Love in the Time of Money
Since the late 20th century Thailand has been associated with a thriving international sexual services industry. One specialized niche of this industry markets young local men as paid exhibitionists to older foreign admirers. This book explores erotic love among these men. It is a study of vacation boyfriends, male sex workers, and international gay tourism. It represents ethnographic fieldwork conducted from 1997 to 2002 in Chiangmai City. Going beyond academic analysis of sexuality in terms of discourses of power issues of identity politics, normality, perversion, and deviance this work explores intimate connections and the sociology of love. Three analytical perspectives cultural ideologies, sexual marketplaces, and erotic roles are deployed to investigate how commercial and cultural factors facilitate and frustrate, enhance and distort, the erotic love which men of different racial and social classes experience for one another. This work contributes to the research into the patois of cultural values generated at the intersections between modern Asian and Western societies. It should also be of interest to scholars of gender and sexuality.