Traveling with a male escort

By Josie Zhang Source:Global Times Published: 2015-3-16 17:48:02

Illustration: Peter C. Espina/GT

At a recent opening of a teahouse that a friend of mine attended, she was approached by a travel agency that runs its operations from the second-story of the same building.

 The travel agent told her about a special package they were offering: return flights to Italy with four nights in a five-star hotel, invitations to a couple of formal balls, expensive lingerie provided, and a male escort. The total cost of the deal was 350,000 yuan ($55,892), and the male escort would accompany her to all of her social functions, as well as being available for extra-curricular nighttime activities.  

Later, my friend learned that almost all of the travel agency's deals were along these lines. Most of their clients are bored, wealthy housewives whose husbands cannot satisfy their physical needs, or have otherwise gotten tired of them. The arrangement of having a male escort, who poses as a woman's boyfriend or romantic partner while overseas allows these wealthy housewives to avoid social judgment while satisfying their sexual desires.

The concept of sex tourism has been knocking about for a while now, signaling the globalization of the world's so-called oldest profession. But it is only in recent years that women in the country have been able to get in on the act.

I think there is a certain contradiction or hypocrisy about the way most people think about women engaging in sex tourism compared to men. Men who visit brothels or fly half-way around the world to sleep with young girls are seen as perverted, filthy scumbags. But women sex tourists traveling to exotic lands to pay for sex with are depicted as tragic heroines, forced into the choice due to their husband's shortcomings or indiscretions.

In the country at least, the kind of deals my friend was offered are commonly known as "romance travel packages" rather than "sex tourism." The idea, I suppose, is that men pay for sex to satisfy a physical need, whereas women doing the same thing must be acting out of an emotional need. 

I think the reason the sex trade catering to women is generally viewed more sympathetically is because for years, women have been denied the same privileges as men when it comes to sex. Throughout the centuries, women have been forced to suppress their sexual desires, in the name of being a good mother and faithful wife. The fact that such women do have such a choice these days can be seen as a sign of progress when it comes to greater gender equality in our society in matters of sexuality. But I don't condone women with economic means paying for sex.

As most people know, sex tourism is actually illegal in many countries, because of the many horrendous activities that facilitate it, including human trafficking and the exploitation of children. It is a trade that flourishes in the shadows, and hard for authorities to crack down on.

Whether it is a young girl or a young boy that is being forced into sex labor, the human cost is little different.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.

Posted in: Twocents-Opinion

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