Blood of Rome
Rome is decadent, and any pleasures can be bought for the right price. The brothels serve one of the stronger demands, and while they are officially frowned upon by nearly everyone, they still do a thriving business.
A typical brothel has several rooms. The first is where the clients meet the prostitutes, and make their choice. The prostitutes are naked, or nearly so, and wear price tags to make the process more efficient. Male and female prostitutes are available, although some establishments specialize in one or the other. The other rooms provide some privacy for the clients while they receive the services they have paid for.
Not all prostitutes are slaves, but many are. As careers for a slave go, it’s not the worst of all possible jobs… but it certainly isn’t the best. Free prostitutes tend to be more sullen, having been forced into it, and tending to compare prostitution with running a shop or being a respectable wife, rather than with being worked to death on a farm or down a mine. There are, of course, exceptions in both cases.
Indeed, the best prostitutes, particularly female ones, can become famous, sought-after and almost, but not quite, respectable. Good looks are essential for this, as is a way with people, but a certain level of artistic accomplishment is just as essential. Male patrons need to be able to pretend that they are buying cultured entertainment, not casual sex. The very best prostitutes can even be paid well for an evening in which they have no sexual contact with the client at all, although they would not get away with that every night.
Brothels, however, do not house the best whores. The highest class courtesans are invited to private dinner parties at senators’ palaces, and live in discreet wealth. Brothels are wear you can find the also-rans, and, occasionally, young courtesans with a great future in front of them, if they can impress the right people.
Brothels vary in the quality of the whores, and in the racial and gender mix. Some brothels specialize in particular tastes, while others pretend to be bathhouses. The very best brothels are truly elegant, and do not put price tags on the merchandise. (This may be to avoid potential clients dying from heart failure on entering, however.)