Since the COVID-19 Pandemic began there have been several major changes in the commercial sex industry around the world. From a near total shutdown some places have begun an attempt to rebuild while a select few never even closed at all. Still there have been some very real transformations.
First there has been an obvious movement of sex workers towards online adult entertainment. There have also been others driven by desperation into all manner of situations and behaviors. More recently there have been some changes on the ground that seem aimed to deal with what has become a “new reality” now that we are over six months into the pandemic without respite. Here is just some of what has been happening since I first reported on the impact of the coronavirus on the global sex industry in early 2020.
All around the world the same song
Adult entertainment has been severely curtailed in almost all of the world. Sex shops have either been shuttered or seriously restricted for a period that is now approaching half a year. People are of course still exchanging sex services for money. But it in many cases it looks different than it did in the past.
Even in countries where the sex industry remains mostly open there seem to be less customers and money moving around. In countries like Cambodia the massage parlors, hostess bars and even karaoke clubs remain open as a whole. Yet several individual places have shut down for lack of customers. Other have cut staff or hours.
In Japan guys can still hire sex services though their options may be slightly more limited. For foreigners that is undoubtedly the case especially since the only two foreign oriented soaplands in the country shut their doors a while back.
The commercial sex industry in South Korea has always had a well deserved reputation for xenophobia. Non-Korean customers have long been banned from most sex shops and refused service at red light districts. Nowadays things are even more difficult for foreign guys looking to pay for play. Even some places that once welcomed foreigners have turned their backs on guys who are not Korean.
Over in Thailand
In Thailand things have followed a somewhat similar course. But rather than local shops closing access to foreigners we see shops usually meant for foreigners opening up to local men. It is a sort of reverse or crossing over from one world to the other. There have long been some shops for foreign customers and some that were mostly meant for Thais. Some Thai oriented shops refuse farang. Many or possibly even most foreign oriented shops refused Thai guys.
A combination of xenophobia and a fear of misunderstanding seems to drive the refusal of service to foreigners at Japanese and Korean sex shops. In the farang oriented shops in Thailand it was often the women themselves who wanted a “foreigners only” policy. Whether or not they wanted to avoid judgement or simply running into someone they might know a lot of the sex workers along roads like Sukhumvit in Bangkok have for many years refused to service Thai customers. Things are slowly changing now.
Adult shops that were once solely oriented to foreigners are now openly beckoning Thai customers inside. Thai blowjob bars in particular have long been off limits to Thai guys. Now I have word that the high end 7 Heaven on Sukhumvit Soi 33 in Bangkok is welcoming in Thai customers. Perhaps they made the decision after the nearby Tokyo Jogakuen suck shop shut its doors.
Big changes in Bangkok sex shops
Several erotic massage parlors in Bangkok that have always been meant for foreign customers now accept Thai customers. Many are running advertisements in the Thai language to solicit new visitors. Thai guys with money to spend must be delighted to know they now have full access to the professional nuru massages offered at Doki Doki. That’s on top of the higher end SNCTM nuru massage shop that employs some Doki Doki standouts like the famous Pam.
Other Bangkok establishments that are welcoming in Thai customers these days include Kokoro Massage and the well appointed Daisy Dream massage shop on Soi 33. As far as I know however most if not all foreign oriented go go bars would still restrict entry to foreigners from certain countries with the old “member’s only” policy.
Rather than attempt to adjust to the new reality some other sex shops have simply shutdown. That even includes some very well known places that have been around for decades like the Devil’s Den on LK Metro in Pattaya. I’ve also been told that the famous Eden Club in Bangkok has shut its doors though similar news has spread in the past only to be later revised. Serenity A Go-Go on Soi Buakhao in Pattaya isn’t nearly as historic but it too went out of business suddenly in mid-September 2020.
Despite the hopes of many, there doesn’t appear to be any major opening of international travel in the works. So it seems very likely that more and more places in Thailand and other parts of the world will either have to make adjustments or simply shut down shop and move on. Of course millions of sex workers will continue to ply their trade in order to earn money. And millions of punters will continue to pay them. But when the smoke clears things will very likely look a lot different than they did prior to the year 2020.