Male prostitutes and gigolos are becoming increasingly popular in China

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    Original article from the Guardian

    For many Chinese women, male prostitutes – yazi, or ‘ducks’, after their female equivalents ji, or chicken – are an increasingly essential part of a girls’ night out.

    Xiao Yu, a prostitute in his twenties who sports a tight red T-shirt with aviators atop spiked hair, is agitated: ‘I really can’t talk. This is working time.’ Xu Wen, his pimp, runs a tight ship, roaming the club, checking on his boys, ensuring that the women in the private rooms at the back are happy.

    ‘Women pay,’ he says, ‘to buy a duck for a few hours of chatting, drinking and flirting. If they then want to rent a hotel room for the night, the price rises.’ All the yazi in the nightclub earn as much as seven times the city’s average wage.

    Women in a restaurant are seen entertained by white gigolos

    ‘Many ducks who work here have problems at home; their parents might be divorced or they’re poor,’ says Xu. Many come from old Manchuria, where the men are tall but unemployment is high. ‘I wouldn’t say working as a duck is fun,’ Xiao Yu says. ‘I do it to pay my way through university. I’m a student at the Central Academy of Drama.’

    Creating a boom in demand are tourists – moneyed thirty- or forty-somethings from Hong Kong or Taiwan who use mainland gigolos to spice up their holidays. ‘When they [ducks] get to have sex with a beautiful girl, they are excited,’ says Xu. ‘But often it’s old and unattractive women, which they find pretty disgusting.’ Xiao Yu is more sanguine: ‘It’s not that bad. It’s just a job.’

    Once the preserve of bored housewives, Beijing’s male prostitutes are increasingly sought after by younger women. Jenny, a 26-year-old, says she and her friends visit karaoke bars where they pay to drink, sing and play dice with attentive young men. She says: ‘My friends have white-collar jobs, except for one who’s a housewife. She’s bored of sex with her husband, so she spends his money sleeping with yazi. It’s very normal. It’s not cheating, because it has nothing to do with love; I can easily separate sex and love. I just do it for the sex.’

    She describes how the first time she took a duck home they chatted, listened to music and showered before getting into bed. ‘I wouldn’t say he was a particularly skilled lover – just average, nothing special.’

    The commoditisation of sex is nothing new in China, where social inequalities and consumerism have created desires only sex work can satisfy – both for the prostitutes and for their customers, who have the cash for illicit pleasures.

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