Login or Register

Sign in with Facebook

For most of us, performing sexual favors in some dark alley for grocery money is about as low as life can get. But history is full of stories of prostitutes who parlayed their skills into positions of prestige and power.

And some of them changed the world.

Rahab the Harlot




1400s B.C.

How She Got Her Start?

Rahab probably came from a middle-class family in Jericho. She was an intelligent, independent-minded woman, and in those days there was only one profession for a girl like her to go into. A married woman was a slave to her husband, but a prostitute lived her own life and made her own decisions. As a scarlet woman, Rahab had freedom.

The cost of freedom, circa 1400 BC.

By all accounts, she was good at it, too. By the time she comes up in the Bible, she had her own house and made a comfortable income. Comfortable enough that she began to long for a career that didn't involve, at best, being fisted by middle-aged men who bathed once a year.

What Made Her Great?

Back in 1422 B.C., the Israelites were living on a barren tract of land appropriately named, Shittim. Joshua, king of the Jews, didn't really like living in a place that reminded him of his own bowel movements, so he set his sights on the city of Jericho.

Better than Shittim.

Joshua sent out two spies to scout out the defenses. The young Jews did their job and then sought "refuge" at Rahab's place. The Bible doesn't state why they chose to stay there, but it's pretty obvious Joshua's spies were "scouting out the defenses" for a "full frontal assault."

Their sweaty reconnaissance was cut short, however, when the king of Jericho sent his men out to look for the two Jewish spies skulking around his city. Rahab hid the young men, and convinced the king's soldiers that the spies were hiding elsewhere. Because of Rahab's kindness, Joshua's spies survived and were able to bring back crucial information that lead to the conquest of Jericho by the armies of Israel.

That's right; believe what you want about the Bible, but it's right there in the Old Testament that the course of world history was turned by a hooker with a heart of gold.





470 B.C.-400 B.C.

How She Got Her Start?

Like a lot of whores, Aspasia was born into a bad situation. She was a foreigner in Athens, which meant she had close to nothing in the way of civil rights and would almost certainly never marry.

The only area of Athenian society that was more open for women than men was in Athens' legendary brothels. Prostitution was neither illegal, or frowned upon in Athenian society. Both men and women could be whores, although men had to quit when they became adults. Yes, in Athens they'd only bust you if your clients weren't pedophiles.

Aspasia took advantage of this and became a hetaera, or really high class hooker. Hetaerae were generally well-educated and, under law, they were independent from any men, and were even allowed to pay taxes and own property. In short order, the beautiful Aspasia was at the top of the hooker hierarchy and renowned through all of Athens.

What Made Her Great?

Aspasia knew she was hot, and she knew how to use that beauty to get what she wanted. Soon, she began to court Pericles, the First Man in Athens (that is, a famous statesman and orator--kind of a mix between Obama and Oprah).

She and her husband became the center of a great group of philosophers and thinkers from all across the city. She not only knew Socrates, but many credit her with being one of his teachers. Some scholars even suggest she had a hand in the origins of the Socratic method though, for some reason, they left that one out of our philosophy textbooks.

Continue Reading Below

Nell Gwynn


London, England.



How She Got Her Start:

The same way most of us did: giving handjobs to aristocrats in the back of a theater. Nell Gwynn was the daughter of an alcoholic brothel owner in dire financial straits. She started working at an early age, selling snacks during plays and delivering messages to randy young noblemen. Most historians seem to agree that the girls often ended up delivering more than refreshments.

One lucky day, when Nell was a young adult, she met King Charles II during a play. The king was impressed with the young harlot's wit and moxie, and invited her back to the castle. One thing lead to another, and pretty soon Nell Gwynn was a regular attendee of the king's court (by "court," we mean his penis).

Unfortunately for Nell, King Charles was a bit of a player. At the time the two met, the king had a wife, a mistress and a string of former and aspiring mistresses all vying for his attention. Nell was clever, though, and by a combination of wit, charm and poisoning her rivals with laxatives, she managed to become the king's most beloved concubine.

What Made Her Great?

Nell Gwynn never denied her past, nor did she seem the least bit guilty over it. At one point, a fight broke out when one of her detractors screamed that she was a whore. Nell broke the fight up in short order by saying, "I am a whore. Find something else to fight about."

This wasn't the first time Nell had admitted her ho'ness in front of a massive crowd of strangers. Another time, a large crowd mistook her for a rival mistress, the Duchess of Portsmouth, and began to shout at her carriage, calling her a Catholic whore along with a laundry list of funny-sounding British insults that no one born in a sane country could understand.

You gobshite tallywacker!

Nell stuck her head out of the carriage and corrected the mistaken commoners, "Good people, you are mistaken. I am the Protestant whore."

This mixture of wit and bigotry won the crowd over, and lead to her becoming the only one of King Charles's many mistresses to become popular with the mob. Nell was a shrewd woman, and she used her favor with the king and the people of England to secure her son a dukedom, and convince Charles to approve the construction of a Royal Hospital for ex-servicemen in the city of London, one of the precursors to our modern VA Hospitals.

Thanks, terrifying ceramic version of Nell with an amazing rack!

So, yeah, keep that in mind the next time you're congratulating yourself for never having touched a man's wiener for money.

Georgina Beyer


New Zealand.



How She Got Her Start:

As a man. Georgina was born George Bertrand. When he began to work as a transsexual prostitute as a young adult, he began going by the name Georgina Beyer (incidentally, "Georgina Beyer" wins our prestigious, "Least Creative Name for a Transvestite Hooker Award").

Whoregina Beyer would have been much more creative.

Georgina quickly fell in with a bad crowd. She started stripping at nightclubs across Sydney, and whoring on the side for extra cash. She soon ended up in the King's Cross neighborhood, a rough area where terrible things tended to happen. Georgina was accosted and raped by four unnamed men.

And while in an action movie, this is the point where Georgina would take to the streets in the name of bloody vengeance, he/she went another direction instead.

What Made Her Great?

After the attack, Georgina left Australia for New Zealand, in one stroke overcoming her trauma and reducing her likelihood of being killed by one of the 14,392 species of poisonous animals that call land down under home. In 1984, Georgina underwent a sex change. She began to work heavily as an actress, and then as a radio host. Finally, in the early 90s, she got into local politics.

She became the world's first transgendered mayor in 1995, a feat which was only eclipsed by her surprise 1999 election to the New Zealand Parliament (a parliament is like congress, but with substantially less cane fighting).

God bless America.

Georgina spent eight terms as the world's first transgendered MP and retired in 2007. She is still an active force in the fight for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered rights worldwide. And if in her spare time she takes to the streets to hunt down her attackers, perhaps with a huge Australian knife up her sleeve... well, that's none of our business.

Continue Reading Below

The Empress Theodora




5th century, AD.

How She Got Her Start:

History remembers Theodora as the wife and co-ruler of the great Justinian, the most lauded ruler of the Eastern Roman Empire. But Theodora wasn't born an Empress.

When her father died, Theodora, her mother and her two sisters were rendered destitute. Desperate for money, Theo's mother sent her three daughters off to work "in the theater." By this point in the list, you know what that means.

Theo took to harlotry like a duck takes to water. She couldn't sing or dance or play an instrument so, to make up for it, she became the most promiscuous courtesan Constantinople had ever seen. The historian, Procopius, said that she "gave her youth to anyone she met, in utter abandonment." Which is basically a fancy way to say she got ridden more than the town bicycle.

The Empress, after retiring from her career in fornication management.

Procopius elaborated on the subject with:

Often she would go picnicking with 10 young men or more, in the flower of their strength and virility, and dallied with them all, the whole night through. When they wearied of the sport, she would approach their servants, perhaps 30 in number, and fight a duel with each of these; and even thus found no allayment of her craving.

Translation: She made love to 10 virile men until they passed out, then she played crotch-soccer with all 30 of their slaves.

Once, visiting the house of an illustrious gentleman, they say she mounted the projecting corner of her dining couch, pulled up the front of her dress, without a blush, and thus carelessly showed her wantonness.

Translation: Real people got tired too easily, so she played pelvic pinochle with the couch instead.

And though she flung wide three gates to the ambassadors of Cupid, she lamented that nature had not similarly unlocked the straits of her bosom, that she might there have contrived a further welcome to his emissaries.

Translation: Three holes just aren't enough.

All of 'em. At the same time. And that fountain, too.

What Made Her Great?

Eventually Theo found a John that she wanted to take home for more than one night. Fortunately for her, that John was the Emperor Justinian. Theodora became his valued co-ruler and was, by all accounts, an equal partner in the ruling of the Empire.

During her years at the top, the scarlet-woman-turned-Empress cracked down on forced prostitution, made rape punishable by death and helped establish basic property rights for women across the Eastern Empire. Despite her lofty status, Theodora never forgot her humble roots. She was considered a friend to the poor, and one of the greatest women's rights reformers in history.

Hmmmm... kind of makes Pretty Woman look like a big pile of vapid bullshit by comparison.

And because we know you can't get enough tales of sex (pervert), check out History's 7 Most Astounding Sexual Resumes and The 6 Raunchiest, Most Depraved Sex Acts (From the Bible).

And visitCracked.com's Sex Picks... sorry, Top Picks.

To turn on reply notifications, click here


Load Comments