Do Ladyboys Pay for Sex? Bonus – the Korean who bought my speakers.

I’ve debated about writing about this subject for the last week or so, but knew I would ultimately do it, because I found the following discussion with Janet odd and it cracked me up. That being said, as always, if you are offended, I apologize.

I don’t remember how the discussion began or how it morphed into the topic of ladyboys and sex, but Janet told me that “gays (or ladyboys) in the Philippines have to pay for sex with men.”

Now for the uninitiated, ladyboy is a term for men who like to dress and make themselves up to look like women. In the West we certainly have many men who dress this way, and while there is still a stigma surrounding them, I suspect the stigma is fading, albeit slowly. However, in the Philippines and much of Asia, there is far more acceptance, far less stigma, and frankly far more ladyboys. While I have no idea of what the numbers or percentages are there is no doubt it’s quite a significant percentage. Even in small town, provincial Philippines there are many ladyboys.

Some Westerners come to Asia and are shocked, others amused, a few attracted, and still others (like me) are curious. For example, I have written before about how it seems that all the firedancers in the Philippines seem to be ladyboys, and wondered why. I’ve still gotten no real answer to that question.

Fire dancer and Me
Fire dancer and Me
Fire dancer and Janet
Fire dancer and Janet

After Janet made her pronouncement that “ladyboys pay for sex with men” – well I disagreed with her, sure that this was an area where perhaps she was not well versed or worldly.

“There are many gay men and ladyboys in the Philippines,” I responded. “Surely there are more than enough that they don’t have to pay for sex.”

“Yes they do,” she assured me.

“But why would a ladyboy need to pay for sex with another ladyboy?”

“No. A ladyboy needs to pay for sex with a man,” she replied.

I scratched my head, thought about it and finally understood. “You mean that a ladyboy has to pay for sex with a straight man,” I said.

“Oh, no. He’s probably gay too,” she said. “But he’s a man.”

Now I was completely baffled.

“So if the other man is gay why would the ladyboy have to pay for sex?”

Janet looked at me, perplexed. “Because he’s a man.”

“You mean he’s male and he’s gay but he’s not a ladyboy?”


“Then why,” I asked, “doesn’t the ladyboy just have sex with another ladyboy?”

Janet shook her head at her idiot of a husband. “Because the ladyboy’s female and the female always wants to have sex with a male, not another female.”

“And the man has more power in the relationship than the woman and so he gets paid.”

“Correct,” she replied, seeing that I finally understood.

“Then why don’t you pay me for sex?” I asked giggling. Janet was not amused.


As you perhaps know we are downsizing in anticipation of our move. While most of our furniture is far from expensive, one area that I spent money on in the past is audio-video equipment.

Years ago I bought my main speakers, and eventually got a center speaker and surrounds from the same company.  I considered the main pair of speakers in particular to be valuable and was determined to get my price for them. But because they were a bit high end and from a small company that’s not named Bose, I thought it might take a while to find the right person willing to buy them.

So Janet encouraged me to list them on Craigslist now, in case it took some months to sell. Over the years when it comes to money matters I more and more listen to Janet; her judgment is usually sound. So I listed the speakers and in the listing said the price was “firm.” As usual on Craigslist, I had a few “tire kickers” or people who wanted to buy them if I would drop the price. Finally I got an email from a man in Seattle (a 3 hour drive) who told me from the get go that he was “60 years old. Korean,” and wanted the speakers and could he come Saturday and get them.

I thought it was curious that he defined his age and nationality. Perhaps he was assuring me he was an old and non-threatening geezer, like me. I agreed. I assumed that he was a fan of the small speaker manufacturer and therefore was willing to drive 6 hours round trip to buy them. This is not a pair of speakers you are likely to see listed very often on Craigslist.

Saturday morning arrived and I texted him to confirm that he was actually coming, since I figured it was 50-50 that he would cancel or was flat out a bull shit artist. I got a one word text back, “Yes.” I replied whether he was coming at the time we agreed to. Again just, “Yes.”

So, I dropped off Janet to meet friends for lunch and rushed back home to meet the guy who had driven 3 hours just to look at and presumably buy my speakers. I turned on my system and chose a jazz album that I thought did justice to the quality of the speakers.


My new Korean friend arrived and came in. I pointed to the speakers and the jazz they were playing. I had encouraged him to bring his own fave CD or DVD to demo but he had nothing in hand. I asked him whether he had a fave type of music he would like me to play. He shrugged. I went to change the style of music. He didn’t seem to care. I began talking about the speakers. He didn’t seem much interested in them. He barely looked that them. I remember when I purchased them, I examined every square inch and demoed them for at least a half hour before convincing myself that they were the best sounding speakers that I would likely every own.

It became increasingly obvious that my potential Korean customer spoke little English. “Have you heard Gallos before,” I asked. He shrugged and shook his head no.

“Have Altecs in my van,” he said. That’s nice, I thought.

No discussion about high end audio as I anticipated, no extended demoing, no examining every inch of the merchandise as I would have done. Just a comment as he lifted one of the speakers. “Heavy.”

“Yeah, they’re kinda heavy,” I agreed.

Finally, there was nothing more to say and I asked him did he want them? He nodded and left to go back to his van where he had the money. He may not have spoken any English, but he knew how not to get ripped off.

He came back into the house, laid the money out on the table and we were done. We carried the speakers to his van, which was already filled with speakers, including the aforementioned huge Altecs. Either this guy was some kind of dealer or his wife loved karaoke.


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