The professional way to protect a marriage

Minette Marrin – The Times Online (London)

Bracing contrarian provocation from the Times of London (Copyright).
I lived in my early twenties in Hong Kong for five years, and was at first rather shocked when business colleagues of my husband’s, visiting from London, asked almost as soon as they got off the plane for directions to the red-light district. Soon I realised that almost every one of our many visitors, happily married or not, was determined to find a hooker. These were normal, youngish, attractive men, many of them devoted to their families. The Far East, like London today, was awash with beautiful and clever girls for hire; in most of the world, for most of history, that has been normal.
Right up and down the scale, a man can rent a girl a great deal better and more cooperative than the woman he lives with. She will be probably be much more sexually experienced and more accomplished than most wives too. In plain English, or so I am told by perfectly nice men, prostitutes tend to be better at it. They tend to be younger and more energetic. They are also prepared to do things which her indoors might draw the line at. Some prostitutes provide tender loving care, too; the famous madam Cynthia Payne provided her suburban clients with comfort food after the act in the form of poached eggs on toast.
The other awkward fact, which most people must know, but somehow prefer to ignore, is that men often prefer sex without a relationship. Perhaps that is wrong of them, but one must concede that relationships can be wearing, particularly marriage, and sometimes a man just wants time out, and sex without strings is clearly a source of great pleasure, at least for men. If you were an evolutionary biologist you might argue that unfettered sex is entirely natural to men. One might at least agree that hogamous higamous, man seems to be a bit polygamous.
If so, prostitutes have an invaluable function – meeting such inconvenient needs without undermining the institutions of marriage and family. In my view a man – even a man like Eliot Spitzer – may be doing a far better thing in using prostitutes than in having torrid affairs with his wife’s best friends. It is far less threatening to the marriage – so it’s odd that people reserve their strongest disapproval for sex without strings.
Besides, we can know nothing of the mysteries of other people’s marriages, many of which survive long beyond sexual interest. Mr and Mrs Spitzer may have reached an accommodation that suited them. Some Hong Kong wives used to talk of a pink ticket – a sort of carte blanche with a blush: whatever their husbands got up to, or down to, in Manila or Jakarta, or even in the shadier corners of Hong Kong, didn’t count. A few said they were glad “to have the heat taken off”.
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