The excellent youtuber Ayam Sirias has penned this article for me, subscribe to his channel here for more content
Prostitution, the oldest profession, has flourished throughout the ages, and for good reason. The ladies of the night and their brothels have been a part of all human societies, and though certain aspects of the trade may differ from culture to culture, one immutable characteristic has always remained; a woman selling her body and sex in exchange for wealth, power, and resources.
I am writing this piece in response to an article that Barbarossaa, the proprietor of this site, handed to me, and because I have been an expatriate living in the most populace Muslim country in the world for over 12 years, I thought I would try my hand at providing some valuable content for The Shedding of the Ego.
The title of the article in question is “The Muslim Call Girl Who Will Marry You First.” The article mainly focuses on a certain Muslim practice called Nikah Mut’ah, or temporary marriage. This type of temporary marriage is a famous loop hole in many Muslim countries and cultures where a woman can essentially practice prostitution but in a way that is in accordance to Islamic ethics or morality. But before I get into these temporary marriages, why don’t we first try to define prostitution and take a look at how a more traditional form of prostitution also exists in South East Asia.
Oxforddictionaries.com defines prostitution as, “The practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment” the key word here being payment. You see payment can come in many forms, not just money. It can come in the forms of goods and resources, or even other services including access to power. Because of this, prostitutes were essentially the first successful entrepreneurs of the female sex, and may have been among the most successful in recorded history. Further, Islam and the cultures it adopts, is no stranger to this form of powerful economic exchange regardless of how society in general perceives so called sexual deviancy and religious morals as being complete polar opposites.
Prostitution in Indonesia
Though this article is meant to be about Islam, I will use Indonesia as a backdrop for reasons that will become clear later. Indonesia has a population roughly the same size as the United States, with about 85% of its citizen’s calling themselves Muslims, and not surprisingly, as it has been my home for some time, I did marry, and divorce an Indonesian Muslim woman and converted to Islam. Since my conversion about 10 years ago I have studied the religion extensively, but I would hardly consider myself a practitioner of the faith. Oh I can walk the walk and talk the talk in order to pass as a faithful Muslim, but my interest in Islam and religion in general is purely academic and having a strong fascination with different cultures. However, despite an overwhelming majority of Muslims living and ruling in this country, it is also home to one of the largest ‘Red Light’ districts in all of South East Asia.
Tucked away among the twisting streets of Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest metropolis, situated on the West coast of the Island of Java, is a narrow stretching alley called “Dolly”. As of 2012, it was estimated that about 2,321 prostitutes were working in the city of Surabaya, most of them being located in this small area of the city, under the protection and power of approximately 534 pimps. It was further estimated that there were about 7,127 prostitutes now earning a living from selling sex; working at 47 locations under 1,037 pimps across the entire province of East Java. Most of the prostitutes are Muslim, as are most of the clients or ‘Johns’, and although one might consider the workers and clients as not being faithful to their doctrines, believe me, most of them still put up a religious façade during the day and early evenings to attend the daily prayers at the masjids or mosques. However in 2014, a huge government reform was put into action to shut down Dolly putting thousands of successful female entrepreneurs out of business. But I guarantee it won’t be long before Dolly once again becomes a thriving den of sex, exchanged for resources.
Places like this exist all over Indonesia, not just in Surabaya. In Jakarta, the city in which I reside, many similar places exist in the dark corners of this metropolis of 12 to 15 million people, and as a long time residence here, I have had the pleasure of having firsthand experiences with such places throughout the city.
One experience I remember in particular was many years ago before I met my wife. During this time I would frequent an area full of night clubs in the center of the city, with other expatriate friends. One particular nightclub known for its higher quality drugs was called Seribu Satu or 1001 in English. This nightclub just happened to be situated next to one of the largest nightclubs in all of South East Asia called ‘Stadium’. Though it was recently shut down because a police officer attending died from taking bad drugs, I still recommend you look it up on-line to find out more about this unbelievable place.
A common practice for night clubbers at that time was to buy drugs at Seribu Satu and then go next door to Stadium to enjoy the rest of the evening. One evening, a friend took me to Seribu Satu, and after we had arrived asked me if I wanted to see the Russian prostitutes. Obviously I was keen. A well dressed Madame escorted us up a flight of stairs and ushered us into a small rectangular room dimly lit by a series of soft red light bulbs on the ceiling. In the center of the room stood 4 tall stools evenly spaced apart. The Madame motioned for us to sit on a bench that lined the back wall, told us to wait for the girls and then proceeded to leave us in the room, closing the door behind her when she left.
After a few minutes 4 very beautiful young Russian girls entered from another door we hadn’t noticed before on the far left side of the room. They each sat at one of the stools facing us, about 2 meters in front of us. It was all very surreal. However, I have to mention that none of us had the intention of buying any time with these girls, especially considering they were very high end prostitutes for Jakarta, ranging from 300 to 500 and above, USD a night. We were simply there to observe the goods, have a small chat and then leave.
We spent about 45 minutes talking to these young girls and their stories were fascinating. All of them were flown into Indonesia as part of a larger international sex trade. They were given visas and a place to stay at the hotel under a minimum 2 year contract. For the extent of that two year contract they were relieved of their passports and were never allowed to leave the hotel. One woman went on to tell us of how at the age of 15 she had sold her virginity to a wealthy Saudi Muslim man for 50,000 USD. She sent this money back to her family but had never been home since, now finding herself a prisoner in this very expensive Jakarta hotel.
This type of a more traditional western form of prostitution is very common in this Muslim country. The oldest profession in the world brings in a lot of money for both men and women alike, and always will. Some situations are quite sad as in the case of the young Russian girl and some cases are as simple as a woman, young or old, trying her hand at selling the wealthy commodity she just happened to be born with in order to maintain a certain lifestyle. And in this type of prostitution the most sought after form of return is simply good old fashion, cold hard cash. However, as I mentioned earlier, there are other less familiar types of prostitution that exist almost exclusively in Muslim cultures, and before I get into the temporary marriages, I would like to talk to you about the mistress or the kept woman.
The Mistress or the Kept Woman
Often marriage is compared to prostitution within some circles of the modern manosphere, but I don’t want to get into that in this article. However, a form a marriage which is popular in Islamic cultures is polygamy or more specifically polygyny; a man married to more than one woman. And it is within the tradition of polygyny that we find the phenomenon of the mistress or the kept woman. I believe this phenomenon is not very common in many Islamic countries outside of Indonesia.
Polygyny is not the norm here, but it is an acceptable practice within Islamic communities. However, because often the taking of a second wife in Islam requires the consent of the first, many Islamic men here will take a mistress or kept woman on the side while biding time, waiting for approval by the first wife. The man will have a mistress under the promise that eventually she will either become his second wife or replace his current wife.
You see here, like everywhere else, once a woman starts to approach the wall, her chances of finding a husband become much slimmer. And since it is taboo to live your life in this country as an unmarried woman, in her desperation she will take a gamble on an already married man and become his mistress or his kept woman. She will trade sex with him for money and more often than not a permanent place to live, often an apartment. The apartment complex where I currently live is full of these kept women. I see them often shuffling in and of the building going about their days almost always wearing the traditional head scarf. These women must always put on an air of piousness considering the business they are in.
Most of them are well taken care of and they are easy to spot. They are always alone, always wearing the hijab and if they work at all it is usually very part time as her food and shelter is paid for by her lover. They patiently await the periodic conjugal visits by their already married man which may occur anywhere from once a week to once a month. And each time he visits, she prays that this will be the time that she gets pregnant so she can use it as a bartering tool to either become the second wife or the replacement of the first. In fact, the unit I live in now was most certainly rented by a kept woman before I moved in. There were the tell tale signs of a lonely mistress in waiting by the things left behind after she moved out. Tampons, pads to stuff bras, forgotten headscarves, make-up and unused pregnancy tests were among some of the things she obviously no longer needed when it came time for her to leave. Who knows if she eventually won her right as second wife, replacement of the first wife, or if the man eventually tired of her and moved on.
The mistress or kept woman is indeed a common form of prostitution here in Indonesia. However in this case, the most sought after form of return for the woman is not necessarily cash but more so power and status as the wife or second wife of a wealthy man. Again, not all forms of prostitution are exactly the same but in the end the inborn commodity of the oldest type of female entrepreneur remains the same.
The final type of prostitution that you will find in Islamic countries and cultures is the one I mentioned at the beginning of this piece and sourced from the article I linked. This is the Nikah Mut’ah or temporary marriage and is most common in Saudi Arabia. This temporary contract can consist of a marriage that may last from 1 hour to even a few months and is often practiced by Saudi men travelling in other countries, including Indonesia. And though, you won’t find too many Indonesian men practicing this in their own country, some of the kept women I mentioned before may have been prostitutes of Nikah Mut’ah for Saudi men who were living in Indonesia for a couple months.
In just about all sects of Islam, the general consensus is that sex before marriage is forbidden, so this Nikah Mut’ah, like I said before, is a sort of loophole to enjoy a more promiscuous lifestyle while still adhering to the faith. However, in countries like Indonesia which is governed by a secular constitution, even though it is heavily influenced by Islam, there are more leniencies when it comes to young people experimenting with sex before marriage, although no traditional adult will admit this.
Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other such countries tend to be far more steeped in Islamic culture so you will see this type of temporary marriage happen more frequently. In these cultures, and again depending on the sect of Islam and the particular part of the country you come from, premarital sex can often result in strict punishment by authorities and family members and this is why the Nikah Mut’ah is so popular.
In the article I sourced, it talks mostly about young Muslim men living in western countries who are resorting to these temporary marriages in order to enjoy a sexual lifestyle without pushing the boundaries of their Muslim families and communities that have immigrated to these western nations. However, the pressure of these young Muslims living outside of their own countries is definitely not as strong as it would be living back at home. So the real Nikah Mut’ah and most expensive form will be more commonly found when Muslim men travel outside of their home towns or countries, living a short time away from the prying eyes of their very traditional cultures and neighbors. Further, in order for a woman to enter into this contract with a man she obviously must be Muslim as well, and because the service is a specialty form of prostitution, she can charge more. The article I sourced mentions how one woman living in London can add 100 USD an hour to her normal price if a Muslim man wants to enter into a Nikah Mut’ah contract with her.
This form of prostitution in Islamic cultures is necessary because of the strict laws of the religion, but for Islamic women, it is very profitable. After all, we know how prohibiting a commodity will always increase its value, and in this case Islam is increasing the cost of vagina because of its laws, especially in countries that are not traditionally thought of as Islamic.
These forms of prostitution I have mentioned; from the classical, to the kept wife, and the temporary marriage contract, all thrive on the entrepreneurial spirit of the world’s oldest profession and its most valuable commodity, a woman’s vagina. It is interesting to see how this very successful business has changed throughout the centuries and how its profit comes in several forms, and in the case of the temporary marriage, the sex is usually sold for money, but there is always the chance that one of these women might cash in big if they end up married to one of these wealthy men, even if they are the 2nd, 3rd or sometimes 4th wife.
In the end, the entrepreneurial spirit of a woman and her vagina will always flourish despite the cultural taboos or legal roadblocks they may face. It is the keystone of the gynocentric condition that seems to perpetually entangle the world in its grasp. It is dynamic, unyielding, and incredibly adaptive. I once read that in humanity’s past it was men who tamed the sexuality of women and in turn finally started us on the long path of transcending beyond our primitive state, so as to enter into an age of agriculture and industry. If this is true, and we are to continue to evolve, I would like to close this article with a statement in homage to its subject matter:
God help us if we ever allow women and their sexuality to become untamed once again.