Submitted by Man Ying Cheung on 3 April 2019 - 1:30am
Though prostitution is a legal practice in Hong Kong, it is kind of a taboo to talk about male prostitution, because Hong Kong is still quite a conservative city. Male sex workers are usually referred as 'duck' or 'goose' in Cantonese, in which 'duck' usually means those who provide services to women, while 'goose' means those who provide services to men.
In Hong Kong, since male prostitution is not as 'established' as female prostitution, male sex workers do not station at a particular building like female sex workers do, nor would they stand on the streets and make themselves available. Most of them often advertise on escorting websites like this one (you’re welcome!), or to attract potential customers through social media apps like WeChat, Jack’d, Grindr etc. Interestingly, a lot of male sex workers currently working in Hong Kong are usually not locals, some of them are from Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand; but the majority is from mainland China with a traveling visa.
I’ve had the chance to speak to a male sex worker in Hong Kong a few years back, he told me that customers often have a higher expectation from male sex workers compared to female sex workers, including physical appearance, socializing technic, sexual skills etc. Although not all male prostitutes are homosexual, most of their customers are male. There are several possible reasons for their clients to ask for their service, for example, they are single and need sexual pleasure or mental comfort, they are having issues with their partners psychologically or sexually, or do it as a revenge for their spouse's unloyalty.
To most of the sex workers, an important reason to take this job is that it provides easy money. Joe (he uses many different fake names so we are just going to call him Joe) got into the industry 20 years ago after seeing an advertisement on the newspapers. He decided to quit his boring job as a cashier and became a male escort. He confessed that he actually enjoys having sex and getting paid for it. He mentioned that he could receive a relatively handsome paycheck and a more flexible working schedule compared to his regular job.
Drawing on my cognition towards female prostitution I asked him about the detail of his services and if there were any differences between them. He said that he offers body massages and sex services to either men or women. Besides, he also provides some special requests like BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism) service and so-called ‘Two Kings, One Queen’ to his customers. He highlighted how important safety precaution was for the sake of both sides. Condoms and undergoing AIDS Test every three months are indispensable for him. He also told me when he first engaged in this job, his customer source mainly relied on the agent, by gradually establishing his reputation and image, he now makes earning mainly by himself.
Joe was having some mixed feeling towards his job. He likes it because he gets to meet with different people who were seen as strange and disgusting because of their special sexual desires. It’s also broadened his horizon on the sexual knowledge and he has done something he had never done before. However, he has been in this business for 20 years now and younger workers are much more popular in the market than a 40-year-old man. At the same time, he also believes that every person has their own special characteristics which people would be attracted to. With that being said, this is still a harsh industry. Unlike a regular job, more experience doesn’t mean that you are going to get a higher salary. He also has to face a lot of pressure and prejudice from society as male prostitution is seen as an immoral and shameful occupation in Asia, which sometimes makes him very self-conscious. In addition, the personal safety of these sex workers are also under threat. They usually face different kinds of risks such as robbery, blackmailing, violence or customers who refuse to pay after service, being exploited by intermediaries etc. But they rarely seek help from the police as they do not wish to have their job exposed to their families.
Statistics showed that British women's demand for male prostitutes has doubled in the past five years, which is much faster than the demand for female prostitutes. A study conducted by Lancaster University and Manchester Metropolitan University stated that male prostitution is getting much more popular than a few years ago because the mentality of women has been changing. It suggested that the development of male prostitution is to a certain extent connected to the rise of feminism and the breakdown of the gender hegemonic and patriarchal constructs. However, it turns out this theory is not entirely applicable in Hong Kong’s context. Because for one thing, most customers are male, Hong Kong women seldom approach male prostitutes; for another, the reality is that male sex workers in Hong Kong are still victims under the hegemonic and patriarchal society.
This documentary shows life as a male sex worker in Britain: