Episode 79: Inside an Amsterdam Brothel

March 25, 2022 by Justin Lehmiller

Sex and Psychology Podcast

Episode 79: Inside an Amsterdam Brothel


I taught a study abroad course on sex and culture in Amsterdam a few months ago for a group of sex therapists and, as part of that class, we visited a brothel. To be clear, we didn’t go for sex–we went for sex education! We invited several people who work in the sex industry in some way to come speak with us in small groups. In this episode and the next, I’m going to be sharing some of the fascinating things we learned.

In today’s episode, you’ll be hearing two interviews I did with Dutch sex workers. First is Jennifer Jonker, who worked in the brothel we visited for several years. Jennifer now runs a coaching business focused on helping women who want to transition out of the sex work industry to find other forms of employment. Second is Tikka Stardust, a current social worker and sex worker who primarily works with clients who have physical and/or psychological disabilities. Some of the topics we explore in this episode include:

  • How does sex work actually work in the Netherlands? What does it look like in terms of cost and services provided?
  • How is working in a brothel different from working in the “quick service” area of Amsterdam’s Red Light District?
  • What are the positive and negative sides of sex work in a country where it is legal?
  • To what degree is sex work about sex versus intimacy?
  • What are attitudes toward sex work like in the Netherlands? Is it really as open and accepting as people on the outside think it is?
  • For women who want to exit the sex work industry, what does that process look like? And how do you deal with the stigma associated with sex work?
  • Do government subsidies for sex work really exist in the Netherlands for persons with disabilities?

Stay tuned for our return visit to the brothel next week! In the next show, I’ll be speaking with a Dutch sex educator who teaches teachers how to talk about sex, as well as a social worker who works with victims of human trafficking in the sex work industry.

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Written by

Dr. Justin Lehmiller

Founder & Owner of Sex and Psychology

Dr. Justin Lehmiller is a social psychologist and Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute. He runs the Sex and Psychology blog and podcast and is author of the popular book Tell Me What You Want. Dr. Lehmiller is an award-winning educator, and a prolific researcher who has published more than 50 academic works.

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