Skin City: Uncovering the Las Vegas Sex Industry

Skin City: Uncovering the Las Vegas Sex Industry

by Jack Sheehan

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Part exposé, part x-rated travel guide -- the ultimate insider's look at America's adult playground

Vegas. It's a place where Midwestern couples become uninhibited swingers, where shy schoolgirls morph into sexy strippers pulling in $1,000 a night, and where randy tourists come to score at more than just blackjack and craps. What happens here,

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Part exposé, part x-rated travel guide -- the ultimate insider's look at America's adult playground

Vegas. It's a place where Midwestern couples become uninhibited swingers, where shy schoolgirls morph into sexy strippers pulling in $1,000 a night, and where randy tourists come to score at more than just blackjack and craps. What happens here, stays here -- and Vegas nightlife is hotter than it's ever been before.

In Skin City, journalist and longtime Vegas resident Jack Sheehan goes beyond the bright lights to explore the dark thrills of the city's sex industry. Both lurid and fascinating, here is an unabashed look at the stripping, swinging, hustling, and hooking that have turned a desert gaming metropolis into the world's capital of lascivious entertainment. But more than a no-holds-barred exposé, Sheehan's Skin City offers a connoisseur's catalogue of where to go for readers whose tastes run to the erotic -- with everything from valuable pointers from lap dancers, call girls, and vice cops to porn star Jenna Jameson's list of her favorite Vegas strip clubs.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Sheehan (Above Las Vegas) migrated to "Skin City" in 1976 in pursuit of "adult fun," and asserts that Vegas is where America goes to be legally licentious. Yet despite sweet little dice imprints throughout this work, the only gambling he describes is the gambling men (and sometimes women) do with their bank accounts: Vegas's nubile beauties don't come cheap. An hour in a strip club's VIP room costs no less than $400; a hotel room "escort" starts at $500 and ranges upward. In chapters that read like snappy magazine pieces, Sheehan tours the Strip as well as the strip clubs, swingers clubs, massage parlors and porn conventions. He interviews porn stars turned soccer moms, soccer moms turned dominatrixes and young couples funding their futures with for-profit swinging sessions. Interpolated throughout are tips for sex-driven travelers: how to choose a strip club, what to expect in a lap dance, what to look for in a swinger's club, how to avoid being arrested and even where to go for a good meal. This often tame and oddly old-fashioned erotic travelogue affects an "oh, my gosh!" attitude that's both endearing and perplexing, given Sheehan's lengthy tenure in the town, but it's an engaging and occasionally shocking voyage. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Like travel guides, these sex tourism guides deliver for armchair wannabes as well as visitors. According to deMontmollin, a Las Vegas marketing manager, too many guys drop big bucks and waste countless fur-brained hours ad libbing Vegas. Better, he says, they should tag a type-A friend to pre-plan and pre-book, using these excellent and comprehensive instructions regarding accommodations, dining, gambling, bars, ladies peer and pro, plus male fun like golf, roller coasters, shooting ranges, and 1930s-style barber spas. Checklists, mini-maps, sample itineraries, and charts are plentiful, and numerous sidebars describe "classic Vegas mistakes," like taking advice from cab drivers-usually paid for by hotels and clubs to procure customers. Sheehan, author and screenwriter, takes a slightly different tack: he interviews porn actresses, prostitutes, strippers, a madam, swing club hosts, and vice cops for his entertaining, behind-the-scenes tour of Vegas adult industries interspersed with customer tips. He also covers the porn Oscars and pro-sex service for women and gay men. This is not a scholarly work or "balanced" journalism. Contrary to the "sex workers are messed up" style of rhetoric, Sheehan portrays almost all the people he talks to as savvy, more or less likable, and enjoying their work. His tips are more sex-specific and sometimes more detailed than in A Guy's Guide. Although both could have used indexes, deMontmollin is recommended for travel collections where appropriate and Sheehan for larger sex collections. For broader-scope sex customer advice, the most detailed and frank-if repetitive-resource is Paying for It, written by sex workers themselves.-Martha Cornog, Philadelphia Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
With an impressive roster of strippers, swingers, porn stars and prostitutes, Sheehan explores the very adult side of Vegas entertainment. Journalist Sheehan, who moved to Vegas when he was in his early 20s, is as close to a local as one can get in a town of transplants. As such, he knew where to look when it was time to expose the city's seamier side-although the various activities he discusses are so widely accepted in Las Vegas and, indeed, crucial to the city's municipal coffers, that they hardly qualify as illicit. In general, the author presents a decidedly sunny portrait of the sex industry. The strippers that Sheehan interviews find that they've never felt so strong and liberated as when they're onstage with their clothes off, and his porn-star sources love sex and are pleased to be getting paid to engage in it onscreen (sex is "the funnest thing there is to do," one explains). Prostitutes are delighted by how much they can rake in from just a few hours of work, and swingers are amazed by their ability to find nightly parties where they can be as randy as they please. Yes, Sheehan elaborates on prejudices within the culture: Strippers would never get in bed with a man for money, while some prostitutes find it demeaning to dance in front of a room full of strangers. He gives a nod to pimps who exploit hookers, to deadbeat boyfriends who sponge off stripper girlfriends, and he points out that every once in a while, a working girl will be a bit introspective or depressed. But for the most part, this is a valentine to the industry. Bonus for those with plans to visit: Sheehan provides a number of sidebars with explicit instructions on how to behave in the underworld. If you'd like toknow more about massage parlors and gentlemen's clubs, or learn the "etiquette of mate swapping," here's one for you. Anything but subtle.

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HarperCollins Publishers
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