America's "highest-earning sex worker" has opened up about life inside one of the country's most famous brothels, describing herself as a combination of "psychologist, relationship coach and sexpert all rolled into one".
Writing in SheKnows, Alice Little, who works at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Nevada — the only state in the US to allow legal prostitution — said sex work was "stigmatising, degrading, difficult and the best thing I've ever done with my life".
"Imagine you're standing in line, shoulder to shoulder, alongside 20 or more incredibly beautiful women, all vying to be 'chosen' by the same man," she said. "Stressful, right? Now, picture doing that 12 to 14 hours a day, five days a week. In a nutshell, that's my job."
Ms Little, who holds multiple degrees and got into sex work two years ago after finding traditional work "uninteresting", said she spent her downtime educating herself about human sexuality, psychology and sociology.
"Books, lectures, online videos — anything I can get my hands on," she said. "This knowledge bank has become my lifeline when figuring out how to navigate the masses."
She starts her day at 7am with an hour-long workout, before beginning the "daily ritual of putting on my war paint".
"While I'm perfecting my mascara, I'll visualise the day ahead," she said. "Do I have any appointments? Am I working floor traffic today? What are my goals? This internal dialogue continues through my 10-minute drive to work."
Sex workers at the Bunny Ranch are independent contractors, able to set their own rates and decorate their suite how they like — Little said for her, that meant a coffee station — but also have to buy their own supplies. Little said she spends $US2500 (NZ$3429) a year on condoms and lube.
"When the bell rings, it means we have guests wanting a 'line-up'," she said. "We smile, say our names and try not to wiggle — it's considered disrespectful to the other ladies and is a form of what we call 'dirty hustling'.
"The guest then walks up to the lady of his choosing and she takes him on a tour of the property. They finish the tour back in the lady's suite, where they negotiate. Personally, I hate that word: I always consider it to be more of a conversation.
"At this time we review what activities they'd like to try, experiences they're interested in, and discuss any fantasies or bucket list items. We then settle on a price and proceed to the office to book the party."
She added that while "you may assume my job is primarily about sex", that "couldn't be further from the truth".
"Sex is assumed — it's already on the table," she said. "What I'm really selling is intimacy.
"I spend intimate time with men, couples, single women, divorcees, virgins, kinksters and widows: There isn't just one type of person that sees sex workers. In that same vein, there isn't one type of person that becomes a sex worker.
"My colleagues are retired servicewomen, grad students, mothers, doctoral candidates and more. We are an incredibly diverse group of ladies with one commonality — a genuine passion for intimacy."
She described sex work as a "public service", but one that not everyone in society was comfortable with.
"Intimacy is a crucial element of health and wellness," she said. "It affects our physical, mental and emotional health in tangible ways. Much like petting a cat can lower your blood pressure, so too can a quality hug.
"With this concept in mind, it's no wonder there are a vast number of reasons people patronise sex workers. Their spouses may have died, or they've yet to have a sexual encounter with a woman.
"Sometimes it's a couple seeking their first threesome or a gentleman with autism wanting to have a 'practice date' so they feel more confident in their skills."