More rambling reasons sex work and/or consensual sex with a foreign man is a welcome choice – –
The previous post in this series explains the way money makes sex work acceptable, even desirable, for third world women. I discovered the 13% rule.
There is so much more to consider besides money. In this rambling post I offer many ideas here why Thai women, and many others from developing countries. prefer foreign men. Healthy, sexually active Thai women – whether sex workers or not – have many reasons why sexual relations with foreign men of all ages are acceptable within their culture.
In no particular order below are several reasons why a Thai woman will choose relations with foreign men, including sex work, as being an acceptable, even preferred, alternative to other kinds of relationships.
- Several women, none sex workers themselves, in three different countries have told me they like foreign men better than their fellow countrymen. People could muse on this statement and do sociological surveys until we all have our PhDs, but I’ll let it hang there for you to think what you wish about it. Let me say it again, in third world countries women have told me several times that it is (only) foreign men they are interested in. Go figure!
- Also, several third world women told me they like older foreign men as sex partners because they understand foreplay. Okay, I’ll agree with that. Here is one reason why: if the older, lonely foreign man is paying for an hour of company, I suggest that he wants to get his money’s worth as opposed to behaving as if the relationship is over in the first ten minutes. Another reason is, with more life’s experience, the older foreign man is using skills with less inhibition that a young man.
- As I write this post (September 2, 2014) I see an article in the Bangkok Post with this title, “36% of (Thai) men “ejaculate to fast”. The opening line is “More than a third of Thai men suffer from premature ejaculation (PE) which is putting many marriages under strain.” I think that would put many new relationships under strain too. If this is a known problem among Thai women I can see why “giving a foreign man a try”, as it has been described to me, makes sense. The BKK Post reported results of a recent study of 20-60 year old Thai men. Quote, “Many said they were likely to ejaculate within a minute of starting sex.” Yikes!!
- In Thailand, and other developing countries too I suspect, the ratio of men to women is oddly skewed in ways that are not the same in first world countries. The CIA offers “country reports” online that include the ratio of men to women. (Google CIA World Fact Book) In Thailand overall that ratio is 98 men to every 100 woman,. This is not what you might consider a big deal. The real differences may not be so obvious in those CIA statistics.
- In Thailand several factors explain why many women do not have a good man in their life and are happier with an older foreign man even if it is in a temporary relationship: 1) Young men die at higher rates then women in alcohol related motor scooter accidents, construction accidents, and more. Men 70.3 per 100,000 and women only 18.5 per 100,000. 2) Most young men spend some time as Buddhist monks. Three months is common but some spend their entire life as monks. Monks are not allowed to touch a woman let alone be a viable sex partner. Very few young women follow that path as nuns. 3) Have you heard of ladyboys? I recently read that 7% of Thai men may prefer to live their lives as women. Statistically that is very significant. 4) I don’t want to offer opinions of Thai men that appear to be based on prejudice but, frankly, a lot of Thai men, at least in Bangkok, appear to me to be more effeminate that men I have seen in other countries. For example, among young men fashion seems more important than sports. Maybe young women like that and maybe not. 5) Trafficking for labor – legal and illegal – means many Thai men will leave Thailand to work elsewhere for more money, if given the chance. These are often the more skilled workers, desirable as partners, too. Women do this too, especially for sex work, but not as many can do it thanks to trafficking laws. Again this means women out number Thai men. 6) In every country where women are in a majority, I have seen a culture of men known as butterflies. Men with a good job, family connections, a car, etc, have the upper hand in dating relationships and, so, find it easy to go from woman to woman like the butterfly goes from flower to flower without settling down. Again, older foreign men may be preferred to these butterflies. 7) While a huge percentage of Thai sex workers have a first child in their teens, the average age to marry is going steadily up for both men and women into the mid and upper 20s. Marriage is no longer necessary for women as they have learned for years to have their children without a partner. But women’s interest in sex does not wain until much later in life. 8) And dare I say this, I see a lot, and I mean a lot, of beautiful Thai women and I see a lot of chubby, ordinary looking Thai men. Maybe that’s just me.
- In several third world countries I have visited the nature of sex work is not by the hour as many people wish to believe. In Madagascar, Philippines, Dominican Republic, and Thailand it is very common for a man to come back to see the same sex worker he met on a previous trip. Or the smart man makes a new friend when he arrives and stays with that one companion for several days, a week, or for his entire trip, or trips. The money can be especially good for the sex worker. This is a much different relationship than one anonymous short term sex act. Sex work takes on new dimensions when a compensated date looks more like a week long honeymoon in four star hotels in resort areas. And this does not necessarily apply only to sex workers. Thai women are not hard to meet and a long distance relationship with a Thai professional woman or university student is often more in the realm of possibility for an average man than it is back in his home country.
- I once had some good talks with a young woman in a free lancer bar mostly known as a place for Japanese, Korean and other foreign Asians, but not white men. “Anne” told me the sex workers refer to those Asian men who come there as Two Three Fours. Of course, I asked what that meant. The price for a hour with women from this bar is usually about 2,000 baht. But Two Three Four meant Two inches, Three minutes, and Four thousand baht. In other words the Japanese and Korean men were popular with sex workers because they were small in size, done quickly, and generous. They over paid. They’re “good customers.” Plus they aren’t Thai.
- Unlike Americans who slink into a bar alone dealing with shame derived from their culture, those Asians come in to a bar in groups of three or four friends or co-workers smiling and laughing with no sense of shame. Sex is another part of their vacation, something Americans do not understand and frankly, refuse to consider. Shame about sex work is an American concept.
- Older sex workers often feel especially good about sex work. They hope a customer will take them. Why? This is a reaffirmation that they’ve still “got it” and are still desirable, basically a giant pat on the back for all women, and men too, who worry about getting older.
- In the same sense an older man feels good, feels like he is still desirable when young attractive sex workers is smart enough to help the lonely older man feel welcome and wanted, even if it is for his money.
- Someone to take home to mother. As a customer of sex workers I have on several occasions reached a tipping point where I am no longer a customer and have become the guy the woman wants to take home to meet her family. This has happened several times to me. After only a few days or a handful of compensated dates I am invited to meet the family. I am a lonely older man and this feels good. I buy children ice cream bars. I eat real local foods. Once my new friend’s mother scraped together enough change to buy me one large beer. I was “family” for a few hours and I could help them! It felt good to me, and, I assume, to them too.
- Sex workers do marry customers, just like in the movie Pretty Woman, and live the “happily-ever-after” story. There might be less romance and more mature teamwork in those marriages, but maybe that is best. A year ago I was surprised to get wedding pictures by email and I broke down in tears. One of those special sex workers with a big personality whom everyone loved, maybe like Julia Roberts, sent me her wedding pictures. She was a nursing student whose roommate stole all her things and stuck her with back rent too. She came across the island (Dominican Republic) and worked for only a few weeks in a popular brothel. Sh made enough money to go back to school. I daydreamed about sharing an apartment with her, taking her under my wing and paying for her school. Of course I didn’t but it was fun to think about it. Those were her wedding pics. She married a European man. She looked beautiful. He looked like a geek, which is not so bad if you want a loyal, proud, but liberal husband. His parents were beaming. I had tears in my eyes and have the same now. A sex worker who stole my heart got married – and it looked good. It looked like it might last. I recently met another favorite sex worker, a young deaf woman with the most animated face of anyone I have ever met. Now she is wearing her engagement ring from a deaf British tourist. He is back home now and they use the video function of smart phones to talk in sign language from six time zones apart. And this is one smart, nice woman. The Brit is getting the best of that deal, I think. When I see much older men walking hand in hand with older Thai women I am reminded that many foreign men have lived here for a long time. Some of those men are in long term relationships. The women are not necessarily former sex workers, but maybe, and why not? And who cares? This is more common than anti-trafficking people think, especially those people who have demonized sex workers.
- One of my most interesting observations is that I often see some very beautiful women, not overly so but wholesomely beautiful, and they will be with some very plain, sometimes overweight, geeky young foreign men. If a man is not “getting any” back in America, Germany, or wherever, he should come to Thailand, Philippines, Dominican Republic to find a woman more beautiful and more interesting than any of those women back home who ignore him. And from personal experience women do ignore men in first world countries.
- The real enemy of sex work is the idea of “friends with benefits” and the “one night stand”. A lot of men are getting more than their share of sex with willing partners that way. But there are still many young man who lack confidence, social skills, good looks, or experience with women who get no sex at home. They can and should be jealous of those other men who get lots of free sex. But these same people who are seen as losers and may even feel like a loser themselves will find they are very popular with women, including sex workers, from a different culture.
- A new edition to my list in February, 2015: While driving in the car with an older Thai girlfriend a pleasant Thai pop song came on the radio. My friend asked if I knew what it meant. Of course she knowns I know no Thai and so she explained. The words were that the young Thai woman and her mother both hoped she would meet a nice older foreign man. My friend said that was a popular song. So there is a sample of the way young Thai women can be taught through the powerful means of pop culture to want to be with a older foreign man. And why not?
- Regardless of how you feel about sex work it is a paying job, a profession, that puts a young woman in constant contact with foreign men some of whom are lonely and looking for a friend.
If there is any point to any of these random observations it is that all the relationships between willing, consenting partners in Thailand, the Philippines, Dominican Republic, Madagascar, and similar places are more complicated that American anti-trafficking zealots are qualified to understand. These observations certainly do not match up with the simple narrative of the rescue industry. In the vast majority of sex tourism locations being rescued is the last thing on the mind of sex workers. The last!