hobby out of fear of ridicule. But when Patty and the other members of his groups harp on him about telling her the truth, he finally relents and offers to invite her to a game. Instead, he hires an escort for an hour to show up and pretend that she's his girlfriend. Turns out that Trish loves roleplaying games and lets him have an extra forty-five minutes free before she gets called away. After she leaves, though, Patty lets Chad have it, having seen right through the charade (for one thing, her hair was the wrong color). In a follow-up strip, Tank ends up spending over two hundred dollars to have Trish on a date and play Battleship for a few hours.
  • The Punisher: While spying on a target in The Punisher: Welcome Back, Frank story arc, The Punisher paid a prostitute two hundred dollars to eat lunch with him at the restaurant and forget the entire thing — he would have been too obvious if he had been there alone.
  • Quino: Done twice in the Pocket Men collection. A man, unhappy with his wife, approaches a hooker to take home, only to be revealed that he wants someone to taste his wife's Lethal Chef concoctions. Another strip has a man approached by a streetwalker, thinking about his loving wife, realizing his wife loves to chat, and bringing the hooker home to have a conversation with her while he enjoys some sleep.
  • Red Ears:
    • Parodied. A hooker is approached by an unknowing John in a bar and gives him an offer of "anything he wants" if he can express it in three words only. He ponders for a moment before replying "paint my house".
    • Another strip had an insomniac hire a streetwalker to read him a bed-time story. She obliges, but is rather nonplussed.
    • One strip featured a truck driver paying a ridiculous sum at the local brothel for "the ugliest prostitute you have, wearing a bathrobe, no make-up and flip-flops, calling me an asshole while I eat a grilled cheese sandwich and drink beer in front of the TV". No sex. The woman he hired is naturally curious what's up, so he admits that he's just homesick.
  • Road to Perdition: One story has Michael O'Sullivan visiting an underage prostitute named Juana who he wants information from concerning his nemesis Connor Looney. For obvious reasons, he doesn't do anything with her, but instead gets the information that he needs from her and leaves her with enough money to leave if she wants to.
  • Transmetropolitan: The series has a rather strange but heartbreaking example. Spider solicits two young boys who are prostituting themselves on the street, paying them with food for an interview about their "business". The heartbreaking part comes in when one of the boys asks if they can go to a restaurant that has toys.
    "You forget they're just kids."

    Fan Works 
  • "Batteries" implies Satsuki did something like this, as Shiro mentioned that, while she worked in a Red Light District, she didn't "sleep around or take off her clothes".
  • In the Blood Bond, Blood Omen Series, one of Kim's previous incarnations would hire prostitutes to enhance her Sweet Polly Oliver disguise, then just sit with them for a while. The prostitutes were used to dealing with shy young boys trying to prove something (which she appeared to be), so they didn't mind, and few figured out what was really going on. In the modern era, Justine Flanner is fleeing from a secret base that was destroyed by an Unshaper attack, and ends up taking shelter in a Nevada brothel.
  • Cheating Death: Those That Lived: A variant occasionally occurs when Finnick gets pumped out. A very, very small number of the people who purchase him from Snow merely want to be seen in his presence and kiss him (and one teenager is too shy to even do that) and don't make him have sex with them.
  • Johanna Mason: They Will Never See Me Cry: Plutarch and Fulvia purchase time with Finnick and Johanna as part of the victor prostitution ring, but don't have sex with them and covertly recruit them to the rebellion. Plutarch does have Johanna strip to her underwear, stand near the window, and then get in bed with him (while he remains clothed), but just to throw off any potential security agents watching the Capitol for signs of treason.
  • Attempted and questionably successful in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. At the Border Crossroads Inn, George and John need to get some information from a waitress. While she's not willing to go up to their room with them to have sex, she agrees to come when they explain they just want information and will even pay her. However, for a complicated reason, another woman is sent along with her, and the woman is a known tattler who will immediately report any shenanigans to the persons currently running the inn. So George has to have sex with the tattler to distract her, while John, who can't have sex with human women any more, has to fake it while he telepathically interrogates the waitress. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Night Unfurls: Chapter 7 of the original features Kyril visiting the Rosie and its mistress Shani, who is said to have connections with one of Alicia's wayward knights. Rather than for sex, he's here to gather the intelligence needed to strike back at Arc Villain Beasley and his forces, as well as to get a place for his apprentices to rest at (that is, to sleep under a blanket).
  • In the Town of Salem Affectionate Parody series Town of Salem IRL, the Escort and Consort distract their targets by playing video games with them.
  • This appears in the Batman fic transaction, where a very young, neglected, and touch-starved Tim Drake pays a young Jason Todd (working as a prostitute shortly before being adopted by Bruce Wayne) for hugs. He apparently continues to pay the younger prostitutes for hugs after Jason is adopted.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The ABCs of Death: In the "P" segment, the john hires the main character to crush a kitten beneath her high heel shoes while he films it. None of the other hookers he approaches will touch the job.
  • In Balls of Fury, Randy Daytona is given a courtesan of pleasure with which to spend the night, but all they do is play Boggle. The main reason why he restrains himself is that the 'courtesan' is Diedrich Bader.
  • While she's not a prostitute, in Black Knight (2001), Jamal asks for Victoria to be brought into his chambers, so he could talk to her about him not wanting to kill the king (Victoria being a member of La Résistance), since the king did allow him to sleep with any woman in the palace. She initially assumes he just wants sex and shows up wearing nothing but a bedsheet. He explains he just wants to talk, but he knows the guards outside the door will be listening, so he has her make the appropriate sounds in-between whispers.
  • In The Best of Times, Robin Williams hires a prostitute, to talk about the big game he blew in high school. She cuts him off when his credit card maxes out. (It wasn't the first time.)
  • In Breakfast on Pluto, Kitten has a client at a peep show who doesn't want her to act sexual, but instead only wants to talk. Said client is Father Liam, who came to confess to her that he was her father, and to give her her long-lost mother's address.
  • Chloe: Initially, Catherine pays Chloe just to meet her husband at a cafe and see if he flirts with her. Later subverted, however it turns out Chloe's lying about having sex with him.
  • In Dark City, J. Murdoch has lost his memory, and the only evidence of his past that he can find suggests that he was a serial killer who targeted prostitutes. He's convinced that this can't be true, so he goes home with a streetwalker, and only hangs around long enough to prove to himself that he doesn't feel any urge to kill.
  • In Dasepo Sonyo, Poor Girl's attempts to sell herself usually result in this. His first client is more interested in having someone to play videogames with, while Big Razor Sis only wants someone with whom she can be herself.
  • Deadpool: Wade initially hires Vanessa to "put balls in holes," aka play Skee-Ball at an arcade. At the end of the night, he cashes in his tickets for a Voltron ring that he then trades to Vanessa for another few minutes... wherein they do have sex.
  • This is the only trope played completely straight (the premise, even) in the Deuce Bigalow movies. The titular Deuce was prostituted by a pimp to pay for a very expensive aquarium he broke in the first film, and to help lure out a serial killer that was killing male prostitutes in the second film. He does not have sex with the women who hire him, instead he talks with them and offers emotional support and helps them solve their problems. The only time he has sex with anyone is with his love interest at the end of each film.
  • In Dirty Work, Mitch gets back at a jerkass owner of a used car lot by hiring a bunch of prostitutes to get in the trunk of his cars and pretend to be dead during the broadcast of a live television commercial. Later in the film Mitch hires the same prostitutes to act as security while getting revenge on the Big Bad.
  • Enjo: Late in the film when his mental state is going downhill, Goichi visits a hooker in a brothel. All they do is talk for a while, with Goichi saying how lonely he is.
  • Sort of happens in Eyes Wide Shut. Bill wants to sleep with the prostitute, but his wife calls him and he has to leave. He pays the hooker anyway.
  • A major theme in Steven Soderbergh film The Girlfriend Experience. Porn star Sasha Grey plays a high-class prostitute who specializes in the eponymous "girlfriend experience," which entails doing all sorts of platonic activities with her clients in addition to having sex. Some of her clients don't even want sex. For example, her last client in the film is an Orthodox Jew who pays her to simply hold him.
  • In Girl House Loverboy buys private cam time with Kylie but only wants to get to know her
  • Used in the Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay movie. Kumar first hires some prostitutes (on Neil Patrick Harris's dime) for regular reasons, but ends up just spilling his guts about how much he misses his ex-girlfriend to them.
  • The 1995 film version of Harrison Bergeron plays with this in the "Head House". People don't go there for sex, but for extremely suspicious things like playing chess and having intellectual conversations.
  • In Henry & Verlin, Henry goes to the prostitute Mabel for foot massages.
  • The protagonist of The Hills Run Red, in his quest to find a lost horror movie of the same title, sets out to speak to the director's daughter, seemingly the only person connected with the film who hasn't disappeared. He finds her working as a stripper, and gets a private dance from her so he can talk to her alone, but because the room is being watched through the security camera, she has to keep dancing.
  • Horrific: In Terror Vision, Dr. Jordan hires a male prostitute to be the subject of his perception experiment. However, he soon becomes a Disposable Sex Worker.
  • In Irma la Douce, Nestor creates an alter ego, a British nobleman named "Lord X", to become the sole client of the eponymous prostitute he's infatuated with so she can't have sex with anyone but him, and "Lord X" in turn does nothing but play cards with her.
  • In The Killing of John Lennon, Chapman hires a prostitute for company on the night before he pulls off his plan, in an attempt to recreate a scene from The Catcher in the Rye.
  • In Klute, one of call girl Bree Daniels' regular clients is an old man, who just wants companionship from her.
  • Leo the Last: When Salambo becomes a prostitute, Leo pays to have sex with her, then begs her to let him help her. He buys her from her family and moves her into his mansion so she can save herself for her boyfriend Roscoe, who is currently in jail. Salambo is very confused and wonders when they're going to have sex.
  • Lethal Weapon: Martin Riggs does this once. After a conventional "john picks up hooker" scene, they watch The Three Stooges.
  • In Memento, Leonard hires a prostitute to trick his future self for a moment into thinking that his wife is still alive.
  • The Menu: Margot/Erin turns out to be a High-Class Call Girl whom Tyler hired so that he could keep his reservation at Hawthorne after his girlfriend broke up with him — even though he knew that the visit would end with the deaths of everyone involved. She's rightfully pissed about this.
  • In Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite, Lenny visits Linda trying to convert her. They end up in bed, but only because they both try to console each other, and much later.
  • Milk Money: A group of young boys try to hire a prostitute to let them see her body.
  • My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To: Dwight has sex with Pam, but he primarily seems to be paying her so that he’ll have someone to talk to outside his family. That sharpens the sting when Jessie kills Pam to feed Thomas and snaps out her gold tooth.
  • The Orphan Of Anyang: A worker hires a prostitute to look after an abandoned baby he came across.
  • The film version of Perfume has Grenouille hire a prostitute when he is testing if he can capture the scent of a human being by enfleurage. When she finds it creepy that all he wants to do is wrap her up in lard-covered bandages, she attempts to leave but he kills her to continue his experiment.
  • In the movie Rat Race, a character is hired to pretend to do this as the result of a bet to see how much money the hooker would request. He asks that instead of having sex, they both get naked, get into a jacuzzi filled with Pepto-Bismol while wearing nothing but sailor hats, and he clips her toenails while she shaves his buttocks.
  • Henri from Savage Messiah (1972) hires prostitutes both for the usual purpose and to serve as models for his art.
  • Shoot 'Em Up features a prostitute hired by the main protagonist to nurse a baby. The "platonic" part is dropped after they have sex (without him paying her) and before that it's clear they have a mutual attraction to each other.
  • In Taxi Driver, Travis hires an underage prostitute, Iris, but only because he wants to talk to her and convince her to give up that life.
  • In Three Seasons, a bicycle cab driver in Vietnam uses the money he won in a race to spend the night with a prostitute he has a crush on, but all he does is watch her sleep.
  • In Titanic (1997), Jack Dawson's drawings of nude women are of French prostitutes acting as models. Which isn't to say he might not have had sex with them, too, it's just not the main reason he hired them.
  • Inverted somewhat by the movie Trading Places. Dan Aykroyd's character never actually hires Jamie Lee Curtis' but he enjoys her "services" all the same. They then begin a purely business relationship where technically she is his sponsor.
    • Played straight when Beeks hires Ophelia to pretend to be Louis' girlfriend at the police station.
  • In Unforgiven, the protagonists are working for some hookers and while the others are taking part of their pay in sex, Clint Eastwood's character is having heart to hearts with the one who got cut up.
  • Virtuosity: Sheila 3.2, a virtual reality sex doll whose function is to deduce your psycho-sexual needs and fulfill them, is also said to be very skilled at chess by her creator.
  • In the Bill Murray movie What About Bob?, Murray's character hires a hooker to telephone his psychiatrist's answering service and pretend to be the psychiatrist's sister.

  • Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye does this, sort of. He hires her for sex, but gets uncomfortable and ends up turning her down.
  • In Crime and Punishment Raskolnikov visits Hooker with a Heart of Gold Sonya at first to voice his problems with the suffering she accepts as necessary and finally out of a need to verbally expunge himself of his murderous guilt
  • Discworld:
    • In Sourcery, Seriph Creosote of Al-Khali doesn't do much with the women in his seraglio but have them tell him stories and use them as an audience for his dreadful poetry.
    • In Monstrous Regiment, a veteran Sweet Polly Oliver passes on the tip for a woman-playing-a-man-in-uniform to visit the camp followers every once in a while, just to keep up appearances. She says she always brought a book and told the other girl to take a well-earned break. It also mentions that the ladies in question are familiar with the type of customer who hires them to preach at them.
      "You know, you look a bit too young to be that sort of customer," said Gracie.
      "What sort?" said Polly.
      "Oh, a holy joe," said Gracie. "'What's a girl like you doing in a place like this?' and all that stuff. Feel sorry for us, do you?"
    • In Guards! Guards!, Carrot is offered a place to stay at Mrs. Palm's house of very good repute after he rescues one of her “daughters”, Reet. As he writes back to his parents, Reet woke him up during the night to ask him if there was anything he wanted, but they didn't have any apples. So he stays. And pays for the first month up front. Because he thinks it's a boarding house. Many people are surprised and rather impressed to learn that he stays there every night. Carrot ended up being an unwitting bouncer when "The daughter's unruly gentlemen callers" get too rough.
    • Seamstresses have been challenged by this for at least 30 years. In Night Watch a rather embarrassed older gentleman called on a young Miss Palm with something he just hasn't been able to do since the missus died: a bag of socks that needed mending. Luckily, her roommate is a needlewoman. Calling themselves "seamstresses" is probably the root of the problem. In a later book it's mentioned that brothels keep a seamstress on staff so that men can get their socks darned while they "get their socks darned".
  • This happens in Lord John and the Private Matter, a spinoff of the Outlander series. Lord John patronizes a prostitute, but not for her services. He wants information about one of the whorehouse's clients. Besides, he doesn't swing that way. He considers it for a minute, though, since the Scottish hooker's accent reminds him of someone else...
  • In the young adult novel Bloody Jack, the protagonist is a Sweet Polly Oliver in her early teens who hasn't had any older female confidantes in the past few years, and winds up hiring a prostitute once she's on shore leave to fill her in on what is going on with her body (because of course, she can't ask the ship's surgeon).
  • In The World According to Garp, Jenny has a feminist discussion with a prostitute, and pays her for her time.
  • In one of Leonard Tourney's Joan And Matthew Stock mysteries, the hero (an amateur detective) visits a particular prostitute to question her, and naturally the receptionist, and the prostitute at first, think he's there for sex.
  • In The Painter from Shanghai, the eponymous heroine, while working as a teenage prostitute, is sent as a good-will present to a local official. But said official is a principled man and, although he keeps her for the night, he doesn't do anything with her. Ultimately he falls in love with her and takes her up as a concubine.
  • A short story by Woody Allen, "The Whore of Mensa", depicts a call-girl service for frustrated intellectuals: instead of sleeping with their customers, the girls discuss literature and philosophy with them. They're often faking it.
  • In Michel Faber's The Crimson Petal and the White, pious Henry Rackham visits the prostitute Caroline and just talks with her, much to her surprise. His motives are not altogether chaste, but he's so psychologically and sexually inhibited (and completely devoted to Mrs. Fox) that there is no chance he would ever solicit Caroline's services in earnest.
  • In Ursula Vernon's short fantasy stories about The House of Red Fireflies, it's mentioned that frequently patrons will visit for anything from conversation to knitting. Even the really dangerous ones. Especially the really dangerous ones.
  • In the I, Richard Plantagenet Series, a quite young Richard is taken to a brothel by his mentor/older cousin Jockey so Richard can loose his virginity. The prostitute recognizes Richard doesn't want to be there, so they play chess and talk all night. Richard later has a few pre-marital liaisons, but he's never comfortable in brothels.
  • The Adepts of Eglantine House in Kushiel's Legacy. In addition to being Servants of Naamah (i.e. prostitutes) they're all trained as actors, acrobats, musicians, dancers and the like and are frequently employed as such.
  • In Greg Egan's short story “The Moral Virologist” (Link), a religious fundamentalist regularly pays prostitutes to try and tempt him to "sin," just to test his resolve. (In an inversion, one of the prostitutes ends up lecturing him about morality.) After he creates a Synthetic Plague and makes himself the Typhoid Mary for it, his motive shifts to surreptitiously infecting "sinners" with it.
  • Gentleman Bastard: Locke Lamora tries to hire a prostitute for the normal purpose in the first book, but ends up just getting conversation and a massage because his pining for his true love prevents him from, er, performing.
  • The protagonist in Allen Steele's story The Death Of Captain Future mentions that, at times, hiring a prostitute without actually engaging her services was the best way to get a decent place to sleep for the night.
  • In Gray Lensman, it's implied that the hostesses at the space-dive Kinnison is infiltrating are prostitutes. Asteroid miner "Wild Bill" (Kinnison) pays them well... to dance with him while he's on his drunken bender.
  • Female example: Rather early in the Anita Blake series, the eponymous character needs some information from someone who happens to be a prostitute — she was previously a suspicious man's mistress. It takes Anita quite a while to convince her that, really, yes, she really, truly, actually wants to talk.
  • In Isabel Allende's Daughter of Fortune, one of the prostitutes Eliza travels with has a client who visits her just to talk, because he likes her that much. They end up getting married. There's also a scene where Tao Chi'en visits a prostitute for information.
  • In Lynn Flewelling's Tamír Triad, on Tobin's birthday his cousin Prince Korin insists on paying for a prostitute so Tobin can lose his virginity. Tobin, who is not all that into women, ends up bouncing on the bed with the prostitute, moaning and shouting "Yes!" for the benefit of Korin in the next room.
  • Sparhawk uses the spying variation a few times in The Elenium. There's one particular girl he visits, who consistently tries to seduce him because she has a sense of professional integrity about her job.
  • In The Sun Also Rises the main character hires a prostitute, but as he is impotent from an injury sustained during World War I, he just hangs out with her and compensates her for her time.
  • In Marcel Proust's In Search Of Lost Time, Swann visits brothels to mope about his failing relationship with a courtesan.
  • Tommy does this in High Society by Ben Elton in an effort to convince Jessie to leave the brothel with him. It doesn't work.
  • Two examples in Sergey Lukyanenko's Labyrinth of Reflections, both of which involve a virtual brothel. Leonid, the protagonist, is running away from a mob of angry gamers and enters the first building he sees, which turns out to be a brothel. While he initially doesn't want to hire a prostitute, he starts thumbing through the catalog and sees someone who looks exactly like his Windows avatar. He hires her but doesn't sleep with her. They spend their time just talking. They do have virtual sex later after he takes her out on a date. There is another man who is a regular at the brothel whose thing is to hire a prostitute and then spend the time berating her for being the scum of society. According to Leonid's Love Interest, this is much worse than just sex, no matter how perverted (it's not real, anyway), as this is literally a Mind Screw for an unfortunate girl who happens to be hired by him. For reference, the Love Interest only runs the virtual brothel as an experiment for her Ph.D. thesis in Psychology, so if anybody knows how such Mind Screws can affect a person, it's her.
  • A minor character in Good Omens is Madame Tracy, a middle-aged prostitute and part-time medium "whose gentlemen callers called as much for a cup of tea and a nice chat as for what little discipline she was able to extract."
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • One of Daenerys' eunuch soldiers is murdered while on his way to a brothel. When she wonders aloud what use a eunuch would have for a brothel, her captain responds that "even those who lack a man's parts may still have a man's heart" — the eunuch paid the women to "lay with him and hold him." It's something of a Tear Jerker.
    • After Tywin explicitly tells Tyrion he can't bring Shae to court, Tyrion keeps her safe in an undisclosed location that can be reached via a tunnel connected to a brothel. Tyrion visits Alayaya, the prostitute whose room connects to one end of the tunnel, pretending to stay the night but instead sneaking off to be with Shae. Alayaya says she likes the alone time a lot and has been using it to teach herself to read. Of course, Cersei then has her whipped because she fell for the bait.
  • Callgirl by Jeanette Angell is a memoir of her time as a prostitute and discusses a number of different clients, including a few who didn't want sex at all. One amusing example is a client who asked her to bring a lot of exciting lingerie... so she could sit on the couch and tell him how nice he looked in it.
  • In Codex Alera, Tavi is known to visit a whorehouse outside the army camp ... to get a hot bath all alone, his clothes washed, and check on his spy network. Which is implied to be why Kitai doesn't kill him for it.
  • Seen in the BattleTech novel Close Quarters. Cassie Suthorn, properly paranoid scout for the mercenary regiment Camacho's Caballeros with some deep-seated psychological issues of her own, is looking for information for anything suspicious that might be going on around the city where their latest employer is paying them to stay and among other things ends up chatting amiably enough with a trio of prostitutes she's paid the going rate for their time. Then their pimp shows up, takes exception, and generally makes an ass of she kills him and takes over his job, at least temporarily. (The women aren't then actually seen again for the rest of the book, but her comrades don't miss the opportunity to comment on it.)
  • Stephen Maturin of the Aubrey-Maturin book series routinely stays at brothels when on expedition to distant cities, only as lodging. It is cheaper and less conspicuous than a boarding-house, and (more importantly) it allows him to meet with and question sailors from Spain and France for his espionage work. Since he also routinely runs into sailors from his own ship, however, stories have spread among Aubrey's crew about his surprising wealth in being able to whore and drink night after night on shore.
  • In Redeeming Love, Michael spends all of his savings this way in order to get the town’s most sought-after "soiled dove," Angel, alone long enough to propose marriage to her. Repeatedly. All of his visits are rather awkward and vitriolic, since Angel is definitely not a Hooker with a Heart of Gold. (He is ultimately successful in marrying her, but not via this trope.)
  • In the first novel of A Wizard in Rhyme, two of the supporting characters are a wayward priest and a local whore who is secretly a sex-powered witch. Everyone in the village knows the priest is sneaking off to the brothel, so there's a series of reveals around the fact that it's platonic, and why: 1) He's too devout and has barely started to touch her when guilt sets in; 2) he spends a lot of time trying to convince her to abandon her ways, with some success; and 3) they are both in love with each other. Oh, and, 4) He's a werewolf, but this is somewhat unrelated.
  • Gender Flipped in Alexis Carew: Mutineer. Alexis splurges on what she thinks is good lodging, only realizing when a man walks in wearing a towel that it's a brothel. She ends up just using him as a shoulder to cry on, and later asks for him again by name for the same reason.
  • In the first book of Mercedes Lackey's SERR Ated Edge series, the protagonist hires a runaway teen prostitute specifically to get her off the streets. In the end, after saving her and some of her friends/coworkers from an Unseelie plot, he is able to get her off the streets and back to her parents.
  • Fraternity Of The Stone, by David Morrell. The protagonist spends the night with a prostitute to avoid sleeping in a hotel, as he's on the run from people who have already gone to great lengths to track him down and kill him. However he has trouble convincing the woman he doesn't want to sleep with her (he's a monk), yet isn't planning something nasty instead. They do share the bed; he pretends this is out of a desire to just hold her for comfort, when actually it's to ensure she can't sneak out of the room without waking him up.
  • Nina, the Heartrender, in Six of Crows works in a brothel in Ketterdam... in order to help people suffering from strong grief or other troubles, as she is able to somewhat influence their emotions. She doesn't even keep a bed in her room, as she doesn't want men to "get ideas".
  • Judge Dee: The Judge repeatedly runs into prostitutes, but never takes anything more than a cup of tea from them.
    • On occasion a High-Class Call Girl will try to get her hooks into him, but fortunately he manages to avoid them (and keeps one from getting married to his colleague Lo, who has more than eight wives).
    • In "The Coffins of the Emperor", he accompanies a low-class prostitute home, and gets her to talk for a while. He learns that her quasi-husband is going to be executed for murdering a fellow officer's wife, and she was whipped for providing him with a false alibi. She thinks the judge is scorning her for her scars, in fact he's thinking about the irregularities involved in the judgement. Thankfully he's able to find out that the murderer was the dead woman's husband, who was in love with the other officer and pulled a If I Can't Have You….
    • In "The Chinese Bell Murders", the judge hires two young prostitutes, ostensibly as concubines. His subordinates are rather pained at the brutality with which he brings them into his household (not to mention his wives), but he later explains everything (the girls were bait to expose a long-running religious scam that provided women with male heirs via rape and blackmailed them into paying for it). At the end the girls hope he will marry them, but he sends them back to their home province with a large reward so they can find good husbands.
    • Subverted with the judge's lieutenants Ma Jong and Tsiao Tai, who regularly visit brothels and sometimes get useful information out of it as a bonus.
  • The Wolf Den Trilogy: Pliny the Elder hires Amara for a week. Rather than sleep with her, he asks her to read to him while he takes notes and otherwise treats her as a guest.
  • At one point in "The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe" Ford Prefect is approached in the street by a girl who asks him if he's rich and says she provides special services to rich people. While Ford initially assumes the obvious, she clarifies that she "explains to them that it's okay to be rich". Apparently she has multiple degrees in economic theory but they can't get her a regular job. When Ford leaves later, she's in a client's car, explaining basic financial models.
  • The Kept Man of the Princess Knight: As a "kept man", Matthew sells companionship more than sex per se, although that has in the past been part of the package. With Princess Arwin, he's mostly her manservant and moral support: he maintains her house when she's away dungeon-delving, and keeps her sane from her PTSD when she's home. They've never actually had sex.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrested Development: Michael unknowingly hires a prostitute for his entire staff, but everyone just uses her as a shoulder to cry on. Of course, he later gets a call stating that she's "blown them all away," which he notes kept forgetting to include the "away". It's also shown that while she was frequently hired by Michael's womanizing father and brother, both also used her as a "shoulder to cry on" rather than for sex. She ends up being a Hooker with a Heart of Gold, saving the company by spending money in a secret account inside the company to benefit the workers in order to avoid embezzlement charges.
  • Game of Thrones: Due to being an Unsullied and therefore a eunuch, White Rat visits a prostitute only to be held and gently sung to sleep.
  • Played with a bit in House, where House hires hookers for various non-sex reasons (like pranking his team or making sure he doesn't stop breathing) — but then has sex with them too. One episode had House auditioning girls after his regular tells him she's leaving the business. Skills he's interested in are fixing home appliances and tuning pianos. Why? He says he wants to get something out of them for the remaining 57 minutes of the hour he pays for.
  • iCarly (2021): Played for Laughs in the episode "iGot Your Back". Spencer tries to set Freddie up on a date with a friend of his. But when the friend cancels at the last minute, Spencer hires a prostitute (he thinks she's an actress at first until Carly sets him straight.) to pretend to be her. Although Freddie goes on multiple dates with her, with each date costing Spencer more and more money, the two never have sex nor does Freddie find out that she was a prostitute.
  • They hired a stripper (not a hooker) for Bob Vance's bachelor party in The Office, but then she ended up doing office work after no-one wanted a lap dance.
  • In Parks and Recreation, Leslie gets a "Babe Lincoln" male stripper for a party, but ends up using him for labor when she realizes how ill-advised her scheme to bury Native American artifacts on a plot of land she wanted to protect was. For the duration of his paid time, he's made to dig with Leslie and her friends to find the arrowheads she seeded, with him getting reminded that they paid for his time there.
  • In a flashback from the fourth episode of Lost, John Locke converses with a phone sex operator as if they share a relationship. He tries to get her to accompany him to Australia but she completely dismisses him as merely a customer. Later revelations about Locke's character make it seem like he was looking for a Replacement Goldfish for ex-girlfriend Helen.
  • In French series Kaamelott (episode "L'Habitué" — "The Usual Customer"), we find that Perceval has been seeing the same prostitute for a long time now. What we hear him tell the prostitute is positive.
  • Real person Dave Attell did exactly this a couple times on Insomniac with Dave Attell. Not "prostitutes" technically, for obvious legal reasons, but escort girls. Much fun was had listening to them explain in graphic detail just how little shade of difference there was between the two, if any. He would then pay them to join him for some completely wholesome activity like bowling. Bowling while sloppy drunk at 3AM, but wholesome all the same.
  • In The IT Crowd, Moss accidentally tells a crowd of people about how he and his fellow Heterosexual Life Partner ended up picking up some prostitutes but were too nervous to do anything with them. So they ended up going to a fairground. The end credits for the episode feature a slideshow of photos of all four at said fairground.
  • Moses Jones has the main character do something like this — he just talks to the woman. However, there are cameras around so they have to "go through the motions" as they talk.
  • Occurs at one time in The Unit with Jonas Blaine merely talking to a prostitute. Whatever the team do on missions — they do not cheat on their wives.
  • In the MacGyver episode "The Assassin", the eponymous assassin would hire call-girls to do small errands for him, such as picking up a suitcase in the park. He would later kill them.
  • In Lady Bar, when a French tourist in Thailand is talked by a friend into bringing a prostitute to his room, he also just watches her sleep.
  • In an episode of Lie to Me, the team discovers that a politician regularly visits a prostitute, but not for sex. She turns out to be his daughter.
  • Booth from Bones was mistaken for "one of those guys who only wants to talk" when he needed to interview a call-girl as part of a case.
  • In the Without a Trace episode "Where and Why" (a crossover with CSI), the kidnapper hires a prostitute to help pacify his son by doing domestic things like making them sandwiches.
  • Parodied in an episode of The Kids in the Hall, where a nice man offers to take the prostitute away from her life of prostitution, and ends up marrying and having kids with her... and then the money runs out and her pimp (now an old man) comes to hassle the guy.
  • In Saxondale, an old mate of Tommy's who he's reunited with hires a couple of prostitutes for an evening. Whilst Tommy's mate receives the standard service, Tommy himself is in a happy, stable relationship and unwilling to risk it, with the result that he and the other prostitute end up in her room sitting on the bed making awkward conversation. Much to his bemusement, she ends up giving him some useful pointers on how to help improve his fading vision without resorting to his glasses; turns out she's an optometry student.
  • In the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode "The Car Pool Lane", Larry picks up a prostitute just so he can use the high-occupancy-vehicle lane to get to Dodger stadium in time for the game (being Larry, he then haggles over the amount she charges him based on the number of blowjobs he believes she could fit into the same amount of time).
  • Castle:
    • Played for laughs when Richard hires a High-Class Call Girl who may have potentially useful information in solving that week's murder solely because it'll be an easier way of finding her than the police department's method of tracking her down via her offshore-based website. As soon as she turns up for their "date", Beckett intercedes.
    • Same prostitute, different client: The Victim of the Week apparently hired the call girl mostly to talk, due to his career leaving him little time to actually date (though she did specify mostly, so they did still have sex). It then turns out that he had taken over the whole prostitution organization from its previous pimp, and used the call girl to run the day-to-day operations.
    • While she was a model rather than prostitute, he also arranges a date with a young woman he meets during a case. A playdate, that is: she used to babysit his daughter for him and he thinks having Alexis around will help keep the model out of trouble.
  • On Criminal Minds, it's not unheard of for serial killers to hire prostitutes to serve as their victims. In some cases, it's because the unsub has a problem with prostitution (and is trying to either punish or "purify" the prostitutes). Other times, it's just because prostitutes are easy to get alone and vulnerable. They're considered High Risk targets for that reason. Of course, some don't even bother with the "hiring" part.
  • The Deuce: An elderly client of Darlene's has her come over just to watch television in bed with him - no sex.
  • Firefly
    • Inara isn't just a prostitute, though sex is usually included as part of the "Companion" package. Nevertheless a few clients (like Atherton Wing) hire her for a primary role other than sex (though it was implied that sex was in the offing, at least before Mal went and got himself into a duel with Atherton).
    • In "Jaynestown", a governor hires Inara to "make a man" out of his son. Being more simple than her usual clientele, he gets angry when she doesn't immediately sleep with the boy but starts with a tea ceremony and a conversation. She does sleep with the son eventually but only because she happens to like him. The Companions only accept offers from people they like.
    • The show portrays a clear distinction between Companions (basically, a courtesan with a high social status) and regular prostitutes. In "Heart of Gold", a local ruler's primary use for a prostitute is to conceive a male heir. Even his wife is relieved upon hearing the news that the girl is pregnant with her husband's son.
  • On Veronica Mars, Keith goes to see a prostitute, but to get her to provide an alibi for Abel Koontz that he was 'elsewhere' on the night of Lily Kane's murder.
  • JJ in Skins, largely because he'd been dragged to the brothel against his will (by Cook).
  • Inverted on MA Nswers, where asking streetwalkers to do some paid nude modeling is suggested. The inversion is that it's a ploy to determine if they're undercover vice cops (who wouldn't accept such a legal proposition) before actually offering them money for sex.
  • A variant: on Special Unit 2, Nick goes to a strip club and pays to have two twin strippers alone in the private room for an hour. His partner Kate is rather annoyed, until she realizes they're actually supernatural creatures (the politically-correct term is "Links", thank you very much) he needs to interrogate for the latest case.
  • Dollhouse is largely similar to this trope: the Dolls are often imprinted for sex, but can take on any number of legal or illegal jobs, and even romantic engagements can be about more than sex or no sex at all (for example, Joel Maynard having Echo imprinted with his dead wife, or another man getting his dead wife imprinted to help him take care of the couple's baby). Lampshaded when Topher imprints Sierra for his birthday. He doesn't want her for sex, he just wants a friend to help him celebrate.
  • A skit on Saturday Night Live has Alec Baldwin appearing to be one of these (even orchestrating a telephone reunion with her estranged mother), until he asked for a handjob, explaining that he "gets off" on getting personal with prostitutes.
  • On Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. Horace the Western Union Man was in love with Myra, one of the prostitutes at the local saloon, and she with him. He paid the saloon owner to spend time with her, and they just talked. After she left the biz, they got married.
  • Parodied on MADtv, where a guy hires a prostitute to verbally abuse him, just like his ex-wife used to.
  • In Spartacus: Blood and Sand, the one time Spartacus actually requests the company of Mira (who's technically a slave, but one of those who are apparently lent periodically to Batiatus's gladiators as a reward), it's so he can talk her into helping with one of his schemes. They kiss passionately just long enough for the guard to leave. Mira, who is in love with him, only agrees to help him (which will put her at great risk) if he sleeps with her.
  • Community
    • Inverted in the episode "The Politics of Human Sexuality", in which Pierce is in a non-business relationship with Doreen. Initially.
    • Doreen also describes how, contrary to opinion, this sort of thing is actually what she spends most of her "dates" doing, her clientele generally being of an age where they want to be with a woman they can converse with as well as find sexually attractive.
  • In the 1990's Australian TV series Fire, Senior Station Officer "Spit" hires girls from the local "massage parlour" just to talk to. This is a sign of his general creepiness, so he'll serve as a Red Herring for the mad arsonist who's the antagonist of the series.
  • In the NCIS episode "Guilty Pleasure", the Victim of the Week is backtracked to a motel in which he'd been having a regular liaison with a call girl. Turned out he was a reporter working on a story about prostitution, and she was just one of his sources. Made funnier by the fact that they first hear this from the man's wife, whom they assume is kidding herself. Then they learn that that actually is what he was doing.
    • In the Back Door Pilot for NCIS: New Orleans, Gibbs and Pride interview a prostitute who was the last person seen with the murder victim. She claims that they talked for a while. When an obviously skeptical Gibbs asks if that's all they did, she replies, "Sometimes talking's all they want to do."
  • In one episode of Hotel Babylon a man staying in the hotel hires some prostitutes to play Scrabble with.
  • When detectives in the various Law & Order series need to talk to hookers, they're generally nice enough to pay the girls for their time.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Gul Dukat is shown doing this during the occupation, making Bajoran women sit and listen to him talk about how he's really a nice guy rather than a bloodthirsty Cardassian overlord.
  • In a fourth season episode of Californication: Hank asks Trixie (a call girl he was friendly with) if he could just pay her to be nice to him for a little while. He then apparently falls asleep with his head in her lap while she strokes his hair. When he wakes up, he finds that she's gone and had left the money he gave her behind.
  • Titans (2018). In "Home", a guilt-ridden Jason Todd goes to a sex club and gets the working couple there, who are normally paid to have sex with the client watching from a booth, to pose as Dawn and Hank so he can apologise for killing the latter. The man refuses to play along and walks out, but the woman tries to give Jason some good advice before his time runs out.
  • In the original Traffic Light, Khefer takes Itzko to a prostitute to help him get his erection back. While he sleeps with a prostitute himself in the next room, Itzko befriends his prostitute, who tells him the story of her life in Moldova. Later she calls him for help with her pimp, and Hefer, who listens to Itzko’s end of the conversation, is amazed by Itzko’s perceives talent.
  • While normally averted with Charlie on Two and a Half Men, right after he got out of his long term relationship with Chelsea, all he wants from his prostitute is for her to read a magazine and make small talk. He even outright rejects sex.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
    • Subverted once:
    Elliott: Let me ask you — why do you do this?
    Hooker: (annoyed) God, you're not one of those, are you?
    Elliott: No, I'm one of these. (reveals his badge)
    Hooker: Crap!
    • Another episode featured a man who claimed that he deliberately sought out prostitutes who resembled his late wife, but didn't have sex with them, instead just wanting to lay in bed with them.
    • In Season 14, it's revealed that Cragen has been hiring escorts to have dinner and talk with. This is due to both loneliness and the horrific crimes he sees. Unfortunately, this is then used against him when he is framed for killing a prostitute. A number of them claim that he did sleep with them, and that it was all violent sex.
  • On an episode of The Nanny, Fran and Max are at the police station. While they're there, Niles pays a hooker who was there to pretend she was an old friend of C.C. (who he hates.)
  • On General Hospital, Lucky hires a prostitute so that he can unleash his lustful feelings on her rather than on his girlfriend, who's recovering from a rape (and was a virgin before this) and is therefore uncomfortable about sex. He ends up changing his mind because he doesn't want to cheat on her and ends up confiding in the woman about his situation. The hooker in question fell into this role for several of the men on the show.
  • Inverted on ER, when Dr. Kovac is heard talking to someone extensively, ostensibly a therapist, about his depression and loneliness, but as the scene concludes, it's obvious that the woman is in fact an escort. Although the scene ends with them starting to have sex, an alternate version did in fact have them continuing to talk as the evening progressed.
  • Brilliantly parodied and subverted in an episode of Black Adder, when Blackadder tries to pimp Baldrick out to sailors on the docks for money to pay off a Loan Shark. They are approached by a very large, very gruff sailor, who, it turns out, wants them to kiss him goodnight and read him a bedtime story, because he's missing his mother. Blackadder and Baldrick fulfill this innocent request, which he follows by asking...
    Now then, how much for a good, hard shag?
  • In the Masters of Horror episode "Imprint", Christopher hires the disfigured prostitute for the night to learn more about what happened to Komomo, not to sleep with her. He makes it clear that her face doesn't frighten him, but he turns her down when he discovers that Komomo has recently died and is too distraught about it.
  • In Madam Secretary season 2, Dmitri Petrov, Henry's mole in the Russian Army, hires a prostitute so he can use her room as cover to send information to Henry. The prostitute is actually pretty sympathetic.
  • On Borgen, Katrine and Hanne have figured out that someone set up the foreign minister by hiring a male escort to seduce him. They hire the escort themselves, so they can pump him for information about the blackmail scheme.
  • Strong Medicine: Clinic receptionist Lana is stunned to see a local minister approaching a prostitute and handing her money before they walk off together. She confronts him when he shows up at the hospital with another hooker, only for him to explain that he's counseling these girls and gives them money so that they aren't anxious about losing income in the time they spend talking to him.
  • In a more family-friendly version, an episode of The Red Green Show revolved around a bachelor auction. After Harold gets picked and all the women leave, Dalton ends up buying both Winston and Mike for $10 to help him with some painting.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): While alive, Louis de Pointe du Lac regularly employed the services of a high-class prostitute named Lily so he could be seen having a relationship with a woman. Once in her room, though, he just talked to her, using her as some kind of a therapy session. However, when the two are alone with Lestat de Lioncourt in his living room, Lily does give Louis fellatio until Lestat makes her go to sleep.

  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti's poem "Jenny" is all about this trope.

  • In most versions of The Threepenny Opera (play, novel, films, etc.) Mack the Knife is seen visiting a brothel, but he mostly just chats with the prostitutes a bit and sings about the time he dated one of them. Several other men (in some versions prominent characters in the story) can be seen lounging around the brothel, reading the paper or getting a foot massage. Of course, it's still heavily implied that Mack has sex with the prostitutes, but Brecht's point was to show that the habit of visiting a brothel every week was a symbol of the decadence of the bourgeoisie, and therefore more condemnable than the actual sex act. Also, the prostitutes selling their own skin are meant to represent the result of a capitalist system in which, as Marx and Engels stated, the common worker is robbed of the ownership of his tools and forced to sell himself on a daily basis to fit into the fascist ideology or a two-class society.
  • Marina in Pericles sort of enforces this on her clients. They come in intending to pay for sex, and leave talking about going to church. She's so good at converting the clients (and thereby staying a virgin) that she bankrupts the brothel.

    Video Games 
  • In Planescape: Torment, "The Brothel of Slaking Intellectual Lusts" caters specifically to this sort of customer. This is very fortunate for The Nameless One, what with his fetish for talking everyone's ears off.
    • Morte, the floating skull, can trade insults with one of the prostitutes (it makes his combat taunt ability more powerful). He would LIKE to do more, but having a lack of body means all he gets is buffed (no, literally just polished) and a kiss.
  • The Asari consort in Mass Effect notes that the services she and her acolytes provide aren't always sexual. Her reward to Shepard for helping her with a diplomatic tangle is a gift of words and a MacGuffin (OK, and an Optional Sexual Encounter if Shepard isn't satisfied). In fact her sexual offerings are rare enough to cause serious frustration to some of her customers, who end up actually falling in love to her (one-sidedly, of course). Sex is on the menu only if the Consort both considers her client in need of it and deserving of it.
  • Fallout 2 has the Cat's Paw brothel in the city of New Reno. While the main attraction is very much in line with what you'd expect, there is also something called the "Kesting Special" where the customer can just talk to the prostitutes. It actually gives the Player Character a temporary bonus to his or her speech skill, and the girls apparently provide great insight on human nature.
  • A variation in Max Payne 2: When Max checks out the apartment his would-be assassins were observing him from, the player can listen to the tapes from when they were tapping his phone line and hear a conversation of him calling a phone sex line to talk to one of the girls because her name is Mona. The conversation ends abruptly when he mutters "Killing them all didn't change anything. It only made things worse," which as we can probably imagine weirded the poor girl out something awful.
  • This happens in the online adventure game Backdoor Man, where you play the prostitute (a male who has been hired for a date). Ironically, the only way you get sex is to piss her off at the right moment; she then thinks that since the social interaction was a waste, she might as well get her money's worth. Unless you do everything perfectly, in which case the two of you start to form an actual connection and have sex. For free.
  • In Heavy Rain, the first time we see Scott Shelby is when he pays a prostitute so he can ask her about the Origami Killer (although, at one point, it does seem like he's there for some non-Platonic Prostitution).
  • The Neverwinter Nights games both feature the "Moonstone Mask" brothel, which was frequently emphasised not to sell sex, but "privacy", whatever that meant to the particular client. It might have entailed the usual stuff, but it might just as well have entailed anything else one does in a quiet environment, from massages to board games to a casual conversation. The mistress emphasizes that what your money buys you there is time with one of the employees, and anything more than that is a matter of negotiation between the client and the employee.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, it's possible to hire prostitutes to distract guards.
  • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the friendly, hedonistic Iron Bull takes a shine to the human-shaped spirit Cole. In a possible conversation between the two, Bull tells Cole he's hiring him a prostitute for the night in hopes of seeing Cole act more like a "person". In their next conversation, Bull asks Cole if he had a fun night, and Cole happily reports that "she danced... then I untangled the hurt that made her angry at her mother! I helped her write a letter to send home". Bull is chagrined.
    Iron Bull: "Well, that's five royals well spent...
  • Omega: Characters who select "n" as their sexual preference can still visit the brothel. Instead of spending the evening with someone, you can discuss philosophy or your adventures, or even play either Chess or German Whist with various employees. This gives a bonus to intelligence, rather than the consitution bonus normally given by the brothel.
  • Persona 5: Sadayo Kawakami, one of Joker's potential NPC allies, moonlights as a "health delivery" girl, where she is basically paid to talk with clients with a stereotypical Meido personality, along with some actual maid services like cleaning and cooking. She does say that she offers "other" services, but as the PC is a minor (and her student!) she says he'll have to wait until he's older for those. It's never made explicitly clear if her services extend to prostitution, but it rubs shoulers with the industry either way to the point where the risk of her getting blackmailed is prevelant on top of her already being blackmailed for a separate incident. The blackmail becomes so much that she mentions that she might have to transfer to the maid service's sister company, implied to be straight up prostitution.
  • Conversed in Dishonored during a mission that takes place in a brothel. The player can overhear a conversation between a prostitute and the madam about how one of the clients regularly pays big money for one of the highest class girls but never has sex with her. The madam says that it just happens sometimes and agrees that it's odd, but figures that some men just really enjoy the company and it's not her business what clients choose to spend their money on as long as the girls aren't hurt.
    • In the same mission, you're pursuing the twins Custis and Morgan Pendleton, two targets who are attending the brothel. While they are both hedonists, Custis is more interested in companionship and political gossip (and is apparently notorious for "unusual requests"), while Morgan is entirely depraved. The madam gets the twins mixed up in one permutation of the level — She presumes the one taking the soundproof ivory room is Morgan, while Custis is relaxing in the smoking room. In truth, Custis is using the ivory room to speak openly about sensitive politics, while Morgan just wanted to smoke during the act. Alternatively, Custis can be located in the basement steam room, again indulging in gossip with one of the escorts.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: Not prostitution per se, but David Hatter is a regular at Velvet Velour's strip club, where he mostly just talks to the dancers about his stories and his dream of becoming a professional writer. Zig-zagged since he does hire a local escort for unspecified services involving Noodle Implements.
  • The Framing Device of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle is Sylvia, reduced to working a phone sex line, narrating the events of the game that led to her fall from grace to a customer who only comes in to listen to her. The end of the game indicates that the customer is Travis, who did it to get Sylvia to open up and get her feelings out.

  • Get Medieval: After being asked if he'd Need a Hand, or a Handjob?, Asher ends up paying Belle just to listen to him talk.
  • Angels 2200: There is a male-featured Sex Bot for the all-female crew's use, but nobody ever uses him for his intended purpose, because he's viewed as a communal dildo. Most of his sex-related programming was replaced with other ways for him to help the crew.
  • In RPG World, Hero "hired" Diane because he had no idea what she was offering. He thought she was an adventurer looking to fight monsters. Turns out that it was all for the best regarding both characters.
  • Another phone sex operator variant in this unspeakably depressing Something*Positive strip. Context: Erik is working as a gay phone sex operator to an old man who mistakes him for his former lover, Marvin.
  • Dreamless: In this strip, Takashi is given a free night with a prostitute as a birthday present by his buddies. But instead he just goes to sleep to achieve onirical contact with the girl he loves.
  • In this strip of Jerkcity, Spigot and Pants greet whores only to have them do ordinary chores.
  • Two examples in Subnormality. In the first, the trope is played with (the "prostitute" in question seems to specifically cater to this type of customer) and played straight in the second.
  • Gai Gin: Gossip-monger Foxy claims Gin's boyfriend Pyon once hired a prostitute... as a vocalist for his music.
  • Unsounded: Duane spends his time at the Nevergreen (if an entire circus accidentally got everyone in the brothel pregnant, this would be the result) reading scripture to the prostitutes, boring them into leaving or falling asleep. One of them complains to the madam about his “unnatural” tastes. Seeing as he's a reluctant and deeply religious lich, this is well-needed therapy to him. He's not even moralizing about their profession or anything, he just likes the prose.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
    • "Emotional Stripper": "If you give me dollars, I'll bare my inner feelings."
    • "Hey There": "I'm a reverse prostitute. My default behavior is to attempt to have sex with you. You pay for the opportunity to turn me down."
  • The NSFW Oglaf strip Babes of the Abyss starts with a nerd who makes a Deal with the Devil to have sex with demon girls, and is told that the price is to be turned into a devil girl when he dies to have sex with nerds like him. After the nerd realizes that the devil girls are former nerds, he invites them to paint miniatures, and they all have nerdy fun together. One of the devil girls comments on how much of an Unishment it all feels like.
  • In Strong Female Protagonist, a lonely supervillain fulfills his need for human contact without forming personal relationships by hiring sex workers to perform non-sexual acts of phsyical affection such as backrubs.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Inverted in Moral Orel. Orel creates a service setting up appointments for the people of Moralton to witness to sinners. Most of the sinners are prostitutes, most of his customers are men, and Orel never realizes that very little witnessing is really going on.
  • A variation occurs on American Dad!, when Stan goes with his co-workers to a strip club despite being very uncomfortable. He winds up giving health advice to one of the strippers and hiring several of them to work at a laundromat he wanted to start up.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Homer is taking Santa's Little Helper out for a last night of debauchery before having him neutered, which includes hiring a canine prostitute for him. Homer asks the bitch's owner, who is also a prostitute, if she's up for some air hockey while they wait. She tells him she's $350 an hour, to which he replies "You're on!" and rushes into the nearby arcade while the prostitute drags her feet to stretch the time.
  • Family Guy:
    • In one musical number, Brian tells the shut-in Pearl just what she missed in the thirty or so years she's lived alone. In explaining how Las Vegas became more family friendly, we see a man pay a prostitute, who goes down on her knees to give lollipops to the man's two children.
    • In another episode, Peter and his friends hire a prostitutes to tend goal as they kick soccer balls her way. When she asks if they can switch positions, Peter states that since they hired her, she has to play goalie the whole night.
  • In the God, the Devil and Bob episode "Bob's Father", Bob hires a prostitute in an effort to summon the Devil to take him to Hell. The two just sit around in a dingy apartment waiting, with her reading a magazine and charging him extra for him apparently wanting to bring someone else in. Bob eventually realizes that the Devil isn't interested in hanging out somewhere he's already corrupted, so he dismisses the prostitute and goes to a Habitat for Humanity site instead.

    Real Life 
  • Rasputin the Mad Monk reportedly would hire prostitutes, have them strip naked in front of him, stare at them for a while, and then dismiss them, after which he would walk the streets berating himself for his lustful thoughts. It Makes Sense in Context, as Rasputin was part of a small group of Christians who essentially believed in deliberately sinning so they could then receive forgiveness from God.
  • Earlier even than Rasputin, William E. Gladstone (a British Victorian Era prime minister) was very interested in reforming "fallen women". He would often walk the streets of London at night, take a prostitute home, spend the entire night reading to her from the Bible, then spend what's left of the day flagellating himself in penance for any lustful thoughts the encounter generated. This apparently caused a lot of prurient speculation, but Gladstone got a free pass for this one as he did set up a large charity and many halfway houses for helping said "fallen women".

    For that matter Mrs. Gladstone was an active participant in the project, serving tea and taking her turn in reading. Gladstone's son was suspicious about the whole business and asked his father what was really going on. Gladstone replied that he had never committed "the act of infidelity." Some observers of Victorian culture have noted that, technically, oral sex would not have been considered "the act of infidelity."

    Many activists today still book time with prostitutes in order to have a chance to talk to them and convince them to abandon the trade. In such circles, not paying the lady (or gentleman) the usual rates for their time is heavily frowned upon.
  • Sex blogger and professional dominatrix Mistress Matisse has warned potential johns against this behavior — it makes the nice lady nervous. Indeed, this is standard for dommes, and anyone hiring one should assume this is how it works unless told otherwise. This really isn't any different from the fact that strippers don't, by default, have sex with their clients. It's a different brand of sex work.
  • A large number of women in the trade can and will spend time with their clients in other ways beside sex —going out, escorting and so on. It takes mutual trust, sympathy and luck, and none of these can faked.
  • Mark David Chapman, who sought to be a real-life Caulfield, did the same thing as the main character did in The Catcher In The Rye just before killing John Lennon, except that he never had any intention of having sex with the prostitute. One can only imagine that it was an extremely uncomfortable night...
  • Geishas very rarely actually had sex with their clients, and were instead predominately hired for their ability to entertain with music, dance, conversation and storytelling. A proverb of old Kyoto said that a man goes to a courtesan to pleasure the body, and to a Geisha to pleasure the soul. And the few remaining ones still are — sex is permanently off the menu these days (though you can get prostitutes dressed as geishas, but they aren't the real deal). Classically, one could tell a geisha from a prostitute by how their sash was tied; while geishas tied theirs in the back, often helped by a servant, a prostitute's was tied in the front, so she could quickly get her kimono open. Geishas were never prostitutes but they could be "retained" as mistresses or formal concubines. This however was regarded as a kind of marriage and the lady was faithful to her patron. These days a Geisha's sex life is considered her own business.
    • A Geisha however could not be a virgin and her 'first time' was a commodity that could be sold and allowed her trainer to recoup a large chunk of her investment. This of course is no longer done. Another old time practice was the Geisha sleep-over where both the women and their clients ended the evening by settling down to sleep in the same room - like a large mixed sex slumber party. A certain amount of horseplay took place but chaperones were on hand to keep the fun from getting out of hand.
  • The eccentric Austrian sociologist and socio-cultural anthropologist Roland Girtler has written many books about outsiders of society. In his books, he has said that he got the stories and information about prostitutes by paying them for talking to him. He says that he might as well just talk to them, because he pays them anyway.
  • Hetaerae in Ancient Greece had methods very similar to those of Geishas — there were even identical sayings about them; that you need a wife for your house, a prostitute for sex, and a Hetaera for the pleasure of your soul.
  • While making Bloodrayne, Uwe Boll infamously hired actual Romanian prostitutes to play... well, prostitutes. Why? They were cheaper than hiring extras, who would have to be paid SAG minimum. Which is... unusually ingenious of him.
  • Channel 4 once made a documentary about the sex trade involving two undercover reporters, one of them posing as a new, and then regular, customer in a brothel who always hired the same woman but only ever asked for a massage (the other reporter went undercover working in the brothel — but only as a receptionist).
  • Likewise, Peter Jennings once did a report on child prostitution in Romania by pretending to be a client for the various boys (who were all orphans being pimped by their older brothers because they had no other means of survival). He'd hire them, interview them, and then make up some excuse not to have sex with them, drop them off and leave.
  • A columnist for the Nevada Sagebrush did this as the subject of his last column, here.
  • Travel writer Tim Moore did a Monopoly board tour of London for the book Do Not Pass Go, looking into the history and character of the places used in the standard UK version of the game. At his first stop, King's Cross station, he experiences the area's seedy underbelly by hiring a Brazilian transgender person to play a game of Monopoly.
  • An American photographer did a project about male prostitutes in Los Angeles. After taking their pictures, he would pay them the amount they would have charged for sex, and the pictures would be titled with the man's name, home town and the amount, e.g Dan, Albuquerque, $25.
  • This New York based professional cuddler. Technically not prostitution, but she has been called one.
  • Freakonomics and Super Freakonomics, by Dr. Levitt, features several looks at the economics of the world's oldest profession, at least in the US. First, the majority of prostitutes aren't making that much for sex acts, but surprisingly, a higher-class prostitute who charges hundreds of dollars an hour has to perform a lot less acts for her clientele than a street prostitute. "Allie" was such a prostitute, and she was usually wined and dined more as her rates started to climb to several hundred an hour. She was being paid in part to give the illusion of "the perfect companion," as much as sex. Of course, it helped that "Allie" was very attractive, very well-educated, charming, well-read, and cultured. Of course, prostitutes of lower socioeconomic status were never wined-and-dined and subject to physical abuse, arrest, and worse. The economic data also showed lower-class prostitutes were "cheaper" if paid in drugs, actually gained a net benefit from having a pimp, and most surprisingly often worked seasonally, supplementing their income by turning tricks when tourists came to town.
  • Dan Savage has been known to recommend that socially-awkward men hire hookers for conversation to get used to talking to women, though he did once recommend this as a method of screening out undercover cops when trying to hire one for the usual purpose, as if she is a cop she won't make a followup appointment but won't arrest the john if he doesn't actually request sex. "There's nothing illegal about paying an escort to escort you places."
  • Some sex therapists employ sex surrogates, whose purpose is to get patients used to being touched, trusting and interacting with the opposite sex, healthy sexual relationships, communication, etc. if the patient seeking help does not have a spouse or significant other. In fact, although sex is involved, it's only a very small part of the sex surrogate's work. Unlike most examples, they usually are not paid directly by the patient, but by the therapist who employs them.
  • The "Sugar Daddies" industries, in which young women in their 20s are put in touch with financially successful older men (usually from their 40s to 60s), and in exchange for companionship (which may not necessarily involve sex) the men offer expensive gifts or financial assistance to the young women (since most of them are struggling with college fees, rent or other debt).
  • In one early biography of St. Simeon of Emesa, it's said that when the holy fool heard that women were turning to prostitution out of financial desperation, he hired them to become his "girlfriends," paying them extra so they would not sleep with anyone else— and of course, being a monk, he wouldn't sleep with them either, thus preserving their chastity.
  • At one point, Patton Oswalt was offered a prostitute by a madame (or rather, the web administrator of an online escort service), but after hearing of her Dark and Troubled Past, he decided to simply get dinner with her. He later joked that she must have been absolutely bewildered and likely wondered if they had had sex and she had just missed it somehow.
  • In one documentary about the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, also known as the Ghost Army, one soldier named Victor Dowd spent his time in a Parisian brothel sketching the ladies rather than going upstairs with them, and ended up paying her just for letting him draw her.


Video Example(s):


Manic Pixie Prostitute

This John isn't looking for sex, but rather for a magical woman to fill his life with whimsy.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / PlatonicProstitution

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