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Western men finding sex/love in Thailand.

Would esp like to hear what thailandtom and vinlyn
has to say about this.


Comments

  • ThailandTomThailandTom Veteran
    edited September 2013
    It is no secret that Thailand's economy is built around tourism and if the sex trade were to stop tomorrow then Thailand would crumble and die as the flow of money into the country and the families across the country would diminish somewhat.

    You will be surprised by how well looked after the ladyboys and sex workers are well, even though it is illegal there is often a system setup involving the police and taxi drivers where there are payoffs and security. Yes I am sure a lot of these women do not really actually love their partner or week long stint, but they sure do have a choice and sure do love the money.

    The thing is though, it is only one side to Thailand and I find it a shame that foreigners seem to focus in on this, if you stay away from the touristy areas you can stay away from this shady and dark side to Thailand, but you must keep in mind that this is what keeps the cogs turning in this country.

    I myself have a girlfriend who is 43 and I am only 25, if I wanted I could be a sex tourist but I am not, we have been together nearly 3 years now. I have had girlfriends before her and know what it is like to be in love etc etc, I see this relationship like any other normal relationship, it is mutual.

    I am seeing though that there are more families coming to Thailand now, families with little kids and having a good time, like I said as long as you avoid the shady areas it is a beautiful country from North to South with many wonderful people. But liker every country it has it's ups and downs.

    The sex industry is widely accepted and because of this I think there should be at least some more education on STDs and some way to prevent the spread of HIV which must be rampant here.
  • what is the main reason you chose to stay?
  • >weather
    >the general feeling of having more freedom
    >life seems more 'natural' if that makes sense
    >people in general are more welcoming and warm
    >economy
    >things are inexpensive
    >beaches and beautiful scenery
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Tom is right that "it is only one side to Thailand", but it's difficult not to focus on it when it is so blatant.

    Sometime around 1990, during one of my long summers in Thailand, my mother and sister came over to visit for 2 weeks and was staying at one of the major international hotels along the river. A Thai friend of mine (a male) came with me to take my mother and sister for a day of sightseeing. After checking for her room number at the desk, we started for the elevator to go up to her room and were stopped by security. Okay for me to go up, but it was automatically assumed -- by the Thai management -- that any Thai male going up to a guest room was a sex worker.

    Another summer back in the late 1990s I took the train about 60-90 minutes south of Bangkok to the small city of Phetchaburi -- population about 25,000. Checked into what was then the best hotel in the city...but yuck...so creepy...clearly a brothel more than a legitimate hotel. I quickly took in the historic temples of the city and the old hilltop royal retreat, hurried back to the hotel to check out (all during the day I kept thinking that I wasn't sure I could lay my head on the pillow in the room). The woman at the desk said, "You were dressed so well we didn't think you would stay here." And you have to understand that virtually every Thai-owned hotel in Thailand has a massage parlor, and yes, I mean that kind of massage parlor. Not to mention the huge massage parlors that dot the cityscape of cities like Bangkok. But even if you avoid the fairly famous sex districts in Bangkok (e.g., Pat Pong and Soi Cowboy), you can't miss the sex for sale. One year before moving to Thailand I stayed at an apartment building about a block away from one of the most expensive hotels in Bangkok. Virtually every day when I would walk past that high-end hotel, a taxi driver would offer me a woman...and when I would shake my head no...a man, or a young boy, or a young girl.

    The first year I went to Thailand I had been given a tour of some Thai public schools in Bangkok by the national Education Ministry. Two guides, one for a primary school in the morning, another for a secondary school in the afternoon. Wonderful experience. The two guides were both males, and we made a dinner appointment for later in my visit after my return from Chiang Mai later in my trip. At the end of dinner, one of the guides asked what I had seen since being in Thailand, and I started enumerating temples and historic sites. He said, "What about the other side of Thailand?" I knew what he meant, but played dumb. They explained, so I agreed to go with them to Pat Pong. To be honest, I'm no prude, but what I witnessed for the next couple of hours stunned and disgusted me. To call it anything less than depravity would be a misnomer.

    But I don't want to put it all on the Thais. I've gotten into discussions with American men who were nothing but sex tourists, who would brag that they could hire a Thai prostitute -- male or female -- for less than $5, and that they were doing a good deed by helping to feed and clothe them and their families.

    continued
  • vinlyn said:

    Tom is right that "it is only one side to Thailand", but it's difficult not to focus on it when it is so blatant.

    Sometime around 1990, during one of my long summers in Thailand, my mother and sister came over to visit for 2 weeks and was staying at one of the major international hotels along the river. A Thai friend of mine (a male) came with me to take my mother and sister for a day of sightseeing. After checking for her room number at the desk, we started for the elevator to go up to her room and were stopped by security. Okay for me to go up, but it was automatically assumed -- by the Thai management -- that any Thai male going up to a guest room was a sex worker.

    Another summer back in the late 1990s I took the train about 60-90 minutes south of Bangkok to the small city of Phetchaburi -- population about 25,000. Checked into what was then the best hotel in the city...but yuck...so creepy...clearly a brothel more than a legitimate hotel. I quickly took in the historic temples of the city and the old hilltop royal retreat, hurried back to the hotel to check out (all during the day I kept thinking that I wasn't sure I could lay my head on the pillow in the room). The woman at the desk said, "You were dressed so well we didn't think you would stay here." And you have to understand that virtually every Thai-owned hotel in Thailand has a massage parlor, and yes, I mean that kind of massage parlor. Not to mention the huge massage parlors that dot the cityscape of cities like Bangkok. But even if you avoid the fairly famous sex districts in Bangkok (e.g., Pat Pong and Soi Cowboy), you can't miss the sex for sale. One year before moving to Thailand I stayed at an apartment building about a block away from one of the most expensive hotels in Bangkok. Virtually every day when I would walk past that high-end hotel, a taxi driver would offer me a woman...and when I would shake my head no...a man, or a young boy, or a young girl.

    The first year I went to Thailand I had been given a tour of some Thai public schools in Bangkok by the national Education Ministry. Two guides, one for a primary school in the morning, another for a secondary school in the afternoon. Wonderful experience. The two guides were both males, and we made a dinner appointment for later in my visit after my return from Chiang Mai later in my trip. At the end of dinner, one of the guides asked what I had seen since being in Thailand, and I started enumerating temples and historic sites. He said, "What about the other side of Thailand?" I knew what he meant, but played dumb. They explained, so I agreed to go with them to Pat Pong. To be honest, I'm no prude, but what I witnessed for the next couple of hours stunned and disgusted me. To call it anything less than depravity would be a misnomer.

    But I don't want to put it all on the Thais. I've gotten into discussions with American men who were nothing but sex tourists, who would brag that they could hire a Thai prostitute -- male or female -- for less than $5, and that they were doing a good deed by helping to feed and clothe them and their families.

    continued

    Things have changed a lot now I would say, well at least if you are not going to be in places like Pattaya, Phuket or certain areas of Bangkok. I have never been to a hotel or guest house that has a sex service in the same building. I have also stayed at Petchaburi as a friend of mine moved there to teach, I didn't like the feel of the city as it depressed me for some reason, but I never came across any brothels or sex workers.

    Here in Hua Hin the bar scene is all sectioned off in it;s own part of town and easily avoidable if one does not wish to head that way. Even if you do, there is always banter coming from the bar girls as you ride or walk past. So yea I think things may have changed a little or you got really unlucky with the places you stayed in back then lol.

    Thailand isn't the only country with a sex trade lets not forget, but it probably has the biggest sex trade in the world.
  • Do you think that thais' high tolerance of prostitutes
    and transexuals have anything to do with the fact that
    most thais are buddhists??

    maybe we should separate the two for discussion.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    But, Jll, you asked a good question -- "what is the main reason you chose to stay?"

    The reasons Tom expressed led me to want to retire there, and -- after spending about a dozen summers there -- I lived there for about 2 years until the riots. I would add that the religious culture was wonderful. Most days I would start out about 11 a.m. and get home around 5. I would just walk in different areas of Bangkok. No matter where I walked I felt relatively safe...something you can't say about many Western cities (although I did stay out of Klong Toey district). Any temple I passed I would go into, wander around, talk to monks that seemed receptive (although not all spoke English). Would usually visit multiple temples per day...you can't imagine how many small temples there are off the tourist path. Always made to feel very welcome. I loved learning about Thai history. And, Tom's right, you are made to feel very welcome. I've never seen anything approaching that friendliness in the West.

    BUT:

    Then came the riots. A truly scary day after months of protests and shutting down major shopping districts and even shutting down the Sky Train rapid transit system a couple of days. Roughly 30 major buildings burned down that fateful day. No one was in charge. Not the police. Not the army. In fact, the police and army were on different sides. Not the government. Worst violence in the country since 1767...just my luck. And as the black smoke billowed down my street from the huge fire set at the end of my soi (small street), I began to think...is Thailand really worth it?

    Up until then I could look at the all the negatives and say that the friendliness of the Thais, the history, the culture, etc., made up for the seamy side of things. And, it was at that point that I was just flooded with facing all the negatives in a way I hadn't faced them before. It's not just the blatant and internationally famous sex trade. It's things like bribery that you find yourself beginning to accept.

    For example, early in my visits I rented a car and drove upcountry with a Thai friend. I got stopped for a traffic violation on a rural stretch of road, and my Thai friend kept saying, "We will have to pay. We will have to pay. Quick, put 500 baht in your passport." I did as I was told. Although that little incident had a happy ending, I didn't like that I had become so prepared to bribe a policeman. Or the day I went to get my retirement visa. I had a Thai lawyer (there are those who specialize in visas), so all my paperwork was in order. We arrived at immigration and it was as bad as I had heard -- a sea of people waiting for their turn. My lawyer walked over to a desk, came back and said, "We can wait here in line for about 5 hours, or for [the equivalency of about $10] you can be next." I was next. And it's that kind of thinking that I began to deplore.

    You're unlikely to be robbed in Thailand, but you're very likely to be the victim of at least an attempt to be cheated out of money. Very likely. With time you keep your guard up, but it can happen so seemingly innocently. Walk into some temples -- off the typical tourist trail -- and start to take a photo and a man comes up to you and tells you there is a fee for photography...of course, it's a scam. A woman asks you if you want to feed the birds...and when you do the little bag of bird seed costs $10. A Thai starts talking to you and after a nice conversation of 10 minutes says, "You know, I know gem store that is having big sale today," and right on cue a tuk tuk pulls up ready to transport you. Someone offers you a drink on a train or bus, and you end up unconscious and robbed. I fell for a few of the smaller scams, but it's so damn common that it's mind boggling. But even then, a Thai friend -- well-educated with 2 degrees from prestigious Chulalongkorn University (confirmed) and who works high up in one of the government ministries (have visited installations with him on official business), whose upcountry family I had come to know very well over the years -- whom I had known well for over a decade -- ultimately cheated me out of a huge sum of money. And it wasn't that he was that type, it's just that the opportunity arose and the thinking was (and always is) -- they are a rich American and I am a poor Thai.

    And so, I left Thailand when I came to the conclusion that I could no longer excuse the seedy side of Thai life by the pleasant side of things. The balance -- for me -- was no longer there. Plus, politically, Thailand is -- in my view -- going down a very long road to instability and failure.


  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    ...So yea I think things may have changed a little or you got really unlucky with the places you stayed in back then lol.

    Thailand isn't the only country with a sex trade lets not forget, but it probably has the biggest sex trade in the world.

    Nah. Similar things happened as recently as 3 years ago. Don't forget, Hua Hin, where I believe you live, is a pleasant little city. It's not Bangkok or Pattaya. And no, it's not the only country with a sex trade, but it is one of the two countries with the largest international sex tourism (the other being the Philippines). What does it tell you when Thailand has the highest rate of HIV infection in all of Asia? That visiting a brothel is considered a legitimate rite of passage for young Thai males? And here's the difference...here in the US there is prostitution...but you have to go looking for it. In Thailand it comes looking for you. Walk to Bumrungrad Hospital -- Thailand's most prestigious -- and you can't escape the offers right there on the street from the prostitutes just 2 blocks away. And Tom, I've stayed in dozens of upcountry hotels -- usually the best in the given city -- and there was never not a massage parlor.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    jll said:

    Do you think that thais' high tolerance of prostitutes
    and transexuals have anything to do with the fact that
    most thais are buddhists??

    maybe we should separate the two for discussion.

    Not really. And I think the key word that you mention is "tolerance", which is not the same thing as "acceptance". I saw a little old lady in a shopping mall spit in the face of an exceptionally beautiful woman one day...and only after she said, "katoey", did I realize it was a transsexual (gotta watch those adam's apples). And a Thai friend's family up in Chiang Mai...fairly well off and educated...hates the fact that the country attracts so many sex tourists.

    But I think the key to the tolerance is not the Buddhism aspect so much, but a belief that you stay out of other peoples business. Live and let live.

  • This is a great documentary about
    sex workers' children in India.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Interesting the name of the company that produced the video.
    riverflowThailandTom
  • The sex trade in Thailand came about due to the Vietnam war. Alot of the soldiers spent their leave in Thailand and the Thais saw business opportunities so set up all these hotels etc. Then things went down the hotel with benefits route and thus you have the start of the sex trade.

    Yes the riots were bad and it is one reason I do not like Bangkok, on top of pollution and general chaotic lifestyle. 95% of the country is more free and safe and generally up beat and happy though I would say. The areas I would avoid would be Pattaya, parts of Phuket, parts of Bangkok unless you like that lifestyle and the far South like Hat Yai.
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