Female sex workers aren’t the only ones who rocked the world. Can you think of a male prostitute changing history? We already mentioned Lao Ai, a man who committed crimes to sexually satisfy a Queen and ended up being executed for it. Considering the many ways people expressed their sexuality back then, there should be no surprise that there were male sex workers too.
- Phaedo of Elis
- Mike Jones
- Andrew Cunanan
- Febo do Poggio
- John Saul
- Herbert Huncke
- Jean Genet
- Denham Fouts
Phaedo of Elis
1.Phaedo of Elis– While most sex workers were empowered, some were forced into the line of work. Phaedo was a young boy who grew up in an upper class family from ancient Elis, Greece. A war between Athens and Sparta broke out and Athenians captured the young boy and turned him into a slave.
Because of Phaedo’s good looks, he was forced into sex slavery. He was passed around among prominent scholars which is how he ended up meeting Socrates, a famous philosopher who was well known for valuing the soul rather than possessions and appearance. Socrates took Phaedo under his wing, granting him his freedom. Phaedo ended up being a respected philosopher himself.
2. Mike Jones– Mike is a modern day male escort from the mid-2000s. He rocked the American Nation when he rightfully outed a man named Ted Haggard. Ted Haggard is a reverend, father of 4 and adviser to former president George Bush. Haggard was one of the biggest opponents of same sex marriages. Mike Jones was deeply hurt about the hypocrisy and exposed Haggard for being his client for YEARS.
3. Andrew Cunanan– Andrew was a high end male escort who was always around extremely wealthy gay men in the Los Angelos, US area. He came from a well to do background and went to a very expensive boarding school. His background allowed him to blend in with high society. He had many politicians and celebrities as clients.
Andrew’s lifestyle was full of drugs and because of it combined with the fact that he was considered a genius, he developed psychological problems. His looks began to fade due to substance abuse and he was having a hard time finding wealthy men to be his sugar daddy. Andrew ended up enraged and went on a killing spree. He killed three wealthy men before he killed his most famous victim- Gianni Versace in 1997.
Cunanan ended up being on America’s Most Wanted and was on the run. He somehow ended up in Miami where Versace lived, stalked him and killed him.
Febo do Poggio
4. Febo di Poggio– Febo was one of many male lovers of the famous sculpture Michelangelo in the 1500s. What’s special about him was the fact that he was referenced many times in Michelangelo’s poems. The famous sculpture named him his “Little Blackmailer” because he was so demanding. He demanded gifts and money all of the time and Michelangelo seemed to willingly give in. Michelangelo was so in love with the much younger lover. The romance was short lived but profound.
5. John Saul– John was born in Ireland, 1800s. He lived in poverty and turned to sex work. He moved to London, a location where he would find much richer clients. Homosexuality was illegal at that time so the term “Mary-Ann” was created as a codeword for male sex worker so men can have male lovers without suspicion. John wrote a book about his experiences called “The Sins of the Cities of the Plain; or, The Recollections of a Mary-Ann, with Short Essays on Sodomy and Tribadism.” This is how John found himself in the middle of a scandal.
A man named Martin Kirwan, son of a well known and very wealthy man was accused of having male orgies. John was ordered to court to testify that Martin was one of his clients in a well known brothel on 19th Cleveland Street. John was not prosecuted by the government for his illegal homosexual activity because they were afraid he was going to name many other prominent men that visited 19th Cleveland Street. So John got away with it.
6. Herbert Huncke– Herbert was working for Al Capone, a notorious crime boss in Chicago. But he wasn’t known until he decided to go on his own as a hustler. Herbert moved to NYC in 1939 and started working as a male escort. He earned the nickname “Mayor of 42nd Street” and was pretty popular. However, he had nothing to show for the money he earned. He spent about all of it on drugs.
His mark on history started when he met Jack Kerouac. Jack was an author and one of the pioneers of the Beat Generation. The Beat Generation was a literary movement in the 1950s that went against society’s culture with sexual liberation and anti-war rhetorics. His friendship with Herbert allowed him to explore the world of prostitution and sexuality. Herbert often introduced Jack to many other sex workers that inspired Jack’s writings.
Herbert was also the inspiration for another writer named William Borroughs. William wrote “Naked Lunch,” one of his many iconic books from the Beat Generation. William was also a hardcore junkie.
7. Jean Genet– Jean was born in 1910 in France. His mother was a prostitute who abandoned him before he turned one years old. He ended up with an abusive foster family who were in poverty. Jean turned to sex work and petty crimes for survival as a young man. He actually enjoyed gay sex and it was natural for him to start earning a lot of money with sailors. Jean enrolled in the Foreign Lesion, collected the bonus money and left. He was in and out of prison and during his time in, he started writing.
He wrote a book named “Our Lady of the Flowers” describing his wild life and his experience as a sex worker. It became a classic piece in gay literature. The book was so popular that David Bowie had a song about the author called “Jean Genie.”
8. Denham Fouts– Denham Fouts aka Denny became the most famous male escort in the 1920s- 1930s mostly because of how handsome he was. He was nicknamed “the kept boy” and was known for laying in bed all day, ordering room service and being very expensive. Denny’s clients were very important figures- included royal men including an Egyptian King.
Denny went to jail for robbing a Greek millionaire but was bailed out by a Welsh poet named Evan Morgan. Evan supported him financially until Denny fell in love with Prince Paul of Greece. The Prince ended the relationship when he became King.
Denny had a huge crush on the novelist Truman Capote- the man famous for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” One of Denny’s high paying clients funded his trip to Paris to meet the author in person. They ended up being friends and lovers. Truman tried to convince Denny to get into rehab because he was hard on drugs. Denny did not get the help he needed so Truman ended their relationship.
Denny ended up dying from drug use.
Whew! This was a spicy list of male prostitutes!
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