You are here
Barbara G. Brents
Associate Professor, Sociology
Expertise: Political Sociology, Social Policy, Gender, Sex Industry, Sexuality
Barbara Brents has spent more than 25 years studying political sociology, gender and sexuality, urban sociology, and public sociology. Her research focuses on the sex industry as a way to understand the intersections of culture and economics, political debates around sexuality, the relationship between tourism, consumption, and sexuality, and the emotional and bodily labor of selling sex.
As co-author of the book, The State of Sex: Tourism, Sex and Sin in the New American Heartland (Routledge Press, 2010), Brents examines Nevada's brothels and their connection to contemporary tourism. She is also involved in a variety of organizations and projects to promote healthy sexuality and advocate for the human rights of sex workers.
Her research has been featured in the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Slate Magazine. Brents is also the author or co-author of publications including “Violence and Legalized Brothel Prostitution in Nevada” in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence; “State Sanctioned Sex: Negotiating Formal and Informal Regulations in Nevada Brothels” in Sociological Perspectives and “Inside Nevada's Brothel System” in Sex for Sale: Prostitution, Pornography, and the Sex Industry.
Brents is a founding member of Globalization, Sexuality and the City, an interdisciplinary project and network to encourage the production and dissemination of research on sexuality, culture, and the economics across the globe.
- Ph.D., Sociology, University of Missouri
- M.A., Sociology, University of Missouri
- B.A., Journalism, University of Missouri
Barbara G. Brents In The News
The past several decades have welcomed a new voice in the controversial topic of sex work — sex-positive sex workers. They claim their experiences are consensual, positive and pleasurable. They enjoy getting paid for sex and are tired of getting negative attention.
Getting the most bang for your buck just doesn’t cut it in today’s world of harlotry. Now, customers want to buy affection, too.
Chelsea Lane was a freshman at Reed, the esteemed liberal-arts college in Portland, Oregon, when she first became interested in sex work. Someone in her humanities class had a Tumblr about being a prostitute, prompting a lively debate among fellow students over whether they could ever sell their bodies. “I started reading sex workers’ blogs,” Lane explains. The women behind the blogs sounded confident, financially secure. “And within Reed, it was like, ‘That’s cool. That’s edgy.’ ”
When news broke that former Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom was found unconscious at the Love Ranch brothel, it raised a lot of questions about prostitution in Nevada.