No Crackdown on Las Vegas Sex Clubs
Posted by Xeno on May 1, 2009
Sex clubs offer nearly anything you want with anyone who’s willing. They operate in a world of loose regulation, weak enforcement and an anything goes attitude.
Technically they are illegal. From wife-swapping to whips and chains, it’s yours if you want it. There is a huge market for clubs that offer every fantasy imaginable for just an entrance fee. County code says that won’t fly. So, why hasn’t there been a crackdown? The answer is more complicated than you’ve heard before. It’s where money, power and sex all come together.
“From bondage, to transgender to Bi to whatever else, we’re the ‘everybody else’ club,” said Mike Powers, Power Exchange. Powers is the owner and operator of Power Exchange, the newest sex club in Las Vegas. His sprawling two-level complex off Highland Drive is a fetish fantasy.
“It’s part of an open-minded alternative aspect of society. Powers calls it a social club for like- minded people,” Powers said, adding, “It’s like the Elks Club or the Lions, kind of club for extreme interests, perverse interests or bizarre interests.”
“None of them are licensed to be sex clubs,” said David Cooper, who used to be in the sex club business until the county shut him down last year. Since then, he’s been waging a one man war against sex clubs. “Sex clubs apparently are legal in Clark County because they are not prosecuting them, they’re not going after them, they’re not doing anything,” said Cooper.
Clark County code calls sex clubs a “public nuisance.” It defines them as places for “adult social sexual encounters”, where patrons can “voluntarily engage in and/or view” live sex. So, if the county prohibits it, how do the clubs stay in business? “I think the ordinance itself is a mess,” said Allen Lichenstein, a prominent attorney. He is Cooper’s former lawyer and he currently works for Power Exchange and other adult clubs.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There really isn’t a problem,” Lichenstein said. He says the county’s code is confusing and up for interpretation. Read one way, it could lead to moral crusades.
“It’s not prostitution, it’s not drugs, it’s not violence. Why should anyone else care?” Lichenstein does counsel potential clubs to find unique ways to work within the county code. They are licensed as nearly everything but a sex club because which would be illegal. There are licenses for tanning salons, clothing and accessories shops, and restaurants. Club owners do operate those on site too but it’s only a small portion of the bottom line.
People are such freaks. I didn’t know there was anything like this in Vegas. Not surprised, I guess. The reason the cops there leave these places open is anyone’s guess. Vegas is it’s own little world.
The philosophical question–which applies to the rest of the world–that caught my attention with this is: Why do we have so many unenforced laws?
Should we have laws which can not be enforced? I suppose so, but it’s an odd way to run things. I think of speeding, for example. If they suddenly locked everyone up who had ever gone faster than the speed limit, would anyone still be on the road? Probably not. Just me. But if you got rid of the speed limit, people would go nuts and you’d have way more fatalities. So, it seems that our society is filled with people who are always breaking the law, always getting away with something. Fuzzy math. Approximation of correctness. Is this human nature?