Intimacy & Healthy (Adult) Sexuality Research Report
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Thai sexwork is more "Girlfriend
Rental" which is so much more enjoyable to many men than Western
transaction oriented prostitution.
Source: Prologue to: "HELLO MY BIG BIG HONEY!"
Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls And Their Revealing Interviews by Dave Walker
and Richard S. Ehrlich at http://members.tripod.com/ehrlich/bighoney.htm
by Dr. Yos Santasombat)
Dr. Yos Santasombat is an Associate Professor on the Faculty
of Sociology & Anthropology at Bangkok's Thammasat University. He is also
Research Director of the Local Development Institute in Bangkok's Department of
Medical Science and author of the book, The Community and Commercialization of
This excerpt with full credit is being shared under the Fair
Use provision of US Copyright laws and International treatys for educational
purposes with no financial gain.
There is a marked difference between the Western conception
of prostitution, and the open-ended prostitution in Patpong or Pattaya. Because
in the West, you see prostitution as an occupation. You go to them directly and
then you strike a deal, and then you go straight to business
But in Thailand, the girls don't usually talk about the price
at first. They would try to establish rapport first. We're not talking about a
piecemeal type of relationship that describes other forms of prostitution in the
West. In the cases here, the Thai girls themselves are prepared to extend their
relationship for a number of days or weeks or even years. Sometimes the farang
(foreigner usually from West) himself ends up spending the entire vacation with
one girl and sometimes he comes back. Sometimes she becomes his mistress or even
I think in most cases, the girls enter into the relationship
from a strictly pecuniary motivation. The girl will attach herself to a client
or a farang more permanently if she finds the relationship enjoyable. Those are
the cases I find most interesting in open-ended prostitution in Thailand.
Once the relationship is extended, the girls' involvement
with the farang often gradually changes. Her stay with the man is usually
conditioned upon his readiness to support her or to take care of her
financially. The line between money and love becomes very fuzzy, because the
money itself cannot be distinguished between signs of affection, tender caring
and love itself. Mutual or material dependence frequently engenders some sort of
an emotional attachment on the part of the girl herself.
So, what starts out as a money-orientated transactional
arrangement becomes a mixed involvement, a more complicated relationship. In
extreme cases it becomes even possible that the attachment comes from pure
emotion. It somehow gradually detaches itself from the material aspects or the
money. And in prolonged cases, open-ended prostitution can be characterized as
an ambiguous compliment of love and money.
In the West, we talk about love and money as mutually
exclusive. I don't think the same is true in open-ended prostitution here. The
two cannot be separated or distinguished. It is much more complex in this
What I find interesting in this book is the farang side of
the whole thing. Somehow they are very naive, very stupid, sometimes very
romantic. I feel both amused and sympathetic at the same time because the
farangs themselves must be very confused when they enter into these
They are often not the most handsome of all, they are usually
in the latter years of their life, they are bald, unattractive and quite lonely
in their own little society.
When they come to Thailand, they are struck with, first, not
hard-core prostitution, not a deal, not the thing that they're accustomed to in
the West, at home.
But they are struck with girls who are all over them, who are
trying to establish a relationship, and display physical attraction to them --
which I think would be very confusing to a man in that position when they are
not accustomed to receiving that kind of play.
So when the girls stage sexual interest or attraction to the
farang, sometimes she may praise his good looks. In some case, who knows, the
feeling may be genuine. And there is no talk about money in the first place.
They will talk about his background, what kind of job he has, why he's here, if
he has a family or not, something like that. Remuneration is never presented as
a payment but rather as a reimbursement for lost income from the bar. It's
always this trick that confuses the newcomer into this world.
The farang's sense of the world, his cognitive map, is thrown
into chaos because he cannot make sense of what is going on in this deal. He
cannot apply his concept of prostitution to the Thai situation. And he somehow
would feel very uncertain whether a girl is with him for love or for money.
Some farangs try to convert the girl, try to rescue her from
this hell hole and give her a chance to recover her own dignity, in a Western
concept. This problem of meaning will continue to bother him for many years to
come. He is in a kind of a dilemma. If he decides the girl is not a prostitute,
and she continues to stay with him because she likes him, he wonders what makes
him so attractive in the first place because at home, he usually never could
find a girl, could not get a date, is shunned by the girls back home.
Dave in Phoenixs comment:
I hear this all the time in reports on E-mail lists and
newsgroups, that often the man winds up just having girlfriend like fun with a
bargirl he meets. He may take her to a disco, on a trip to one of the islands,
out for dinner or visit tourist attractions with her. He realizes the financial
pressures from family etc on the girl and is happy to provide some financial
support as well.
In some bars I visited in Bangkok and Pattaya, the girls fees
were negotiated up front (typically 1000 baht or about US $26) for 2 hours or so
of lots of sensual sex or maybe 1500B for spending the night. But at other times
when I asked about her desired fee the response was "up to you" and no
more discussion about money occurred. This aspect is very different from the
For a older (age 52) man who tends to be attracted to younger
women (over 20 but under say 35), it was wonderful to be in a culture where
younger women often preferred older men like me for their maturity. In the U.S.
finding an open-minded girlfriend under 45 is very difficult I have found unless
she is overweight and not physically attractive to me. Overall Thai women are
slim and very beautiful compared to the average overweigh American women with an
attitude who is very uptight about sexuality from our repressive cultural
Author Unknown said:
Thai ladys, even the most money serious, treat you with dignity. They, at the very least, pretend to like you. I could go on and on about this, but I won't. I will say that I believe that this is the primary attraction to Thailand for guys that have been here, not just cheap sex. Rental love and affection. It's also not too difficult to get a "rent to own" kind of set up going. Tons of these ladys that play for pay want a steady boyfriend that will take care of them. Ever had any luck trying to get a hooker to get a cup of coffee with you after the dead has been done? Here, you're constantly called upon to make up creative excuses why you can't do this or that tomarrow.
As for types of venue, girls at go-gos, beer bars, etc. are mostly available for your pleasure after you pay a bar fine. In the absolute strickest sense of the word, they are prostitutes (man, that just looks crumby on paper and leaves a weird feeling in the brain after writting it). I guess fishbowl massage places would be about the closest to my concept of the "hooker". I have heard about bordellos, especially in rural areas of Thailand, but have never found one yet. There are girls that hang around outside of Thermae and BG 7 that will go with you for money which would make them hookers, but again, only in the stricktest sense of the word. I have never used an escort service as they are too pricey for my budget, but I have heard many glowing tales of happy rewarding liasons with Thailands call girls...again no one seems to think of them as hookers.
Why not book a hooker? ...Can't find 'em. Who needs a hooker when BKK has over 500,000 potential girlfriends. Thousands of which work at NEP, Soi Cowboy, Soi 33, Soi 22, Entertainment Complexes, Buckskin Joes, Patpong, etc...every night of the week!
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