Brothel (ETW building)
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A house of pleasure, run by a bawd or pimp, where the business consists entirely of slaking the physical desires of anyone with the money to pay.
Other than domestic service or labouring in the fields, there are very few ways that a woman can earn an independent living. Selling herself and her skills as a sexual partner are an obvious choice to many, and brothels provide a relatively safe place to work – certainly safer than the city streets. Male prostitution is not unknown, and some brothels cater for an entirely different clientele.
Historically, India had a tradition of raising lovemaking to a fine art. A significant portion of the Sanskrit “Kama Sutra” deals explicitly with sex, and another considers the acquisition and use of courtesans as lovers. This was an additional reason for the fascination of European traders and soldiers in India, far from home as they were, with the local women. A flourishing community of expatriates who were married to, or living with, native Indian women existed in the 18th Century. The somewhat bigoted ideas of “Victorian” morality and “muscular Christianity” among later cohorts of colonial administrators put paid to this and, ironically, brothels enjoyed a resurgent trade.