From the stats that the blog software gives me, a surprising number of people are coming to my page looking for information on Cambodian hookers. And particularly it seems there was a news story that people are curious about.
The news story was about a Westerner who was stabbed by a hooker. Thoughts on that further on — see ‘the shocking news’ subhead.
So, the general information: For Westerners, a night with a girl costs around $20. For locals, it seems it’s around $5. In some areas, probably less. I was woken up late at night in the place where I used to live by a last-minute negotiation between a john and a hooker at the next door down. She wanted $50. He was saying, “No… not fifty dollars. I don’t know, I mean, you spent all night telling me you’re not that kind of girl, and now you want fifty dollars…”
The primary thing to come to terms with as a john is that she’s not dealing with you because she likes you: she’s dealing with you because she wants the money. This is a basic understanding, but some men seem to have a lot of trouble with it. For example:
One of my neighbors in Siem Reap brought home a hooker who he’d agreed he would pay $20. Then it turned out she was a deaf-mute. Therefore, he didn’t want to pay her the full price. They had an argument about this, and she left angry — after shaking him down for $10 for her troubles. I don’t claim to understand the logic of any of this; I assume there’s part of the story I’m missing. But those appear to be the highlights.
The next morning, when I was having coffee with the guys, what he told me was that she “just wasn’t a very loving person,” and that she “had no soul.” Like the kid who was confused by the party girl who wanted $50, my neighbor misunderstood the situation in a basic way. Love had nothing to do with it. She’s not there because she likes the john or finds him attractive. She’s there for the $20.
Whether a girl wants $20 or $5 will be set by the context in which she meets you and her understanding of your situation. If she’s used to dealing with tourists, she’ll want more. If she’s used to dealing with Khmer, she’ll want less.
If she speaks English well, she’ll want more. If you meet her in a place where tourists hang out, she’ll want more.
I’ve heard that HIV is less of a crisis in Cambodia than in Thailand. That seems to be because they were unstable until recently, and therefore there was less sex-trade. When they became a tourist attraction, NGOs saw it coming and aggressively promoted condom use.
Condoms are sold everywhere. Also you sometimes see the empties around.
But that’s not to say that there isn’t HIV in Cambodia. There is. There’s also hepetitis and many other things.
The thing to keep in mind is that this isn’t like Europe, where prostitution is in some countries legalized and regulated and civilized, in the sense that the girls could find better work and usually could survive not working. In this part of the world, it’s the consequence of deep poverty. Also, often children — boys and girls — are put into prostitution quite young.
And, while it’s pervasive, it’s also shameful. Women who are not virgins can’t marry. So unmarried girls live by their good reputation. You can almost think of prostitution as a caste: once a woman enters that caste, she can’t leave. (Boys, however, do not have that problem. The saying is that boys are linen but girls are china — linen washes, but china breaks. That’s the culture; but of course boys can contract HIV just as easily as girls.)
The Shocking News
Apparently what happened is that some Westerner hired a hooker, negotiated a price and an act, and agreed to wear a condom. Then he took the condom off during the act. So she stabbed him.
There’s been a lot of chatter on the forums — mostly jokes about how he got a cut-rate deal, and that you should wear a condom because Cambodian girls are dirty. They seem to be missing something basic about the situation.
That is, the hooker has a right to protect her health. She doesn’t know the guy, she has a life outside of being a hooker, and she’s not interested in killing herself and possibly her boyfriend or husband because of some foreigner’s preferences. Think further on it:
Which of these people is more likely to have HIV? Certainly the john. Everything we know about the story tells us that he prefers unprotected sex with strangers, while she prefers protected sex — and is probably reluctant about that.
So, it’s very possible he gave her HIV. And in all likelihood she can’t afford to be tested. Do you blame her for stabbing the guy?
My other neighbor — not the creepy guy who said the deafmute hooker was soulless and loveless because she wouldn’t be chisled down on account of her disability, but the guy who was married — said that, if you go to the right bars, girls would crowd around you. And after chatting and joking around a little, you ask about “boom-boom.”
And he would point to them, and ask them questions: “Condom or no condom?” Sometimes they say one way, sometimes the other. Or “you choose.” And so on for particular acts: “—? No? Oh, I want the —.” And on to the next one.
You negotiate it all, you set the price, and then you stick to the deal. I sometimes say this guy was evil, but he knew how to negotiate with hookers.
The shocking news is that Cambodian hookers are, in fact, human. They see a john as a way to make some money, at best. As a way to keep their pimp off them at worst. They don’t have a better option, or believe they don’t.
So, if you’ve come to this blog looking for information and insight about Cambodian hookers, that’s what I’ve got for you.
edit– I’ll just say: if you have good hygiene and aren’t hideous-looking, you probably don’t need to hire a hooker. A lot of the tourists are looking for a good time.