Want to know more about sex in Cambodia?
Bordered by Thailand and Laos to the north and west and Vietnam to the east and south, the Kingdom of Cambodia is home to around 15 million people. Classified as a Least Developed Country but with one of the fastest rates of growth in Asia, Cambodia is a popular tourist destination. Attracting more than five million visitors per year and generating over $3 billion in revenue, tourism is Cambodia’s largest industry.
In this guide, we take a look at the country’s attitudes towards sex, porn and prostitution as well as look at the legislation on LGBTQ rights and the sex trade.
Sex in Cambodia
In general, the people of Cambodia have a relaxed attitude towards sex but, as in many Asian counties, can be polarised between the urban and rural areas. Phnom Penh is a big tourist destination and is the hub for a flourishing prostitution industry that nets the country over $500million in revenue. Though illegal, brothels and paying for sex is common both for visitors and locals with bar girls being the most popular way to find sex in the capital.
More than 97% of the country are Buddhist and this has a big influence on moral attitudes towards sex, nudity and pornography. It is also hard not to remember that until as recently as 1999, the communist ideology of under the Khmer Rouge regime also influenced social perspectives. In this era, ‘illicit’ sex was punishable by death.
Even as recently as the 2000s, Cambodian teenagers were warned not to embrace in public or face ‘morality education’.
A survey undertaken on sex education in the country revealed that over half of all teenage Cambodian men regularly had sex with their girlfriends. More often than not they used ‘love hotels’ to do so, paying a few dollars for a room for a few hours.
The country is largely made up of teens with a third of the population aged between 10 and 24.
Virgins are prized in Cambodian culture and women are expected to be ‘unsullied’ before their wedding night. Society’s view is stark and one male university student was quoted as saying:
“A virgin is very stimulating. But after a girl loses her virginity, she’s finished, no one will love her. A boy on the other hand is always 100 percent golden.”
Sex education in the country is a new phenomenon and was only introduced to the curriculum in 2013 as a pilot project. Instigated as a way to tackle the rising rate of teen pregnancy and STD rates, the Government has stated that the programme will be rolled out nationally by 2019. The plans have been met with opposition in some areas of the country with teachers routinely skipping the subject or failing to follow the prescribed guidelines.
Though sex education has improved over the last decade, the rate of teenage pregnancies for 2014 was 12%; one of the highest in Asia.
STD and HIV rates in Cambodia are also amongst the highest on the Asian continent though significant efforts by the Government have helped to reduce the prevalence of HIV. The rate peaked at 2.0% in 1998 but has fallen to below 0.6% in 2015.
Campaigns such as ‘No Condom, No Sex’ have been very successful but show some signs of slowing as prophylactic use fell from 70% in 2005 to just 50% in 2014. The decline in the use of condoms has had a correlative impact on STD rates and teen pregnancies.
Adult Industry in Cambodia
Cambodia has very strict anti-pornography laws when it comes to the production and distribution; however, it is possible to find porn online as well as through traditional media. Many international hotels have pay-per-view porn channels and is readily available at the tourist casinos.
There are no official production studios or adult industries in Cambodia but there are believed to be small groups that exploit the cheap prostitution markets to film adult content.
Top Porn Stars in Cambodia
Cambodia is a very conservative nation when it comes to sex. Cambodian (khmer) women do not flaunt their bodies and showing a bit too much skin is generally frowned upon in this Buddhist nation. The country’s top supermodel, Tim Rotha, triggered a public outrage in 2013 by posting photographs on her Facebook page which showed her in a bikini.
As a result, the country does not have a great number of adult entertainment stars. Those that have forged a career for themselves as adult models and adult film stars have done so abroad; specifically in America. ‘Khmerican’ adult film stars of note include:
The only Cambodian porn star of note internationally is Mia Park, also known as Mia Asian or Mia Parks. Now aged 32, she was only active for two years between 2003 and 2005, working on just six titles.
She is ranked as the 175th most popular Asian porn star by the popular tube site, XVideos. Her videos have been viewed over three quarters of a million times.
Other porn stars from Cambodia include:
- Ashlin Van (aka Anna Lee).
- Yasmin Lee (transsexual actor and model of mixed Cambodian and Thai descent).
Though Canadian in nationality, Maxine X was actually born in Cambodia. She is a fetish model and dominatrix. With her enhanced 36E breasts, she has starred in several big tit films for studios such as Brazzers, Reality Kings and Zero Tolerance.
Though not porn stars, Cambodia has produced some stunning glamour models, including:
- Tisa Samphors.
- Kearo (British with mixed Cambodian and Vietnamese descent).
- Raven Lee (American with mixed Cambodian and French descent).
- Siray Kong (former nude model known for her music video modelling with Snoop Dogg).
- Vanna Marie
- Liz Hing
- Gloria Touch
- Monika Tep Sorn (aka Moniq Sorn)
- Chan Kongkar
- Sothy Sith
Prostitution Laws in Cambodia
Prostitution in Cambodia is illegal but is still big business in many areas of the country. There is no protection for prostitutes and violence in the community is very common including rape and gang rape; often the perpetrators are customers but can also include members of the police fore.
The trade has a high level of stigmatisation which can be traced back to the highly authoritarian years of the Khmer Rouge when prostitution was punishable by death. Almost completely eradicated, the trade began to flourish again with the dismantlement of the State of Cambodia in 1992/93. The arrival of 20,000 almost all-male troop established a supply and demand market for sex.
There are no red-light areas in Cambodian cities but Phnom Penh has plenty of hostess bars where prostitutes can be found. They are largely tolerated by the authorities as part of the sex tourism industry.
Currently, the country is a popular destination for sex tourism and the authorities tolerate a lot of venues which support the sex industry. Corruption is still a problem within law-enforcement and some establishment survive with the help of bribery and protection rackets.
It is estimated that the prostitution industry generates around $511million in revenue for Cambodia with an estimated 70,000 prostitutes working in the trade.
Cambodia Porn Viewing Trends
The Cambodian Government routinely blocks access to website with adult content on moral grounds and, as such, some international porn sites are not accessible from within the country. With only half the country being connected to the internet the most popular way to access porn is still via traditional media such as DVDs and videos. Most of these are Western titles although there is also a good deal of Asian porn which is imported through Thailand.
For this reason, it is not possible to fully analyse the porn viewing trends of the nation.
The country does have strict anti-pornography laws which means very little pornography is actually filmed and distributed in the country. In 2018, ten Western nationals were arrested by Cambodian authorities under suspicion that the group were filming pornography; they face up to a year in jail.
However, the following sites do make the country’s top 50 most popular websites (by traffic):
- Bonga Cams – Live sex cams – 11th most visited site in Cambodia
- XNXX – Porn Video Hosting Site – 19th most visited site in Cambodia
- TXXX – Porn Video Hosting Site –23rd most visited site in Cambodia
- XVideos – Porn Video Hosting Site –32nd most visited site in Cambodia
Top Cambodian Porn Sites
The law against prostitution doesn’t stop khmer amateurs from making porn and there is a good deal of content available online from Cambodia. Much of this is distributed via popular tube hosting channels such as XVideos, Pornhub, XHamster and XNXX.
LGBTQ in Cambodia
Cambodia doesn’t have a great deal of legal statutes to protect LGBT rights nor to expressly support same-sex activities but it is a very tolerant nation. Same-sex activities are legal (and have always been so) as long as they are consensual, private and take place between adults over the age of 16. And, though at present there is no legal recognition of same-sex marriage, there are plenty of indicators that this will shortly be changed.
In 2011, the country repealed the family law which defined marriage as being a union between a man and a woman. This was followed in 2004 by a very public statement of support by the then King, Norodum Sihanouk. Indicating his support for the LGBTQ community, King Sihanouk published a statement on the official palace website which said that if his people wished same-sex marriage to be legalised, he would make it so. In the same article, he also expressed his views that he believed God viewed homosexuals (and trans-people) as equals because (God loves) a “wide range of tastes”.
As of 2018, there has been no clear change in the law but in 2017 the main opposition party of CNRP (Cambodia National Rescue Party) has publicly declared its intention to do so, if elected.
There are no anti-discrimination laws for the LGBTQ community and there is no legislature in place to allow adoption, surrogacy or IVF treatment for same-sex couples. It is not known whether persons from an LGBTQ background may serve openly in the military nor if transgendered individuals may legally change their gender.
Overall, the situation in Cambodia for gay rights is poor but does not reflect much of the nation’s tolerance and acceptance of the issue. However, there is still a cultural clash with the importance of family being at the heart of the conflict; Cambodian men and women are expected to raise children. A majority Buddhist country, social pressure to pro-create is high and appears to be inconsistent with a proposed liberalisation of laws on marriage.
Transgender and transvestite individuals can also face abuse from their community. Though the country has a cultural acknowledgement of a ‘third gender’ (known as ‘kteuy’), some are met with violent abuse and even rape. Though this is a rare occurrence, it can and does happen.
Generally speaking, the majority of the country enjoys a very liberal attitude towards gender and sexuality diversity. Since the 1990s, the cultural tolerance has been improving but is yet to be acknowledged in law. Campaigners are maintaining a high visibility and applying pressure to Government and it is hoped that Cambodia will soon adopt the relevant laws to protect its LGBTQ community.
Foreign LGBTQ visitors are very welcome in Cambodia and the Ministry of Tourism has made big efforts to promote the country as an accepting and tolerant destination. The 2011 campaign Adore Cambodia! went global and expressly made it clear that tourists of all sexuality, religion and national backgrounds would be embraced.
The country held its first Pride festival in 2003 in Phnom Penh. Though not a large gathering by Asian standards, there is growing support for the event.
Top Classified/Personals Sites in Cambodia
The internet is not commonly used for dating in Cambodia though a growing number of younger people in the cities are using sites for casual encounters. Largely, the dating site for Cambodia are populated by expats and tourists or women seeking a foreign husband. Some working women also use the personal ads to advertise for business as an escort.
For Western visitors, the best chance of finding a hook-up or a meeting a Cambodian girl are the traditional way; in bars and clubs. Of course, the proliferation of prostitutes working in bars can make this more difficult. However, we’ve put together a short list of some of the ways that you can find dating opportunities whilst in Cambodia; most are centred around singles in the Phnom Penh area.
Love Awake is an international singles site that has a good coverage across Asia, including in Cambodia. It is a free to use site which offers simple ways to connect with other members. The search facilities aren’t great and a lot of the profiles on here are aimed at more serious dating but there is a good mix of ages and backgrounds on here.
Asian Date Net
A 100% free dating service, Asian Date Net gets a fair amount of traffic from Cambodia though there are certainly less profiles than for other countries. The majority of profiles available are from men seeking women and you can easily throw your hat into the ring. It is not clear how many Cambodian women use the site but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Asian Dating is one of the most popular singles sites in the Asian markets. Though a quarter of the traffic comes from the USA, the majority of users are based in countries like the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia as well as Cambodia. The site receives an average of 5.7milion visits each month. Traffic is roughly split 65:35 male to female and has a mixed age demographic from 18 to 65.
In total, there are around 2.5 million members using the site on a regular basis and has been a trusted go-to for Asian singles since 2000.
Most users on Asian Dating are from a well-educated background and seem to be looking for a more serious relationship. It’s free to join but in order to access the best features you will need to pay for membership.
Featured image via Pixabay.