Previous Next
Is sex tourism about peace, love and happiness – or does it hide an uncomfortable truth?

Every year, tourists flock to Southeast Asia, in hopes of netting the tropical ocean dream.

Khaosan Road, Bangkok’s backpacker coconut cream pie, proves that not only can you sleep for three dollars a night, but you can also be anyone you want in Paradise.

For some, this means picking up dreadlocks while exiting Watson’s pharmacy, and wearing more tie-dye than would fit in the back of a VW van.

For others, however, it means purchasing sexual services from a woman, man, or even a child, and imagining themselves as Love Gods.

One can smell a lot of things on Khaosan Road- patchouli, pineapples, Pad Thai, and as well, the more pungent odor of sex tourism- the question is, whether or not it’s all about peace, love and happiness.

Sex tourism, present throughout the world, is particularly prevalent in South East Asia, where the connected problems of human trafficking, AIDS, and poverty, continue to flourish and claim lives at unprecedented rates.

The Choice To Sell

Sex tourists, defined as “those who travel to a country for the sole purpose of having sex” see it as an opportunity, or even an entitlement, to have sex available for less money than they would pay at home.

Sex tourists tend not to differentiate between buying groceries, and going to the brothel to buy sex – both provide someone with economic sustenance.

They perceive that those involved in the industry are making a choice to sell their services.

Some even say they are “helping” sex workers, as other available labor, particularly for women, generally yields a lower profit. Sex tourists tend not to differentiate between buying groceries, and going to the brothel to buy sex- both provide someone with economic sustenance.

It is also true that some sex workers tend not to distinguish between sex work and other work, which may or may not be any less exploitative- the difference, is in the body parts used.

We Westerners, products of Christian influence, have moralized sex, unlike in some other countries, including some Southeast Asian nations, where it is seen in more neutral terms.

Many sex workers wish to provide services without judgment or police interference, and continue to fight for better protection within the industry.

A Critical Eye

As an English teacher in Thailand for over a year, I had the opportunity of having a closer look at the sex industry in Southeast Asia.

I felt that sex tourists, and brothel-goers in general, radiated a patriarchal sense of entitlement which, in the case of the foreigners, would not be acceptable, or even possible, back home.

Honestly speaking, women who envision a grand life for themselves and their children are not lined up for extra-curricular sex with some (excuse the cliché) foul-mannered, overweight, middle-aged, married, balding alcoholic- only the most vulnerable are really up for this job.

Many sex tourists, who wouldn’t even be eligible for a date back in Germany, Canada, Australia, or wherever else they come from, find solace in the fact that their money buys their egos back, at the expense of someone else’s health or happiness.

Money buys their egos back, at the expense of someone else’s health or happiness.

The gratification is not in the sex (for even the married ones have it right up there lying in the bed) but in the fact that they have monetary power, and society supports the idea that money can buy you anything, including a beautiful woman or girl.

This ideology reeks with dehumanization and confirms that men are mere providers of money, and women are subject to its rule. There is also plenty of gay sex-tourism, in which (mostly young) boys are exploited in the same way as women.

Sex tourism, then, is a tragedy, for both the sex workers, who don’t always choose to be there, and for the men who pay them.

A Forced Profession

I do not mean to say that sex tourism, or sex work, for that matter, is a black and white issue, and for those sex workers who love their jobs, I am no one to judge their choices or their profession.

However, we can’t ignore the fact that many people are smuggled and then forced into the trade, either by lack of any other option, or by pimps, or even by their family members, who may be desperate for a piece of the profit.

As well, the risk factors for sex workers are very high, and many succumb to AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. Those who seek out sexual services, particularly those who are married or in other relationships, risk the lives of their partners when they return home.

Some say that sex tourism is about sex, but I think it’s about power and opportunism.

While awareness and prevention is the key to preventing these unfortunate outcomes, it is a reality that many wives, girlfriends, and boyfriends still become infected with these diseases, due to the irresponsibility of their loved ones.

Some say that sex tourism is about sex, but I think it’s about power and opportunism. I am not sure we are reaching our human potential, as tourists and ambassadors of our nations, by contributing to additional social gaps in the world.

While it is true that sex workers make more money than working in the market, there are other, more effective ways to improve the lives of people, besides buying sex from them.

For those women, men and children who are trafficked, or bound to the trade by economic desperation, it seems hopelessly unfair that they should have to sacrifice the most personal areas of their bodies for the sake of someone’s vacation, ego, or fantasy whim.

Perhaps as tourists, and as people, before we depart, we might care to ponder not only others’ choices, but also our own, and what we want to make of them.

Emily Hansen is a travel writer and teacher based in Shimla, India, where she is working on a book about her experiences as an expat. Her native land is Canada, and she has traveled to over 30 countries, and has lived in six, including Germany, China, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and now, India.

What’s your view on sex tourism? Please share in the comments.

Human Rights


About The Author

Emily Hansen

Emily Hansen is a travel writer and teacher based in Shimla, India, where she is working on a book about her experiences as an expat. Her native land is Canada, and she has traveled to over 30 countries, and has lived in six, including Germany, China, Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, and now, India.

  • ian mackenzie

    A topical issue is also how these sex tourists are dealt with once they come home – in many countries now, the sex tourists can be charged on home soil. Here’s an article from today

  • Eva

    I think it’s important to make a distinction here between sex tourism involving adults, and pedophilia.

    “There is also plenty of gay sex-tourism, in which (mostly young) boys are exploited in the same way as women.”

    Men who have sex with young boys are not “gay” in any normal sense any more than men who have sex with young girls are “straight” – they are pedophiles either way, and therefore criminals pretty much everywhere in the world, as far as I’m aware. Whereas in some countries sex tourists are entirely within their legal rights, whatever our personal feelings on the morality of what they’re doing.

    There are arguments on both sides of the prostitution issue – legalization or decriminalization as a means of regulating the industry and therefore protecting the women, for example, versus legalization as an endorsement of an industry that in western countries often exploits drug addicts, and in Asia has often been linked to kidnapping etc. I’ve never quite worked out my views on the subject, but I don’t think anyone on either side of the debate is openly advocating for legalized sex with young children.

  • Nicholas Bowditch

    For me, the worst part of this disgusting reality was when I lived for a long time in the Philippines and I actually start to get used to it. I certainly never condoned it and I never stopped being absolutely repulsed by it, but you see so many European (and unfortunately Australians) ‘dating’ very young girls (and boys) in places like that that you actually become a bit de-sensitised to it.

    Maybe that’s the problem: it just seems like too big a problem for one person to do anything about it so we all just partly ignore it, while still always being angry about it.

  • johnny dakota

    Although the numbers are smaller, you have to mention the thousands of white MILFs who go to Africa, the Caribbean and South America each year looking for black men for sex. Nobody seems to be upset when they do it, why?

  • http://none Emily

    Thank-you Eva, for your comments on my article. I did in fact miss elaborating on the pedophilia problem, which is in fact a BIG issue which I would have liked to have written about further.

  • ian mackenzie

    johnny – i think the relationship between women in Africa and the Caribbean is perhaps a similar issue, but i believe the scope is nowhere near as large.

  • http://none Emily

    I’ve heard your argument before, many times. While yes, female sex tourists do exist(and you are free to be upset about it, Johnny, and it could be subject for a wonderful Brave New traveler article!)the scope is NOT nearly as large, and they mostly make Jerry Springer on TV…I don’t see advertisements urging MILFS everywhere to come and sign up for a “bus travel sex adventure” with Carribean boys just so they can tell the girls back home what a great time they had! Just try working with a staffload of these guys for a year and then tell me not to get my nylons in a knot!

  • Eva

    And with female sex tourists there’s a different power dynamic as well… There isn’t the same sense of potential threat, I don’t think. I’ve rarely heard of male prostitutes being murdered by their female johns (janes?), and never heard of a female serial killer who preys on male prostitutes.

    I suppose it seems like a double standard to some people to treat them differently, but Ian and Emily made very good points about scale: in SE Asia it seems like entire communities revolve around this industry, but it all caters to men and no one is too concerned about trying to capture the female share of the market – because there isn’t much of one in comparison.

    Nice homepage, by the way, Johnny. I can see you’re entirely unbiased in this debate… :P

  • Johnny dakota

    There a really good new movie about female sex tourism called “Heading South” that you can watch on Netflix instantly. What’s interesting is that while there are clear differences, there are also similar themes: power, money, and self-esteem. The problem is nowhere near as large or disturbing as the problem in SE Asia but the exploitation of young black boys by older white females is a problem that nevertheless needs to be addressed. Here’s a link to a must-read article if you are interested in the subject:

  • Johnny dakota

    Sorry, the link was too long but if you google the title of the article “Women seeking beach boys” it’s the first hit, it’s from

  • Nitin

    A very nice article on sex tourism in Thailand, infact the area of Thailand is pretty much known for a lot of trafficking of women and children it is nice to read somone paying attention to those areas of thailand apart for the beach holiday resort.

    Very nice.
    good luck .

  • kurt

    I thought this was another uninformed article about the Thai sex industry.

    You wrote, “We Westerners, products of Christian influence, have moralized sex, unlike in some other countries, including some Southeast Asian nations, where it is seen in more neutral terms”

    So you admit Thais have different values to us Westerners but then go on to impose your values on them anyway.

    After all those years abroad it seems you still can’t see a culture on its own terms. This is a shame.

    You didn’t mention that the majority of sex tourists are Asian, or that the sex industry among local Thai men dwarfs that of foreigners.

    Your equation of sex tourism with power misses the point too. The real power trip comes from Westerners who wish to impose their view of world on poorer, less powerful countries. Why don’t you return home and stop prostitution there before dumping on Thais?

    And frankly, if you don’t know the difference between a gay tourist and a pedophile, you really shouldn’t be writing articles about the Thai sex industry.

  • Emily Hansen

    Hi Kurt,

    I just wanted to respond to a few of your points.

    Firstly, I do not agree that I am “imposing” my values on anybody- while I made it an issue that Thais view sex differently, many Thai people would be insulted to hear you say it is “part of the culture”, any more than burkas in Saudi. While things may be mixed with peoples’ cultures at times, there is no need to justify things which violate human rights, ie) forced prostitution, as “part of the culture”. Otherwise, one could say rape is part of our Western culture, since it certainly happens. All people might stand up for better human rights everywhere, and I am not saying my country is any better, just addressing the specific problem of Western-based sex touristm, and some of the impacts it has on Thais. Don’t worry, I’m not one of the “good little Western feminists” that is going to come in and “liberate” the Asian people, if you were for some reason, putting me in that category.

    And I didn’t get pedophiles mixed up with sex tourists (gay), altough I could have expanded upon that issue a little more. I only intended to state that gay men are in fact exploited sometiems in the same way as women.

    I realize that many Thai men go to brothels. I just wanted to elaborate a little more upon the Western compionent, because I am from the West.

    Anyways, thanks for your points.

  • rome

    Few line are for sure not enough for such an issue. One thing that comes to my mind is that, as you have said in your article, it it was a free choice we would have no rights to criticize how people choose to live their lives. Unfortunately, often it is not, and the people who practice this “profession” do not even get rich out of it….therefore it becomes pure exploitation, humiliation, privacy of one’s freedom and I could make a neverending list of horrible inhuman concepts related to this.

  • http://Jacobsladder J. Henshaw

    I would just like to add everyone has a different opinion on sex tourism according to their sex, age, finances, circumstances etc. Many western guys treat the Asian girls very well and are seriously looking for wive’s girlfriends. They can get used by the Asian girls as well as the other way round. I’m pleased the comments have also been raised on female sex tourism – i’ve seen plenty of 50 year old women in the Caribbean/Indonesia etc huddled up with a 20 year old black boy. I’d also like to mention the thousands of 18 – 30 guys and girls who head out abroad on holiday mainly to get drunk and have sex with others. Is this also not a form of sex tourism, and is there really all that much difference!!!

  • nomad4ever

    While I agree that prostitution is usually not a voluntary thing you have the opposite true as well. Here in Bali you have plenty of local boys and girls, whose dream it is to score a Westerner (man or woman) for status reason. They are not necessarily poor or at the brink of poverty. Local people have their own shops, surf schools or Warungs and still they sell their bodies to the (potential) sex tourist. Others see it as an easy way to make a living and don’t even want to think about other ways of making money.

    I talked with many Locals here and they aren’t ashamed or feel pity about themselves or the ones doing so. Especially the so-called “Kuta Cowboys” who usually go with big fat Australian or European Mamas. For them it’s utter pleasure/convenience and some of them drive cars and have their own house all paid for by their “loved” ones, of whom they usually have more than one.

    For sure they weren’t forced to do so – it was their own will and they enjoy the ride.

    But it’s still prostitution, isn’t it? ;-)

    Cheers from Bali,

    Life is what you make it!

  • http://deleted Emily Hansen

    I’m a big fan of pleasure myself, and hey, if one would like to harness their inner Roxanne, then I have no problem with it- not my concern or place to judge. I had intended for the article discussion to be more directed to the problem of forced prostitution, or prostitution where there is not any other well-paying work available, and the lying and deceit that occurs when people use the services of sex workers at the expense of their wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, etc., often endangering their lives with the STDs they sometimes bring home. Thanks for your perspectives.

  • Ralph

    Emily, At last! a more intelligent and balanced article from a female about sex tourism in Asia. I don’t agree with all of your points but you have brought new insights to the debate.

    In particular I agree with your assessment that for many men visiting Asia it’s not about the sex but restoration of ego or being able to feel like a man again.

    In the West the FemoNazis dominate. I came from a senior corporate back ground and had to navigate the politically correct mind field on a daily basis and was very good at it.

    You are also correct about the legacy of our Judo-Christian heritage and its repressive attitudes to sex and accompanying guilt.

    I have written my own ideas on this subject in direct response to your article. I don’t expect you to agree with my article and you will probably disapprove of me entirely should you view the rest of my blog.

    Kurt, compared to the sensationalism and absolute dishonesty of most other articles on this topic Emily is to be commended on her honesty.

    PS You are in India now. I love the story about Mahatma Gandhi who would take a 12 year old girl to bed each night and have her lay naked next to him. He told others he was testing his resolve…or maybe that excuse was just for Western consumption.

  • Emıly Hansen

    Had a look at the website Ralph and it is indeed ınterestıng….however I feel compelled to start my own website about female adventures in Asia.

    I am defınıtely not against sex….but yes….dıshonesty does make the book run hot. And that ıs the focus of my artıcle. Thanks for defendıng my posıtıon re The Kurt. Just heard too much BS my last several years ın Asıa and justıfıcatıon for everythıng. Sigh….ıt ıs tıme someone talked truth. People are gettıng the shaft ın thıs ındustry and just wanted to bring some light to it.

  • Paul

    I have also seen sex tourism up close and personal, and had a stab at it myself in the Philippines and Thailand. I didn’t go to these countries as a sex tourist, but as a tourist looking for a cheap holiday.

    It’s hard to say no to these young women. Especially because they all look so happy and healthy. And you look at the poverty in these countries and hope you can help them out is some small way while enjoying your holiday. I say if a person wants to sell their body, let them do it.

    In addition, Asian woman are much different from Western woman and a lot of men enjoy that. They are sick to death of being politically correct and unable to relax with a woman in the West. Many, many Asian women meet Western men in the sex industry and go on to live fulfilling lives. Not only in the sex industry but in everyday life among expats abroad.

    However, to my knowledge I have never witnessed any forced prostitution. Any girl I was with was free to do whatever she wanted. There was no dirty old room where she had to stay and have quick sex with numerous customers. I know this exists to a large percentage and it saddens my deeply.

    Women and men who are of the legal age of consent, and have a choice how to live their lives should be given the respect to do so. All of the women I met were free to say no, but they didn’t because they were bored and poor and wanted excitement and spending money or just companionship. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with that.

    So what I am saying is this is not a one-dimensional issue, but a very complicated one. On one hand it is not a problem with people who have a free choice to do what they please. On the other, it is a grave injustice to trafficked people and underage people who are forced and exploited and then thrown out like so much garbabe when they are used up.

    Anyone can have a point of view on the sex industry in Asia, but until you experience it first hand as I have, it’s hard to know how these people feel about their lives and their problems. One thing is for sure, if there were no sex tourists or people willing to pay for sex, there would be a lot of unhappy people in this world.

    Sound like a naive conclusion. But it’s a fact.

  • Andrea Kirkby

    I think you’re right to state that sex tourism is at its core often about power and self-image, not about sex or prostitutiion per se.

    I worked a lot in Eastern Europe in the 1980s/1990s, and it was interesting how often a rich Western investment banker would marry a Russian or Polish girl. (Never the other way around.) Because “They’re much more feminine than English girls,” I was once told – that is, they had no power, no money, and no work permit, and didn’t threaten the man’s self-image.

    I saw the breakup of one of these relationships too. The man involved simply regarded his wife as disposable – “You can go right back to Russia, and don’t think you’re getting any money out of me.” (Yes, the actual words – they had *that* row in my office.)

    No one would call that sex tourism, but actually in that guy’s mind there wasn’t very much difference between his marriage and sex tourism – he had bought something, and he had a right to refuse the goods if they proved sub-standard.

  • Emily Hansen

    Excuse the Turkish keyboard keys…

    Paul, in no way would anyone be ‘helping’ the women of Thaliand, for example, by buying sex from them. If a man is interested in helping women, he may do so by understanding their value as people and not as commodities. Yes, it’s a complicated issıe but compliated further by self-serving justifications for destructive behavıour. Ä°f your willingness to help is genuine, why not just give them the money and forget getting something out of it?

    And I hardly think that all Wstern women are policitcally-correct-police. Women everywhere are beginning to ask for some respect and are getting it accordingly, in varying degrees. Men are not the enemy, but can seek to be our partners. I am not demonizing men, only stating that power dynamics such as these are not serving anyone.

    Andrea thanks for the enlıghtened response.


  • Daniel Harbecke

    Continuing from the idea above, I think it’s important to recognize that prostitution is an “artificial” relationship: a client buys an amount of time in order to have a relationship on their terms. In that sense, you indeed have “tourism” taking place – a sightseeing trip through shallow connections. Intimacy, with no strings attached; little significant investment into a “real” relationship. It’s almost, using a techie term, “virtual.”

    There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but this borrow’s the snowflake’s defense for taking part in the avalanche. The cost is that the prostitute (which describes role, not gender) is trapped in this artificial role. It’s similar to yet worse than a dead-end job, because at least dead-end jobs are recognized as part of the work force. Prostitution is stigmatized for its “unrealness” – prostitutes are seen as golddigging, damaged human beings with little prospects beyond their seeming willingness to be exploited. Whether it’s the role, or the conditions that create the role, that are responsible for creating prostitution is a chicken-or-egg argument. The crime is that prostitutes lose few prospects for choosing their future.

    I’m certain that there are men (and women) who pay for prostitutes’ services and can see them as more than just “expendable.” There are also those who take the role of prostitute for a short time, for thrills or money, but are able to leave it behind to go on to something else. These circumstances cloud the issue, because they show that the harm of prostitution isn’t really about “money for sex.” (Moral elitists would disagree, but that’s only relevant in a context of religious, not social, salvation.)

    Like poverty, addiction, no access to education, classism, racism, indoctrination or any other such limiting conventions, the crime is that people are robbed of their ability to express themselves in their lives. Prostitutes are made the “untouchables” of our culture (how strange that sounds…), the “shameful,” the “wicked,” the “non-human.”

    It’s not the role itself, but those who force the role upon another that create prostitution.

    One More Door
    I once knew a man, fell in love with a whore
    Saw something there no one cared to before
    The faceless had stripped away all of her doors
    But they found one together, and the one led to more.

  • Joel Carillet

    I just came upon this post today and have appreciated the thoughts and debate in response to it. I rarely promote my writing on other sites, but since it relates directly to this topic I wanted to pass along that I’ve written a story based on my experiences in Bangkok’s red light districts which tries to explore the theme of brokenness and hope. If interested, you can find it in The Best Travel Writing 2008, or at

    Thanks for the post, Emily.


  • Daniel Harbecke


    It was your essay that prompted my response, and I should thank you for that.

  • Emily

    E-X-C-E-L-L-E-N-T points Daniel and Joel. I could simply never have put it better:)

  • Joel Carillet

    Wow — so someone has read the essay! Thanks for your kind comment, Daniel.

    You too, Emily. I’ve just checked out more of both of your writings; wonderful stuff, which I’ll make a point to try to follow in the months ahead.

  • Parle

    Thanks for your article .. it was an interesting read.

  • me-mo

    Speaking about the 18-30 group,would the “Spring Break” vacations
    be considered “sex vacations ? After all,all they do is get drunk,
    party,and have sex with people they’ll probably never see again.
    I know of some female friends that say they acted like men(sexualy agressive)
    while on spring break,and were in competition with other females trying to have as many sex partners as possible in a specified period of time.But I guess since there is no money changing hands they are only being “girls gone wild”
    Go figure. Peace

  • http://none Roma

    Dear Emily,
    I was really happy to go through your article as the more I see people taking interest in this issue I feel that change can be brought about in this sector. I have been working in this sector for some time and have made Simla as my tourist city for identifying the kind of Sex tourism happening here. It is important to understand the contextuality of sex tourism as it occurs accross the globe. This when regarded as a social problem has to take into consideration the social factors that perpetuate its existence and work out a method accordingly to approach the problem systematically.
    If there is any way I can work with you do let me know.

  • morten nielsen

    Dear Emily,

    I am a bit bored of reading about the Thai sex industry, based upon the experiences of an English teacher staying 1 year in the country. I suggest that you read The International Labour Organisation´s the Sex Sector from 1998. “It focuses on the commercial sex sector’s connections with the national economies of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand as well as the international economy. Describes the organizational structures and relations within the commercial sex sector and illustrates how increasingly complex and significant the sector has become in these countries. In addition to the national case studies, which include the results of surveys of sex workers, comprises chapters on child prostitution and legislation and policies targeting the commercial sex industry. Examines also some historical and social factors behind the development of the sex sector.”

    Best regards,

  • Seks


    It was your essay that prompted my response, and I should thank you for that.

  • Daniel Harbecke


  • Mike

    To whoever it was, Paul, that wrote the sex tourism was pretty much a good thing…yeah you pretty messed up. It’s the type of mentality that contributes to this problem.

    I’m definitely no saint but at least I can recogonize there’s actually people (kids mind you) being exploited. It’s a really really sad story and the author hit some obviously good points.

    Let’s reverse the situation, you being some 6 year-old toddler and forced to do unsaid things. It happens and it’s really sad.

  • arif sajjad

    very nice article. making sex public and buying it for money is really a third rate job. but sex tourists who intend to have sex in another country could not be controlled unless the people of visiting country should have high morals.

  • the spectre

    it's funny how you can note that christian values are imposed on sex in the west, yet completely ignore this point and conclude that all sex tourism is exploitation…?? you've obviously never spoken to someone who works in the industry, just sat on the sidelines and pointed your moral finger at everyone else, what makes you the judge of a culture you don't understand?? oh wait, you lived there for a year, right, so you know it all….

  • heather

    The problem can only be dealt with by the government itself in countries like Thailand . No sex bars no gogo shows no sex tourist resorts like Pattaya or Phuket would certainly curb if not stop the amount of bald,
    fat out of shape ugly western male or indeed female sex tourists comming to the country as there would be nothing for them to come for( unless ofcourse they want to look at the temples and the beautiful countryside). The cuban govt used that approach a few years ago when it became known that the country was seen as another sex tourist destination and imposed measures to stop it with a good level of success.However the reality is that the Thai govt will never stop it as it brings too much money into the country and and as such there will always be an endless stream of western inadequates looking for sex which they can't get in their own country

  • Egbert

    I visited Brasil years ago. Sex is there also a part of the national culture. On Copacobana was a club with many prostitutes, beautiful women. But they also did it for free, simply because they like sex. But this was not just typical for the prostitutes, all ladies loved making love. There is nothing wrong about that. Read for example a novel from Jorge Amado, one of the most famous Brasilian writers. Soon I will find out if Brasilian women are the best lovers in the world or the Thai women. I definitely do agree with Jonathan that many women from Western origing should take a look at their selves. If the women all over the world made love the same way the nice Brasilians do, the Thai and Brasilian women would not be so famous.

  • sirmarjalot

    Well its more to do with economics, there are some vile creatures who do prey on the weak and vulnerable in places like Asia. But you have a very maligned stereotype image of what a sex tourist is and you want to promote that. I think it must be hard for you as working as a teacher in somewhere like Thailand in itself attracts alot of sex tourists who become sexpats. I mean you dont go there for the money.

    The vast majority of males travelling to a place like Thailand are looking for a good time, like they cant get at home, alot of them are also fit attractive males and not the fat balding Germans stereotype.
    Alot of these guys fall in love with a girl they meet in a bar and when returning home become her sponsor sending her money to leave the bar. In fact some of these girls can typically being playing up to 5 guys like this. So its still a dog eat dog world whatever way you look at it.

    What about all the female sex tourists in the Caribbean 5% of which return HIV positive?

    • Emily

      Just a question: I am wondering why each time I mention the topic of "women's oppression", a widespread problem throughout the world, people feel the knee-jerk need to bring up the most minute examples of "male oppression". Just because I speak of "women's oppression" does not mean that I am denying that "male oppression" exists…in fact all people are "oppressed" in some ways and not in others- I am simply talking about the specific situation of women and how it is affected by inequity. I am not here on this planet to make anyone feel more comfortable about us "uppity women" and our "angry views" on women's rights. While I might have nightmares about the balding German sexpats with tacky T-shirts in size fat, I think that you are clinging as well, to some cliches, particularly as they concern feminism.

      If you feel that the issue of female "johns" in the Carribbean is a massively widespread and serious problem and relates to the problem of "male oppression" generally , then you are free to write an article and convince me that this is truly a problem that needs fixing. I am not stopping you. It's just, that wasn't my article.

      P.S. And in the state of rampant poverty that many people are in, I'm gonna buy the dime-store Camille Paglia about how sex for money in any context is really about anyone's empowerment.

  • thinktwice

    I don't know you at all. I am not you. I can probably say that you are neither a sex worker nor a sex buyer, and with this assumption I can definately say that you have no authority to write on the subject. ***** In my 20-something youth, I recieved money for sex. I was grateful that I could trade something I was good at, for something that would feed me. In my 40-something middle age, I have legally paid for sex. My body is my own. I can do this. ***** For you to stand on your imaginary high horse and tell me otherwise is blatantly hypocritical in an age where women have rightfully claimed control of their minds and bodies emotionally, sexually, and reproductively. Your attitude will only frustrate you and end badly as you continue to try and control what others safely and consensually do. You are part of a strange upsurge in moral superiority which will soon be extinct and join such dated practices as slavery, cultural genital mutilation, and even rape in history as we move towards more enlightened times.

  • Nikolas_Tjhin

    Just a thought here. Perhaps the government should step in and *gasp* legalize prostitution. That would shut both sides up. Think about it. Only those ladies who are truly into the profession will be allowed to work their trade. And having government intervention would *hopefully* cut off those illegal and under-aged sex workers.

    The sex-workers in Singapore are legalized (some, not all) and they carry permits to be allowed to work. Holders of this permits must also receive periodical health screenings and are not allowed to work. The unfortunate viewpoint is it somehow reflects badly in that sense that the Government actually allow this profession, but hey, to each their own right.

    But then again I'm not sure how feasible it would be in other places in South East Asia. In Jakarta for example I know for sure the cops just won't bother. Or the pimps would simply pass some money along and everybody will make a move on. I suspect the Thailand police would react the same way, and this is a problem. I don't know how Singapore does it (keep the corruption low) but it certainly helps their case that the island is very small… *shrugs*

    Additional thoughts as well, in regards to some of the commenters above me who are giving the writer a hard time. I think the problem the writer wants to bring up and highlight is the child-prostitution and how the sex industry has become so lucrative that it promotes child kidnapping, slavery and the likes.

    If you're consented to selling off your own body for sex, then thats your choice and prerogative.

  • Emily

    ty: Nikolas. You make some good points. I appreciate you reading my article and offering some balanced perspectives.

  • Ringo Starr

    Hmmmm…… What an inept analysis.

    Point by point:

    A. Trafficking is not really the issue in the Farang sex industry…. Pattaya etc. Economic imbalance is. A successful prostitute can earn simply astronomic sums compared to other options. If she turns round two johns for 2000 baht each that is already pretty much equalling the income her dad receives from working hard all month on the farm in Chaiyaphum or Sakhon Nakhon. Say she turns around ten a week…… Its simply huge money. That’s the incentive. There is trafficking in Thailand but you will see it in place like Mai Sai etc Not pattaya etc……. There is probably far more trafficking in the fishing industry (Men. Unpopular job. Dangerous job. Burmese and Khmers forcefully supplied) than the sex for money game.

    B. You miss the point on the sex tourists. Their crime is not paying girls from poor families for sex. Their crime is wearing dirty singlets, football shorts and dark supermarkets socks with sandals. Utterley criminal. For that alone they should be shot. Sartorial terrorism.

    C. This kind of lame backpacker/English teacher aspiring to be a writer kind of crap is just SO dreary. The internet grants license to all sorts.

  • Emily

    Dreary? I suppose that’s why you read it. Sorry to have bored you. Additional apologies for being an English teacher/backpacker. I suppose to qualify for writing articles about sex tourism, I’d need to have been a bonafide sex tourist to approach the topic with that fresh edge…a far more prestigious calling. Anyways, you sound like you know a lot about the issue.

    About the only thing I agreed with in your hostile commentary, was your point about the dreaded dirty singlets. They are indeed unfathomable and unspeakable fashion crimes worthy of a grand mal flogging.

    I do indeed recognize the issue of financial disparity in the whole equasion…which is part of the reason why I wrote the article. I guess my connecting point was that the johns aren’t exactly doing too badly for cash. One of the central questions was whether or not that harms anybody. Just askin’. Maybe any of your future comments could be directed to helping to explore that issue for us.

  • Kelsey

    I find it amazing, that even as subjects like forced prostitution and pedophilia are brought up, people are still able to convince themselves that this is a positive industry. While this may be true in a Western society where there are more options, are you not applying your own Western values that prostitution can be a choice? Yes, it can, but in some cultures it is not. The farang prostitution, while only a minority of the business, is a problem when the prostitutes are unwilling. And just because something is accepted as part of a culture, does not mean that it doesn’t violate human rights. Human rights do not have borders, and if these women, men, and transgendered want to participate in prostitution fine, but when they don’t, shouldn’t someone be there to stand up for them when they themselves have no agency?

  • steve

    Well, I think most people here have the right intentions. But some of the language here worries me. I believe in equal rights. It would be foolish to think otherwise, There is and always will be a hard edge between the genders. You think not? Despite Emily’s obvious thoughtfulness, she displays predujice, too. The nightmare of the fat, balding middle-aged man who, somehow, shouldn’t be having sex. I am bald. I am out of shape and I am approaching middle-age. I am the nightmare, according to some of the female posts here. But I am human, too. I share the same healthy needs for affection and, frankly, sex. If I thought all women thought the same way as the above, I would be tempted to sleep with beautiful women abroad and pay for it. The forced exploitation of women and children is unacceptable, horrid. But when it comes to more ‘acceptable’ sex tourism, the reasons are deeper, more primal. It is about need and the falsity between these needs. Perhaps, some of these men go to these places so they don’t feel like a ‘nightmare’. And while this is unfortunate, it is also very human. Men can be pigs. Women can be too and the demonisation above of those who do not fit the beauty stereotype shows this. I posit it encourages men to look elsewhere. We all love beauty and this brings out a cruel side to us. We dehumanise each other and this is shown by the sex industry and, also, our behaviour outside of it. So where does this leave us? I think that older women who go to the Bahamas are probably looking for a lover in the romantic sense. They fool themselves willingly. The arguement that this is much rarer than male sex tourism doesn’t wash. It still exists. And yet, who is exploited? The young man and the ‘Jane’, equally. All I see there is fraility. And yet, the men who pay for sex abroad are monsters, ugly, disgusting and for some strange reason, German. (?) I’m sorry, but all I see there is frailty, too. I wish this topic could broaden out into an examination of gender relations. At least on the Western side of the problem, we could get a better understanding of motivation.

  • Vegas

    Hell Steve. Congratulations on the most lucid, articulate, & insightful response.

    I’ve just watched “Sex Hunters” on Channel 4 in the UK, about 50 y.o UK Female Sex Tourists in the Dominican Republic.They spent £000′s getting there, then left £45 “tips” for 2 weeks worth of services.Apparently, that’s still 2 weeks pay there, but it’s so tight. I think that’s just one night in Bangkok!

    These guys clearly hated what they were doing, or rather who they were doing it with, & to see them literally abandoning their pride trying to coax a measly few £’s, from women was pretty demeaning.

    It just shows the power relationship is exactly the same for female Johns & male pros as the reverse – except cheaper!

    The articles author shows a strong empathetic streak, yet demonises the Johns, but not the pros, failing to recognise the inbuilt cultural prejudice we all carry.

    As for female prostitute serial killers of males as commented, I’d argue that there are a wealth of men out there who have been approached while drunk by prostitutes, beaten up & robbed.- go to San Antonio in Ibiza in peak season & watch it happen for free! Men are too ashamed to report this.

    However, I have friends who’ve taught in Thailand for 8 years,Another friend of mine joined them, went out with a girl, went back to her flat, & was surprised to find her boyfriend & friends (who apparently don’t need protecting). It transpired they were all rather into the local version of Meth. Upon his refusal to divulge his pin SHE decided to have him held down o she could iron his face.

    You can still see it.

    The problem with writing an article like this, is that it is imperative to actually talk to the girls working in the industry ( & not just the car crashes- the ones who are smiling & look full of beans) in order to talk authoritatively & with insight.

    Otherwise it just smacks of, despite the best intentions, of a colonial superior of old talking patronisingly about the “jolly old natives”, & how, if they were more like us, they wouldn’t be following their smutty trade.

    I’ve also just googled prostitutes & Germany, & apparently there are 400,000,with new amateur entrants daily, & prices collapsing due to the Crunch. it seems they have the same issues as the Thais – & the issues aren’t violent but economic.

  • marcos

    What about the mdiddle class, white women from North America and Europe who flood into the Caribbean, West Africa and Turkey every year? Why no discussion of their particular brand of sex tourism? Ask anyone from Barbados/Jamaica etc about the single, unattached, middle class western women on their “salsa” and “reggae” holidays – yeah right.

    Is sex tourism “wrong” when a working class guy goes to Pattaya but “not sex tourism” when Rebecca from London or Anna from Berlin goes to have sex with the locals elsewhere? Surely if sex tourism is wrong for one, it is wrong for all, irrespective of your social background?

  • Tom

    Emily, you state that “many people are smuggled and then forced into the trade, either by lack of any other option, or [...] even by their family members, who may be desperate for a piece of the profit” and that as a result, prostitution is, well, “bad” and Westerners should refrain from participating in or otherwise supporting such endeavors.

    I assume that you do not wear running shoes, jewelry, or any other products manufactured by industries known to use slave labor. After all, your Nikes and diamond rings are brought to you courtesy of “people [who] are smuggled and then forced into the trade, either by lack of any other option, or [...] even by their family members, who may be desperate for a piece of the profit.”

    In fact, if you’ve eaten chocolate – come on, are you going to tell me you’ve never had chocolate? – you have directly supported slavery, since over 40% of the world’s cocoa supply comes from Cote’D'Ivorie, where over 15,000 CHILDREN work as slaves on cocoa farms.

    I suppose one could argue that not all chocolate is the product of forced labor, or that not all jogging shoes are made in sweatshops by children literally chained to the work area… but then one would also have to concede that not all prostitution is services are provided by kidnapped sex workers — in which case the only objection to the practice AS A WHOLE can only be based on your own Christian/Western/feminist morality.

  • Emily


    You’re right- truth be told, I’m a proud consumer of exploitative chocolate. As for some of your other points, I’d have to disagree.

    As a woman, whether because of my “feminist morality” or other maladies, I view the world’s exploitation of the female body as somewhat more personalized than a chocoholics ravaging of a milk bar. Call me crazy. And never assume that I am speaking from my ivory tower of university education. Even us educated ladies have occasionally got the down and out financial blues and may or may not have dabbled in the industry and felt some type of way about it.

    It is simplistic to a) assume that i completed detached from the issue as a woman, and b) as a woman who has spent considerable time in Thailand watching it go on, amidst other exploitations. I just think it would be really nice if mass numbers of women, girls, men, boys, whoever, didn’t have to lay down for anyone- dream of a day. At the same time I recognize that it can be empowering to earn money from such a venture given that there are sometimes few options besides poverty (as disempowering sometimes as sexual exploitation itself).

    This is a very complicated issue, not one that can be divvied into “evil feminists” and ‘sex tourist conspirators”. In short, give me a break, Tom. I’ve at least attempted to deal with the issue, unlike many people, who travel to Thailand or wherever else (maybe down Main street here) and feel something is wrong with the big picture of how women have historically, and now, had to enslave themselves, but say nothing.

    When you have a) been in the position where you have had to consider the option of being a sex worker, and have experienced oppression to do with your vagina first hand- and I assume you don’t have one, unless “Tom” is a female name or b) have had to work with and live with a certain brand of sex/power fiend six or seven days a week, then please put your pen to use. Men have the opportunity to be empowering as well, by questioning power dynamics which are harmful to others, not by justifying an industry which inherently enslaves both men and women in different ways. My article was meant to be a starting point for this discussion.

  • Emily

    …and just to further my fire this evening, in my frenzy, I forgot to comment on your particular brand of logic that goes something like this: Well, the world is such a damn oppressive place anyways, so we might as well accept that everything we do is exploitative. I’ll tell you what this gets us Tom: a Western guilt complex. Not particularly helpful. That’s just skulking in a corner and not taking any responsibility.

    We can accept that…

    the world is full of oppression, and that oppression, as complicated as it is, is something we would like to fight against, even if we slide forwards and back wards, and also, that this IS the nature of power- confused. The important thing is how hard we try to shift the power balance, and the process by which we do that, and the courage that we use in doing so. Feeling guilty about our Nike’s just doesn’t cut it, or feeling guilty about using the services of another for our power gratification (and it’s not really all about sex, because most people who go to prostitutes are married, so sex is right there lyin’ up in the bed most of the time).

    Part of “acceptance” means that we attempt to creatively deal with these things, and to express how we feel as much as what we KNOW, and to brainstorm better ways of being.

    My ideas come out of my experience as a woman, and out of compassion for problems in this world, rather than some hell-bent agenda to destroy men. After all- and i hope you would agree- not all of them are power-crazed jerks.

  • Anton

    Sex tourism? Why always focus on one aspect of it (that is, some western men who go to a couple of resorts in south-east asia). Why not condemn the condemners? Go to the Caribbean resorts any time of year to witness the thousands of white women sex tourists who flock there to seek out sex with black men. It’s a running joke with the people in places like Barbados, Jamaica etc. So, any un-accompanied white women wandering around with their new “boyfriends” don’t think you are fooling anyone – and remember, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

  • seachild

    Great lines: “Many sex tourists, who wouldn’t even be eligible for a date back in Germany, Canada, Australia, or wherever else they come from, find solace in the fact that their money buys their egos back, at the expense of someone else’s health or happiness.”

  • Daniel

    Its a very interesting argument Emily, and I agree with much of the content.

    However one phrase caught me regarding the man’s motives to pay for sex. I’m not completely convinced it because they can feel “monetary power” or “power gratification” by having sex, and paying for it.

    Men may also cheat on their wives, even without paying. My initial reaction is that there is a different feeling (as for a man anyway) being with someone you don’t know so well. Variety adds spice to life. Perhaps they want to experience being with a Asian or thin (as many Asian girls are thin) girl. Another reason could be that these men didn’t have much experience when they were younger.

    There’s also the argument that it is in a men’s physic to “spread their gene-pool”, through having sex with as many different girls as possible.

    ..I agree there are “goals” behind some of these reasons, however I don’t believe pure “power gratification” is at work here. I think “power gratification” would be showing off they can afford to drive an expensive flashy car, as one example.

  • Emily Hansen

    Hi Daniel and Seachild:)

    Just some comments, Daniel. I agree that some men pay for the services of a sex worker because they have little experience, or like “thin” women, or feel they need some sort of variety. This however, points out some insecurities in their psyche which in turn, are put on women and others involved in the trade, and as well distracts from the pressing issue of finding real solutions to poverty.

    Unfair? Well, we have to look at who is gaining from this, and I don’t think it is the women/others involved in the long run (though maybe short term) depending on how you define “gain”. If “gain” is defined as simply money, then I think sex work accomplishes its goal for the sex worker, but we also have to look at the broader definition of it, the dangers involved, even to other people besides the man paying for it, and whether or not sex work puts women (and some men) in a higher social position in the end.

    The ‘thin” argument is also one I take particular issue with…are some men so intimidated by a large woman, and so willing to be bullied by their limited concept of culture, that fat women are seen as scary and undesirable? For men who are attracted to only “thin” women (and many are not), get a life and grow up, guys! Real men are not afraid to date women who dare to take up space, and those are the kind that most women like. No wonder they go to Thailand to seek out a thin woman- the sometimes larger Western ones have been long fed up with them, and the Thai ones will do the same the moment they figure out what kind of character they are dealing with! Some people think that Thai women will put up with more- guess again…they’re pretty damn smart. I have watched brothel relationships turn into “real” relationships, and a couple years down the road, the men figure out that women are the same everywhere- and yes, they like to be respected, and if they aren’t, out come the tricks and boy they’re in trouble, not to mention a few bucks shorter than they were to begin with! “Karma quickens” as they say;O So, it IS about power in my view, Daniel, at least in part.

    Anyways…I think that’s all. Thanks for yoru comments.

  • herve

    “As an English teacher in Thailand for over a year, I had the opportunity of having a closer look at the sex industry in Southeast Asia” …

    What would be great is that you talk about that “closer look”. Exactly what is it that you did that got you closer?

    Your comments are rather normal, predictable comments about prostitution and male power/domination (surprised?), plus the usual stereotype of fat smelly white males, and weak, subdued women, for “local” color . Hard to think that all these thoughts were not already yours even before you took a “closer look”.

    How much better would it be if we could put a name, a face (even if imagined), a story to your “closer look”, rather than these generalities, with very little sourcing to what you advance, that one hardly needs to go to teach english in a foreign country to put them down on paper, and not be entirely off target.

    Your paragraph on aids incidence seems to touch upon local sex work, but you hardly mention we here veer from sex tourim to the more horrible conditions in sleazy thai brothels, that are never patronized by foreigners, yet constitute truly the bulk, not the tip, of the proverbial iceberg, as far as prostitution is concerned in Asia.

    Your mention of profiting at someone else’s expense and health has little to do with sex tourism. Hundred of millions of poor people are so exploited around the world, and they do not have to sell their bodies. Most of the women in the sex trade probably would not have another better choice than being exploited, either by a drunk husband, a sleazy factory boss, or damaging their health in sweatshop type work environment, if exiting the sex trade.

    Sorry, I think one real story of one woman in that trade, one befriending on your part of a sex worker to tell that story, would have shown a valid authenticity, a deeper concern on your part for these women, away from these trite and predictable comments.

  • Zameer

    I agree with some of your points. Of course, it’s horrible that in the 21st century we are still archaic enough to accept the purchase of sex from a women/boys/human. But I think you’re overlooking certain things. For one, you’re saying that it’s power gratification, and that COULD be a part of it, I’ll agree, but I highly doubt it. I mean, you never really said how buying a prostitute gives this power rush that all these guys crave. You’re not mentioning any specific cases. Besides, a man isn’t going to go take a trip to Thailand ( which isn’t that lovely a place ) just to buy himself a prostitute just so he can feel powerful. He’s going to do it because he likes sex. It’s that simple. That’s the driving force in this world: sex.

    I know you mentioned that subpar men should be settling for larger women, but that’s just a ridiculous idea. Either gender shouldn’t be sticking to the people who they’re similar looking to. You should always ( always! ) try to get someone you’re happy with. You’re saying that men are intimidated by larger women, but generally speaking, we just don’t find them attractive. Don’t get me wrong, there’s beautiful large women, but people don’t find large people attractive. Don’t try and say that we’re intimidated by bigger people, when it’s just that they’re not attractive. I know it sounds totally cruel and callous, but I find bigger women pretty, so I don’t see me as cold.

    So why should a man settle for a woman he doesn’t find attractive, when he can simply get away for a while and get exactly what he wants?

    It’s like saying, ” Oh I have the money for this car, and I really want it, but I think this one is more like my style. ” In the end, it’s getting what you want that makes you happy, so I think we should all strive for that, whether you’re a man or a woman. Of course, I stand against doing it if you have a lover, or if it can ruin your work/family life. And I know you say Emily that the prostitutes life will be ruined by us, but she’s already in the business, and either way, her life is going to be that way.

    Lastly, about the issue of STDs: Prostitution is a business that’s been around since Ancient Rome and Egypt. You haven’t given any facts or statistics on the STD rate among sex tourists or prostitutes, and until you do, you’re hypothetical situation is just that.

    That’s my only problem with this article: there’s no statistics, no personal stories, no studies, just you saying all these hypothetical situations. Just as you hypothesize that buying a woman gives a man a sense of power, I can say that being a prostitute gives a woman a sense of sexual importance. It’s not something that you can vouch for or generalize.

  • Humbert Matheson

    What you’ve written displays no insight into the selling of sex whatsoever. Just because you taught English for one year in South East Asia does not prove you know what you’re talking about. How many honest and genuinely probing conversations did you have with prostitutes and the men who use them in that time? My guess is very few.

    For example, “The gratification is not in the sex but in the fact that they have monetary power…” is an astonishingly lazy thing to write. Do you honestly believe that men who pay for sex don’t do it for sexual gratification?

    It’s a very old-fashioned feminist cliche to claim that men pay for sex merely to exercise power over women. Power might be part of the kick for some, but the sole motivation? Come off it. There are a million and one reasons men and women enjoy sex, whether or not money is changing hands. A popular one: because it feels good.

    I recommend you read Elizabeth Pisani’s excellent book on prostitution and HIV/AIDS, “The Wisdom of Whores” for a realistic view of the whole business from an epidemiologist whose job it is to have one.

  • Football Fan

    There is a lot of controversy over the numbers of adult woman who are forced sex slaves. The real factual answer is that no one knows.  There is hard evidence that the sex slavery/sex trafficking issue continues to report false information and is greatly exaggerated by politicians, the media, and aid groups, feminist and religious organizations that receive funds from the government,  The estimate of adult women who become new sex slaves ranges anywhere from 40 million a year to 5,000 per year all of which appear to be much too high.  They have no evidence to back up these numbers, and no one questions them about it.  Their sources have no sources, and are made up numbers. In fact if some of these numbers are to believed which have either not changed or have been increased each year for the past twenty years, all woman on earth would currently be sex slaves.  Yet, very few real forced against their will sex slaves have been found. It is not easy for criminals to engage in this activity:
    Sex trafficking is illegal and the penalties are very severe.  It is very difficult to force someone to be a sex slave, they would have to have 24 hour guards posted and be watched 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. Have the threat of violence if they refused, and have no one notice and complain to the authorities or police. They would need to hide from the general public yet still manage to see customers from the general public and not have the customers turn the traffickers in to the police.  They would need to provide them with medical care, food, shelter, and have all their basic needs met.  They would need to have the sex slaves put on a fake front that they enjoyed what they were doing, act flirtatious and do their job well.  They would have to deal with the authorities looking for the missing women, and hide any money they may make, since it comes from illegal activity. They must do all of this while constantly trying to prevent the sex slaves from escaping and reporting them to the police. They would need to prevent the general public from reporting them into the police. This is extremely difficult to do, which makes this activity rare. These criminals would be breaking dozens of major laws not just one.  Kidnapping itself is a serious crime.  There are many laws against sex trafficking, sex slavery, kidnapping, sex abuse, rape, sexual harassment etc.

  • Football Fan

    Sex trafficking is illegal and the penalties are very severe.  It is very difficult to force someone to be a sex slave, they would have to have 24 hour guards posted and be watched 365 days a year, 24 hours per day. Have the threat of violence if they refused, and have no one notice and complain to the authorities or police. They would need to hide from the general public yet still manage to see customers from the general public and not have the customers turn the traffickers in to the police.  They would need to provide them with medical care, food, shelter, and have all their basic needs met.  They would need to have the sex slaves put on a fake front that they enjoyed what they were doing, act flirtatious and do their job well.  They would have to deal with the authorities looking for the missing women, and hide any money they may make, since it comes from illegal activity. They must do all of this while constantly trying to prevent the sex slaves from escaping and reporting them to the police. They would need to prevent the general public from reporting them into the police. This is extremely difficult to do, which makes this activity rare. These criminals would be breaking dozens of major laws not just one.  Kidnapping itself is a serious crime.  There are many laws against sex trafficking, sex slavery, kidnapping, sex abuse, rape, sexual harassment etc.

  • Ascaryman92

    It’s cool . They like that dick anyway.

  • ona747

    From what you’ve written it’s unlikely that you’ve actually taken a closer look but just thought about it.   Why don’t you talk to the people actually involved both the ladies and their customers.  You might hear a few interesting stories.   Like the lady who got into the business to escape her wife-beating and child-beating husband.   Or the exploitation from the other end, the man that bought his Thai lady a house and was forced out of the house he paid for because she didn’t want him anymore.   Both scenarios are not uncommon, but you won’t find out unless you actually take a closer look rather than just talking about it.

  • JACK

    I think Emily is parroting the feminist, hyper-religious culture point-of-view of her native upbringing.  And she, being a “she”, is in no position to understand female sex workers just as I am in no position to understand mail or gay sex workers.  My “wife” of two years is cooking lunch as I write.  We are in a happy monogamous relationship of over 2 years after I met her on the street in front of McDonald’s on Sukhumvit in Bangkok.  Thousands of foreign men are here in long term relationships with loving women who were in one way or the other part of the so called sex trade.  I have in the past been surprised at how happy women were to be with me when I “meet” them in a bar.  They wait many hours at times for a first customer and they are truly happy to get onto the money making part of their “job” without any of the silly analyzing and moralizing Emily and others  seem to struggle with to convince others who know what they are talking about.  

    • Bbh

      Maybe she was hopeful about the dream of getting out of the sex trade in order to live her dream of cooking ur lunch and being ur wife?

      • Bbh

        Ok I’m going to try to say this with love rather than meanness. I think there are hateful people in every culture.
        Men often complain that their wives haven’t kept themselves up – usually this occurs after they have used their body to create another human being. It’s very hard for women to go thru so many changes and then they are devalued because of the changes in their body or their age.
        Women often (not always) take care of the kids are expected to work and clean the home.
        I’m a size 2. My husband was very honest about not being attracted to me when I was a size 4. I’m 5’4 &1/2″. He at the time weighed 275 at 6′. Sometimes there is a sense of entitlement from Americans. I think anyone who isn’t saddened by a sex worker has serious issues. Cooking dinner and being a stereotypical wife may b a step up to some. I’m sure abused puppies who were starved and beaten might b grateful for food and not realize what not being beaten is like. I’m certain there are some men and women who make the choice – however I think it’s ignorant to think that everyone has the same choices in life. Everyone deserves respect. Even fat balding men with a sense of entitlement. If the guy is so unhappy with his wife, y doesn’t he leave? Most people say the children. If that’s true, how many women feel trapped because of the children and their socioeconomic value. It’s a complex issue. It saddens me when we don’t recognize it as so.

  • Fchbnghj


  • Moses Mwaza

     sex tourism is some thing we read in Internet and News Papers that we (Kenyans )call Gutter Press,If it really does exist then am yet to really see it and believe it.If you are one of those sex tourist then contact me at           @yahoo:disqus

  • Elzoog

    Interesting read in female ignorance in the sense that Emily obviously has no clue what married and dating life is actually like for the average western guy.   If he is average (meaning he has only a moderate income) the best woman he can get in the US will be older (i.e 30+) probably very overweight, and will have a sense of entitlement.   By sense of entitlement, I mean she won’t be happy unless he gets her expensive things or takes her out to expensive restaurants.   If he does not do this, he probably won’t get any sex.   So her statement that the middle age married man could have sex back home is probably not true in actuality.   Whereas the same middle age man in Thailand could get a hot looking 20 year old that is happy to see him, is satisfied with modest gifts and doesn’t use sex as a way to manipulate him into doing something he doesn’t want to do.  

    So, it’s a choice between a 35 something overweight woman who whines and complains and says “no sex for you” if she doesn’t get her way, and a 20 year old fit woman who is happy to see you, doesn’t demand expensive things from you, and with whom sex is fun.   Wow, hard choice!   Let me think about that for a few weeks and get back to you.

    • guest

      have you actually been to thailand and seen these girls? i saw one of the ping pong shows, as the majority of tourists do. i entered ready to have a laugh at there weird skills, and left seriously disturbed. i have never seen so many defeated and lifeless women. one thai man and a thin thai lady that looked very young, but it was most likely malnutrition, had sex as the ‘finale’ for the show. it was obvious they did this time after time every single day, and it looked like she was about to cry, she did not smile once and her eyes were on the floor the whole time. the majority of tourists were disgusted, some yelling that they werent told this would happen. the sad thing is that these girls get paid more then many other professions. many of them had children. clearly you, elzoog, do not know many women if you believe all they want is expensive things. maybe if you learn to understand a woman better you will actually get to have sex with someone that cares for you, and get realistic about sex work in third world countries, where its a not a choice of lifestyle, but a last resort.

      • Jack

        What a coincidence.  A friend was visiting and so I trotted off to one of those sex shows in Pattaya just a few days ago.  I wonder where Guest went because it is so out of character from what I have observed.  The “girls” might be tired and bored at times from long hours but as often as not including at the sex show I saw they seemed to have a great time, smiling and interacting with the audience – but it is work.  There were no actual sex acts as Guest describes and actual sex acts are unusual from my experience.  I have often been surprised at how much fun the “girls” in the best bars appear to be having.  The boring bars with few customers are the ones with a bad vibe.  I have been to boring bars where “girls” sort of sway on stage to music only to have those same bored “girls” come to life with smiles and enthusiasm when you invite them to sit with you maybe with the intention of “taking them out.”   That is a reason why I conclude that the paid sex is actually great fun for many of these “girls.”  That’s what they are there for and that really breaks the boredom of a long night.  It could lead to a steady customer and even to a long term relationship.  And, yes, many older expat men living here in Thailand have entered into loving, long term relationships with women who have worked more or less as sex workers – including me.  And I agree completely with what Elzoog says here.   America could learn a lot from Thailand – and not the other way around.     

        • Daisy11234

          This is for European or American fathers of daughters who visit Thailand to have sex with young girls(I wouldn’t even think of calling them women)
          Just think of the impact on your daughters when they find out. My daughter has found out about her father’s activities and she is devastated and ashamed of her father. Luckily, her father and I are no longer together and I have moved on with my life and our daughter lives with me. I don’t care about single,degraded,immoral men.I am talking about those, who are professional people,who lead a different life back home,who have families and children and yet, behave themselves in completely opposite way  in Thailand.. By the way, I wasn’t a lazy, fat,horrible wife. I am from Asia,look much younger than my actual age,good looking, slim,sensible,educated woman , my ex is European,I loved him. During our marriage, I worked as much as I could (it was only possible to work part time as I didn’t want to be absent from our child’s life) cooked,looked after our child,cleaned the house,organized everything,took care of everything  and I did it all by myself. When he came home after work,I would serve him dinner and sit with him and we would spend time together.I was always supportive to him.  I was brought up in a culture where you don’t share household chores equally between wife and a husband but women would do all the work as if it is normal. For me it was normal. I never asked my ex to change diapers or vacuum clean the house or do the ironing or anything. I was young, strong and for me house work was something natural and I never expected from him to do those works. I was brought up to respect men,to love them and to be gentle with them and all this was present in our marriage.Yet, he went to see prostitutes and to Thailand. This isn’t called just having fun, I would call those men sick and sex addicts. They can only be satisfied with prostitutes not in marriage.

        • realist

          You are pathetic saying these girls ” like ” and ” enjoy ” their prostitution with pudgy white sweaty dumb arse fucks like yourself. You’re an idiot who can’t afford a white prostitute to inflate your ego – and trust me Jack, the smiles and enthusiasm is for the ” wallet ” that’s walked in the door along with it’s fat white old owner. All you are is a perverted dirty old white man sweating over young Asian girls. 

      • Lawrence Osborne

        God how clueless can you get? The ping pong shows are in Patpong, designed especially for bumbling mass market tourists, not people looking for sex. You think the girls at Nana and Cowboy are “tired and lifeless”? Are you serious? Have you actually been anywhere in Bangkok without your mummy? Go to any bar and see hordes of twenty something western boys picking up hordes of twentysomething thai girls who – yes – are making seven times what they are making as rice farmers in Issan. Maybe you need to learn some Thai and actually talk to them instead of trading in these tired Victorian cliches.

    • JMelbourne27

      Elzoog is 100% correct.  Feminism has ruined American women.  European women are feminist but at LEAST they still keep their sense of femininity, but this probably is largely because of the intense competition they face from Eastern European women.

      American women are fat, lazy, greedy, rude, demeaning, and selfish with ‘I deserve’ attitudes.

      You want equal rights?  FINE.  Get your @$$ outside and work for it!  American Feminists want it BOTH ways, they want your money and they want to be able to lay around the house like fat-lazy walruses.

      My buddy is married to a Walrus-woman.He works 40-60 hours a week, takes the kids to day-care, picks them up, makes dinner, does everything.  She goes shopping all day and then yells at him when he gets home about how he’s not doing enough.  It’s INSANITY!  I don’t understand how he puts up with it!

      And she’s made him change their interior decor 3 times in 5 years.  Ripping up the flooring, re-painting everything, on TOP of everything he’s already doing!He tells me he absolutely loves going to work and he stays as long as possible.  Often he picks up the kids and then hire a baby-sitter to watch them and goes back to work.  But the thing is, HE HIRES A BABY-SITTER TO WATCH THE KIDS WHILE HIS LAZY WIFE WATCHES TV!!!  SHE WON’T WATCH HER OWN KIDS!!!You expect American men to put up with this?  Is sex tourism bad?  Sure, but it’ll continue as long as American women treat American men like we’re SLAVES.  You want to stop sex-tourism?  Starting putting out more and TAKE CARE OF YOUR MAN!

      • Sdkjhsadjgh

        I agree that some women think they have the right to do no work outside of inside the home. However the VAST MAJORITY (and by this I mean more than 90%) of women work both in and out of the house and do most of the housework if if they work as much as their husbands! What you have just described is what many women experience. You are shocked because you are so unused to the man being used.

        Also, American men – slaves?? REALLY dude?? this is the group of people who hold the most power and wealth in the world. You sound unbelievably ignorant.

    • Bbh

      I think u r delusional if u think that these young women are happy and turned by an old chubby balding man. They probably throw up after u leave.
      I agree that if u were more thoughtful of a woman’s needs that u would b able to get a pretty woman w/o having to pay for it.

      If u r gonna do it, u might as well be honest and realize these women r disgusted by u as much American women- it’s just they r badly need of money and u r taking advantage of them

    • Bbh

      I also think that many men and women do not understand what it’s like to b a woman who is vulnerable. I came from an abusive home. I was working 2 jobs and trying to save enough for college while in high school. My parents were not rich but had money to where I wouldn’t qualify and were not willing to sign my school loans – I was very saddened. I worked a movie rental place. A man who was very kind to me backed me in a corner and with his wife present ( they were Asian ) proposed I live with them and if I provided sexual services for him at all times he would pay for my college but could only leave after I finished my studies. His wife never made eye contact with me. He also expected I travel with him. It frightens me to think how this could’ve ended. A man also approached me at age 17 and told me he would buy me a car if I stripped at his club and that the more money I made the better car would b upgraded. The owner of store I was working had him banned as he stalked me offering me things. I am now n a different socioeconomic level and I’m treated much differently. It made me feel afraid and I am so afraid of falling back into that where I am treated as an object due to my vulnerability.I believe n helping women-especially beautiful women who are vulnerable and not recognized as being vulnerable

  • Kate Orr

    Assuming that all American feminists are fat lazy slobs is a gross generalization that is untrue. I am a feminist who takes pride in my femininity. I love being a woman. I do not get angry like other feminists when a man opens a door for me. I love taking care of my man but I expect for them to take care of me when I need it too. Femininity should not have anything to do with feminism. I love my long blonde hair, curves, heels, perfume, and my red lipstick, and that should have NOTHING to do with equal rights. I demand equal rights in the work place. I demand to have equal pay. I demand to be treated as an intellectual equal and if having a woman that is sexy with a mind is that threatening, then fuck off and gets AIDS from some Thai tranny hooker.

    • Guest


  • Thomas

    Much as there is a “certified humane” stamp for animals raised in good conditions, we should have a similar certification for sex workers.  Examples of things that could certify the workers as humane would be regular drug testing (to ensure they are not selling themselves to fuel addictions), control over their money and living situation (not being pimped), fair prices (some multiple of the typical minimum wage would probably be appropriate, e.g. here in USA, I think a multiple of 20 times the minimum wage would be about right), of appropriate age (perhaps 21+?).  Regular monitoring to ensure qualities such as this would do a lot to help consumers of sexual service not inadvertently contributing to another persons abuse.

  • Ricci

    No vaccine, no safe treatment, no cure, no questions after 30 years ! Isn’t
    something awry? In House of Numbers: Anatomy of an Epidemic, an AIDS film like
    no other, the HIV/AIDS story is being rewritten. This is the first film to
    present the uncensored POVs of virtually all the major players; in their own
    settings, in their own words. It rocks the foundation upon which all conventional
    wisdom regarding ‘HIV/AIDS’ is based.

  • Katie

    I don’t even get sex tourism and it still sounds wrong and not right.

  • Johnxkane

    Someone named Katie said she just doesn’t “get” sex tourism but maybe she would if she were more of a candidate herself.  There are several places in Caribbean and Africa that are becoming known as places where woman can meet a man during their stay.  There are supposed to be clubs in Bangkok where women can meet Thai men too, but that is mostly a Japanese woman’s thing I hear.  I have no direct experience with that but I have read about it in places like this blog as you are reading about it now from me.  If this were more commonly known and becomes more popular among women – as I suspect it will – then maybe some of the “attitude” will go away regarding older foreign men and younger (although I don’t mean children, don’t even think that) third world women meeting on vacation.  Sometime back in the 60s the simple idea that sex is healthy entertainment got some publicity and then died off again.  But the idea lives on in every place where that is one of the best available forms of entertainment.   So, a small number of foreign people – men and women – happen to vacation there where that is both an accepted form of traditional entertainment and also a place where the people – men and women – need some cash.  It ain’t so complicated – -   

  • Digmen1

    A Typical feminist view with all the old stereotypes.

    I am  white guy in my 60′s who engages call gilrs here in my home country.
    I like to get girls in their twenties with nice figures.

    Who wants a lazy fat walrus type that any western women are.

    And if you visit brothels in the west, you will find that many of the customers are young guys.

    I am not fat, I work out, nor am I bald, but getting thinner. But then again I am not the world best looking guy.

    But Lie you I dislike the thought of teen prostitution and slavery and trafficking and drugs etc.


  • William James Woodward

    Hi Emily,

    It’s good to see a fellow Canadian expat speaking out, taking a strong stand against this worldwide scourge. Yet, doing so with such unbiased, enlightened and simply down to earth common sense arguments. Great to see that you went out of your way not to moralize or drag religions into the issue since these tend only to weaken the message because those to whom we direct our remarks just shrug them off saying we’re religiouz wackos or moral prudes trying to force our own values on everybody else. I hope you will check out my statements on Expat-blog.

    Keep up the great work,
    William James Woodward – Brazil Animator, Expat-blog Team.

Tim Patterson rants about culturally inappropriate backpacker dress in Southeast Asia.
Graham deals with corrupt Paraguayan import officials and then gets the hell out...
The "Incredible India" advertising campaign is geared toward a particular brand of...
A common sight on the streets of cities like Bangkok and Pataya is portrayed from the...
Images range from a mattress outside Rome to a bedroom filled with crowns and sashes.
Jan 27, 2014 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Nobody frames what happens in the Philippines as being an issue of social justice.
I asked him if it had been strange watching over the body of a dead man.
But the 12-year-olds are adults now. We can see the fires. We are not weak.
Dale Hansen has some words for Michael Sam's critics. And we should all listen.
We should stop focusing on the fact she came out as being gay, and celebrate the message...