In this era of constant Yelping and Angie's Listing it's not surprising people would be interested in knowing where they can get the most bang for their buck in their hobbies. Especially if their hobby is The Hobby, or the practice of hiring escorts. The blogger going up against Eccie claims that pimps are the ones writing the ads and reviews and not the women themselves, which, while hard to verify, certainly echoes my experience working at the Washington City Paper in the pre-Craigslist days when pimps would come in on Mondays to place classified ads. I would say about 1 in 20 ads placed in "Adult Services" was placed by an independently operating woman.
So let's explore Eccie, shall we? Though the website claims to be "worldwide" and has listings in a variety of US cities and other nations, Texas is listed first and has the most cities. Austin's forum has sections called "Independent Provider Reviews," "Agency Reviews," "Spa/Studio/MP [massage parlor] Reviews," and "Strip Club Reviews."
Having just been in Thailand, where, as an American tourist you're constantly told about the easy availability of sex for pay, I am shocked, just *shocked* to learn that American men with money have the ability to purchase sex in our own country and yet are outsourcing these valuable jobs! And they have the audacity to write reviews about it!
While the standard reviews do include a little bit of detail about what happened (Spa/MP reviews include a lot of "HJ", ie., handjobs), to get the juicy details you have to read the "Rest of the Story," the boner-inducing content available only to paid subscribers. But you're not supposed to say "blowjob" because, of course you can't get a blowjob in a strip club, so the site's guidelines suggest posters say things like:
BBBJ was excellent, she performed French without a translator, her French skills were excellent and didn’t need a translator; those are several ways to say the same thing and there are more varieties. Trip to Mediterranean area = greek.It had never occurred to me that one could get a blow job (or more) in a strip club in the US until one of my students who had worked in several told me that it happened all the time. I assumed that strip clubs would have been so scrutinized by authorities as places where sex work could happen so easily that it would be courting trouble to allow it to happen. But of course you can get a blow job in a strip club--I've just never been to the VIP (and I don't have a dick).
When I was in Thailand it seemed so obvious where sex work was happening (though I didn't go looking for it) but I stepped back from that assumption and thought what foreign tourists would think of American sexual culture. I didn't see any Thai people touching in public in the three cities I visited--Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Hua Hin--the only couples that touched were white people or white men with Asian women (many of the women who engage in sex work in Thailand are reportedly not Thai, but smuggled in from war torn regions of Myanmar, Vietnam, and Laos). And yes, the ping pong show is a real thing and I was aggressively solicited to see it--but I'm glad I didn't, because it's widely known to be a total scam.
I have no idea what escort services are available, though I'm sure there are tons, but the "girl bars" that line the seedier tourist areas of all three places I visited are just assumed to have women available for sex work--it's mentioned in the travel guides. But there was nothing like what goes on on 6th Street in Austin and any other generic party district of any given American city, where drunk people fuck-dance, make out, and more in public, on dance floors, and just hook up. For free.
I talked to my mom while we were there about the blinders we must have as Americans about the sex work going on in our own culture. I strongly believe that sexual behavior at the population level does not change significantly between time and place, so I don't believe that sex work is more common in one place rather than another. There is no culture on the planet where relations between men and women and rich and poor render sex work unnecessary and anyone who thinks that sex work isn't happening where they live is delusional. But we don't see it in our own backyard.
When I was in public health school and in my years as a sex educator since I have met so many people who have been interested in human trafficking happening in other places, the plight of women "forced" into prostitution in lands like Thailand, which I guess we assume are somehow more in need of our help than women in our own land. But to look at a site like Eccie, where a completely illegal activity is named and located all day, every day, I think we need to examine the log in our own eye as we criticize the speck in the eye of other nations that we perceive as having a problem with sex work, particularly considering Western men are often the problem. Austin has 6,434 "provider ads" on Eccie; Thailand has none.