Court records and vice investigations from as early as the 17th century document male prostitution in what is now the United States.
With the expansion of urban areas and the aggregation of gay people into communities toward the end of the 19th century, prostitution became more apparent.
Around this time, prostitution was reported to have taken place in brothels, such as the Paresis Hall in the Bowery district of New York and in some gay bathhouses.
Solicitation for sex, including paid sex, took place in certain bars between so-called "fairies." Male street prostitutes solicited clients in specific areas which became known for the trade.
In November 2005, Heidi Fleiss said that she would partner with brothel owner Joe Richards to turn Richards' legal Cherry Patch Ranch brothel in Crystal, Nevada into an establishment that would employ male prostitutes and cater exclusively to female customers, a first in Nevada.
Women may travel to specific locations to enjoy a holiday and find a "temporary boyfriend" who will fill the roles of sexual partner, dining companion, tour guide, or dancing companion/instructor, and will sometimes procure softer illicit drugs like marijuana and ecstasy for his client.
Male prostitutes are also attested to in Graeco-Roman culture in the New Testament, among many other ancient sources.A well known case is Phaedo of Elis who was captured in war and forced into slavery and prostitution, but was eventually ransomed to become a pupil of Socrates; Plato's Phaedo is told from his perspective.Male brothels existed in both Ancient Greece and ancient Rome.In her biography The First Lady, April Ashley quotes her ex-husband, the late Hon.Arthur Corbett (later 3rd Baron Rowallan), who worked in the City of London, and was addicted to cross-dressing, as telling her in 1960: "There's a male brothel, I pay the boys to dress me up, then masturbate me." In order to work in a legal brothel in Nevada, a cervical exam is required by law, implying that men could not work as prostitutes.
A man who does not regard himself as gay or bisexual, but who has sex with male clients for money, is sometimes called gay-for-pay or trade.