A girlfriend experience (GFE) is a commercial sex service that blurs the boundaries between a financial transaction and a romantic relationship. It ranges from a transactional sex relationship[1] to a client paying a sex worker to pretend to be his girlfriend during the session.[2] If the sex worker is male, the service is called a boyfriend experience.[3]

North America edit

In the sex industry of the United States and Canada, the term GFE is used to describe a sexual encounter in which the sex worker and the client provide each other with reciprocal sexual pleasure and some degree of emotional intimacy.[4] The girlfriend experience, often provided through an escort agency, is a popular service[2] that involves more personal interaction than a traditional call girl offers. There is a focus on not just having sex, but also having more of a comprehensive experience. The details vary widely.[5] The sex workers impart a sense of authenticity in order to make the experience more pleasurable for their customer, as well as to make the outcome more lucrative for themselves.[6] According to sociologist Elizabeth Bernstein, this makes it more meaningful for both client and sex worker as it involves emotional labor.[7]

The term "client" is often used to describe a person who pays prostitutes for sex.[8] However, in the escort agency code that has grown up around the GFE, clients often call themselves "hobbyists" and refer to a prostitute who provides a GFE as a "nice girl".[5] A GFE client pays for time spent with a call girl, which can include social interaction, dating, or sexual acts. Many clients seek a feeling of closeness without the commitment of a relationship, and to a certain extent GFE can eliminate the feelings of guilt or fear of "addiction" that some people associate with a relationship.[4]

Elements that make up a GFE such as conversation, affection and mutual sexual pleasure can occur in street prostitution but they are more commonly found in indoor prostitution.[4] This includes the use of massage parlors, saunas, brothels, strip clubs and escort agencies.[9] Some ranch brothels in the United States advertise themselves as GFE establishments, including Dennis Hof's Love Ranch South,[10] Moonlite Bunny Ranch,[11] Kit Kat Ranch,[12] Sheri's Ranch[13] and the Chicken Ranch.[14]

Southeast Asia edit

Research in Cambodia published in 2010 identified a number of waitresses and bartenders who were also working as "professional girlfriends" with "western boyfriends". They relied on these relationships for their livelihood but did not regard themselves as "prostitutes" and often sought love and marriage as well as material comforts. In these relationships, there was a performance of intimacy which lay somewhere between the feigned and the genuine.[1]

In Thailand, some independent sex workers are reported to work as "professional girlfriends", providing company and affection to foreign men and middle-class Thai men, and only having sex with their clients occasionally. Their remuneration is provided in the form of things such as clothing and visits to the cinema.[15] This sort of relationship, which lies between girlfriend and prostitute, exists as part of Thai culture and is often used by bargirls hoping to turn their foreign clients into boyfriends and husbands.[16] It is not uncommon for their one-night transactions to develop into relationships resembling holiday romances, with the couple travelling around the country as boyfriend and girlfriend.[17]

In the Philippines, Angeles City is known for the GFE provided to sex tourists by its sex workers, lasting anywhere from one night to a month or more. The US military facility Clark Air Base was located near the city until 1991.[18]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b Hoefinger, Heidi (2010). Negotiating Intimacy: Transactional Sex and Relationships Among Cambodian Professional Girlfriends (Doctoral thesis). Goldsmiths, University of London. Archived from the original on 2017-08-21. Retrieved 2017-08-21.
  2. ^ a b Flowers 2011, p. 151.
  3. ^ Weitzer 2007, pp. 28–33
  4. ^ a b c Huff 2011, pp. 111–125
  5. ^ a b Anka Radakovich (29 March 2012). "The real-life girlfriend experience". GQ. Archived from the original on 23 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  6. ^ Bernstein 2010
  7. ^ Fulcher, James; Scott, John (2011). Sociology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 662. ISBN 9780199563753.
  8. ^ Cameron & Kulick 2003, p. 20
  9. ^ Farley 2005, p. 952
  10. ^ "Menu - Love Ranch Vegas". loveranch.net. Archived from the original on 31 October 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015.
  11. ^ "The Girlfriend Experience". Moonlite Bunny Ranch. Archived from the original on 31 March 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  12. ^ "KitKat Ranch home page". KitKat Ranch website. Archived from the original on 2019-04-01. Retrieved 2019-12-16.
  13. ^ "Sheri's Ranch Sex Menu". sherisranch.com. Archived from the original on 12 April 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  14. ^ Flanigan, Jessica; Watson, Lori (2019). Debating Sex Work. Debating Ethics Series. Oxford University Press. p. 123. ISBN 9780190659882.
  15. ^ Chia, Jasmine (24 September 2017). "Men and their mistresses". Bangkok Post.
  16. ^ Ervik, Kristianne (2013). "The Superior Thai-Western Relationship: A Culturally Negotiated Re-embedding Practice". In Bråten, Eldar (ed.). Embedded Entrepreneurship: Market, Culture, and Micro-Business in Insular Southeast Asia. BRILL. pp. 135–136. ISBN 9789004255296.
  17. ^ The The Rough Guide to Thailand's Beaches & Islands. Apa Publications (UK) Limited. 2023. p. 183. ISBN 9781839059315.
  18. ^ Simons, Margaret (2 March 2019). "'Do you ever think about me?': the children sex tourists leave behind". The Guardian.

Further reading edit