Readers' Submissions

The Sex Tourist

  • Written by Anonymous
  • May 17th, 2006
  • 7 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

I read with interest the submission from Long Timer on the subject of what constitutes a sex tourist. Long Timer makes many good points, yet I cannot totally agree with him.

The term sex tourist was obviously coined as a negative term. It conjures up images of fat older guys from the west exploiting poor and defenceless waifs in third world countries. To be characterized as a sex tourist back home, by friends or at work or however, would be a bad stamp to get indeed.

Long Timer upholds that anyone who ever pays for sex during a holiday is then a sex tourist by definition. Technically I suppose this can be correct. But with the stigma attached to this title it may be somewhat harsh to hand it out indiscriminately. And really, there are degrees.

If your travels to Thailand are motivated by the availability of inexpensive and widely available sex for sale, then yes, you are a sex tourist.

But if you come here just for the beaches or some trekking or whatever and you end up trying a soapy massage out of curiosity, or get dragged back to your bungalow one single drunken night by a lass, well then I would hesitate to label you.

I will go easily along with agreeing to being annoyed at times by "better-than-you's" who proclaim that their true interest lies in country and culture when effectively they spend their time in the bars – perhaps dropping by some local temple every other odd year if a temporary girlfriend wants to make tamboon.

Still, there are quite a few folks about who are genuinely interested in things beyond the sex industry. Those people may be further between in Pattaya than elsewhere but they really do exist.

Writers, (real) teachers, anthropologists, historians, volunteers for good causes, artists, architects, you could be amazed at the number of boys who are here motivated primarily by other things than the sex. And yet who will have their fun at times, or sometimes frequently.

Should these then be labeled sex tourists? In a country where the male population in general takes if for granted that pay-for-play is a regular part of things?

Is it really important to label people in the first place? Perhaps sometimes. Anyone who fiddles with children are a group that deserves a label, at the least. But a black-and-white definition put on anyone who was ever with a prostitute while traveling on holiday is a tad tough as I see it.

If you were ever tempted to procure the services of one of those 1000 pound gals in London, perhaps only once, in desperation or from curiosity or for whatever reason, should you then deserve the title whoremonger? About as flattering as being labeled sex-tourist, I suppose.

The idea that procurers of more expensive prostitutes are generally more well spoken and better educated than average may be true, if not universally. Command of language and higher education is often connected to the financial situation of an individual. But money does not make you nice. Money makes you rich, have you enough of it. Nice does not automatically follow.

In the particular context of well-endowed patrons mixed with higher priced prostitutes you should not expect all sunshine at all. I personally know a fellow who was at a time involved in the business, that was high-class, high-price escorts in a European capitol city. He would never give information about identity or anything that could effectively identify any client. But he would tell a few stories. A great many of which would be censored on hardcore porn websites, unbelievable what some gentlemen needs to get off.

Some research into what goes on in the sex industry from London to Amsterdam to Copenhagen to L.A. would tell you, should you care to take the time and effort to check.
Nice it is not. The nice guys are a minority. And, really, your old friend "Bob" the well off manager may let on to that he has this really nice Thai or Russian or whatever he visits. But are you sure he would tell you why he pays double?

Please, stroke the paragraph about labeling clients of more costly entertainment as nicer than others. They may employ fork and spoon while feeding, and be nice and eloquent social company. But I am writing about the commercial sex thing, not tiffin at the Oriental.

Giving labels may be a temptation, sure. We do see more of the hooligan sort these days, absolutely. And that is not just some of us getting older. The world is forever changing, and farther destinations are becoming increasingly available. A part of this is an increasing realisation among the great unwashed masses about the availability of more exotic destinations. Sounds snobbish, right? I care little if it does.

Long Timer is correct by me in saying that the standards of the guys visiting Thailand have plummeted. It is absolutely not nice sitting somewhere, enjoying life, then being addressed by some stranger in sleeveless' and shorts who wants to "give you one" for having sympathies for the wrong football team. Or for something equally important.

But all was not only joy in better times. There where far from only professionals with a reason among the bar punters. Really.

And about haggling the price, well, that has been going on since the start. It is nothing new, and not a practice upheld by only the less well to do either. Rich people who make their own money rarely get to be rich by being generous. They tend to have a sense of market value.

About prices, sure they will go up. It's something prices tends to do. The price of sex in Thailand will reflect on those factors that push all prices, like oil. If it costs the family back in Isaan more to fill up the truck, the demands for the necessary money will be passed on. For one.

A really good point Long Timer makes is mentioning the price hikes that will come from the influence of Asian tourists finding the sex industry in Thailand. As he writes, our Japanese brothers are on to things, with their water-cooled credit cards and their willingness to use them.

The real interesting part is the one about the Chinese. They are indeed about to explore the world, very much including Thailand, and the fast emerging middle class there may be the lot to change the situation for us farangs forever. This middle class may represent a small percentage of the population total, but even a small percentage when we are talking China makes real numbers.

I said that some with money tends to have a sense of market value. Japan did not get to where they are for being a nation of people ignorant in this respect. Emerging China likewise. They are just getting into things, the sex scene here being in some ways different in Thailand than what they are used to from home. The Nippon boys are just now getting on to exploring outside their own customized Bangkok clubs.

This may change, it likely will. Demand and supply. Initially, there are a few bars that gets a majority of Japanese. Safety in numbers, and they pay well, they get the attention. Gradually more and more will follow. It will get watered out, the Japanese will feel safer or whatever, starting to mingle or at the least explore, more. There will be more of them, and the competition for their patronage will go up.

Add the Chinese. They will also have to get the "feel of things". I have no doubt that they will do just fine.

I thinks that prices overall will rise substantially with the influx of the Chinese, and with the Japanese present more and more in venues traditionally reserved for the farang. After some time of consolidation the prices may come somewhat down again, but as Long Timer says, enjoy it while you can. It will end up with higher prices all over.

Otherwise, I used to be a sex tourist myself. Not on my first trip, if having but a few mishaps would spare me the title, that is. I came here first time without ever having procured sex before, and with no plans to start with that.

But I will freely admit that subsequent travels was largely motivated by pay-for-play availability. Until I got married with a Thai girl and moved here, I suppose I am now a "sexpat".


Stickman's thoughts:

If there is one thing we can say about the future, change is certain. Just what form that change will take is to be seen…