Prostitution, Trafficking and the myth of “Asian Values”

Prostitution, Trafficking and the myth of “Asian Values”

Prostitution Trafficking and the myth of Asian Values

You walk anywhere in Thailand and you’ll see them – older men, usually expats, walking hand in hand with younger Thai girls. We’re in a condo complex in Hua Hin as I write this and just on this floor alone there are a few older men with younger girlfriends. Most are, I venture, in their 60s. The girlfriends appear to be in their late 20’s/early 30’s. So they’re basically young enough to be their daughters.

Every Thai town/city has at least one street dedicated to ‘girly bars’. Even in Hua Hin, a town not known for ‘sex tourism’, there is a long soi that must have at least 20 bars on it. Each bar has 5 – 10 girls sitting around looking for customers. If I walked down the street alone I would be called out to incessantly. Even with Lissette we get polite invites to come in for a beer. Unlike a few other places we’ve been (most specifically in Latin America) the ladies are respectful – if you’re with a woman they’ll never aggressively solicit you. Even walking down the street as a single man they entice rather than throw themselves at you. I remember more than once walking in the Dominican Republic and having a woman grab my crotch and offer ‘fuckie-fuckie’ or ‘suckie-suckie”. That’s never happened to me in Thailand or anywhere else in Asia.

The customers of all these girly bars are Western men, the majority older men. In Hua Hin, being mostly an expat town, I would say that a good 80% of the customers are 60+ in age. In other places where there are more tourists (Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Phuket) you’ll see younger tourists mixed in. But these girly bars would probably not be viable without the older men. You see them, walking, usually in pairs, going up the street. Girls call out to them, inviting them in for a beer. Other men are already sitting there, sipping on beers, often with a couple of girls talking to them, maybe rubbing their backs. Some are playing pool at the tables that most of these establishments have. They’re having a good time.

When most people think of Thai ‘girly bars’ they think of the bars of Walking street in Pattaya or Patpong, Soi Cowbow, or Nana Plaza in Bangkok; places where the girls are dancing around topless on a stage. Go-go bars. Sure, there’s a lot of those in Thailand. But those go-go bars are outnumbered 100-1 by the huge amount of ‘girly’ bars (or ‘beer bars’ ) where the girls just drink, talk, and play pool with the Westerner. But just like the go-go bars, Western men can invite a Thai girl in a beer bar to go home with them. I’ve never heard of a case where a girl has refused – it’s the primary reason these girls work in these bars in the first place.

When I mentioned a few weeks ago that I’d do a post on prostitution in Thailand I had a few people write me commenting that the Western men who fraternize with younger Asian women are incredibly stupid and that they should be condemned. I don’t know how many times over the years I’ve heard people, especially feminists, complain about these ‘dirty old men’ and how they take advantage of young women. Fine, ok, you don’t have to like it and I can understand why most people don’t. But then they take it further, complaining about how Western “sex tourists’  ruin local culture and contribute to human trafficking and child prostitution. That’s where they lose me. These men are easy targets that only distract from larger, uglier issues.

So I’m going to disappoint all the people asking me to condemn these men. I’ll instead attempt to give you a more balanced perspective on the Western tourist/Thai prostitute issue within a cultural context.


I just finished reading Sex Slaves: The Trafficking of Women in Asia” by Louise Brown, a Senior Lecturer in Sociology and Asian Studies at the University of Birmingham. Some say she’s a feminist. If so she pales compared to Sheila Jeffreys, writer of “The Industrial Vagina: the Political Economy of the Global Sex Trade” which I also read. Hard to take seriously a writer who compares prostitution to “other oppressive structures like marriage”. But if it was Ms. Jeffrey’s writing that got me riled up to write this post, it was Ms. Brown’s extensive research into Asian culture as it relates to prostitution that I found incredible pertinent to the Old Fart/Young Tart argument; namely that Western sex tourism, in comparison to the domestic Asian prostitution scene,  is a pretty little pimple on an ugly elephant’s behind.

“Asian values’ are held in great esteem by the Western media as a model to emulate. Asia is commonly portrayed as the home of wholesome family values and conservative sexual morality. While that might be true in some respects, it couldn’t be further from the truth on the issue of prostitution. Part of the misconception is caused by looking at Asian morality through Western eyes, part is just hypocrisy on the part of Asian societies.

There is no doubt that Asian men hold family values very dearly; families stick together and divorce is frowned upon. But whereas in Western societies there is an assumption that fidelity is a requirement of marriage, most classes in Asian societies don’t make that assumption. Sex and the family are often two very separate facets of a man’s life and the average Asia man will have adventures with mistresses and prostitutes. These are accommodated within the framework of marriage because a) wives are not really threatened by their husband’s dalliances (after all, sex is not what their marriage is all about) and b) wives can’t really do anything about their husband’s sexcapades even if they object to them. In the above, there is no hypocrisy. The error is judging Asian societies through our Western value system.

Where there is hypocrisy is in the way Asian societies deny or play down prostitution within their societies. Asian societies hide their problems away. The differences are obvious just in the way prostitution is promoted (excerpts below from Ms. Brown’s book);

Western sex consumers  like to see the product…the whole business has to appear open and informal and bags of fun. Western sex tourism is therefore outrageously visible…they visit clubs with subtle names like ‘The Pussy Bar” or “The Hot Girl Club”. The sex business is incredibly blatant”.

Asian men buy sex in a different kind of setting and in a different location…often it is in areas catering specifically – and exclusively – to Asian men”.

Those locations are karaoke clubs, barber shops, coffee shops as well as closed brothels.  And they are everywhere, just not obvious to the Western eye. Thailand has a history of prostitution dating back centuries, way before mass Western tourism. It has been promulgated by socialized behaviour and beliefs.

A few examples of beliefs, customs, as well as some numbers:

premarital sex is frowned upon and has contributed to prostitution. Having sex with a prostitute is a rite of passage – studies show that 95% of Thai men above 21 have slept with a prostitute and that most have lost their virginity with a prostitute.

– the activity of visiting a whorehouse has become a social activity in many cases, “‘Sex with prostitutes seems to be a way for men to enjoy each other’s company,’ cites Barbara Franklin of Care International. ‘It is often part of a night out with friends who share food, drink and sometimes even sexual partners.’’

Many women in Thailand believe that prostitution protects “good” women against rape, and wives prefer their husbands visit commercial sex workers rather than take a minor wife, which is perceived as a greater threat to family stability.

Raped women are marginalized by society and often turn to prostitution.

– Despite all the activity there is hypocrisy; prostitutes are looked down upon. Thai men don’t understand why Western men would ‘demean’ themselves by being seen in public with prostitutes.

Westerners and Thais also differentiate in preferences. Bar girls servicing Westerners are generally darker-skinned girls from poor Issan province, the country’s poor agricultural heartland. Thai men have a preference for lighter skinned girls.

– It is thought that Westerners make up 5 to 10% of visits to Thai prostitutes.

Great post on the history of Thai prostitution, more numbers on Thai prostitution and clients, and the differences between farang and Thai prostitution scene.

– as noted in the link above, as well as this one, every day at least 450,000 Thai men visit prostitutes (there are thought to be approximately 2 million Thai prostitutes at any given time). Thus, much of the impetus sustaining the incredible rate of prostitution in Thailand is cultural; “Thai men think it is their right to have cheap sex, … and there are enough poor Thai women to make it possible.”

I’ve underlined and bolded the above because it is not entirely true. While about 10% of Louise Brown’s“Sex Slaves: The Trafficking of Women in Asia deals with the issues of prostitution in Asian societies, 90% talks about the trafficking of poor women between different countries and how they spend years working as sex slaves in closed brothels where they never see the light of day. It’s an economic and demand issue – that is, how to supply cheap sex to men even at the bottom of the social ladder. That’s why even in Thailand, with all its prostitutes, you’ll hear of Burmese prostitutes being trafficked in. Chinese prostitutes from Yunnan province are also brought in for Thai men with money (and a preference for lighter-skinned girls). And if you think Thailand is bad, wait until you read about the human trafficking in India and Pakistan of Nepali and Bangladeshi girls, most who are under aged and forced to service 10-15 men a night in a cupboard sized room. And it is not only the men who are guilty – it is often female family members or female friends that sell the girls to brothel owners. A well written book but terrible reading.

Points I’m making with the above;

1) Western men meeting young women in beer bars is insignificant and the tip of the iceberg. Western feminists like to harp on it because it fundamentally bothers them that white men are out there sleeping with Asian hookers.
2) the Western media’s romance with ‘Asian’ values is a fallacy (at least on the issue of prostitution) that simultaneously undermines Western values.
3) Human trafficking, sex slaves, and pedophilia are real issues that should be covered by the media and governments. Asian governments should be held more accountable. Especially shocking are the volumes of human trafficking going into Japan and Pakistan, two of the worst offenders.
4) Human trafficking, sex slaves, and pedophilia are by products of the more secretive Asian sex market, not the market geared to the Western tourist/expat.

For some perspective, watch “Whore’s Glory“. It’s on Netflix.

Also, read this post on the war being waged in Thailand’s south. A story of Malaysian sex tourists and Islamic foundamentalists.


As I started writing this post yesterday I met an older man (mid-60s) with his Thai girlfriend in the elevator. She couldn’t have been more than 30. They were accompanied by the building manager and were checking out some of the condos in the building. He started speaking to me; he’s from Scotland, has a house in Hua Hin but wants to invest in a condo. His money is not doing anything in the bank. I looked at him and his girlfriend; they look obviously happy and both seem quite excited to be touring the building. Nobody is twisting this girl’s arm, she is chatty and seems happy. Again, a feminist seeing this would probably see red. We assume he met her in a beer bar – but in actual fact she might be a bank teller or any girl working in a store. In the ‘developed’ world we tend to think of prostitution in terms of black and white. But in most places it’s not that simple. Many years ago when I was a single guy in my 30’s I traveled around Latin America as well as Asia and met ladies along the way. It’s easy, just show up by yourself in a bar or restaurant and women make advances. I invited a couple of them, in the Dominican Republic and Colombia, to travel with me for a few weeks. They were the best tour guides I ever had. I paid for food, lodging, and any outings we had along the way. Does that make me a ‘prostituter’? (as ultra-feminist Ms. Jeffries likes to call us). The line can be blurry.  Other Westerners immediately assume prostitution when they see a white male with a local girl. I remember the glares I would get from Western women.

As far as these men being ‘stupid’ about relationships with Thai women, or more specifically bar girls; statistics prove that it is stupid. They rarely ever work out and the person who actually ends up suffering the most is the Western expat/tourist. Check out Stickman’s site or the news on Thaivisa (which most expats here subscribe to) – every day there is a story of a Westerner losing his money to a bar girl. Just the other day I read about a tourist killing himself because he had lost his life savings. Many Westerners fall for the illusion of the Thai bar girl but in many ways they’re the same as sex workers back home. A few days ago  Lissette and I were walking down the street and overheard a Thai girl on the phone “Yes, I miss you so much. I luv you”. No doubt talking to her ‘sponsor’ overseas. She was holding hands with a Thai guy as she was saying this. I don’t have any moral issues with Western men and Thai women having relationships. It’s what both parties want and accept. But as far as smart decisions go, I wouldn’t give money to a stripper back home just as I wouldn’t start sending money to a Thai bar girl overseas. Worse yet, I wouldn’t get into a relationship with them only to end up supporting them and their whole family. I don’t think it’s a wise financial decision. I also wonder what friends and family back home think of a father or grandfather going overseas and finding a Thai girlfriend more than half his age. How does it affect those relationships?

I’ve addressed a few complicated issues. What do you think? I know people have strong opinions on this – the only thing I ask is that you be respectful. Otherwise feel free to tell me how you feel about the above.


Related: Bbqboy’s Ultimate Guide to the Best of Thailand (for adults)


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Prostitution Trafficking and the myth of Asian Values

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  1. All you people are doing here is trying to justify the male sense of entitlement to female bodies, even teenage girls with old men. Shame on all of you. Be she Asian, European etc no teenage girl wants to have sex with an old man. You are all delusional!

    1. I’m address this comment and the one you left further down the page here.

      You sound like my mother before she lived 5 years in Thailand.
      This post covers two issues, of which trafficking is by far the worse. It is reprehensible and modern day slavery and should not exist in our world. I find it interesting however that you choose to focus on prostitution and western men – which is pretty predictable among feminists. Yes these females are poor (just as they are in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ukraine and 80% of the countries on earth) but unlike trafficking they choose to prostitute themselves. But what they really all really want is to marry a Western man. And that often goes both ways. I know a few very happy mixed raced couples so you should try to open your mind to a very different culture and mentality…
      And I would say that if you feel so strongly about it, why don’t you go feed these women? Otherwise accept what they choose to do with the very few options available to them and hope that they meet someone who cares for them.

  2. great read Frank and you’re very well informed! I’m a big Nana Plaza fan boy, a lot like other guys may collect old sports cars or build there own furniture, I like to bang young beautiful (IMHO) Asian girls! In fact I found your blog via a post you made on my buddies blog singlemansparadise!
    I just wish we all were able to be the people we really are without all the social hang ups! As Tim Ferris once put it “be the person your dog thinks you are”…Now I don’t have a dog but my cat and I have a wonderful understanding and she clearly isn’t losing any sleep over my month long BKK mongering trips so long as I leave her be when she’s napping and I keep the food bowl tended!

    1. Thanks for the comment Ron! I’m not promoting sleeping with Asian hookers (and I’ve had my own experiences in the past) but I wanted people to see the bigger picture. I think people see it as a black and white issue without considering the cultural/historical factor or that Thailand can’t be judged by typical Western thought.

  3. The massive moslem immigration in France (mainly from Africa and North Africa) -we’re talking of close to 10 million people here, so about 15% of the global French population of 67 M, but many of them have French citizenry which is very easy to get for them (former French colonial Empire)- affects France in many ways, mostly negative unfortunately as we’ve seen is the recent events (slaughters in Paris, and Nice). Their familial values and sexual customs are very different from the European ones (polygamy is still rampant in Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Chad, the Comoro islands, the% of endogamy -marriages with first cousins-being particularly high in the populations of the Maghreb ). This apparent freewheeling love life goes on par with generally ultra- puritan attitudes (as we’ve seen with the recent debates concerning the “burkinis” on the beaches, or the numerous moslem neighborhoods where no women can be seen in the cafés or out at night or where a men/women separation is starting to be put into place in some public swimmingpools ). This coupled with a general conservative evolution of the French society (a thing common in the West)- I did mention in my other post on this thread the new recently passed “Swedish law” on prostitution,weird in a country that voted 2014 to allow gay marriage and adoption-, means that generally speaking we’re far , very far now in France from the freewheeling Sixties and Seventies epitomized by Brigitte Bardot. A telling sign : we see less often topless women on the beaches, and the few we see (apart from private nudist colonies, -some of them having been threatened by islamist fanatics in nearby Germany by the way-) are generally older women (50, 60 yo). And many Young French guys are complaining about the difficulty of finding a Partner nowadays (by the way, the notion of “friends with benefits” doesn’t exist in France) and try more and more their luck, thanks globalization, in merrier climes (Eastern Europe, Southeastern Asia mainly).

    1. Oh that sucks. I’ve got quite strong feelings on all the Muslim migration into Europe and where I think it’s heading (I sometimes write about it in my Newsletter section). The Islamization of Europe is exactly what I’m talking about and I would be pissed if I was a Frenchman or German.
      Thanks for that detailed analysis, very interesting to hear what’s going on.

  4. Your post is really awesome, you get to the core of the problem and I appreciate the balanced view you have on the subject.
    I’ve always thought our Western societies (I’m French by the way)are more puritan -if less hypocrites-than Eastern Asian societies (I’ve traveled in the Philippines and Thailand).Now my question is the following : societies change over time, don’t you think the that prostitution in Thailand (or elsewhere) has different features nowadays? for instance, the French Parliament (very feminist -oriented although it has the lowest % of women MP in the whole of the Western world) has enacted last year a law making it unlawful for a guy to solicit hookers (on the Net of course prostitution is not forbidden, see the hypocrisy) just like in Sweden. Believe it or not, the numbers of prostitutes has considerably diminished (in Paris at least). But can coercion can be effective long-term? in societies that see a puritan backlash like ours in France (influence of Islam), maybe yes.

    1. Interesting comment.

      When I first went to Cuba it was a great place to get action. Girls always hung around hotel lobbies and they were there for one thing. Castro decided to crack down and tourist towns, like Varadero, became clean overnight. You would have had a hard time finding it even if you looked for it.

      So I guess it can be coerced out…but I think for many places prostitution is a draw that governments won’t get rid of. Imagine Thailand without prostitution? Expats would go somewhere else, as would many tourists. And then you’d have even more poverty because of lower tourist numbers.

      Interesting about France. Now I wonder if that has so much to do with laws or with the general economy? (Johns with less money?). But does Islam and increased Muslim immigration affect the average Frenchman and his sex habits? I’m curious to your perspective.

      1. I find it frustrating that your message seems to be that prostitution in Thailand is OK because it has been a part of their culture since forever. The exploitation and abuse and domination of women world wide by the patriarchy is what you are talking about here and yes, it is a cultural thing in every single culture, just played out differently. A lot of females in Asian countries are living in poverty and so western men are flocking there for cheap sex. I only have one more thing to say. If a woman is hungry, put food in her mouth, not your cock.

  5. Prostitution is actually illegal in Thailand. A woman at muay thai is like a western woman in a pub. Western countries have plenty of hookers – read any tabloid.

  6. The stats above dont make sense. So if 450,000 men are using pros but there are 2m of them so 77% of these women are missing out? Ive seen pro figures ranging from 400,000 to 2m. All seem to be rough guesses based on limited data. If you count the population figures across the major cities the 2m figure looks extremely high and unrealistic. There are only 10 cities with a significant population and Bangkok is far larger than the others. I would say the midpoint figure of 1.2m is more likely to be accurate than the extremes. A lot of Thai men have mistresses called mia nois which means small wife. Rich guys usually have 3 or 4 of them around the country where they do business. Poor guys dont have the money to hire women very often even though prices can be low.

    1. I don’t think they mean that 2M are always active, some might be part-time, doing it when money runs low. Maybe someone hooks once a month, but they would be included in the figures. Back in my single days (long time ago) I would sometimes meet a girl who was serving drinks at the Muay Thai, or a waitress in a restaurant. How do they fit in there? They’re not pros but they’re doing it for financial compensation so they’re, well, pros…How about those armies of bar girls? There definitely is a different culture to ‘prostitution’ in Thailand (and I only put quotation marks around the word prostitution because we are so black and white about it in the West).

      Yes, all rough figures. But bottom line, easier to get a hooker in Thailand than finding a pizza restaurant. And there’s a lot of pizza restaurants…

  7. Why would this man show a friend a photo of his gf if she wasnt an adult? Elena is posting nonsense. I met a 37yo Korean woman who looked 22yo. I was shocked when she told me her age. I know some Thai women in their early 30s who get asked for id in the west. Some of them look super young. The gf in question was most likely 20 to 25 and Elena is just upset at the culture shock. But their are 20-30yo western women who marry rich 60yo guys for money.

  8. What cliches and nonsense above. Awol is bitter and twisted. No woman can ever love you? Maybe it is your personality that attracts these women. Why the hell are there 50 year marriages if no woman ever truly loves a man?

    Also the comment above about someone’s gf being 16yo is just ignorant. Asians often look much younger than westerners. A 36yo woman can look 22yo and a 25yo can look like a teenager compared to westerners. Western cultures are loaded with red light activities, it is just more underground due to western hangups, prejudice and stigmas.

    1. I’ve known Awol for about 10 years. He’s a character for sure 🙂

      I agree with how Asians can look. I don’t know though in this case, she may actually have been 16. I’ve seen worse. But totally agree with you last line about hangups and prejudices – we are hypocrites in the West.
      Where are you Tom? I see you comment on many of the Thai posts, I imagine you’re in Thailand somewhere? Do you enjoy it?

  9. Great Post, Frank. I guess there is much more to the story than ping pong ball shows. It is a different culture there and it helps to look at things through the lens of their culture and values before judging. I think sometimes outsiders look at human trafficking and rationalize it as just what they do in Bangkok.

  10. Thank you for a thoughtful, honest perspective. So often these issues are discussed without understanding the cultural context.

    1. Thank you Lynne. Exactly, we tend to always look at things from a Western point of view without considering the greater cultural context or the greater (and more troubling) issues. In a perfect world, where every economy is level ‘prostitution’ wouldn’t happen. But it’s not all about the economy, in Cambodia where we are right now prostitution much less open…Thailand has a long and tolerant view of ‘prostitution’ (in parentheses because its not always as black and white as we consider it in the western world).

  11. Excellent post. Western women are no different. They get their pay day through life-wrecking no-fault divorces. Feminism has destroyed the family. Don’t marry. Pay as you go.

    1. You made both of us fall on our asses laughing. I knew I’d get some strong opinions…

      I know you’ve been in Asia for ages and have had more than your share of girlfriends. I gather there’s no turning back from Asian women for you? Don’t you ever feel that you’re just Mr. Moneybags and just being milked for being a white man? I’m not asking with any judgement, I’m just curious about the dynamic of relationships with Thai girls.

      Your comments are always priceless 🙂

      1. Asian women are more feminine. As simple as that. Unspoiled by feminism. Your value as a man is in what you can provide. Nothing more. A woman can never truly love you – only your utility. Only when a man understands this and perceives life through a lens unsmeared by Disney-esque notions of “love” will he find peace.

  12. A friend here in Northern California – a 60ish man – went to Hua Hin. He proudly showed me pictures of his naked ‘girlfriend’ when he returned. I was flabergasted that he thought I’d be impressed. She was no older than 16. So, he packed it up and moved to Hua Hin expecting to support her, her whole family and have babies with her. I wonder how that worked out.

    1. Yikes!! I’m curious too. I wonder if we get a little crazy when we hit our 60s…
      I know a few people in Montreal, older men, who brought in wives from Colombia. One in particular brought in a much young wife. She got herself educated, got a good job – then dumped him. But he got back on his horse and went and got himself another. Bet he’s not putting her through school though…

      1. I’ve seen many Farangs lose everything to women in Asia. Tragic really. However, I’ve met a lot more blokes whose lives have been destroyed by women in the West.

        Briffault’s Law should be taught in schools: “The female, not the male, determines all the conditions of the animal family. Where the female can derive no benefit from association with the male, no such association takes place.”

        Would save a lot of blokes a lot of grief. A woman can never truly love a man, only his utility.

        1. Appreciate your views Stephen. I’ve been on both sides – my Western ex-wife a total user that I’m still paying for. Lucky for me though I met Lissette who has a very solid career and makes big bucks. She doesn’t need me but keeps me around 🙂 Almost 10 years now.Took me a long time to meet her though, met a lot of potential ‘takers’ along the way. But I knew better after my first wife.
          To be fair I’m sure there’s a lot of women out there who’ve met their share of losers and who feel cheated by men.

        2. I fully agree with Briffault’s law , even today, the utility of the man is foremost for the woman (whatever the feminists may say) to father her children and be the breadwinner. All the rest is literature.

    2. I’m myself 61. I would never ever, even in a wet dream, entertain the notion I could have a teenager as partner. These people are sick fucks, they are paedophiles.My wife is even older (67), and then what ? what is that obsession of older men with juveniles? he should go see a doctor ASAP. Maybe his sex drive is faltering and he can only “bring it up” with children?

      1. Yes, I’ve seen that (even 60+ walking hand in hand with juveniles) and it makes me cringe. I don’t know how they can look at themselves in the mirror.

  13. Great article Frank – and a nice fresh perspective on a real live-wire subject ! So I will add a little wood to the fire, as undoubtedly, you are going to get a lot of all sorts of feedback on this one … !!!

    Perhaps though, our western morals and approach to sexuality – including prostitution – are not too far – or long – removed from the Asian approach you outline and describe so well… Throughout our (western) History we have had a far more free-wheeling, less hypocritical, less prudish approach to things – from the Classical Greeks and Romans where sex, in all its forms and varieties, outside of the family unit, was not only acceptable , but expected – and lauded by the literature and culture of the Day. Basically extra-familial sex was a ‘recreational’ activity, which raised about as much interest in Society as a ping-pong game would do today… A variety of sexual partners, of both sexes – including prostitutes – was ‘merely’ an accepted part of Life !

    And nothing changed much through the centuries – from the lords, knights and their maidens (and pages…) in medieval times, to the kings, nobles and their mistresses through the Renaissance, Age of Enlightenment to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution – by way of the Popes, their ‘wenches’ and ladies – and scores of illegitimate children – at the peak of Catholicism ! And one can be pretty sure that such free-wheeling sexuality and activities were as accepted and practiced among the peasants and poorer classes as it was among the elites of the time…all of which is well documented in our western History and literature through the years. What Royal Family anywhere in Europe, what king or noble did not have at least one – and often a bevy – of mistresses – many of whom yielded tremendous influence and power in the court ? Not only were they fully accepted , but they held high status and were highly respected.

    Nothing in fact, seemed to change until a Middle-Class started to emerge and develop in our socities with the Industrial Revolution, towards the middle and end of the 19th Century. The new middle-classes mirrored and imitated the behaviour, codes and dress of their elites – with one big difference. They also developed a moral code that specifically attacked the sexual mores of the day – and of course, the other big ‘evil’ of the times – alcohol ! The rise of a prudish (and hypocritical…) approach to sexual behaviour – and teetotalism – followed the rise of the middle-classes , finally becoming the dominant moral order of the day, around the time of the First-World War.

    Early in the 20th Century, “cat houses” or bordellos were still part and parcel of every city, and were often more like posh gentleman’s clubs as much as anything else . And in such establishments, the ‘girls’ were invariably highly educated, cultured, and multi-lingual – perfectly honed for the clientele they were to serve ! Many such establishments in cities like London, Paris and Berlin were world famous and frequented openly by the elite and Royalty of the day – people like Prince Edward , the Kaiser . There was still relatively little opposition to the ‘boys sowing their wild oats’.. so to speak ! Hmmm !

    The ‘new’ Middle-Class morality may have ended up covering things with a nice veneer of supposed respectability, but in practice, the middle-class was, and is, little different to their counterparts and ancestors. They were, and are, just a lot more hypocritical and two-faced about things – and probably a lot more frustrated and less satisfied – as any article in any newspaper on any day will attest too. Many countries (like Nederlands, Germany, New Zealand ) have accepted the facts and reality of human sexuality, have accepted the ‘necessity’ of legalising prostitution, and to regulate it in order to protect its members and avoid specific negative aspects of the trade. Other countries (surprisingly Sweden and now Canada) are still trying to deny the obvious, by passing laws in an attempt to eliminate the profession , that will penalize the client – but do nothing to improve or protect its members. But supressing the world’s oldest – and still one of its most vibrant – professions is like trying to squeeze toothpaste into the tube. It just doesn’t, won’t and can never work . Nature has made Man’s sexuality thus .

    Perhaps we have a lot to re-learn and put into practice from the Asian approach . Maybe we can and will re-learn to accept the reality of human sexuality and find a way to accomodate it – like the Asians ? – within our moral and personal codes – and as History, and Man’s inherent sexual activity through the Ages has taught us to do ?

    Whatever, our hypocritical ‘moral’ and prudish approach to one of Man’s strongest, deepest and most beautiful gifts of Nature is NOT the way to go.

    Keep up the great work Frank ! This one could be entered for a University thesis for sure ! Lol.


    1. Wow…thanks Tony for the historical perspective. Great comment.

      Just to be the devil’s advocate; Many people will point out that the Middle Ages, even the Greek and Roman periods, were rife with abuses of power and of kings, dukes, princes, wealthy landowners etc subjugating their subjects to their demands. I mention the Asian system, but I’ve almost mentioned that it’s resulted in human trafficking, sex slaves, and pedophilia – not things you want in a modern society. Yet, the human sexuality model actually anything but ‘open’ here, its hidden, for that reason, has that ugly underbelly.

      I totally agree with legalizing prostitution and making in truly open. I think we are hypocrites. Reading those books I was shocked that Japan and Pakistan (of all places) were the worst offenders of human trafficking. So is the answer to legalize and regulate?

      Thanks Tony for putting yourself out there with your opinions. My usual readers very quiet so far on this one, might be a subject that most don’t want to touch with a ten-foot pole!

      1. Tongue in Cheek….and ‘our’ modern western system is NOT “rife with abuses of power” ? Of NOT subjugating “subjects” to “their “demands ? The real tragedy as you point out so rightly is the human traffiking, sex slaves, pedophilia . Definitely not things we want in a modern society – although they thrive there too… The worst offenders maybe Japan, Pakistan etal (again a classic case of double-standards, hypocrisy..the stronger the cultural taboos, the more moralistic the society, the worse the “sins” ? ) And again its pretty widespread in our own moralistic, moral lecturing, moral imposing societies too…some of the worst cases and scandals involving the Evangelical Bible-thumping, fire and brimstone preachers – or the traditional Christian churches and schools ? Yes, I think, legalize and regulate – it could only be an improvement on the present totally morally bankrupt setup.

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