Interview by Christina Parreira
Dennis Hof, the entrepreneur who owns seven legal brothels in the state of Nevada and star of the HBO reality series Cathouse, has long been a divisive figure in the world of sex work.
His brash, cigar-chomping style has put him at odds with the more conservative Nevada Brothel Owners Association, who have historically taken a more ‘low profile’ approach. “I’m over the top, I’m a media whore,” said Hof in the 2011 book, ‘Nevada Rose: Inside the American Brothel’. “What else can you do when your business can’t advertise?”
A lot of things can be said about Hof’s approach, but the one thing you cannot claim is that it hasn’t worked.
I sat down with Dennis Hof today after our interviews for the local Las Vegas NBC affiliate. As part of my research for my Ph.D., I have worked in one of Hof’s brothels on and off for the last six months, but I rarely get a chance to spend an afternoon with him. Today was a pleasant surprise, and he was happy to give an interview to TRPWL. We chatted about everything from boobs to the Bedford v. Canada case, and while I do not endorse all of his views, I am glad that he is open to constructive criticism and debate.
PS- Dennis and adult film legend Ron Jeremy are very close friends, so don’t be alarmed by his repeated references to Ron as his “little bitch.” He actually almost had me on the floor in laughter during his Ron stories!
You were the first brothel owner to get porn stars working in the ranches. How did that start?
Well my little bitch Ron Jeremy turned me on to Sunset Thomas and that’s how I met her, and we kind of liked each other a little bit and she said that she wanted to try it. She got a little bit of heat over it, but she actually worked here 6 days and made 90k dollars. We promoted it, went on television, went on Howard Stern, and did lots of great, great stuff. And it worked. The porn industry said that she would never work again in porn and she said, “How about fuck you? I made $90,000!” and then they all wanted to come in. All the girls lined up wanting to work there and Sunset opened that door with that help and the media exposure behind it and the industry was surprised because once she blew up [she] got into mainstream media.
See, the porn industry thinks that their media is big media; it’s nothing. Porn media — you make an appearance at a night club, whatever. You make an appearance on a website, whatever. It’s a small audience. But when you get in the mainstream and all of a sudden you take someone like Sunset with me, we’re on O’Reilly, we’re on the Today Show, we’re on real television shows. And then they saw the notoriety and they gave her a big contract with VCA, which Larry Flynt owns now. Sunset broke the ground, she was the trail blazer. She was the Christopher Columbus of porn pussy at the Bunny Ranch.
Here’s the thing though about the term “porn star.” Does that mean when someone turns the video camera on you while you’re sucking a dick? You’re a porn star? No. Not at all. There’s no stars. Ron Jeremy is the only porn star. Ron is the star, even when Jenna was at her biggest, Rob was a bigger star. Ron Jeremy is the only real star in porn and these other girls, I hate to break your heart darling, Ron is the star. He’s the rock star, the super star, he’s everything. The top five porn girls don’t have near the recognition that Ron has. He IS porn.
Speaking of Ron, what’s your best Ron Jeremy story? You must have a million! Maybe one that involves him awake…
I have so many stories, but here’s the best: So Ron wanted to swing with me. I don’t know whether he just wants to see my dick, I don’t know but he wants to swing with me all the time! So years back, after 10 years of begging, I finally said okay. So I was dating a girl, beautiful, blonde, 19, been in all these fashion magazines, and Ron wants her in the worst way. So I said all right, I’ll try it with you Ron.
So he gets a porn girl named Raine, and when we get to my suite at the Hyatt Riot in Hollywood, the girls get naked and start interacting. And Ron leans against the headboard and his big ol’ gut hanging out and his big ol’ elephant trunk cock hanging out. Now, he puts his hand on his head and in three seconds he’s going to sleep because if you’re not talking to Ron Jeremy or about Ron Jeremy, he goes to sleep. He has no interest in anything else. That’s how self-centered my little bitch is. LOL Now, so there she was laying in bed, he goes to sleep. I wake him up and I’m like “Butthead! Wake up! You’ve been trying to get me to swing for 10 years, now is our chance! We’re going to be swingers!” A minute later…asleep again. He does it three times so I told the girls, get a robe on. We got another room, snuck out, had this amazing threesome. Then we went back and it was like your dad when you put your key in the lock at 4 in the morning- “WHERE YA BEEN!?” Well, we went for a walk! Ron you went to sleep. “NO NO I went everywhere! Did you do anything?? Why are they wearing robes?”
So you never got to swing with Ron!?
Not then, I’ve done it in the past, but Ron is all about double penetration and I don’t want my cock touching anyone’s cock. It’s a very thin layer and the first time that my balls touch Ron Jeremy’s balls, I would be in therapy for six months. I would spend $10,000 on therapy trying to get over that horrendous experience.
I hope that by now he knows you had the threesome, because if not, he might find out now…
Oh yeah. So now, I’m at the same hotel three years later with a girlfriend and Ron wants to see this television show I was on. So he lays on the bed, my girlfriend puts it on and a minute later he’s asleep. And here I am- “Asshole! I’m the one on the tv show, I don’t need to see it!” Okay, he falls back asleep. [We’re at] the Hyatt Riot. The elevator doesn’t work, so we take our luggage down like everyone else and we get down in front and come to find out, Sunset strip is blocked off. There’s cops and ambulances everywhere. Turns out, the maintenance guy was working on the pool and electrocuted himself. It shut down the entire emergency system at the hotel. So, we left and about 5 minutes later I call Ron- “Ron get under the bed! Theres a killer in the building!” I hung up the phone! I called back a minute later, “Ron! There’s a sniper in the building. You gotta get under the bed!” Ron says “I can’t! I can’t fit under the bed! I can’t!” I tell him to get in the closet, lock the door! I tell him “oh my god he’s killed 8 people! Ron whatever you do, don’t answer the door!” So, I did this to him all the way to LAX and then I finally gave it a break. The next day, he calls and says “hey nobody got killed there!” and I say “What? It was on the news!”
Wow. Well, let’s switch gears and talk about Canada!
Well, some people sued them and said that it’s unsafe the way they operate by not having brothels. No different than 125 years ago when Jack the ripper was shredding women in London because they wouldn’t allow women to work in brothels, women were working independently and getting killed. Same as in America, over 900 girls murdered last year. Over 4000 sliced up and in intensive care because of customers doing terrible things to them. So, they [brought a] federal case and they won. Then the government appealed it and it went to the supreme court. The supreme court of Canada 9-0 said “they’re right and let’s change these laws.” Now it’s been put in the hands of administrative people to change the laws, to figure out what direction we’re going in. And they couldn’t have come up with a worse way. What they’ve come up with is like the Nordic Model, where a girl can work on her own, not with two people, but one person which means she’s in a totally unsafe situation. If there’s more than two people, they go to prison. You cannot advertise on the internet and no one can live on the proceeds, so they’re going backwards. What they want to do is prosecute the men. They want to prosecute the demand and not the supply. It doesn’t work. it couldn’t be more fucked up and right now Canada is in a state of flux because some jurisdictions are locking girls up one after the other. Other jurisdictions don’t care and they’ve got themselves a real mess on their hands. They should have listened and I tried to tell them how to do this and they didn’t listen.
Where do you think the US is headed in terms of prostitution policy?
I don’t think you’re going to see anything, and the reason I say that is because a smart politician will not touch this for or against, evidenced by me speaking at a joint legislature a few years ago and when I spoke and I opened it up to this big panel for questions, there wasn’t one question. And I started laughing, then the media started laughing. And I said, “Thanks a lot gentleman! It’s been fun!” Now, why is that? It’s because you just cannot win. If you’re against prostitution, legalizing it and doing the right thing like the rest of Nevada, then the conservatives will eat your freaking lunch. If you go the other way, and you’re against it then the democrats and liberals are going to eat your lunch. They just cannot win. With liquor and prohibition, there wasn’t anything emotional involved in it, it was just a business decision. [Well, alcohol prohibition grew out of Christian temperance movements — ed.] With marijuana it’s the same thing, but when it comes to sex it’s the morals.
What makes sex different?
Well, some people have 65 year old imaginary friends in the Bible and that’s the difference. It’s the religion behind all of this that says, No, I can’t do this. “If you fuck, you’re going to hell! Your peers are going to hate you!” They just can’t do it. Their mind is so screwed up and they can’t have great quality sex. Religion and sex is drilled into these people’s minds, although in the Bible there are many many references to prostitutes. But nobody chooses to read them or accept them as truth. They only accept the parts about not having sex out of wedlock and whatever other hand job goes with that.
I recently read in an interview that you’ve slept with every girl that works for you? Is this true? [Obviously smirking here and putting him on the hot seat since he knows he has not slept with me.]
That’s a total lie and you know what, the news outlet that did that retracted it. Absolutely not. I never ever sleep with a girl prior to her going to work, I typically don’t even get involved when they’re hiring people. Number 1, I don’t sleep with civilian chicks because I’m terrified of diseases. I know that if I go to CDC.org and look at the age group that I want to sleep with, 1 in 4 has an STD. Now, if someone told me that I have a 1 in 4 change of a car wreck on the way to a restaurant, guess what? I’m walking. One out of four is not good odds! I don’t ever EVER sleep with a civilian, it’s been at least 10-12 years. I can’t take a disease home to the family so I just don’t do it.
Also, I don’t think that pre-employment should be based on sleeping with me. Now if a girl comes to work there and I like her and she likes me, then I’m going to test her every way because I don’t want to do anything that makes her feel weird or puts her in a bad situation. It would break my heart if I felt like a girl was sleeping with me because she had to. I’ve been so fortunate to have wonderful nice girls and great relationships but in the beginning I need to make sure it’s all for the right reasons.
What’s the highest number of orgasms you’ve given a woman in a day?
30-40. if Brooke Taylor was here or Cami Parker they’d tell you that I like to take off Sundays, that’s my day, and it’s going to be 30-40 orgasms every Sunday. That’s the way it is! You start off in the morning and you start going for it, have a shower, have breakfast, come back, get some more, do a little work, swim, take the Mercedes or the Harley, come back and have some more. By the time it’s over, 30 or 40 orgasms every Sunday! That’s how it is. If girls are having 30-40 orgasms in a day, she’s never busy when you call her!
Okay, so according to Dr. Melissa Farley, there’s some trafficking going on in the brothels. What do you think of her claims?
I think Melissa Farley is a slimy piece of fucking crap. I don’t see any truth in what she says. We’ve offered to debate her many times. I’ve offered to take her to the Nevada state health department. Now, what I do see is about 8 or 10 cases a year of new girls going to work, 18-21 and have never worked in the business and they come in with Chlamydia. They never knew they had it and the health department meets with them. The reality is that the one long term boyfriend isn’t being monogamous and she is, and I see this about 5-10 times a year and it’s always the same thing.
So why do you think Melissa Farley puts this information out?
Well, she’s a grandstander that gets paid. She gets paid to oppose everything out there, she’s getting money from different organizations and she’s just full of shit. There’s no truth in it and she won’t even debate anybody. Show me a case of HIV in the brothel industry. It’s never happened.
[In reality, there’s no way Hof can know this for certain because a brothel worker can quit the brothel, disappear to her home town, and no one will know where, or even if, she has been infected. No one can force her to inform the brothel, and she doesn’t have the name and contact info of her clients. Only the brothel worker is tested under this system, not the client, so the only way to know his claim as fact would be ongoing testing of both brothel workers AND clients. — ed.]
Now, has it happened pre-screen? Absolutely. There’s been a few cases of that but that’s why we do a pre-screen before the girl comes to work. We do a weekly health check and barriers and condoms, and it works.
[Sadly the HIV testing used in Nevada for the brothels is an ELISA-based test with a lengthy window (or ‘eclipse’) period, not shorter wind period testing such as the PCR testing used by adult performers. And condoms can and do break, even in Nevada brothels. — ed.]
Has Farley ever reached out to you or responded to debating with you?
No, never. We even invited her to the brothel to come and speak to the girls and she won’t take us up on it. She’s full of shit and in my opinion, she’s a liar and she loves to sensationalize things and tell stories that don’t seem to be true — at least in my experience, and I have 22 years of experience. 6000 girls have worked for me in 7 different locations and I don’t see what she’s talking about.
Well thank goodness for her because if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be here doing this research!
Well, thank you Melissa!
Okay Dennis, here’s my last question. Are you a Libertarian?
I think I am. I’m a guy that wants to take care of people. I’m compassionate. But fiscally, probably a Republican. I was raised with immigrant parents, my mother Italian and my father German, and they were in the Depression. I was raised that if you’re white and you want to be rich, you have to be Republican. Until I got into the adult business and Larry Flynt said “they’re right until you get into the adult business. If you want to be able to fuck who you want to fuck and read what you want to read, you better be a Democrat”. So, I vote for the person, not the party. I think both parties have a lot of real flaws to them and I want to be a libertarian. I come from the Tucker Carlson and John Stossel school of thinking.
Ok, you know why I’m asking you this right?
Because you always wanted to blow a Libertarian and I’m the one?
[Laughs] No, I have my husband at home for that! As a Libertarian — and I understand that you need to put money in your own pocket, but — how can you be a Libertarian and not be okay with women independently escorting? Two adults consenting behind closed doors?
Any profession needs to be regulated. Doctors can’t do abortions in their bathroom or tit jobs in their garage. They have to have regulations, they need schooling, a license, and a background check. They have to work in a commercial environment. They have to have continued education.
[Sex, however, is a natural human function. No degree needed — ed.]
So, now with a working girl, they could go get a card from the sheriff’s office and get a card that says they’re guaranteed 18 years of age and have no warrants. My problem with these working girls — these COYOTE girls in SF — [is] they want to work in a residential environment, and I don’t want that. A printing company working in a condominium high-rise next to mine? I don’t want a plumber using his condo as his office and keeping all of his supplies there.
[There exists grave doubt that sex workers or their clients would prefer residential areas, and in any case, many businesses operate from private homes, Also, sex work doesn’t per se require a shop full of supplies, and noisy equipment on par with a manufacturing or repair business. This is more of a zoning matter than a decriminalization issue — ed.]
I don’t want any of that going on. It needs to be in a commercial environment, so when you totally decriminalize it, that’s what they want. And they will never get it.