My boyfriend, Rod, was kissing another woman passionately.
The tiny fingers of jealousy press against my insides, and I’m not sure where to look or what to do. The woman sensed my discomfort and stopped short, pulling me to her side with a hearty giggle and a squeeze. I relax and remember: This is why I chose him. I loved it, I loved those giggles, and I knew he had absolutely no interest in hunting down my girlfriend.
How do I know this? Because I chose it from a list at one of Nevada’s most notorious legal brothels. We hired her to join us in an hour-long threesome, and when our time was up, she’d go back to the bar and charm other people with that sexy laugh, and we’d go home.
I had never had a “real” threesome before, other than some fairly friendly fooling around in college. It’s been a lifelong fantasy, but the emotional politics of a threesome have always seemed incredibly complicated. There must be someone who is hurt, someone who feels left out, someone who is jealous ― definitely, maybe, definitely me? Plus that third wheel – is he going to be a stalker? Will we get an STI? Will an angry boyfriend show up out of the blue and make us the hapless stars of a true crime show? Too risky. So I’ve resigned myself to the fact that some things are best left to fantasy.
However, when I met a lover who knew how to handle a paid relationship, a new possibility presented itself. Rod and I headed to a brothel outside Reno, Nevada, to celebrate my upcoming birthday. And it wasn’t at all what I expected.
We took a cab from our hotel in downtown Reno to a brothel bar, all flashy neon lights outside but sticky classic floors and a simple Old West saloon inside. Companions chat with each other on bar stools or relax at velvet dining tables set against the wall. It was early – around 4pm – and we were the only visitors. Several old men sat at wooden bar tables, eating from plastic foam TV trays and quietly sipping beer. Women who clearly knew them would stop by periodically to pick them up, a scene more akin to a medical assistant escorting a patient to an exam room than an attendee initiating a sexy encounter.
Rod and I were very interesting subjects ― a couple is a rare event ― and there were many friendly women who came up to our table, asked if we had any questions and offered to show us around. Before we had a chance to chat with anyone in detail, the “line up” bell rang, and any visitors who had not yet initiated an encounter with a woman passed through a forbidding, dungeon-like door into the hunting lodge’s cavernous halls.
In front of a giant stone fireplace the women were lined up. They are everything – all different races, body types, and clothing styles. I found myself in a rare moment of simply admiring the beauty of their diverse bodies without needing to compete or compare myself. However, I cringed with self-consciousness when I realized that none of them were as old as me. Will they be turned off by our middle-aged bodies? Wait, was I actually expecting it to be turned on? I was momentarily confused.
Courtesy of Melissa Duge Spiers
The author and her boyfriend, Rod, on a plane to Reno, Nevada.
The house manager – a woman in a business suit about my age – introduced each woman, who then stepped forward for a moment, gave a little wave and smiled, like at a beauty pageant. A handsome young man sitting in the chair beside us immediately chose. The woman grinned and sat on his lap and gave him an enthusiastic greeting – this was definitely not their first time together. The manager then asked any women who wanted to entertain the couple to come forward, and about half of the line did so.
Rod and I had made a deal before we arrived: I got to choose. I already knew I wanted Carmen, the curvy, dark-haired woman in the fishnet dress and panties who was the first to greet us at the bar. She was flirtatious and seemed happy. She was beautiful and she was giggling. So I pointed at him, while the good girl I was teaching shouted at me in my heart: Pointing is rude! The women without dates returned to the bar and I felt another stab of guilt as they passed us. Have I made them feel rejected? Are they offended?
I didn’t have time to think about it because Carmen was rocking back and forth in our laps, or, more specifically, in my lap as I sat on Rod’s lap. Pulling my hand, and hugging it, he led us to the negotiation room. It was a small, dimly lit room that resembled a hall closet and was big enough for all of us to sit on our knees while we discussed what our hours would be like and how much it would cost.
Depending on what services we wanted, our time with Carmen could easily amount to a thousand dollars or more. He laid out the basic rules (condoms are always required; kissing is permitted) and asked if we had any special requests. Not really, we just want to have fun, we told him. We negotiated the price – I gulped and Rod agreed. Then we offered our genitals for examination, a brief examination that he conducted with a sly sense of humor while detailing the rigorous STI tests he undergoes every week. It all felt oddly comforting and funny, rather than awkward. STIs are taken very seriously in brothels, and this is definitely a good thing.
The unusual formalities completed, we headed to the payment counter and paid in cash. After we finished, we followed Carmen down a maze-like hallway — flashing red lights everywhere — and she pranced in front of us with a bottle of Champagne in an ice bucket.
When we finally got to his room, a small, semi-private room, I was so glad it was hot―I always get cold when I’m nervous. Carmen points out the condoms, towels, new sheets on the bed, and the adjoining bathroom (which she shares with the woman in the next room). The little tour was a strange combination of live trading and flirtation.
Carmen seemed to be a touchy-feely person and she held my arm or patted me on the back as she showed us around. I noticed that she was focusing more of her attention on me than Rod, which fascinated me, but the cynical observer in me noted that it was an undoubtedly smart and practiced move – she was clearly experienced in disarming the competitive and jealous aspects of women. these meetings.
Courtesy of Melissa Duge Spiers
The author and his girlfriend were hanging out at their hotel bar, where he said, “enjoyed surprising people by telling them where we were going.”
Things flowed easily between Carmen and I, from introductory chatter to horizontal action, and within minutes Rod enthusiastically joined in, the three of us gyrating in a very fluid give-and-take. Although he nominally takes control – after all, threesomes require little direction – most of the sex is female-centric. I smiled to myself. Threesomes are the territory of stale male fantasies, but Carmen and I are a girl-on-girl group full of teamwork, exploration, and celebration. I even joked that we hoped Rod wouldn’t feel left out. (Obviously he didn’t.) The whole experience was fun and sexy – everything I hoped for – without any of the awkwardness I feared.
Carmen was always charming and enthusiastic, but I never mistook her warmth for actual sexual passion. There is no reason on anyone’s part that this meeting should be expected to bring him satisfaction.
I asked him about this later, as we were all relaxing naked in bed, sipping Champagne and chatting. She answered the question with a bit of evasiveness – she explained that she had enough fun just to make her clients happy, and besides, it was too hard to orgasm all day long. We asked him where he grew up (Venezuela) and how he got into this line of work. (She was originally a stripper, but she found working in a brothel safer, with less abuse and more money.) When I wondered whether the post-coital chatter was the best or worst part of her job, Carmen assured me that he hopes to connect with customers. and the old adage is true: He often had clients who paid him just to talk.
All too soon, the intercom buzzer rang and a female voice informed us that our time was up. I wondered about security―of course there was a network of guards and cameras and intercoms and emergency buttons to protect the women, but it was all so secret, we didn’t notice. We jumped up and bustled around, helping Carmen get out of bed and straighten up (although she insisted we didn’t have to) and then the three of us went out into the hall.
We returned to the bar where we started our adventure for a final chat and a drink. We were sitting comfortably together at a table and laughing at our new jokes, when a young woman who looked like she had just come off the farm joined us. He clearly had a friendly relationship with Carmen and was very curious, “What exactly do you do when it’s a threesome?” As we happily shared our insights, he turned to me and said with a wink, “This is what happens to a girl when you raise her in a very strict, controlling religion!” I raised my glass and said, “That means two of us, girlfriend! Amen!”
Drinks suddenly arrived at our table for Carmen. It was sent from a man at the bar, and he smiled and toasted her. He quickly got up and, after squeezing my leg goodbye, stepped towards her. I watched them chat for a while and then she hooked her arm through his and led him to the door of the big cabin. The last thing I heard as the door swung shut behind them was that warm, cheerful laugh, and I felt sad to see it go. I think I’m jealous.
Melissa Duge Spiers is an award-winning screenwriter and memoirist, whose memoir-in-progress, “The Glory Whole,” won the Book Pipeline 2021 Unpublished Manuscript Non-Fiction award. She is repped by Dani Segelbaum/The Carol Mann Agency. For more information from him, visit his Instagram at @mdugespiers.