“Every month, my husband, who works at a trading company, goes on a business trip,” says Mariko. “So I started taking ‘business trips’ as well.”
Due to her expensive tastes, she has blown a substantial amount of her husband’s money, and now she has taken a job at a high-end soapland erotic bathhouse to make amends.
“The things I thought about prior to joining were the provision of an accommodation, assistance with an alibi and security,” says Mariko about her concerns when she first began scouring the Internet.
After an interview, she was hired, but at the time she knew next to nothing about what she was getting herself into.
“I received a training session, but I was worried, for example, about how to handle strange customers,” says Mariko, who now earns 1.5 million yen per month. “But they’ve been very kind.”
1.5 million yen = £8,400 = US$12,400
As Ikoma’s estimates reveal, the number of women taking the plunge is not small — and non-fiction writer Ayumni Sakai, who herself was once employed in the sex trade, says that one reason is that the generation of school girls who dated older men for money — popularized in the vernacular press starting in the early 1990s by the phrase enjo kosai, or compensated dating — is all grown up now.
“The enjo kosai generation knows that their bodies can be exchanged for money, and now they have become married women,” says Sakai. “But it is not just about the money; their purpose can be to discover what lies inside.”
Kaorin Mizushima, a lecturer on the sex industry, explains that the number of housewives entering the sex industry due to lack of satisfaction at home is on the upswing.
“They want to enjoy sex due to desire accumulated from being in a sexless marriage,” says the lecturer. “They have a strong need to be recognized as women. With that being the reason, they do not hold back, and the hitozuma genre is very popular in the sex industry.” (A.T.)