In the infamous carol “The 12 Days of Christmas,” the singer brags about all the bossy gifts their “true love” gave them for the holidays. But since since six geese-a-laying and a bunch of turtle doves seem unsanitary — not to mention a violation of city ordinances — we decided to gift you with 12 of something better: A handful of sex workers you should absolutely know about. Whether they’re becoming literary superstars, breaking the “stunt cock” mold or literally embodying gay Jesus himself, they’re the real gifts we need this Christmas. And no, not one of them is a turtle dove.
In a southern Nevada town — aptly called Pahrump and described as “easy to reach and hard to forget” — lies the infamous Chicken Ranch Brothel. Alongside its rather unsexy name comes a particularly unsexy logo, depicting a woman’s legs emerging from a cracked egg. Still, what goes on there is the sexiest thing in America, according to the law, anyway. The Chicken Ranch is one of 21 legal brothels in the U.S., all of which are located in rural counties in Nevada, the only state in the country where selling sex is legal.
Situated on the side of a long stretch of deserted road, the Chicken Ranch looks like a toy town, complete with a dainty white picket fence and pastel pink and blue awnings. Inside, its 31 alternating resident sex workers line up in the red velvet parlor, with an enormous, curtained mirror behind them so you can see all their “sides.” Clients lounge on brown leather armchairs in front of them, waiting to pick their girl for the night.
Among the choices is Alice Little, the highest-paid legal sex worker in America (and, at just 4-foot-8, also, apparently, the shortest). But don’t be fooled by her small stature — Alice Little is a big deal. Formerly a resident of the notorious Moonlite BunnyRanch — operated by prolific brothel owner Dennis Hof until his death in 2018 — she’s become somewhat of an influencer. Her YouTube channel, where she hosts the weekly “Coffee with Alice” series, features everything from brothel etiquette and sex toy reviews to Q&As about sex-work decriminalization, and has over 84K subscribers. Along those lines, Little is usually the press’ first choice when it comes to interviews about legal sex work, with publications like the Daily Mail lauding her “$1 MILLION” yearly salary in its signature clickbait headlines.
But it’s not just her unique, red-haired, girl-next-door looks and infectious positivity that have fueled her rocket-rise to the top — Little is an intimacy coach, fitness instructor, mentor, sex work marketing expert and, if you want, your virtual girlfriend. She’s also heavily involved in sex-work advocacy. As well as being a founding member of Hookers for Healthcare — a campaign launched in 2017 to fight against Donald Trump’s proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act — she sued Nevada’s governor for his unfair treatment of brothels and their workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When discussing sex-worker rights, Little speaks eloquently and with passion. She cites “access to the financial system” as the reason she was drawn to the legal sex industry specifically, but is steadfast in her defense of sex work in general, too. “My job doesn’t protect me from my clients. My job protects me from the law,” she tells me. “It’s the police and policies that actually endanger me — the criminalization of my industry is the problem, not my guests.”
Little was born just outside of Dublin in 1990, where she had, as she says, a “feral childhood.” “I have these memories of running around barefoot through green fields, as my cousins chased the cows to bring them back in,” she explains. “It was a really wonderful way to grow up, just surrounded by family, animals and activity.” At the age of five, Little moved with her parents to Long Island. “It was a very big difference,” she says. “People don’t exactly keep ducks as pets in New York!”
Then, after an eclectic string of jobs — she was a jockey and then an EMT, the latter of which “isn’t ideal if you’re super tiny” — Little started working weekends as the front desk manager at one of New York City’s most exclusive private BDSM dungeons. At just 18, she began organizing sessions and managing the education program — gaining a “world-class knowledge in kink, threesomes, foursomes, polyamory” and more — but was soon teaching classes herself. It was during her time in sex education, that Little met a former legal brothel worker. “It just sounded like so much fun,” she recalls. “I applied online and decided to jump into it.”
As someone whose “mission in life” is “getting to know others and enriching their lives,” much of Little’s work centers on intimacy, as opposed to sex. Of course, there’s typically a sexual element to each of her sessions, but Little’s selling point is connection, comfort and conversation. “People are more honest with their courtesan than they are with their therapist, because it speaks to a higher level of connection,” she says. “When you’re able to bare your soul, lay naked and have sex with another person, you establish a very strong, instantaneous connection. It lets people experience healing and overcome things that have been lingering in the background, and gives them the opportunity to be vulnerable and receptive to kindness.”
After observing a hunger in many of her guests for these affectionate, vulnerable experiences, Little began offering intimacy coaching. The Somatica Institute, which hosts training for sex and relationships coaches, describes an “intimacy coach” as someone who makes individuals feel safer and more connected to their partners. With this in mind, Little focuses on communication, urging her clients to open up about their desires — sexual or otherwise. Speaking to Christopher Lochhead on his Follow Your Different podcast, she said her intimacy coaching often “changes the entire way people have sex moving forward,” simply by encouraging them to ask things “like, ‘Show me what feels nice.’”
“People say, ‘I barely had sex with the lights on, let alone had a conversation while getting into that,’” Little continued to Lochhead. “And I enable people to do that. It’s really eye-opening.” Little also offers what could be likened to couple’s therapy, helping those going through a tough time “rekindle their emotional intimacy.” This could be via a threesome in which Little participates, or during a session in which she coaches a couple through a sexual experience where she’s not involved at all. “One of the things that I love getting to share with couples is power,” Little told Sonni Abatta on her podcast, We Gotta Talk. “And the potential that’s created whenever there’s conflict in a relationship, because it gives you something to work on together, and thus, increases the intimacy in the relationship.”
Her coaching also goes beyond partnered connection — Little wants her clients to feel a deeper sense of self-acceptance and develop a bond with themselves, too. She offers a weekly, personalized program that aims to improve a guest’s confidence and help them overcome their perceived limitations. As she told The Sex Ed podcast, this begins with her sharing her own limitations and boundaries to help set “the stage for them to be able to open up and share honestly their own desires, needs and wants.”
Next, she’ll gently tease her clients’ feelings out of them because, as she told Ian Dawson Mackay on The Next Level Guy Show, “You have to start by knowing yourself intimately and having a relationship with yourself.” Little encourages vulnerability by asking her guests to be vocal about what they enjoy, both sexually and in life more broadly, with the aim of boosting their self-assurance.
Clients may initially share these thoughts via email, where Little will quiz them to “put the full picture together.” It’s during these exchanges that she learns why someone is coming to her for this particular experience, and what they want to get out of it. Do they want to address parental or guardian attachment issues? Learn to be more present, or feel an enhanced sense of embodiment? Do they want to be taught how to increase their emotional awareness?
Unlike a traditional therapist, who can be more like a detached observer, an intimacy coach provides a more emotionally supportive, hands-on connection (which can include things like cuddle therapy and sexological bodywork). “The idea is that it’s an exchange of energy, ideas, physicality and pleasure,” Little tells me. “It’s really a two-way emotionality.”
While not all sex workers are intimacy coaches, and not all intimacy coaches are sex workers, Little sees sex workers as “the correct resource” for sex and intimacy education. “We’re experts in our field with real-world experience communicating as well as connecting with people,” she told entrepreneur Steve Sims on his podcast, The Art of Making Things Happen. “I’d say we’re akin to mental-health professionals in the sense that we too are experts and service providers.”
Little tells me that her intimacy coaching is deeply informed by her job as a sex worker because she’s able to share information that’s backed by lived experiences. “I know what works because I’ve done it myself,” she says. “That’s not something most coaches are able to say.” Without going into specific detail, Little adds that her encounters and adventures as a sex worker have shaped her values, compassion, understanding and caring for others. She expanded on this on The Sex Ed podcast, saying: “[Sex workers] are able to help people get those experiences, make those situations happen, give them that education so they can go out into the world and have fruitful, beneficial, healthy relationships and find happiness.”
Currently, Little sees modern society as the cause of an intimacy “epidemic.” She says that during the COVID lockdown, the girlfriend experience was her most sought-after offering, as clients craved someone to share their fears and concerns with, and to talk to during extended periods of isolation. Then and now, clients came to sex workers for more than just sex. “Sex is common in essence,” Little told Sims. “I even go as far as to say sex is cheap. Intimacy is where the value is, and that’s what makes [sex workers] and our industry so different from anything else that’s out there.”