in a number of "pagan
" religions, especially in the middle east
. For instance, the religion of Mesopotamia
(whose name I forget, but which is mentioned in Snow Crash
) has temple prostitutes
These temples were equal opportunity employers, as there were both male and female prostitutes.
Temple prostitutes have fallen out of style in recent times, most likely due to the efforts of christian conquerors. When they were in vogue, they probably helped to increase attendance, along with whatever religious purpose they served.