Sex & Relationships

Las Vegas Madam: Men Pay Women for Sex to Avoid Having a Mutual Experience

The former escort reveals some unexpected truths about her trade.

In her book, The Las Vegas Madam: The Escorts, The Clients, The Truth, Jami Rodman tells how she went from small-town girl in a family so religious that movies, dances and sports were off-limits to  Haley Heston, an elite Las Vegas escort, then high-powered madam at Vegas' top escort agency. There were drugs, rich dudes throwing money around on booze, food and yet more drugs, and lots of sex. Rodman has a gift for graphic descriptions and takes you into those Vegas hotel rooms with her—which can be a mixed bag. For every sexy encounter with hotly whispered pillow talk and mutual lust, there are awkward or super gross “dates” (I.e. a threesome with a husband and wife containing these unforgettable sentences: “I extracted my hand. It was covered in sticky fluid and strings of blood.”)

But Rodman is not just blunt, she's smart, and in the end, the titillation of the book is less about the various throbbing loins and more about thought-provoking ideas like how sexual dynamics change when sex is paid for, what men are really seeking from a paid sexual encounter and the kinds of bonds people form—or don't—when naked in a room together.

In a way, Rodman's super-strict upbringing abetted her eventual career choices. Since she was banned from so many activities, she spent a lot of time in her room. But instead of contemplating God, she figured out she might put Barbie dolls, hairbrush handles and her Teddy Bear into service as masturbation tools.

Later as escort Haley Heston, her love of sex, coupled with a fierce work ethic, desire to please and a diet of ecstasy, energy drinks and cocaine made her one of the highest-rated escorts in town. She later created Haley Heston's Private Collection, a booking agency for escorts that became known for treating its “girls” fairly and keeping them safe. Rodman might still be living as Haley Heston were it not for the 2012 scandal exposing Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton as one of her agency's busiest escorts. Seeing it as a good time to get out of the business, Rodman closed shop and is now living in the Bay Area working on her degree in international studies.

Jill Hamilton: I think a lot of people think escorts don't really like the work and they're just faking it. But you liked it.

Jami Rodman: Yeah! My experience with the escort industry was really fun and empowering and the women I met felt the same way. We were meeting powerful, well-off men who treated us well. We were going on dates with men from all over the world, going to clubs and parties and getting paid to do it. It was really no different than having a one-night stand, but these guys respected what we were doing. After we'd gone to a nice dinner or hung out at a couple of clubs, we'd go back to the room, and at the end of the night everybody parts ways. Since it's a business transaction, there wasn't that sort of uncertainty that there is with a blind date the next day: Did he like me? Should I call him? This is true especially for the men. When he pays for a date, it's a business transaction, so he's no longer responsible for anyone's feelings.

JH: So being hired removes fears of not being liked?

JR: Well, for the guys it did. They knew they were going to get laid. But we knew that there was a high potential that guys were going to rate us on a review board. A lot of them were not nice and you can't contest a review. They feel that since they're paying for a service, they can be very condescending: they're rude, they write graphic details, judging every inch and every act. So girls aim to please because bad reviews can really knock their business down. They have to look impeccable. Act impeccable. It's funny because a lot of the guys who are the harshest graders are guys who'd have zero chance of dating anyone in their real lives. These are socially inept guys that maybe never had a girlfriend or have some physical issues that they're uncomfortable with so they get back at women by giving them really horrible reviews.

JH: You prided yourself on providing the best sexual experience. What did that entail?

JR: I really liked what I was doing. I enjoyed going on a paid date and going to the room and performing, so I took it up a few notches. Every time a client contacted me for a date, I always asked his expectations and fantasies and what his clothing and toy requests were. And most escorts don't—they just do the minimal to get paid. That's not saying that they don't like it, but at one point it becomes just another day at work. Like, I'm just gonna skate by today—not any different than a regular job.

I always brought something to the table. Let's say you're a 50-year-old man, how many times can you have sex and have it be different every time? So I'd bring something extra like Ben Wa balls or nipple clamps and it would surprise them. I'd get repeat clients because they always knew it would be a fun experience. A lot of that too was because I was drinking and on drugs, so I was hypersexual and hyperactive. Performing when you're hyperactive and hypersexual makes that other person experience something they likely haven't experienced before.

JH: Sex is so intimate, and whether it's paid or not, bonding chemicals get activated. How do you ensure there's not a romantic or emotional attachment going either way?

JR: I think it's difficult because we are human and when you're in a closed room with someone and you're naked, all those barriers drop. Those reservations and the mask you put on for the rest of the world fall away. And there is chemistry with some people, and it's hard sometimes to keep that out. When those chemicals do happen, most often it's just brushed off in a couple days because we both realize that what we were sharing was—I wouldn't say a forced interlude, but it certainly wasn't organic. But it happens. I dated a few of my clients and a lot of my friends dated and even married clients.

But mostly trying to have a deeper relationship with a client is going to fail. I think when there's money involved then it doesn't start on an authentic note and that makes it difficult to maintain the relationship during speed bumps.

JH: Do escorts really have rules like no kissing? And what's the point of having rules?

JR: A lot of girls have a no-kissing rule or no-nipple rule. No orgasm is a big one, too. The purpose of physical rules is to prevent ourselves from getting hurt. When you share an intimate experience with someone and allow yourself to enjoy it, then you have this expectation that the other person should enjoy it as well—that it's mutual. But that's not what they're paying for. They're paying to avoid having that mutual experience. So the more we allow that to happen then it starts to feel like we're selling pieces of our soul to clients. Then there's nothing left.

JH: What surprised you about being an escort?

JR: I never expected that escorting would be as lonely as it was. You can't tell your friends or your family, so you're living a secret life. As the client lists grows, the only people I saw were clients, which was also lonely. And I distinctly remember the feeling of leaving a guy's room. You say goodbye to someone and generally that's it. A lot of times you'll never see them again. Guys have sort of a one-track mind. Once they have an orgasm, they're done. So you shut the door, you say goodbye and that's it.

I think for women there's more of a need to connect and bond and if you just shared a really great experience you kind of want to savor that, so it's just super lonely saying goodbye, closing the door and moving on. It's like, I just had a really great time—didn't you feel that? No, they didn't. That's why they were paying me. It's kind of an odd feeling to wrestle with.

JH: Is porn shaping the way people are having sex?

JR: Yes. One of my younger clients was watching porn on his cell phone and on his laptop and on his TV. He could not have an orgasm without watching like 10 different acts of porn going on all at the same time. He never had a girlfriend, he did not know how to have sex and he didn't understand how to kiss or be intimate. He only knew how to have sex from watching porn. Now people need more extreme visuals to keep them interested and that's what guys expect in the bedroom.

JH: What did you learn about men doing this work?

JR: One of the things that surprised me most was that they don't want to hurt their wives when they hire me. They're doing it for the opposite reason. They don't want their wives to find out and an escort seems safer than taking on a girlfriend or mistress. They come to an escort as their last hope because they haven't had sex for two years. It's like, I love my wife, and I don't want to hurt her, but I'm not ready to stop having sex and I had to do something about it.

One of my clients was married to a sex therapist and he said, “People think I have the greatest sex life because my wife is a sex therapist. We have dinners with our friends and everybody laughs about it, but I haven't had sex in three years and I'm just tired of it.”

The other thing I learned is that if men are getting sex from their wives or their girlfriends, most of them are not going to look for it on the side.

JH: Why else do men hire escorts?

JR: The connection. A lot of times just sitting down and having a drink with a pretty girl is really the only time someone talks to him or listens to him outside of work or the demands of being a responsible breadwinner for the family. I remember a guy saying, “The only time I feel human is when I'm with you. I work so much and just need that physical connection.”

And there are a lot of men who are physically disabled or socially unable to seek a relationship. Having an intimate connection with someone is part of our innate desire as humans and sometimes paying for it is the only viable solution. That isn't going away, and I think making peace with it would make it better and safer for everyone involved. It's the oldest profession in the world for a reason.

Jill Hamilton writes In Bed With Married Women ( Follow her on Twitter @Jill_Hamilton.