Readers' Submissions

Practicing Safe Sex In Thailand; Is It Possible?

  • Written by Anonymous
  • November 26th, 2005
  • 9 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

By Bay Area Dude

I live in San Francisco, California, the most liberal city in the USA. Aside from its politics and being the gay capital of the world, it is also known to be the most tolerant / open minded city when it comes to sexuality in general. San Francisco is a like a refuge when it comes to sexuality in a country where we just can’t seem to come to terms with sex: prostitution is illegal in the US, with the exception of Nevada; and sex is still taboo in American society. Yet, we are invaded with sex images in films, TV and internet. So here in the States you are expected to know everything about sex, yet it really is not accepted to talk about it with your friends or family.

Having grown up here I just could not figure out where I could learn about the topic of sex be it how to put a condom correctly, how are certain STDs such as herpes transmitted, does a condom really protect you from all STDs? I received none of the info neither from school nor home when growing up. That was until I visited the Berkeley Free Clinic back in 2000. Free clinics I found are the best source to learn how to practice safe sex. They would make a great field trip for any confused teen wondering why there is so much fuss about sex. I visited the Berkeley Free Clinic after developing a rash, and I must say it was just amazing what I found in the clinic. I saw clean cut men in suits, innocent looking college boys and girls, high class escorts girls, street walkers from the ghettoes, all quietly sitting down waiting for their number to be called up. It did not feel like a detention center where people are shy and reluctant to make eye contact. Instead it felt like a school cafeteria with plenty of smiles, good advice, and nonchalant attitude about why you are there.

At the Berkeley Free Clinic you can get tested for HIV, hepatitis, and the cocktail of other STDs such as herpes, Chlamydia, HPV, gonorrhea, and a few others that I can’t recall all for free and all anonymous so you can still pretend that everything is fine with your family and friends afterwards. What is the advantage of a free clinic versus visiting your local doctor? Well the free clinic specializes on STDs and from my experience is the best source of information all in one comfortable setting where you may see strangers, and no one is there to judge you. You can go there without ever issuing your real name, grab some pamphlets on how to practice safe sex, how certain STDs are caught, get tested, grab a few condoms for free and wait for the results either the same day, or a couple of days later. Ironically, the free clinics are generally nonprofit and run by doctors and nurses who volunteer their time away from their regular job at the hospital. So, the value that they offer at the free clinic is priceless since they do so much good for folks who cannot afford health insurance including many of us who are just ignorant about safe sex and are simply too shy to ask. I plan to make the Berkeley Free clinic a priority whenever I get a chance to have extra money to donate.

Anyway so what does a trip to the free clinic have anything to do with Thailand? Well I visited Bangkok for the first time in October 2005 and had some observations on safe sex practices in Thailand. Before my trip, I was asking myself this question: how can I have the most fun in Bangkok, without having to visit the Berkeley Free clinic? So, here is some advice based on what I have learnt. First of all, if you are going to have intercourse with a sex pro you must wear a condom. This prevents fluid transmission which cause HIV / AIDS, a host of other serious illnesses such as Hepatitis B, plus the cocktail of sexually transmitted diseases: gonorrhea, Chlamydia, etc. If you are going to have oral sex, you also need latex protection. This means that if you are going to go down on her or ‘dine at the Y’ you need to wear a dental dam (made of latex) so that it acts as a barrier between your tongue and her vagina. This prevents you from getting genital herpes. This is very surprising, but yes, if your lips touch skin that has herpes, your lips get herpes. This means you will get herpes warts in your lips and you may develop sores afterwards. If you will receive oral sex (meaning that she will go down on you), you also need latex protection. Remember, let’s say your bargirl got herpes sores on her lips, well guess what? She can pass the herpes virus to your wand through her lips. This is not what one suspect, but yes Herpes can be transmitted from mouth to genitals.

Another question I had to myself while doing the Bangkok naughty life scene was does condom really protect against everything? Well the answer is no. Even if the condom does not puncture, there is a good possibility that you could catch HPV warts or genital herpes if your partner is infected. HPV, herpes, HIV / AIDS, and Hepatis B are incurable. There is no magic pill that will make them go away. Hepatitis B affects your liver, and can lead to death. HPV and herpes are two viruses that are caught from skin to skin contact, and since the condom only covers the shaft of the penis, the scrotum and the base of the penis is exposed. Living with Herpes is not fun because it would be hard to have a girlfriend -boyfriend relationship unless the partner also has the virus. Otherwise, you will need to use latex protection. Also, it reduces your possibility of finding a regular girlfriend for marriage. So, if your gal, or guy has genital herpes or HPV warts, then you have to be super, super careful so that your balls or pubic region does not contact his / her pubic region. This would be like a balancing act during intercourse, and I don’t see how you can thrust and yet not have your scrotum or base of penis not touch her genital region; plus it does take away from all the fun of intercourse if you have to make sure that the two pubic regions do not touch. One practical piece of advice is to have the lights on, and do an inspection of him / or her before you decide to put your precious tool in there: check for any funny looking bumps, rashes. This may be hard to do because Thai sex workers have the practice of turning off or dimming the lights. They also have the practice of covering themselves with a bath towel before coming to bed, so your partner may not give you the chance to inspect her goods before you get into the act.

Another question I had while in Bangkok was if it was safe to kiss a sex pro partner. Well remember Thai sex workers, and sex workers in general are known to have high risk behavior and one such behavior is that they do BBBJ or bareback blowjobs. This means that they do oral sex on guys without a condom. This also means that they are exposed to genital herpes; which means that she may have genital or oral herpes on her lips. This also means that if you kiss a girl, she will pass you genital or oral herpes to your lips too. So, I would also advice against kissing a sex pro. Another virus that you can catch from kissing is H Pylori which would affect your digestion and overall health. As a side note, I once went out with a well educated high class escort and since she was very informed about how STDs are transmitted, she had the practice of not kissing her clients on the lips. She would do light caressing around the face but no lip to lip contact. She was by far the best encounter I have had with a sex worker since she was erotic and sensual, and yet she practiced safe sex. Thus, a sex worker if she were to practice safe sex, should not kiss her clients. I know that would be counter to what a farang punter would want from a sex worker. We want a girl that will allow us to kiss on the lips, or even do french kissing. We want her to go down on us without a condom, we want her to do rimming, we want her to do anal. All of these demands by punters unfortunately come back to hunt as most of the uninformed Thai sex workers will accept to do all of these high risk sex practices for a few hundred baht more. Hey if you give them a few thousand baht more, they are even willing to do intercourse without a condom, and even allow you to shoot a video while doing it. To prove this, just go look at various Internet sites of poor Thai bargirls getting screwed mostly by white males without any protection whatsoever. I am not against prostitution, but am definitely against exploitation of girls to engage in high risk sex just because they are poor, and uninformed / uneducated. Besides these girls are human after all and it just makes me very sad to see them risk their young lives for a few minutes of fun.

What is the risk anyway from some innocent kissing on the lips or going down on a guy without a condom after all? Stickman wrote an article in 2004 saying that there was a survey that about 50% of sex workers do not use condoms during intercourse. I wonder what the percentages are for sex workers who do oral sex without condoms, and those who kiss on the lips. Maybe 100%? Another piece of advice for those doing the Bangkok nightlife scene is to get a bargirl from a well respected club. I barfined a girl from Rainbow 4 in Nana and although it was quite relatively pricey (she was asking 2,000 baht, but we agreed for 1,500 baht short time, it turned out fine because she was very clean down there, and just importantly she was fun and experienced.) The advantage of bargirls from what I understand is that freelancers on the streets do not get STD test check ups as often as girls inside the go-go bars <This is a fallacyStick>. So, to lower your chances of catching any STDs and aids, try one of the better bars suggested by Stickman. Yet, don't feel that just because you barfined a girl means that it is safe. No, it is still 50% likely that she has the habit of having intercourse with men without a condom, and that is just not my cup of tea. I hope that through this submission, readers will not think that I suggest that they stop doing the nightlife altogether. Instead my sole intent is that they should take some precautions because after all we are in Thailand for fun and relaxation and it is no fun in my view to come back from your vacation with a rash or virus that you may have for the rest of your life; and which you may pass onto your loved one as well.

Stickman's thoughts:

An unquestionably positive message here, but I fear it will fall on deaf ears. A recent online survey reported that 87% of Westerners sleeping with prostitutes had at some time had unprotected intercourse.