I had an amazing experience only a short time ago which, to me at least, is closely related to my overall topic of sex work and sex trafficking.
Here it is – –
I was eating at a favorite taco restaurant in the Terminal 21 Mall on Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok. Next to me was a young man sitting alone who looked like he could be a fellow American, and he was. We had a nice talk. I was glad that he took over the conversation. Of course, we talked a bit about women in Thailand. He explained that he was working for a real estate business without explaining.
He was excited to talk about meeting women in the USA digitally, online. This is also known as digital apps. He had some experience with that, and I did not. This has become well known since the introduction of Tinder in 2012 but has been followed by many more such as Bumble, Happen, OK Cupid, Hinge, Raya, and others. There are other more traditional match-maker websites like Match.com and many with a regional focus for specific countries. I was all ears.
The deal is that, with variations, these websites allow members in any area to see pictures of women nearby. If he swipes the woman’s picture to the right, she will be contacted. She can then swipe his picture to the right and, thus, pick him to meet. Some contacts in this way may lead to purely temporary causal sex or a long-term relationship. Surely some sex workers hide among these pictures.
This is my new friend’s story. He was very aware of his height. I didn’t ask and he did not offer, but he was several inches taller than me. I am about 5 feet 6 inches (166 km). He might be 5 feet 9 inches, or even 5 feet 10 inches (178 km). Yet, he was convinced that only men 6 feet tall (183 kg) and over ever meet women on those websites. He was not fat, but he was not slim, athletic in appearance. Maybe he had an ordinary automobile, went to an ordinary university. He was convinced that dating apps required these kind of qualifications if any women will ever pick a man they see. Characteristics he did not have, according to him, were necessary before women swipe his picture to meet him. He was part of a large out-crowd.
Maybe he is completely right about that. I would like to see some quality research about it. He told me that truly attractive women, or at least their picture, get hundreds of digital contacts from men. Only the special men and special women reply / answer each other and meet even for just a happy hour. The statistical ramifications of this are huge.
Maybe, if this is true, many “beautiful people” meet. Those who do not look great in a picture and do not say the magic words needed rarely met anyone. In a way, this could be an interesting mirror to the real world.
I wonder how many very nice women under these digital app methods cask ask for some cash, or other reward, to assure a man that he will have sex on the first (and maybe only) date. In a system like this it is possible, even likely, that some of the women at times qualify as sex workers. And why not? Digital apps should not be confused with traditional match making services. But both are part of existing social marketplaces in effect selling relationships.
And that is a reason to include this in my book.
Regardless of how this works, it is a clear example of both the potential success and the potential failure of casual sex that seems so common these days.
Whether one or both partners are seeking only causal sex, consent can easily be established. Temporary partners can still extend the relationship to another time or just walk away.
I am told (mostly via websites) that many modern young people limit making all their new friends to use of dating apps. This is more common for younger people.
I suggest that older men seeking sex still find comfort in sexual behavior but often do not know how to find it. Many people, men and women, would like to be a partner to causal sex. This includes divorced and single people; those who have been clumsy about meeting potential sex partners all their life, etc. There are examples of people who may benefit from this way of meeting partners.
In the USA something very similar was provided by sex workers who were able to advertise their sexual services in discretely worded advertisements. The best-known examples were Craig’s List and Backpage. Both have been run out of business. Anti-sex work zealots accused both companies of helping pimps force underage girls (<18) to sell sex services on these websites. One problem is that I, and probably many other people, were able to select any city with those services and we could see all those pictures of women on their websites. For a while I often would do that, maybe a couple of times a week, looking at the women’s pictures. It was fun. I am not a very big guy. So, I am interested in smaller women which seems natural for me to do. But I can tell the difference between a petite woman and one who is under 18 years old. I never ever saw a single picture who, for me, looked even suspiciously under 18 years old – none. But the religious / conservative forces in the United States have won that battle.
I have read that eyewitnesses in court cases are not as respected as they once were because people’s biases have been found to sway their evidence. People in jail have been set free when better evidence proves their innocence. Well, I wish to be respectful when I say that anti-sex zealots will always see underage girls in a website. They (innocently subconsciously) want to further their mission to close down Craig’s List and Back Page in any way they can. You can be sure many people will claim to see young girls because it is an emotional issue for them. If there are hundreds of women’s pictures across all of Craig’s List or Back Page, and if a couple of truly under 18 girls sneak in using a friend or sister’s ID, so be it. Was it their own work or were they forced by an evil man? Allowing that might not have ever been intentional. But what some others see as valuable service and a successful business is disrupted by stigma and ideology.
In this way, a source of suasion for lonely men has been shut down.
We can be sure that digital apps, which have become the most common way younger people meet these days, is sure to fall under the same kind of exaggerated attacks as Craig’s List and Back Page and all casual sex helpful to older people.
Many men around the world had no sisters or good female friends, no confidence with women, no experience in this very complicated world and they look back at their lives wondering what relationships, including sex, would have meant to them.