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Sexual Freedom And Morals In Thailand


dutchguest

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An interesting article in the Bangkok Post about the situation concerning sexual freedom and morals:

http://www.bangkokpost.com/leisure/leisurescoop/10200/sex-through-the-ages

If you are interested in the historic origines of the present situation you can read “Leaving Mother Lake” by Yang Erche Namu and American antropologue Christine Mathieu. It describes life in a matriarchal tribe in South China. I.m.o. a very entertaining book as well as scientific.

http://www.sawnet.org/books/authors.php?Namu+Yang+Erche

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/1327927/Chinese-men-threaten-%27lake-of-free-love%27-where-women-rule.html

http://www.cpamedia.com/culture/thai_women_commerce/

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Your first link appears dead- oops, no, got it- was just very slow.

It doesnot work with me either at the moment. You can find the article under the head "leisure" on the website of the Bangkok Post.

I copied the whole article:

SEX THROUGH THE AGES

Sexuality in old Siam was much more open and diverse than we think

By: Story PICHAYA SVASTI Photos PEERAWAT JARIYASOMBAT Published: 22/01/2009 at 12:00 AM Newspaper section: OutlookWhen it comes to sex, marriage and virginity, many Thais believe the conservative values they grew up with are the same as those that were present in old Siam.

6890.jpgThis belief is a myth, says academic Chalidaporn Songsamphan in her research paper, "History of Sexuality: Sex and Related Issues in Thai History".

"Sexuality is dynamic. Its components, definitions and moral standards fluctuate and vary from one period to another," explains Chalidaporn who teaches at Thammasat University's Faculty of Political Science.

***Article deleted, unfortunately the Bangkok Post does not allow ThaiVisa to post the entire article on the site. 1st 3 sentences and a link only please--sbk***

Edited by sbk
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Yes, the thesis of the writers mentioned in the first article is that this hooey about 'sexual morality' or 'purity' is simply very recent propaganda and hogwash. It's one of the main missions of the Ministry of Culture to spread such pap. They've had little to no affect on real people, but they have been pretty successful at bowdlerizing much of the print and televised media. It's another way in which modern Thailand is like Victorian England- wildly promiscuous behaviour, from all reliable accounts, but no one had better talk about it!!!

Sadly, this propaganda has the side effect of delusionary approaches to sexual health and diseases such as HIV/AIDS. The young people are at it like rabbits, and the current generation has had nowhere near enough exposure to decent health education.

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Most cultures have some degree of anti-promiscuity ideals, and Thailand is no different. Yet people in just about all cultures enjoy sex and engage in it outside of the bonds in marriage.  Even where the penalities are sever (such as getting stoned to death) people still do it.

Thai men and women actively engage in pre-marital or adulterous sexual relations, just as people from the USA, Japan, Italy, Ghana, Brazil--well, just about everywhere. But the heavy dose of anti-sexual messages given in Thailand make people feel guilty when they do what they are going to do. For example, if a man and woman from Norway meet each other, are attracted, and decide to have sex, it is generally with little guilt. In Thailand, the women quite often decries the situation, saying "Good women don't do this!"  THen after, they feel a pervading feeling of shame and guilt. Thai men, on the other hand, feel a sense of accomplishment and pride.  Of course, this is a rash generalization of both people in Norway and people in Thailand, but in my experience, there is a lot of truth to it.

Edited by bonobo
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I think what we see now is applying a combination of higher class standards and imported victorian values on the rest of the society in the name of nation building.

I doubt Thais even know what "victorian values" mean, they are simply told to behave like ladies of the higher status, while folks at the Culture Ministry are still fascinated with the likes of Phibul and Sarit.

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Attitudes towards Sexual behaviour tend to move in circles in most countries. One generation find sexual freedom a good thing, the next generation condem sexual freedom. Look at the English example. The Victorians were embarrased by the Georgians pursuit of pleasure and brought about a strict moral code which was not reasonably challanged until the 1960s cultural / sexual revoloution. If you go back to the Roman libertines then you will see that the dark ages reacted against their excesses. To put it simply it's the kids being embarassed by the parents sexual freedom, for a generation and promoting "proper" behaviour. Then the next generation rebelling against their parents strict upbringing, and lack of sexual freedom.

Same same in most countries, I would guess, and the article suggests this basic trend would apply toThailand. Although, using a Western social model to comment on an Asian country is probably not ideal.

Edited by Geekfreaklover
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Sex is not free, but rather cheap in any standard.

For advise, contact Chuwit or the new Commerce Minister.

So you think cheap sex is worse than free sex ??? For me neither free or cheap does show the "High standard of mind"

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Sex is not free, but rather cheap in any standard.

For advise, contact Chuwit or the new Commerce Minister.

So you think cheap sex is worse than free sex ??? For me neither free or cheap does show the "High standard of mind"

And just what does a "High standard of mind" say sex should be?

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Sex is not free, but rather cheap in any standard.

For advise, contact Chuwit or the new Commerce Minister.

So you think cheap sex is worse than free sex ??? For me neither free or cheap does show the "High standard of mind"

And just what does a "High standard of mind" say sex should be?

Good question. The 'high' standard of mind can call it whatever they want to call it as long as it fits with their 'high' standard(s). The use of the word 'High' suggests a Christian angle.

As a aside, It seems interesting that the most historically important works of art (European and Asian) were created during times of sexual freedom. Take a walk around Angkor Wat, you can get the idea.

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As a aside, It seems interesting that the most historically important works of art (European and Asian) were created during times of sexual freedom. Take a walk around Angkor Wat, you can get the idea.

That is quite an interesting point.  I need to think on it, but you may be right there, and I wonder what that really means about the human psyche.

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As a aside, It seems interesting that the most historically important works of art (European and Asian) were created during times of sexual freedom. Take a walk around Angkor Wat, you can get the idea.

That is quite an interesting point. I need to think on it, but you may be right there, and I wonder what that really means about the human psyche.

According to Freud culture (and also art?) are build on the repression or sublimation of sexual impulses, the sexual energy is directed in another direction, towards creativity. I don't agree with this vision, I doubt if there is any relation between sexual freedom and art. And besides: what is art is also a debatable question.

Personally I agree with the tendency of the article that there is a reasonable sexual freedom in Thailand, more then in most western countries, especially among people in the villages who don't have much property. Hiso people have more to loose so there are stricter rules. Well may there be a tendency that hiso people can impose there values and norms downwards.

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As a aside, It seems interesting that the most historically important works of art (European and Asian) were created during times of sexual freedom. Take a walk around Angkor Wat, you can get the idea.

That is quite an interesting point. I need to think on it, but you may be right there, and I wonder what that really means about the human psyche.

According to Freud culture (and also art?) are build on the repression or sublimation of sexual impulses, the sexual energy is directed in another direction, towards creativity. I don't agree with this vision, I doubt if there is any relation between sexual freedom and art. And besides: what is art is also a debatable question.

Personally I agree with the tendency of the article that there is a reasonable sexual freedom in Thailand, more then in most western countries, especially among people in the villages who don't have much property. Hiso people have more to loose so there are stricter rules. Well may there be a tendency that hiso people can impose there values and norms downwards.

I don't buy the Freud explanation, either. Much, if not all of his work was taken from studying one social goup; namely - rich, european, sexually repressed housewives. Freud had no real interest in Art history, as far as i can gather..

In response to the highlighted sentance above. If there is more sexual freedom in Thailand than most western countries then one question begs to be addresed - Why is it not acceptable to be able to view images of a peson not wearing clothing in a magazine or on the television in Thailand? Whereas in most Western countries we can view such images? This would be a good benchmark for a countries tolerance towards sexual freedom. - Will the government let us look at a naked body?

And I think you find that HISO university undergrads are exploring sexual freedom just as much, if not more so than the average rice picker.

Edited by Geekfreaklover
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In the Western wold, the anti-promiscuity attitude is originated in the late 19th century and lasted till the mid 60's of the 20th century. And this was only an typical middle and upper-class phenomena. But in the lower classes, through history, promiscuity was a normal part of live. I was one of the lucky ones who experienced the transition. Occasional sex just for fun and without any commitment was started when the PILL was widely available. There is a reason why this era was called "The Golden Sixties"

Modern Thailand still have the 19th century attitude of puritanism. Just go to an swimming pool or a beach in a non tourist area, you never see a bikini, when a girl or women come out of the water there is another girl waiting with a towel; so nobody can see her wet swimsuit accentuating her body.

On non tourists beaches you still see Thai girls go into the water fully dressed and immediately take a towel to cover themselves.

Most people don't seems to realize that outside the tourist areas there is a complete different attitude towards sexual morality. Nudity is taboo in Thailand. 85% and maybe more of the TV programs in Europe will be banned on Thai TV. Puritanism as very much alive in Thailand. And when I write Thailand I mean the Thailand outside the tourist areas, and this puritanism go's also for middle class Bangkokians.

Look to the girls who wearing a mini skirt, they always wearing a hot-pant underneath, you could never see their slip like in Europe.

So even history books about sexual behaviour in the past are interesting, but are not related with the 21th Thai society.

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As a aside, It seems interesting that the most historically important works of art (European and Asian) were created during times of sexual freedom. Take a walk around Angkor Wat, you can get the idea.

That is quite an interesting point. I need to think on it, but you may be right there, and I wonder what that really means about the human psyche.

According to Freud culture (and also art?) are build on the repression or sublimation of sexual impulses, the sexual energy is directed in another direction, towards creativity. I don't agree with this vision, I doubt if there is any relation between sexual freedom and art. And besides: what is art is also a debatable question.

Personally I agree with the tendency of the article that there is a reasonable sexual freedom in Thailand, more then in most western countries, especially among people in the villages who don't have much property. Hiso people have more to loose so there are stricter rules. Well may there be a tendency that hiso people can impose there values and norms downwards.

I don't buy the Freud explanation, either. Much, if not all of his work was taken from studying one social goup; namely - rich, european, sexually repressed housewives. Freud had no real interest in Art history, as far as i can gather..

In response to the highlighted sentance above. If there is more sexual freedom in Thailand than most western countries then one question begs to be addresed - Why is it not acceptable to be able to view images of a peson not wearing clothing in a magazine or on the television in Thailand? Whereas in most Western countries we can view such images? This would be a good benchmark for a countries tolerance towards sexual freedom. - Will the government let us look at a naked body?

And I think you find that HISO university undergrads are exploring sexual freedom just as much, if not more so than the average rice picker.

In the Western wold, the anti-promiscuity attitude is originated in the late 19th century and lasted till the mid 60's of the 20th century. And this was only an typical middle and upper-class phenomena. But in the lower classes, through history, promiscuity was a normal part of live. I was one of the lucky ones who experienced the transition. Occasional sex just for fun and without any commitment was started when the PILL was widely available. There is a reason why this era was called "The Golden Sixties"

Modern Thailand still have the 19th century attitude of puritanism. Just go to an swimming pool or a beach in a non tourist area, you never see a bikini, when a girl or women come out of the water there is another girl waiting with a towel; so nobody can see her wet swimsuit accentuating her body.

On non tourists beaches you still see Thai girls go into the water fully dressed and immediately take a towel to cover themselves.

Most people don't seems to realize that outside the tourist areas there is a complete different attitude towards sexual morality. Nudity is taboo in Thailand. 85% and maybe more of the TV programs in Europe will be banned on Thai TV. Puritanism as very much alive in Thailand. And when I write Thailand I mean the Thailand outside the tourist areas, and this puritanism go's also for middle class Bangkokians.

Look to the girls who wearing a mini skirt, they always wearing a hot-pant underneath, you could never see their slip like in Europe.

So even history books about sexual behaviour in the past are interesting, but are not related with the 21th Thai society.

I think there is a difference between porno and natural sex. But i.m.o. the situation in Thailand is complex, in some respects they are more conservative and in others more progressive, outside the house, when everybody can see it, one is generally moderate, inside the house one is free. And there is a gap between morality and practice, between what one says and does, as is also said in the article.

I see it about the same as the article important:

Thailand is traditionally matrilineair: the female bloodline is continued. It is important to have a daughter. The western world, and also China and India, are traditionally patrilineair. (the tendency is towards more equality of the sexes and less importance of bloodlines).

In Thailand the dowry has to be given to the girls family and the boys go to live in the girls famalyhouse. In China and India it is opposite (and in the -not so far past- also in the western world). If you google on " dowry, India" you can see boys are favored there.

This situation is important for sexual freedom. If the male bloodline has to be continued the male must be sure the woman makes no sidesteps and her sexual freedom is restricted. If the female bloodline has to be continued it is not so important who the father is. The mother stays the same. There is more sexual freedom. This is a more natural situation and could (and still can in some case) be seen in many primitive tribes. To have the male bloodline continued demands a more complex social organisation, with all kind of rules and restrictions.

So in my view Thailand has a much more natural, free and relaxed attitude towards sex then the west. One of the reasons why Thailand is so attractive for many people. (in a globalizing world the differences are slowly fading away).

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I think there is a difference between porno and natural sex. But i.m.o. the situation in Thailand is complex, in some respects they are more conservative and in others more progressive, outside the house, when everybody can see it, one is generally moderate, inside the house one is free. And there is a gap between morality and practice, between what one says and does, as is also said in the article.

Bar girls execpted???>> :o

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I think there is a difference between porno and natural sex. But i.m.o. the situation in Thailand is complex, in some respects they are more conservative and in others more progressive, outside the house, when everybody can see it, one is generally moderate, inside the house one is free. And there is a gap between morality and practice, between what one says and does, as is also said in the article.

Bar girls execpted???>> :o

There are no bargirls or prostitution in Thailand. They are not allowed by law.

On T.V. you are not even allowed to talk about their non-existence.

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It makes me laugh. When I was there in '05 there was a big outrage that a man and woman were sleeping in the same bed on Thai Big Brother. Then there were people that thought Tata young and Girly Berry were too revealing. Thai Penthouse Magazine only shows topless. And you already know about the industry. Makes us wonder.

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As a aside, It seems interesting that the most historically important works of art (European and Asian) were created during times of sexual freedom. Take a walk around Angkor Wat, you can get the idea.

That is quite an interesting point. I need to think on it, but you may be right there, and I wonder what that really means about the human psyche.

According to Freud culture (and also art?) are build on the repression or sublimation of sexual impulses, the sexual energy is directed in another direction, towards creativity. I don't agree with this vision, I doubt if there is any relation between sexual freedom and art. And besides: what is art is also a debatable question.

Personally I agree with the tendency of the article that there is a reasonable sexual freedom in Thailand, more then in most western countries, especially among people in the villages who don't have much property. Hiso people have more to loose so there are stricter rules. Well may there be a tendency that hiso people can impose there values and norms downwards.

In response to the highlighted sentance above. If there is more sexual freedom in Thailand than most western countries then one question begs to be addresed - Why is it not acceptable to be able to view images of a peson not wearing clothing in a magazine or on the television in Thailand? Whereas in most Western countries we can view such images? This would be a good benchmark for a countries tolerance towards sexual freedom. - Will the government let us look at a naked body?

And I think you find that HISO university undergrads are exploring sexual freedom just as much, if not more so than the average rice picker.

Thai TV also blocks out images of people drinking and smoking cigarettes . Do you think this means that Thais don't drink or smoke??

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As a aside, It seems interesting that the most historically important works of art (European and Asian) were created during times of sexual freedom. Take a walk around Angkor Wat, you can get the idea.

That is quite an interesting point. I need to think on it, but you may be right there, and I wonder what that really means about the human psyche.

According to Freud culture (and also art?) are build on the repression or sublimation of sexual impulses, the sexual energy is directed in another direction, towards creativity. I don't agree with this vision, I doubt if there is any relation between sexual freedom and art. And besides: what is art is also a debatable question.

Personally I agree with the tendency of the article that there is a reasonable sexual freedom in Thailand, more then in most western countries, especially among people in the villages who don't have much property. Hiso people have more to loose so there are stricter rules. Well may there be a tendency that hiso people can impose there values and norms downwards.

In response to the highlighted sentance above. If there is more sexual freedom in Thailand than most western countries then one question begs to be addresed - Why is it not acceptable to be able to view images of a peson not wearing clothing in a magazine or on the television in Thailand? Whereas in most Western countries we can view such images? This would be a good benchmark for a countries tolerance towards sexual freedom. - Will the government let us look at a naked body?

And I think you find that HISO university undergrads are exploring sexual freedom just as much, if not more so than the average rice picker.

Thai TV also blocks out images of people drinking and smoking cigarettes . Do you think this means that Thais don't drink or smoke??

Duhhh?......I was not saying people in Thailand don't have sex. We were talking about Thailand's attitude towards sex.

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As a aside, It seems interesting that the most historically important works of art (European and Asian) were created during times of sexual freedom. Take a walk around Angkor Wat, you can get the idea.

That is quite an interesting point. I need to think on it, but you may be right there, and I wonder what that really means about the human psyche.

According to Freud culture (and also art?) are build on the repression or sublimation of sexual impulses, the sexual energy is directed in another direction, towards creativity. I don't agree with this vision, I doubt if there is any relation between sexual freedom and art. And besides: what is art is also a debatable question.

Personally I agree with the tendency of the article that there is a reasonable sexual freedom in Thailand, more then in most western countries, especially among people in the villages who don't have much property. Hiso people have more to loose so there are stricter rules. Well may there be a tendency that hiso people can impose there values and norms downwards.

In response to the highlighted sentance above. If there is more sexual freedom in Thailand than most western countries then one question begs to be addresed - Why is it not acceptable to be able to view images of a peson not wearing clothing in a magazine or on the television in Thailand? Whereas in most Western countries we can view such images? This would be a good benchmark for a countries tolerance towards sexual freedom. - Will the government let us look at a naked body?

And I think you find that HISO university undergrads are exploring sexual freedom just as much, if not more so than the average rice picker.

Thai TV also blocks out images of people drinking and smoking cigarettes . Do you think this means that Thais don't drink or smoke??

Duhhh?......I was not saying people in Thailand don't have sex. We were talking about Thailand's attitude towards sex.

And my point was that Thailand's attitude towards smoking and drinking is about the same as it is towards sex. Outside high society, no-one could give a dam_n as long as they could make money from it! The only difference is that Western countries aren't as hypocritical as they don't have these problems to the same extent. Do you really believe there is less tolerance towards sex here than in the West (outside high society)?

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As a aside, It seems interesting that the most historically important works of art (European and Asian) were created during times of sexual freedom. Take a walk around Angkor Wat, you can get the idea.

Wat :D ? I think the relationships between art and life are far more complex than that.

Attitudes to nudity cannot be completely identified with attitudes to sex. Incidentally, at some time in the past, I understand it was the norm for Northern Thai women not to clothe the upper body. Not all cultures sexualize the female breast to the same extent as others. (By the way, which body features are traditionally considered most sexually attractive in Thai culture? Small waist for women? Pale skin for men and women ? What else ? Keep your replies "polite" :o .)

It's interesting to contemplate this topic, though difficult to make any observations with great certainty as it's truly a complex one in Thailand.

One comment I can confidently make is that the "rules" for sexual relationships in Thailand allow men far more freedom than women. While this is true in many societies, I think there's a particularly great difference in Thailand. There are escape valves, of course, and these may be especially obvious to outsiders - the "ladyboys", the toms and dees, for example - giving a perhaps false impression of "freedom". "Gik" seems to me just a vogue word for something that has always existed, but I may be wrong.

Another observation I'd make is that it does appear that the higher up the social scale you are placed, the more constricting the rules, or show of adherence to the rules may be. Thus, more constricting for women, I'd say, who at the same time must turn a blind eye to "massage parlours" and mia nois (though no joy being the daughter of a poor farming family, either). Family still comes first by a very long mile. Sexuality and family life are not really expected to co-exist under the same roof. Adolescent/young adult experimentation is less tolerated by the middle/upper classes, I think.

Edited by WaiWai
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As a aside, It seems interesting that the most historically important works of art (European and Asian) were created during times of sexual freedom. Take a walk around Angkor Wat, you can get the idea.

One comment I can confidently make is that the "rules" for sexual relationships in Thailand allow men far more freedom than women. While this is true in many societies, I think there's a particularly great difference in Thailand.

Yes, Thai women would not dream of having sex before marriage. :D I've no idea where their reputation comes from! :o

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As a aside, It seems interesting that the most historically important works of art (European and Asian) were created during times of sexual freedom. Take a walk around Angkor Wat, you can get the idea.

One comment I can confidently make is that the "rules" for sexual relationships in Thailand allow men far more freedom than women. While this is true in many societies, I think there's a particularly great difference in Thailand.

Yes, Thai women would not dream of having sex before marriage. :D I've no idea where their reputation comes from! :o

I did say, "or show of adherence to the rules".

Same same after marriage.

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Isn't there an argument somewhere that the all-knowing Thai founding fathers, well aware that bare-breasted women in public (which was allegedly the norm for the time), enforced western conservative and even puritanical standards for dress and decorum in order to deflect any western nations plans to colonize the country in order to save them from what they may have considered as evidence of an obviously wanton and overtly primitive life style?

Or is that more nationalistic jingoism and sycophantic adulation dressed up as 'true' history?

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