‘Miraculous tricks, to earn a living by idling’: Sex for Money and Money for Sex
This chapter analyses the organisation of the vice trade as an illegal variant of a normal pre-industrial business. The characteristics include the brothel as a small scale, family run workshop, headed by a bawd who kept a ‘whorehousehold’, and with only a few resident prostitutes. The bawd's hold over the whores rested mainly on her credit and on the money the prostitutes owed her, debts that were incurred above all for clothes, which were of great practical and symbolic significance. The financial terms, negotiations, earnings, profits, and costs of the prostitution business are explored, as are the sexual services that clients bought. The chapter concludes that turnover in the prostitution trade contributed to the circulation of money within the city, and was especially important for the East India Company, whose sailors often spent their wages in whorehouses, and so had to reenlist.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.