October 27, 2016 01:12 PM NPT
CARSON CITY, Oct 27: Of the 20 or so women who work at the Kit Kat Ranch, one of Nevada's legal brothels, Katherine Stone is the only virgin.
The 21-year-old has been living there since May, learning the ropes and entertaining “clients” — but not for sex. Instead, Stone is auctioning off her virginity to the highest bidder, and says she wants to save herself for someone special.
Bids for her virginity are reportedly at $400,000, she said.
The unusual arrangement was set up so that Stone, who grew up wanting to become a lawyer, could raise money to help her family, she said.
In December 2014, an electrical fire destroyed her family's Seattle home. They lost everything. Worse yet, the house was uninsured. Stone moved in with relatives for about eight months, but the family continued to struggle with bills.
“For a time, my parents were actually living at the burned-down house,” Stone told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “It was really hard to actually get back on your feet after everything.”
Last summer, she said, she came across the story of Natalie Dylan, a woman who reportedly tried to auction her virginity in 2008 to pay for college. Dylan had orchestrated the online auction through Dennis Hof, a Nevada businessman who owns seven brothels in the state.
So Stone looked up Hof, found his email address and sent him a note. Then she waited.
Stone first told her story to reporter Lisa Ling for a widely shared segment on CNN's “This Is Life” that aired last Sunday. “I saw an ad on Facebook and found out all about the brothels, and the money made me think, wow, it’s a chance at, like, fixing all that I really need to fix,” Stone told Ling.
Nevada is the only state in the country in which prostitution is legal, although brothels are allowed to operate only in certain counties. Nevada has 18 legal bordellos.
Hof is fond of saying he owns "40 percent” of those brothels, including Love Ranch, where former NBA player Lamar Odom was found unconscious last year. In a phone interview with The Post, Hof said that he couldn't remember exactly when Stone's email arrived, but that he frequently receives emails from women who make similar requests.
“I get three or four a month, minimum, wanting to sell their virginity,” he said. “So virginity’s a real complicated phenomenon, if you will.”
He said he is usually loath to entertain requests that involve helping someone sell her virginity. “You get girls that come to us, 'I’m broke, busted, can’t be trusted.' We don’t want to hire that girl,” Hof said. “I want her to be there for the right reason, and the right reason is to be able to achieve their goals and get ahead in life.”
Still, Hof said, Stone was persistent, traveling to Nevada with her mother to meet him. After that, he relented.
“I still didn’t like it, that somebody’s desperate to do something,” Hof said. “I said, I’ll do this with her but I don’t want any of the money. Other articles are not saying that. I’m doing it to help this girl. ... Now that I’ve gotten to know this girl, I just love her. She’s amazing. She lives at the ranch. She’s part of our family now, and I hope this works out for her.”
Stone relocated to Nevada in May, around the time the Kit Kat Ranch reopened after a major renovation.
“I had no clue what to expect,” she said. “I’ve been nervous since I even came up with the idea to do this.” The other women quickly embraced her, she said, and they frequently hang out together when not working. Stone was assigned a “big sister” named “GI Jen,” who acts as her mentor in the house.
“I’m definitely growing as a person. I’m learning valuable life experiences, really,” Stone said. “Luckily, I’ve had a lot of support, so at first I was very scared to be here, but I’ve grown to very much enjoy my work.”
At first, Hof said, Stone worked at his restaurant but then asked to start giving clients massages and “doing some things in the room.” Outside of the virginity bid, Stone now works at the ranch offering “girlfriend experiences” in a more traditional setup. She keeps 50 percent of what she earns, and the other half goes to Hof.