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An erotic scene from a fresco of Pompeii , AD, Secret Museum, Naples An erotic scene from a fresco of Pompeii , AD A meretrix plural: meretrices was registered female prostitute ; a higher class—the more pejorative scortum could be used for prostitutes of either gender.
Unregistered or casual prostitutes fell under the broad category prostibulae, lower class. A prostitute could be self-employed and rent a room for work. A girl puella, a term used in poetry as a synonym for "girlfriend" or meretrix and not necessarily an age designation might live with a procuress or madame lena or even go into business under the management of her mother,  though mater might sometimes be a mere euphemism for lena.
Most prostitutes seem to have been slaves or former slaves. They could not give evidence in court,  and Roman freeborn men were forbidden to marry them. A convicted adulteress of citizen status who registered herself as a meretrix could thus as least partly mitigate her loss of rights and status. The dictator Sulla is supposed to have built his fortune on the wealth left to him by a prostitute in her will.
Charming, artistic, and educated, such women contributed to a new romantic standard for male-female relationships that Ovid and other Augustan poets articulated in their erotic elegies. The possible reasons for this remain a subject of modern scholarly speculation. Togas were otherwise the formal attire of citizen men, while respectable adult freeborn women and matrons wore the stola. This crossing of gender boundaries has been interpreted variously.
Nudity was associated with slavery, as an indication that the person was literally stripped of privacy and the ownership of one's own body. Would you hear the result of the sale?