Ever wondered about massage and prostitution in China?
Seeing pandas, eating dumplings and climbing the Great Wall are some of the usual things that foreigners do when they travel to China.
But there are other activities that some might consider more indulging.
In China, there are two alternative forms of ‘entertainment’ that foreigners may be exposed to – massage and prostitution.
Massages are commonly available across China. They can be broadly categorized into health spa massages and happy ending massages.
Health spa massages in China
A health spa massage typically offers a range of options including head massage, deep tissue massage and foot massage.
In China, you can even get a ‘blind man massage’. It’s thought that the heightened sense of touch that blind people need to compensate for the loss of their sight makes them better masseurs.
There is nothing shady about these massages and they are perfectly legal too. In fact, they’re so relaxing you may find yourself drifting off to sleep!
Happy ending massages in China
What on earth is a happy ending massage?
Well, in China the process goes something like this: you’re shown to a room in the massage parlor, given a range of options and asked to choose a girl.
Most of the girls are young, attractive and friendly, and willing to make conversation. To get the best service, men often opt for the most expensive massage.
The chosen girl then hands you a pair of shorts, turns on the shower and leaves the room. After you’ve had your shower, you put on the shorts and lie down on the bed.
After a few minutes, the girl will come back. If you’ve ordered a drink, she’ll bring that with her.
The massage will then begin. Some of it won’t be any different to what you can expect at a health spa – you’ll still get your head, arms, back and legs seen to in the same way.
The girl will shift her focus onto the middle part of your body, and that’s where the massage gets more erotic.
I’ll leave the rest to your imagination!
Towards the end of the massage the girl might make a lot of noise. Whether she’s really turned on or just putting on an act is arguable – believe what you like.
Are happy ending massages legal?
Getting a happy ending massage is a popular pastime for many men in China.
But is it legal?
In 2011, two men were arrested for running a happy ending massage parlor in Guangdong province. They were convicted of organizing prostitution and sentenced to five years in prison.
The verdict was subsequently overturned by a higher court that ruled masturbation does not count as prostitution.
In Beijing, however, the police see happy ending massages as violating the prostitution ban, and massage parlors have been the targets of crackdowns.
As it’s a bit of a grey area, if you are going to visit one of these places, be very discreet and consider the risk.
And, if you’re planning on Googling anything hanky-panky related while you’re in China, it’s best you do it anonymously with a VPN app (like this one).
Just make sure you download it before you arrive as the signup page will be blocked in China.
Prostitution in China
This is the second shady form of entertainment that some people visiting China may be tempted to try.
I’m sure this doesn’t require any explanation – it’s simply the act of paying money to have sex!
Prostitution in China is a flourishing trade in most cities across the country.
In Dongguan, one of China’s sex industry hot spots, prostitutes who have come from rural areas take pride in being able to support their families living in other provinces.
Many women find sex work better than their former factory jobs, where they would work grueling hours, 30 days a month, in harsh environments for around 1,600 yuan a month.
In the sex industry, they can earn significantly more than that while working fewer days.
Where are brothels located?
Many brothels are brazenly located in busy streets in the city centers but to foreigners, they can look exactly like any other innocuous shop.
Think twice if you see the word ‘spa’ displayed at a shop entrance. In no way does it guarantee that erotic services are on offer.
Many taxi drivers, however, would know where the real establishments are.
There’s also the invisible side to prostitution in China – popular apps like WeChat make it easy for sex workers to get in contact with potential customers.
Is it legal?
Prostitution in China is not a grey area. It’s most definitely illegal under Chinese law.
Corruption is rife in China. Local pimps probably have to pay the police quite a pretty penny in bribes to look the other way.
When the police feel a little skint, they raid some of the local brothels and slap the owners with a fine of several thousand yuan. After a few days in jail, these people are released and go back to their old ways.
According to a professor at Renmin University of China, only about 1 percent of the nation’s prostitutes have been swept up in recent crackdowns.
Stupid things foreigners do
As an English teacher in China, I once knew a fellow foreign teacher who saw a prostitute but refused to pay her.
Why? Because she didn’t satisfy him!
She called the police and he was the one who got arrested, dismissed from his job and deported from China.
Foreign teachers must also have an HIV test to work in China so it’s just not worth indulging in this kind of activity for a cheap thrill.
Stay safe in China
While paying for a happy ending or even sex is common in China, remember you’re subject to all local laws and penalties.
Stay safe in China!
What are your thoughts on massage and prostitution in China? Leave a reply below.