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Some sources, including Strabo, imply that the women were dedicated as votive offerings to the goddess, and that they serviced clients as a form of “sacred sex.” Nevertheless, some scholars now question the practice, offering several alternative explanations, including the possibility of brothels having been associated with such temples but not strictly related to them, and the confusion over accounts of women donating to temples of those goddesses under whose divine ordinance they practised their work.

This was a very big deal for us.'[The teacher] gave me a handwriting book, some worksheets and some numeracy work to do.

Other hetairai, like Neaira, were put into the trade as children and trained for a life of satisfying wealthy clients.

There are comparatively extensive records for Neaira, who lived in Athens in the 4th century BC, owing to her involvement in a court case on charges of illegally marrying and passing off her daughter as a legitimate Athenian.

The lives of other girls and women reveal the hardships they faced. They are depicted as “sun-bathing” with their “breasts openly displayed” and “naked for action and lined up in rows.” As with the modification of the women described above, this passage also discusses the variety of women available: The passage also includes a statement that explains the popularity of paying for sex in ancient Greece; namely the safety-net it afforded men who could not even look at freeborn women for fear of reprisals.

In addition to hetairai, there were those who worked their whole lives (until they were of no further use) in brothels. As a woman aged, the chances of being able to access a means living through sex work became decidedly more difficult.

At these social events, young sex workers would entertain the guests, serve them food and wine, and if required, service them.

Outliving Pericles by almost 30 years, Aspasia was said to have become the companion of another politician, Lysicles.

She was a survivor and experienced an exceptionally long life as a hetaira.