Thai Girlfriends and Women
In approaching this topic for the largest audience, I first have to briefly cover some general issues and paint an overview of Thai women before going in depth on particular topics and issues. This section covers things ranging from the extremes of extrinsic "Thai prostitution" vs. intrinsic love relationships. It covers things in-between, mixed motivations. It includes the issue of what is called "matrimonial prostitution" for relationships in the West of essentially the same kind under disguise (i.e., marry a rich guy so the woman can work less on her life).
However, emphasis is on the ordinary cultural ways, for those who really want to explore a different kind of culture, and possibly develop a meaningful relationship with a mainstream Thai lady.
Much of this also applies to relationships in general, outside of Thailand.
In Thailand, there are generally two sorts of lady: Prostitutes, and Mainstream (non-prostitutes). Based on statistics from various sorts, only about 2% of Thai ladies are prostitutes. However, these prostitutes tend to concentrate themselves where the business is, which includes a few square kilometers in the tourist and expat concentration areas in lower Sukhumvit and in Pattaya, and they tend to stand out since they try to get the attention of foreign guys. It is very important to understand that what you see in those zones is very different from what you come across in the rest of Thailand (except other hot spots).
There is a big difference between mainstream Thai ladies and those you can meet in bars and nightclubs. What is often said about "Thai ladies" in general, actually applies only to [ex-]prostitutes, who seem to make up the majority of girlfriends and wives of foreigners, so don't believe everything you read and hear ... e.g., "Thai girls are unfaithful", or "Thai girls just want your money". Substitute the word "prostitute" for "girl" in those sentences and it makes more sense. If you're old enough to read this, and sophisticated enough to use Internet well, then you should be old enough to not believe everything you hear and read about Thai ladies and smart enough to think by yourself...
Likewise, it is incorrect to assume that all Thai ladies who have met a foreign man in the nightlife areas and developed a special relationship are tricking or unfaithful to the new boyfriend. It is true that most Thai nightlife ladies we investigate are unfaithful to or otherwise tricking the foreign boyfriend, but many are not. Many ladies in the nightlife area come to the point where they've experienced enough, and are ready to settle down into a more normal and stable lifestyle. Unfortunately, they are a minority in the nightlife areas. Nonetheless, bad news travels much further than good news, and many internet forums tend to be "agony aunt" sounding boards for venting anger and frustration.
Who am I to say?
The author of this article has much more experienced with mainstream Thai culture than with the foreigner-oriented, prostitution-common areas, though I'm quite experienced in both, with quite a large number of my own experiences of various sorts. However, compared to the vast majority of farangs who live in Thailand, I'm far more experienced with the mainstream Thai ladies and Thai gentle-men, and can educate and advise other farangs accordingly, providing a greater overall perspective.
In addition to my own experiences since 1994, and those of my friends and associates, I've also run a private investigations business of which relationships are the primary demand -- discreet investigations of Thai girlfriends in Thailand for foreigners overseas, as well as investigating foreign husbands in Thailand for western wives overseas. For more information on that, see www.ThailandPI.com.
Most foreigners who visit or live in Thailand spend most of their time in the tiny percentage of the country which farang-oriented prostitutes are attracted to, a naturally select population. But many do not. From my viewpoint, those steeped in the farang prostitution areas are best staying in these areas, and going thru the shorttime adventures with bargirls and freelancers ad infinitum, and persisting in their cynical illusions of denial, because these farangs would not be happy with (nor faithful to) a mainstream Thai girl for very long, and neither would a mainstream Thai lady be happy with them. If you pursue a mainstream Thai lady, then you should be as faithful to her as she is to you. Otherwise, you will have fewer problems if you just stick to the other side of town, because prostitutes are used to providing service and then making a break after receiving the money without any emotional drama (except happiness to get money), so it stays simple and clean (bullshit aside).
Indeed, most farang males who work in offices take little interest in co-workers, and spend much more time at pubs with their friends and developing mutual flash-in-the-pan relationships with the outgoing and skilled Thai ladies of entertainment venues, because there are so many lovely ladies among them who are easy to chat up, outgoing and willing to move into a sexual liaison in very short time when an opportunity comes within range, especially if the man fits certain criteria such as being dressed as if they have money, clean, cheerful and easygoing.
Do not treat your coworkers or employees as if they are similar to bargirls. Just like in your own country, Thailand has different kinds of people in different walks of life.
The prostitutes are far more willing with sex, quickly, so you don't waste much time getting them there, they don't give you problems when you've had enough of them and pay them off (quite unlike a normal lady), and there are a variety of other lovely beauties out there for your next adventure. For what you pay per night, it's pretty cheap when compared to the real costs (both time and money) on an alternative, serious relationship, and you avoid the emotional pitfalls of something more serious. Even if you keep a prostitute for a few days or weeks and enter a grey area relationship, she'll usually be out of your way with her next distraction -- another farang man in her normal environment...
For those who want a "good" Thai girlfriend, I can advise you about this, but before doing so you'd better think about whether this is really what you want in the long run. "Be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it!"
Once you get a good Thai lady serious about you, especially after physical intimacy, if you change your mind then they will usually be a lot more difficult to break with than a Western lady. They are not like prostitutes who are already accustomed to this (but who may yell and scream for a few minutes nevertheless, but still leave after you pay them off). You cannot pay off most mainstream Thai ladies. They wouldn't accept it, and they won't give up easily. It may be more traumatic to the average Thai lady than the typical foreign woman.
Relationships consume a lot of time. Businessmen and independent guys often just don't have the time, or don't want the entanglements. For these guys, the occasional weekend outing in the bars and music is a time & cost efficient release.
On the other hand, a good reason to not go with prostitutes is because of sexually transmitted diseases. I just have a feeling of revulsion of "going where so many men have been before" (the antithesis of the Star Trek theme). In fact, going where so many whoremongers have been before, and who knows where those whoremongers have been before they had sex with the particular lady of interest to you! They may be infested with viruses and various kinds of bacteria, only a few of which are symtomatic at first. Be realistic and keep condoms handy. Condoms don't protect you against everything (e.g., herpes, or genital warts, or molluscum, all of which are extremely common here), but they protect you against the worst things (HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, NSU).
There are some very pleasant and lovely bargirls and freelance prostitutes out there. However, most are hard core. That environment in general can be irritating, as there are just too many loud, hardened and insensitive prostitutes all around -- crude with low intellectual class and a "don't give a sh*t" attitude. Mercenary commercial. In cruising with friends, I can go a whole night without seeing anything I'd take, even if they were paying me!
I'm usually the odd one in the group, and not your ordinary farang in Thailand. I prefer a lovely romance. Otherwise, I'd rather go home to a nice home environment with good books, serious Internet research on life and future matters. Finding the right kind of Thai lady who is compatible with me has not been easy. Too many Thai ladies seem to be looking for the kinds of farangs they see in TV commercials and movies, and sometimes I've felt like "the farang entertainment center". Others just don't have the kind of philosophical outlook on life, meaningful interests, and language skills. For quite some time, it was like the old adage "If you don't get what you want, then you settle for less".
It is easy to find a cute, lovely lady to fall in love with, where the world is a beautiful place, and you have happy dreams ... but marrying them is another matter.
There aren't many non-Thai ladies here. Nearly all the foreign ladies you will meet here are wives of an expat, and the selection among the rest is slim pickins. Sometimes it had made me want to jump on an airplane to the next likely oasis, e.g., Australia or India. (I believe there's just too much materialistic expectation and homogenization most everywhere else.)
If you like partying and excitement, then the bars in Bangkok are some of the best in the world. For me, they were at first interesting to experience, and the music at some is always good.
It doesn't take long to get to understand the scene. It doesn't have much appeal to me as a rather studious expat, and the music and friends are the main draw.
I should make clear that I don't want to imply that all Thai prostitutes are trouble or all "ordinary" Thai girls are true-hearted.
There are gold diggers everywhere. You have to ask why a girl is attracted to a relationship with you, a foreigner, especially if she is quick to it. It is my experience that most ordinary Thai girls are not after my money (and don't take any), but I am picky and patient. Your mileage may vary. A sizeable percentage of non-prostitutes are attracted largely to the farang's money and material wellbeing, and/or some Hollywood-based illusion they may have of life in a farang's country. They may simply look to a farang to take care of them, everything, whereby they'd "have it made in life". Matrimonial prostitution (though they don't see it that way).
Notably, I usually don't make introductions and wouldn't be seen with many of the farangs who have expressed wanting a good Thai girlfriend (often in a fleeting moment of frustration over the behavior of a prostitute girlfriend they've become emotionally attached to), because I don't think those farangs really understand what they're getting into when it comes to good Thai ladies, would be unlikely to develop or enjoy such a relationship due to inability or unwillingness to adapt culturally (as well as the Thai lady's inability or unwillingness in many cases, too), and/or would be unfaithful to the good Thai girl which in many cases is damaging to her reputation and sometimes her life (e.g., offspring abandoned by the farang). In any introduction, I take no responsibility for anything. Use at your own risk.
Nevertheless, I sometimes do bring farangs into my realm to hang out with, sometimes deeply. Then, whatever happens, happens...
Before a farang even considers a "good" Thai girlfriend, he should consider the ramifications. He will have to give up the bargirl adventures in his life. (Some women put up with their boyfriend engaging in shorttime liassons behind their back as long as they come home on time every night, but it's not true that this is generally accepted in higher class Thai society. MOST Thai ladies do NOT tolerate this.) If he changes his heart and mind about his current girlfriend, he won't be able to dispose of his good Thai girlfriend cleanly with a 1000 baht note. He won't be able to get into her pants on the first night, and probably not the first few nights. Whenever he gets that far, then when he does get to her panties, she will usually be shy (depending upon the friendship trust and art), and it won't be the same kind of experience as with a prostitute, for better or for worse.
In my opinion, quality beats quantity. Of course, just my opinion, different strokes for different folks.
A lot of guys on the internet have stated that they've become less sensitive and more hardened by spending too much time in the bars. I would suggest to these people that they try a courting kind of relationship over time. Your mileage may differ, but none of my one night stands have come close to any of my courting relationships.
Most guys who are attracted to Thai ladies more than western ones are attracted to the lovely, native, freely natural feminine ways of Thai ladies. The mainstream ones will be loyal, most of them will spend money wisely and prudently, and will be more responsible with maintaining a nice home and helping out with work. Mainstream Thai ladies will not push you to be ambitious but will value "peace, love and harmony" moreso (as most Thais value harmony more than ambition if the latter means conflicts), but they won't have much initiative, as they will tend to seek out a relaxed and peaceful environment with family and friends. It may take a long time before you will find an ambitious and intellectual Thai lady if that's what you're looking for. They are Thai. Nonetheless, they do exist in large numbers here.
If you are fast paced, always moving forward, and expect everything done right the first time, then you're probably headed for frustration with Thai women, and Thais in general. However, if you live a relaxed and peaceful lifestyle, then you'll be at home here.
Exceptions are the "Chinese Thais", specifically those who are 100% of Chinese descent but whose parents were both from immigrant families from China. Most of the offspring of these people are melting pot Thai in disposition, but many are hardworking Chinese. Most of the Chinese who came to Thailand didn't survive from a natural selection viewpoint family-wise, so the current generation of successful immigrant family-descended Chinese Thais have a fairly exceptional subcultural background. You have a wide range or personalities to choose from among the Chinese Thais, but you'll find that a larger percentage of them have ambitions and value education more. Some are a nice blend, the best of both worlds.
At the other extreme are the Thai country girls who recently moved to Bangkok (or maybe you meet them in the country), most of whom have no ambition but all of the native feminity.
There is quite a variety of Thai ladies. However, of notable mention are some of those you can meet in Internet dating services. Many of these ladies want to be westernized. If that's what you want, fine. However, why come to Thailand for a westernized girl? If you like Thai ladies, then you must like the Thai way, in whole or in part. Otherwise, neither the Thai lady nor yourself will be happy for long in the relationship. Of course, there are many ladies in Internet dating services who will be themselves, and that's good. Just a warning about what naturally works for more than a few months...
In Thailand, there aren't many inventors, social leaders or creators of evolutionary progress in our generation, even among the men, on a per capita basis compared to the west. What was invented in Thailand? What was copied from the West?
The beauty of Thailand, in my opinion, it that it's a very different culture than the west or the rest of Asia or anywhere in the 21st (or 20th) century, it's peaceful and harmonious, the people smile (even those in poverty by western standards) -- hence the name "Land of Smiles". It has a native human ambiance that has long since been lost elsewhere in the world due to the Industrial Revolution or colonization or overpopulation and abject poverty.
The beauty of the ladies is due to the Thai value system, which is very different from the West, for better and for worse. There is a lot one can learn about happiness from one of the most civil civilizations left on the planet, including from a Thai mate, be it a prostitute or, if you fit certain criteria to some degrees or others, a mainstream lady. (Be a leader sometimes, a follower sometimes...)
What I try to do here is lay out the cultural landscape so that you approach it with a more complete understanding of the differences in culture and protocols, lay down some tools for you to use if you are willing and able, and let you decide on your own what segment(s) of the population you may wish to explore.
In discussing Thai ladies, I cover the range from mainstream to the prostitute girls, pretty much the entire spectrum as best the experiences of myself and the contributors can fathom. All Thai ladies have more in common than they have differences. The differences are mainly in regard to serious relationships.
Of course, there are always a diversity of exceptions, and the younger generation is bringing some changes, though no radical changes which I can see in the general population as of the time of this writing.
Courting in Thailand also has a lot of the same environmental elements as elsewhere in the world, ranging from gold-digger "matrimonial prostitutes" (materialistic ladies who look at potential boyfriends for their extrinsic elements more than their intrinsic qualities), to serious girls looking for the one and only Prince Charming with overly romantic fantasies which simply cannot be satisfied. Hollywood is not Reality. In-between, there are lots of free adventurers who juggle several boyfriends to learn life to some kind of measure.
In general, most Thai women marry for love, not for money, and are entirely faithful and committed to their husband or longtime boyfriend. However, they tend to look for Thai guys, and the sort who are attracted to foreigners are usually a different breed of Thai lady.
Of the prostitutes who marry, most do it for the money (obviously), or a mix of money and a kind of love. Of course, there are exceptions to everything, but we shouldn't let ourselves be blinded by love to the extent that we don't realize what's obvious to others. Most marriages to prostitutes don't last long, but there are in fact many good marriages, albeit a small percentage.
Thai Girlfriends - [Ex-] Prostitutes
Prostitutes are a very tiny percentage of the population of Thai women, but are often the vast majority of the Thai women that individual western men know, and the foreigner areas of Thailand tend to have an amazingly high population density of them. Travelling into those parts of town is like travelling into a subculture.
The large number of farangs with Thai girlfriends and wives taken from freelance prostitution pickup places and outright go-go bars is mainly due to the fact that it's much quicker and easier to develop a full blown relationship with a prostitute and there are lots and lots of beautiful, lovely and outgoing farang-oriented prostitutes in the farang parts of the city. Years of observation have shown it's too easy for a farang to become involved with a Thai prostitute of one kind or another.
From my observations, most such relationships don't work out well in the end, for various reasons, especially compared to relationships with non-prostitutes. There are many exceptions, however. Analyzing the successes and failures of such relationships turns up one most common and simple factor in determining the success and failure of relationships with [ex-]prostitutes -- how long the female was engaged in prostitution in any form before meeting her boyfriend. After that, the second most important factor is in regard to expectations, understanding each others' limits, and general cultural and relationship issues, as discussed in both of my longer discourses on "bargirl and freelancer girlfriends" and "mainstream Thai girlfriends", and accepting those differences rather than trying to change the other person very much.
Thailand is well known for prostitution even though it's a very small element of Thailand -- it's blown way out of proportion as regards foreign views of Thailand on average. Prostitution is common around Asia, not just in Thailand. In fact, according to international human rights reports, prostitution in Thailand ranks far behind Taiwan, the Philippines and India in per capita sex workers. The reasons that Thailand is particularly well known for it are due to the somewhat different nature of prostitution in Thailand, from my observations:
Farangs take on Thai prostitutes as girlfriends and wives far more commonly than they take on prostitutes in other countries.
However, if you are even considering having a prostitute as a girlfriend in a committed relationship, then you'd better read the synopsis of facts from outside sources and the perspectives of the author on prostitution in Thailand, in addition to the following continuation of this discussion.
Main Differences from Western Prostitutes
Thailand is a Buddhist culture. There's an entire section on this web site on Buddhism and Thai animism. Thai prostitutes are usually not rebels. Prostitution is not taboo here and does not require an individual to be a radical. While they may hedge on some of the principles of Buddhism (whether they fully realize it or not), in general you're dealing with the same cultural personality. Most prostitutes wie to Buddha statues, wear Buddhist emulets and conform to Buddhist principles in nearly every way except engaging in sexual defilements.
However, in the population of prostitutes as a whole, you will find that there is a larger percentage of women who will stray from the core culture in the following ways:
Farang-oriented prostitutes are often more honest than their farang partners, except when it comes to other clients and boyfriends (and still often are honest until they get hostile reactions). Most will not steal. Most don't smoke, drink or do drugs, and they do frown upon those who do those particular vices. Most bring their earnings back to their parents and siblings.
However, among the subpopulation of prostitutes, you will find many who are compulsive gamblers, drinkers, and addicts of various sorts, are deceitful, who have abandoned children, and who even drug their clients so that they can steal everything in their hotel room or home. And spend money like crazy.
Thai Girlfriends - Ordinary Ladies
In mainstream Thai culture, the vast majority of the Thai ladies are monogomous, usually virgins when you meet single ladies (much more so than in the west), and typically lovlier than the ladies in the prostitution areas (as well as the west on average). If what you want is a naturally feminine, affectionate and loyal lady, then Thai ladies are among the best in the world. However, if you're into intellectually expansive relationships with the opposite gender, then you're going to be challenged to find and develop such a relationship here. On all accounts, the best things in life take time.
If you are interested in developing a monogamous relationship with a Thai girlfriend (whereby monogamy goes both ways), then you should read my writings on good Thai girlfriends, in addition to the following usual problems.
If Good Thai Women Don't Take Interest in You
It's common for friends and associates to complain with frustration that good Thai girls don't take interest in them. Here is my collection of things to consider and suggestions:
Of course, many of the things I recommend for Thailand are true most everywhere in the world, each to varying degrees. Thais are a sensitive and gentle people, and some of these elements of human nature carry more momentum in Thailand.
Some things that work well in other cultures are counterproductive in Thailand among good girls:
In a work environment, you will get to be known over time, and this will affect not only what secretaries (and their friends that they bring to social events) will become available to you, but also which subordinate employees will stick to their jobs, how well they will work for you, and indeed may affect whether you keep your job.
Never make a Thai lose face. If you have a criticism, keep it private, do not display it in public. When you do criticize, raise the issues gently and gradually. There are many ways to communicate the same thing, and if you choose the more sophisticated and diplomatic way, the results will be much better. (Venting steam for your own satisfaction is dumb.) If you make Thais fear you, then you can't expect any of them to like you in an amorous way. If you introduce an explosive and unpredictable nature over time, what result do you think that will produce? On the other hand, if you show self-control when under pressure and during the bad times, that will be reassuring.
The power of money does not produce the same results in the office as it does in the massage joints and in many western environments with "matrimonial prostitution".
Links and Recommended Reading
Are you establishing a relationship on the strongest possible basis? Language barriers in communicating concepts is a challenge, and it is important to make sure you understand each other rather than be limited in what you can say and still be understood, so that you form the best bond. Thai ladies have many natural advantages over Western ladies, but language can be a serious limitation. A quality translation service can help you two establish the initial bond.
For private investigative services, e.g., discreetly checking out a girlfriend's behavior when you are not present (other boyfriend(s)?), background check (does she really work, is she really a student, did she tell you the truth about...), finding a disappeared girlfriend, etc., www.ThailandPI.com (Interesting experiences journaled there, too.) If you're investing considerable time, money, emotional capital and your reputation into your future with a Thai lady, or if you don't really have peace of mind about something, then "better sooner than later" to resolve the issues, and a discreet investigation is often well worth it.
Thailand Private Investigations, www.ThailandPI.com , uses Thai lady agents of many different backgrounds, and professional methods, in order to be most discreet and effective. A Thai lady matched to each task is usually better accepted than a man -- more discreet and effective. However, some cases require a foreign man (such as entering a go-go bar and operations there), and Thailand P.I. uses the husband of an agent.
If you are considering turning a Thai prostitute into a girlfriend, then I recommend the book titled Thai Tourism by the author Erik Cohen. You can find it in Asia Books. It is a white book published by White Lotus, a company which publishes many other fine books on Thai culture. You want to read the last third of the book on "Open-Ended Prostitution". An extract of the book is quoted on the website www.freelancerbar.com/The%20Girls/academic.htm
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