Wherever you go in the world there is a sex industry. The nature of it varies, the style of it adapts to local tastes, the way it operates might be very different according to local norms and history. But is is always there. And according to historians and to the writers of the past it has always been there. It therefore seems fair to assume that there will always be a market for people to buy (well, usually rent) the sexual services of other human beings.
So I thought it would be worth doing a couple of articles looking at the history of the business in various parts of the world. The best place to begin is probably the home of the longest surviving uninterrupted culture, China. Well, uninterrupted if one ignores the barbaric and evil years of Mao´s reign especially the various Cultural Revolutions.
In China during three thousand years of Imperial times, no matter what dynasty was in power or where they had originated from (most of the Chinese Emperors throughout history were not, in fact, Chinese, they came in conquered, and just took their head at the top of the bureaucracy) the sex trade was seen as a perfectly acceptable way for a family to support themselves, though the manner was, I suppose was we would now call human trafficking.
|Chinese Pillow books pulled no punches|
Poor parents would literally sell their prettiest daughters to the owners of brothels as children, and they would then be brought up in the environment and become active prostitutes. We would now be horrified at the ages at which this happened to the young girls and cry paedophilia. But before we do so we should recall that most people only lived to be forty and that at the same time in Tudor England girls married at thirteen and became full adults able to inherit property at the age of fourteen.
Every village had its House. Every town had several, and frequenting them was not seen as in anyway negative or seedy. It was just a fact of life and often the Houses were actually the centre of cultural life as well, as this was where the musicians worked and practised between the yearly festivals. This persisted through to the mid twentieth century when, for good or ill, Chiang Kai Shek lost to the Communists and the country became rules by Mao.
And in art, sexual technique was taught, celebrated and probably masturbated to in the form of the many and beautiful "pillow books" that are a staple of the modern auction house scene.
Through the years of the Chairman's reign prostitution was seen as illegal and immoral. Except, of course, for the twelve and thirteen year old virgins supplied most night for the Chairman himself to sustain his vigour. Vicious murdering old hypocrite that he was.
Modern China, especially the big centres of commerce such as Shanghai are subject to a pretty much anything goes culture. Brothels are everywhere, every nightclub is filled with girls willing to rent their favours to prosperous gentlemen and marrying a former escort is in no way seen as a negative, as long as she is retired, cultured and beautiful.