People come to China for all sorts of reasons. Some come because they love Chinese language and culture. Others come to get rich, others for that noble expat goal of “finding oneself.” Then there is Clandestine782, a “reasonably well-endowed” senior member on the International Sex Guide forums. He came to China for another reason entirely. “I want to have some hot group sex,” writes Clandestine. “My friend and I would like two girls overnight in one room and one bed… I’ve been to many barbershops, but (we want girls that) are younger, tighter, and have marginally better attitudes.”

Expats like Clandestine can find answers to their sex tourism queries on the International Sex Guide forums (http://internationalsexguide.info/forum/), an unashamed combination of wikipedia-esque prostitute knowledge and know-how, and a social networking site for likeminded sex “mongers”.

The forum professes to “facilitate the exchange of information between men who are looking for sex with women.” To this end, the site offers general information about where members can get the best bang for their buck. This includes information ranging from the price for various services, the specialties of individual prostitutes, and even accounts of negative experiences like that which one poster encountered with a working girl named Hebe. “Her English was good, but her choice of turn-on talk was a little creepy! Example, ‘You are a grandfather! You can be my grandfather and I am your little girl! I am very sympathetic to needs of grandfather!’ Ick!”

Beyond the righteous pursuit of helping sex tourists avoid creepy situations, the International Sex Guide offers assistance to those visitors to China whose language limitations might otherwise impede their ability to get the best possible service. For example, a senior member of the China board posting under the name Moody explains that “bai hu” or “white tiger” is the proper nomenclature when requesting that your prostitute be shaved. Moody also does his best to let mongers know how to break the ice with a working girl. “(Try saying) ‘wo shi chu nan, souyi xiaoxin yi dian’. It means, ‘I’m a virgin man, so be a little careful’. Almost always gets a smile.” Now, why wasn’t that in my Lonely Planet guide?

From opinions on the most passionate working girls (Mongolians) to advice on the best place to go for cheap sex if you are strapped for cash (university English corners), the rest of the site is chock full of helpful tidbits on China’s most stimulating offerings. However, even when posters like Typical Tourist describe their one time lovers with mathematical precision (“the girl from the BBS was a definite 6”), it can be hard for other mongers to really get a clear picture in their mind. Fortunately, the ISG solves this problem by providing premium users with the option to post their own pictures and view those of others. Although forum rules stipulate that you can’t just send in pictures of yourself, posters are encouraged to send in photos of girls they meet in any state of “dress or undress.” One of the more frequent posters, Scribe, attached his recent photos from a trip to Shenzhen with the caption, “Here's a girl from a few days ago. She was overflowing with wobbly bits, but in all the right places. 150 smackeroonies.” One poster, Eaglestar, uploaded pictures of himself actually engaged in sexual congress with a prostitute some decades his junior, writing “This girl absolutely goes bananas in cowgirl (also saves my energy, which at my advanced age is important). Must have had 3 orgasms on top. Damn I love it.”

No other option on the site appears as popular, or as helpful in accomplishing what seems to be one of the primary goals for posters – to sleep with and then compare notes on the same girls as their compatriots. Some may argue that the pictures are no different than run-of-the-mill pornography, but combined with detailed descriptions of cost and service they feel more like Zagat’s restaurant reviews than centerfolds. “They seem to serve like bizarre advertisements to help guys who are interested in finding and sharing the same girls,” notes Amy Sennett, an executive assistant working in Shanghai. “Looking at the threads, these guys seem more interested in meeting up with each other and swapping war stories than in getting to know any women.”

Even Pay, a research fellow based in Beijing, believes sites like the International Sex Guide are symptomatic of a larger issue in China. “Male expats outnumber females by a decent measure here. Conversations run sexual and, without women around, guys tell their dirtiest war stories. If one or two have drunkenly found themselves with hookers, their stories excuse and inspire further indiscretions. Like anything taboo that has been excused within one’s circle, visiting prostitutes can become a sort of bond.”

Whether or not this is true of the expat male population as a whole, the ISG forums certainly offer curious mongers-to-be a readymade social circle that celebrates and facilitates sex tourism. However, don’t think the ISG forums are without policies on morality. Although posting sexual descriptions, explicit pictures and contact information for working girls is encouraged, rules have been put in place banning words like “bitch” and “slut” that are considered demeaning to women. Members also abide by a strict code. When one poster named Tuscan Man talked about his habit of spending 56,000 RMB a month on prostitutes, others were appalled. One poster called Phill980 went so far as to rebuke Tuscan Man harshly for talking about paying such an obscene amount of money… on The Cheap Sex Thread. “Anybody who is willing to spend more than 300 RMB on a girl a night, should please shut the f*ck up in this section.”

Maybe they should shut the f*ck up all together.