Working in a Vietnamese massage parlor: Learning to suck and stroke penises

Hooker gives blow job in Vietnamese sex cafe

A staff member at a Vietnamese sex cafe gives a customer some oral relief.

There is a very interesting, if sensationalist, five part article over at Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre News about what it’s like working in a massage parlor in Ho Chi Minh City. [Edit: the report has since been taken down.]

Saigon is dotted with countless massage parlors of varying degree of legitimacy, though it is never very hard to find sex services in the city.

The reporters went undercover and took jobs in some of these places to see what the training and work was like.

To their credit they do seem to have spent a good amount of time embedded in the industry, getting to know the people involved, and not trying to push too hard to get some kind of preconceived story out of it.

In the end they came up with some info that would interest anyone who wonders about the scene:

To work as a masseuse, one needs a license but most, if not to say all, massage parlors fake papers for their massage employees.

“We just learned from our predecessors and improvise,” Thanh announced.

“Here, it’s important to know how to make clients relaxed and it’s okay to do a cursory job”, she advised.

Thanh emphasized the word “relaxed” once or twice. In the Vietnamese massage industry, ‘relax’ means a hand or mouth job.

Meanwhile, new employees at massage parlor TN had to learn erotic massage first. To learn it, they are requested to secretly stand outside a massage room to sneak at a technician ‘serving’ the client.

At this parlor, we were told by a manager named Ngan to wait in front of a massage room at 10 a.m.

Through a glass on the door we saw a man lying comfortably in the bath tub and being meticulously washed from head to foot by a scantily-clad masseuse.

Suddenly, the customer looked at the door, spotted us and grumbled some words. We were ordered to retreat right away.

Later that night, we were sent to the ‘classroom’ again. We were panicked upon seeing a technician performing oral sex on a fat client.

Showing approval, Ngoc glared at us and raised her head asking: “accept that and I’ll let people teach you how to massage.”

Ngoc revealed that she wanted newcomers to see the prostitution acts first since many used to come there to learn massaging but quit after refusing to ‘relax’ customers.

“Willingness to relax customers is of crucial importance, massaging techniques are nothing,” she pointed out.

Despite poor living conditions and the shame and exploitation from the owners, most young girls from poor and remote provinces are willing to accept the job, knowing they can earn as much as VND30 million (US$1,500) a month – ten or fifteen times more than the salary of an untrained factory worker.

According to Trang, the net income a massage worker earns from her tips is around VND18 million a month, after deductions for all the fines and costs.

In the world of masseuses, success is defined by the size of tips from customers, 99% of whom are males seeking a titillating experience away from their nagging wives, if they have any.

A rule of thumb in the massage industry is the younger and more beautiful masseuses are, the bigger tips they receive. Of course, there is “old Thao” who bends the trend.

As the trick is to minimize massage time and maximize tips and since this takes time, “old Thao” has found one last straw to her advantage. And it serves her and her customers well.

‘Old Thao’ and her seasoned finger skills

Despite her sunset beauty and advanced age, “old Thao” receives better tips than her younger and sexier peers.

Nicknamed by the house to differentiate from another younger and more beautiful Thao, this elderly Thao – 36 years old to be exact – boasts a skill able to satisfy the pickiest customers thanks to her experience gleaned from years serving all types from teens, students, rookies to seniors and octogenarians.

In comparison, the average age in the business is early 20s while many long-legged newcomers are even younger than the required 18.

Of course, old Thao has to compete hard, sacrifice and follow the dictum “no pain no gain”.

Showing no indiscrimination, be it a young handsome sober man or a fat, beer-bellied and drunk dude her father’s age, Thao has to smile and be gentle every time.

When the customer plays it rough, she has to endure.

Thao told Tuoi Tre undercover journalist – a masseuse by now – that such selfless acts have cultivated an attachment so that patrons are likely to order her service next time.

As a reward, ‘old Thao’ always receives over 10 men a day on average, even on down days when her colleagues nail just 3-4 clients each.

Although the official massage time per session is 1 hour, old Thao can complete one in as short as 15 minutes and hence has more time to take on additional customers.

The tip lies in her skilled fingers that can ‘relax’ men within 15-30 minutes. Relaxation in the massaging dictionary means a blow or hand job.

“Men are all fun loving so if you give them pleasure they will be pleased to give you big money,” Thao said.

This wouldn’t come as a surprise to most people who live or work in Vietnam, or even those who have read the things I’ve written on it, like my new book “How to Pay to Get Laid.” But it’s novel because this appears to be the first press coverage on this public secret.

If you’re interested, head over here [article has since been removed] to read the article in full. The comments are also worth a look.

Interesting to note that some officials in Vietnam have been publicly calling for the legalization of the sex trade recently, as noted in this article.

It’s also worth noting that “Many sex workers in HCMC do it by choice” according to this.

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