A Guide for the Uninitiated Sex Tourist | Thailand
Firstly, the sex-trade is entirely different in Thailand to elsewhere. Having a concubine, or second wife (mia noi), has been part of the Thai culture since forever. Accordingly, the Thais regard the sex-trade as an acceptable occupation and the ladies, themselves, refer to it merely as “working”.
Esarn (North-eastern Thailand), where most of the bar-girls hail from, is impoverished and the sex-trade is a major way for families to buy what westerners consider essentials like TVs, fridges, running water and decent housing. Thailand also has no welfare state, so for poor families to send their daughters and sons to Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket is often the only means of adequate survival. Hence the saying a Thai bar-girl is the tip of a pyramid, having a whole extended family to support.
Many sex-workers also have a drug habit or are just plain avaricious, so it’s not all altruism! Pleas for money for hospital or funeral expenses, or to buy new water-buffalos can be genuine, but all too often its BS! These are facts every sex-tourist needs to know as you’ll hear them constantly.
The sex-workers learn the tricks of the trade from their peers very quickly. It’s very easy to make the foreigner fall in love with them due to their beauty, slim figures and apparently winning ways. This is especially true with current relationship norms and the high incidence of divorce and loneliness in the west.
Thai women are raised to be subservient to and take extremely good care of their men-folk. Accordingly, they exploit this for all it’s worth, lavishing love and attention on their foreign lovers, who all too often are lonely, inadequate, or find relating to women back home impossible.
This is especially true of older men, who benefit from the oriental reverence for the elderly. But, all too often it’s false and mercenary and the girls are often driven by their avaricious families to find a rich foreigner to provide for the family pyramid.
The beguiling bar-girls and boys are adept at extracting funds and presents from jai dee (good-hearted) foreigners. Gold and mobile phones are favourites, being easily pawned after the foreign lover goes home and reclaimed prior to their return.
Often, the foreign lover is cajoled into sending monthly bank transfers of c.30,000 Baht in the vain hope of keeping the Thai lover faithful and away from bar-work.
However, many Thai sex-workers have a whole string of contributing lovers, as well as having Thai partners, to boot! To pretend to have just come from the hinterland is another ruse. So, if the bar-girl speaks good English, wears fashionable clothes and drips gold, beware!
Another favourite ploy is to get the foreign lover to marry them, buy property and put it in the Thai’s name, due to the complexity of the legalities governing ownership. However, one can form a company, cheaply, and get around the ownership quandary this way.
Cynicism aside, you can meet genuine, good-natured Thais to relate to, just be aware of the pitfalls.