This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.
The down to earth Thai Sex Talk…
Before you think I’ve gone all Thai sex-crazed, please let me explain.
The well-crafted book, Thai Sex Talk, is not about the smutty side of Thai life. It is a collection of Thai words and expressions that focus on personal relationships. And they are (a given) relationships that include sex and love.
And after reading Thai Sex Talk from cover to cover, I can confirm that the author, Kaewmla, has sweetened the mix with a fair amount of Thai history and culture. Just like I like.
Language and Love, Romance and Sexuality: Language, in the from of words and expressions, reflects the way people think, act and relate to one another in that culture. Language reveals the culture’s history, how the society has changed over time, and what internal and external influences have shaped and changed that society. People’s choices of words and how they express them also inform about their attitude and worldview.
I started chatting with Kaewmla after Dan from Absolutely Bangkok (no longer online) interviewed her in his post, Thai Love Talk (when it comes to the new bits in Thai town, Dan is often the man).
Just like in her book, Kaewmla is highly intelligent and clever. And I do hope she stops by to say ‘hi’!
I purposely waited until right before Valentine’s Day to post my review of Thai Sex Talk. I believe the why should be obvious. But if not…
Whether you are in love or seeking love with a Thai… or simply curious about how Thais think and talk about sex… Thai Sex Talk is your indispensable guide.
Forget that Thais don’t traditionally celebrate St Valentine’s Day, we do! And as today is the 12th of February, and Valentine’s Day is on the 14th, my post has been timed to remind you to acquire your very own copy of Thai Sex Talk too.
A chapter to chapter review of Thai Sex Talk…
Thai Sex Talk is loaded with relationship expressions. Some have Western equivalents, but I mostly picked through those sporting the flavour of Thailand. What I have not included are well-known Thai terms, such as: Walking ATM, major wife, and minor wife.
Note: In this post the transliteration is hidden. If you cannot read Thai script, then scroll over the Thai to see the transliteration. As before, the transliteration comes from T2E (as is).
Chapter One: Sexually speaking…
The first chapter is a brief explanation and overview of the book. In a nutshell:
This book is intended primarily for those who are, or expect to be, in a cross-cultural romance with a Thai.
Chapter Two: The Thai sexual jungle…
Partly due to the subject of animal metaphors, this is a chapter that I am most fond of.
Dog barking at an airplane: Just like a soi dog, a man of limited means and education should keep to his place in Thai society. When he does not, he is known as a ‘dog barking at an airplane’.
Heavenly flower and temple dog: Again, the description is about relationships between the have’s (hi-so = heavenly flower) and the have-nots (low-so = temple dog).
Lucky mouse falling into a rice bin: In a twist of good luck, a poor man (mouse / low-so / temple dog) marries a rich women (rice bin / hi-so / heavenly flower).
Chapter Three: The battle between love and lust…
This chapter covers: Sexual attraction, falling in love, being in love, sexual free thinkers, and how it all affects the heart.
Melting heart: This one is Western too, but I just had to include this lovely ใจ (jai – heart) expression.
Finding love when already a dull old ax: Dull axes are self-explanatory. Yes? Many of us (I’m sure) would like to think that we are still sharp enough 😉
Chapter Four: Looking for love…
Nudge, nudge… Kaewmla offers an excellent selling point for Thai Sex Talk:
Looking for love without an adequate vocabulary is like going on a treasure hunt without a good treasure map. A set of basic vocabulary can make navigating the wild love jungle a much more fun and satisfying experience.
30 ยังแจ๋ว, 40 กะรัต
Still hot at 30, 40 carats: Although the bar has been raised in the West (for both men and women), Thailand has their ‘still hot at 30′, and ’40 carats’ (carats = the addition of wisdom).
To kick a can loudly: Kicking tin cans in Thailand is all about the sexual virility of old(er) men. I equate can kicking with youth, so I have questions. Hopefully Kaewmla will clear up the mystery.
Trees from the same forest: While no longer a popular term with the present gay community (even the most pleasant of words can be turned), ‘trees from the same forest’ reads quite fine to my years.
Chapter Five: The art of flirting…
This chapter is chock-full of Thai flirting expressions, as well as insights into how Thais flirt. What fun!
Bone in the throat: This is when someone gets in the way of the romance. An old fling or a MIL-to-be are common culprits in any culture.
Being dancing-fish excited: This expression is strictly for females. Apparently women should not act overly excited, so are at risk at being compared to fish getting fresh water poured into their tank (giggling, jumping around, etc). But neither are they supposed to be too standoffish. Sigh…
Chapter Six: Traditional courtship rituals…
I found this an absorbing chapter because it discusses history and the Thai classics (I have a fondness for both). In places, it is exactly like Merry ‘Ole England. In others, quaintly Thai (but I won’t ruin it for you).
Enter through the proper alley way, exit through the door: In Thailand (more so than in the US or the UK), there is a right way to court: Respect the parents, respect the girl, not too many late nights, etc. The West is similar, but does not take the respect for the parents to such great heights.
Wet the top of the staircase: Keeping a large water jar at the foot of the stairs for guests to wash their feet is an old Thai custom. And if there is a beautiful daughter in the house, the stairs stay wet.
Chapter Seven: Modern courtship and dating…
Chapter seven is where expats make their entrance into the Thai dating scheme of things.
A new kind of romance has also emerged in Thai sexual culture. Thai-foreign relationships, especially between Thai women and Western men, have become a trend. So, I also cover these relationships, which beg much cultural and historical discussion.
Jump along as one falls down the staircase: This is the equivalent of a shotgun wedding in the West.
Before the pot becomes black: In the old days, rice was cooked over a charcoal fire. ‘Before the pot becomes black’ describes a relationship that is over before the bottom of the clay pot turns black.
Chapter Eight: Lovers and bed mates…
Here we move on from courtship to more. And what Thai word dominates? รัก (rák = love), of course.
Love over the skyline: With expats in the picture, long distance relationships become a part of Thai society. Kaewmla mentions an old Thai song of the same name. If anyone has any information about the song, please drop me a line in the comments.
Flower by the roadside: This is a sad expression used for a women who has been played with, and then lightly discarded by a wealthy man.
Old bowl of chili paste: When the spice in a relationship wanes, couples (usually the man) are sometimes left with a tasteless romance.
Chapter Nine: In the eye of the (Thai) beholder…
If you are considering a relationship with a Thai and would like to get some insight into their preferences for a mate, then go straight to page 227. No surprises, looks do come into it.
Dragging the ground handsome: Kaewmla has a theory that this phrase is about the weight of the handsomeness. Would anyone else clued into Thailand care to share their thoughts?
Pulling the intestines gorgeous: This is the female version of Thailand’s ground dragging men. But it makes more sense to me as I’ve had my insides tugged by painfully handsome men. And the physical affects are felt in the stomach.
Chapter Ten: Sexy (or not) Thai style…
This chapter is all about body style: Tall, skinny, fat, short. Most of the shared descriptions refer to women.
Dark like a duck’s liver: A sexy, dark-skinned women.
Beef, milk, and eggs: A voluptuous body raised on a Western diet.
Jointless tamarind: Short and stocky (usually a man).
So there you have it. A quick review of the ten chapters of Thai Sex Talk: Understanding Thai Love, Romance & Sexuality. If you are a student of Thai, you are certain to enjoy adding these and more phrases into your language stash.
Suggestion: If you are in the market for books with a Thai relationship twist, along with Kaewmla’s Thai Sex Talk, why not grab a copy of Christopher Moore’s Heart Talk too.
Kinokuniya presently has a Valentine’s promotion going for both Thai Sex Talk and Heart Talk. Thai Sex Talk is now 20% off = 316 baht. Heart Talk also gets 20% off = 495 baht.
In addition, Thai Sex Talk is available as print on demand on Amazon and eBook.
Btw: you can read my review of Heart Talk here: Heart Talk by Christopher G Moore.
25 thoughts on “Thai Sex Talk for St Valentine’s”
Kaewmala, I am glad to hear that you are giving blogging another try. You write beautifully and have a lot to say (a lot I want to read about).
And I see that you’ve added a Ask Kaewmala post. Excellent.
Hi Bon, thanks for your interest. By all means. But I would appreciate if you give the source and the link to the website. I also keep a blog (link from the website — I’m trying, Catherine, we’ll see how long I can keep up this time) where you ask questions and give comments and suggestions. In fact, I very much welcome views of other Thai women.
Hi Bon, Welcome to WLT 🙂
As the phrases came from Kaewmala’s book, Thai Sex Talk, I’ll leave it to her to reply.
Btw – Please let me know if you do as it’d be a great intro post.
I’m loving your sex talk lesson,would you mind if I steal this and teach some phrases on youtube?
Keep in touch
Martyn, Feel for you, longingly barking at airplanes. Just don’t look up for too long, you’d risk having a strained neck.
About my Freudian slip, I’m learning that I will have to be more mindful not to step on future typographical landmines, which, in my next book will exponentially increase, given the contents focusing on the naughty bits – in all the anatomical, historical, ritual, artistic and linguistic dimensions. (I guess I will endure many Hamlet moments – To Spell, Or Not To Spell.)
By the way, I’ve revised my translation of the รักข้ามขอบฟ้า lyrics, which I believe is better than the first one posted above. It’s available on my blog: https://thaiwomantalks.com/. The post also has a YouTube link to the song rendition by the female singer I mentioned earlier, Sri-salai Suchartvuthi.
Thanks to Catherine for inspiring me to get back to my blog. I really have been appallingly lazy at it. But now I plan to write more (and hopefully share with you more) there.
So, here, I’m extending invitation to all who’d like to ask questions or talk about the book or anything (words, expressions, confusions) that concern the cultural and linguistic aspects of love and romance (and yes, sexuality too) in Thai culture.
Hope to see you there. And please leave your comments. Thanks.
Kaewmala – Dark like a d*ck’s liver and Bone in the throat, I do wonder about the content of your next book. If you need a proof reader for it then please drop me an email.
I forgot to mention in my previous comment that I really do like the expression Dog barking at an airplane, I felt a stabbing pain when I read it. Working class housing estates are full of such dogs but the aircraft fly way way overhead.
Kaewmala, what a sweet song and translation. I thank you for your Valentine’s gift!
This sentence is sure to grab at some soft parts around here: Nation, language no longer matters – only matching hearts.
Again, thank you. And Happy Valentine’s Day everyone 🙂
Here’s a Valentine’s present to Catherine, et al. (I’m no poet and never took to poetry, but did my best.)
รักข้ามขอบฟ้า – Love Over the Skyline
O Skyline is beyond all borders
If birds can fly over the horizon, Love also can for ever
Love over waters, Love over nations
When Love perishes, the Sky ceases its boundless proportion.
The enveloping arch of the Skyline
Holds and enfolds the Earth within
As Love embraces, when it does
Nation, language no longer matters – only matching hearts.
Love over the Skyline, Love is the heavenly word
Two hearts may beat
In a different chest, each one
Worry not, if there’s love connection.
Skyline, though on a different side of the Earth
Distant, yet of the same Sky
Love crosses over the Skyline, over the horizon to bind
Love tied … Two Hearts united as One.
–translated by kaewmala (14 February 2010, Bangkok)
Hehh… Kaewmala, I’ve edited your comment 😀 and it was indeed funny (only those who have subscribed to the comments will get it).
Oh my God! I just checked my last post and saw – belatedly – that very small typo and got myself a good chuckle. What a Freudian slip. (I wonder if, unbeknownst to me, I have taken auto-erotic writing to a whole new level!) I meant to say “dark like a duck’s liver” (ดำตับเป็ด) – It’s ‘u’ and not ‘i’ in the duck, which is an animal that has a liver organ–but, if spelled with an ‘i’, is a totally different kind of “animal” that would look beyond weird with a liver organ.
Hi all, glad that you are enjoying some expressions from the book.
The expression ดำตับเป็ด, literally ‘dark like a duck’s liver’, may indeed be perceived negatively since it has a strong sexual connotation. Traditionally, the expression simply refers to a sexy dark-skinned woman but usage may have transformed, and some these days may use it to refer to a woman’s um … ya know … private. Another reason–hardly any Thai woman wants to be complimented as dark (although beautifully so).
Appreciate the song lyrics. There are a number of renditions of this song. I personally remember the one by a different singer คุณศรีไศล สุชาติวุฒิ (Sri-salai Suchartvuthi)–beautiful, throaty, sexy voice.
Note to Martyn: I think you know best what kind of flowers your Wilai will like. Like Cat, I’d go with the ones that stay longer than a couple of days. And thanks for the compliments … though I’m tempted to let you keep the image you have of me, I’m afraid I won’t be able to sleep tonight. So I’ll have to prick your bubble. The picture of the lovely young woman on my website is not me (sigh…). She’s a professional model who posted for the book cover. If I weren’t keeping my identify hidden (hence the pseudonym), I might consider using my own pictures, but then (I imagine) there would be a lot fewer dreamy smiles behind many keyboards and almost certainly a frown on my hubby’s usually smiley face.
I think the reason why you couldn’t find the book on Amazon is because you might have typed “Thai Sex Talk” instead of “Sex Talk”, which is the actual book title. (Thai Sex Talk is the title of the website.) If you type “sex talk kaewmala” you’ll see the book: here’s the link . The amazon price is $13.95.
Rem, welcome to WLT! This is indeed fabulous. Thank you so much for sharing both the lyrics and the YouTube video for รักข้ามขอบฟ้า. Later on, I will create a post with translations (good practice). My Thai teacher might have memories to add to the post too. Thanks!
Catherine, Thanks for all your informative posts and useful links.
About the song รักข้ามขอบฟ้า:
รักข้ามขอบฟ้า is a duo by Sinn Sisamouth (Cambodian Singer) and Dy Saveth (Cambodian actress and first Miss Cambodia back in 1959). This song is from the movie titled “รักข้ามขอบฟ้า” in Thai or “Chivit Psong Praeng” in Khmer(It was a Thai/Cambodian production, 1973). There is also a Khmer version of the song.
You can listen to the Thai version on youtube : รักข้ามขอบฟ้า
Lyrics (by:กวี สัตตโกวิท)
SomeGuy – I don’t see an amazon.com listing either, so you might have to improvise. I picked up my copy at Kinokuniya’s in Paragon (but that might not be an option for everyone).
I will leave Kaewmla to respond to your wife’s opinion about ดำตับเป็ด.
Same as in the West, Thailand has many layers in its social makeup, each with their own opinions on what is right or wrong. I haven’t learned my way around who is doing what, yet, so I am interested in Kaewmla’s reply.
Kaewmla – Ah, now that makes sense. Old men making a lot of noise over a young thing (I fondly remember the days 😉
Thank you for the correction (I’ve changed it in the post).
I wonder if Valentine’s Day is changing rapidly for Thai lasses. The younger ones, especially. There were always red roses on the street in BKK (and they are a heck of a lot less than one can buy then for in the West!) But I come across Valentine’s decorations in the shops now.
Martyn – You paint such a picture. I can just see you walking to Wilai, all pink faced and all. I too have a preference for the boot flowers. They might be more expensive than what one can buy on the street (not in the shops, mind you), but they give pleasure for months/years to come.
I sat next to a guy kicking a can loudly just last night. They were at the table butted close to mine during a belated birthday dinner (not mine). She was so very young; and he was (cough cough) around about my age, sporting the well preserved look that often accompanies a moneyed background. She was too prettily flirtatious to be a daughter, so I went for wife or girlfriend of some sort. All it all, it was quite sweet (wealth tends to have that affect, yes?)
Kaewmala’s talent for writing, with brains to go with, is a fabulous combination. I am looking forward to other books from her (hint hint). The Thai-Expat market is mostly men writing for the same target market – other men. Books with a female point of view are rare, and needed. A female expat could attempt to write from a Thai point of view, but… difficult.
Catherine what a lovely post for this special weekend and a reminder to me of today’s telephone conversation with Wilai. I did my best to explain that due to my work schedule I had missed the boat in time to post a Valentine’s Card for the young one this year. I’m still trying to figure out the meaning of her reply.
‘ Mai phen rai. I not worry about Valentine. Hus..band can buy me some flowers next time you come.’
I’m wondering if she means flowers that are planted in pots which she has a habit of filling the car boot up with and the back seat. That can get expensive. On the other hand does she mean the bouquet that’s wrapped in cellophane and the man has to carry with great embarrassment for what seems a walk and a half. I think I’d rather settle for the more expensive car boot sweetener.
I love the expressions attached to Kaewmala’s book.
Wet the bottom of the staircase: An old Thai custom which I didn’t know but won’t forget.
Flower by the roadside: Sad but what a sweet way to put it.
Jump along as one falls down the staircase: A noise heard the whole world over.
Before the pot becomes black: They do still cook over a charcoal fire in the Isaan villages.
My favourite is To kick a can loudly, it reminded me of the many old Thai men I have seen in karaoke/restaurants with one or two young ladies in their company. Many of the men look as if they should be kicking Diet Coke cans.
I visited Kaewmala’s site and what a gorgeous looking lady who has a lot of talent when it comes to writing. I may need to read Thai Sex Talk before my next Thailand trip, it’s either that or rent a two seater car with a very small boot.
Any links to the Amazon listing for this book? I did a search both by the title of the book, and the author’s name and it didn’t turn up anything. For my own reasons, I’d prefer to purchase through Amazon.
Also, just FYI, my wife informs me that saying ดำตับเป็ด will be taken as an insult by most Thai ladies.
Catherine, thank you for such a kind review of the book and others for kind comments. Regarding the tin can-kicking เตะปี๊บดัง expression, it is used with elderly men in Thai because younger men’s virility is taken for granted, but not so for older men. A Thai may say: “Wow, your grandpa’s got a new kik! And she’s only 22! He certainly can still เตะปี๊บดัง (kick a tin can loudly), eh? [wink, wink]”
A correction on the book price–for Valentines’s promotion at Kinokuniya, it’s actually 20% off 395 baht (final price = 316 baht).
I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.
Hi Rick. Kaewmla resided in the US for ten years, so she has a very good idea of what makes us tick. I only wish that I was as clued in.
Here’s wishing you a good future 🙂
Great review Cat, and dam**d educational. Now I’ll have to buy the book. I also read Dan’s interview with the author and was impressed with her grasp of both cultures and ability to express herself intelligently, fairly and with good humour. I also see a Thai-farang relationship in my future and could use all the help I can get.
I don’t have that one (I assume it’s the one from Benjawan Becker). So I’ll wait for your review(?)
Cat, another good book for those falang/Thai relationships is Thai for Lovers, a little more risque if ya know what I mean…
Morning Talen! I’m always finding thought-provoking subjects on Dan’s site too. I should have reviewed her book months back (when I first read the review), but Valentine’s day seemed more of a fit.
There are several relationship books out there for Thai-Western and Thai Sex Talk appeals to the history buff in me. Chris Pirazzi’s Thailand Fever is good too, but has a different focus.
Btw – after a recent visit to the Thai Puppet Theatre, I was able to use an expression from Kaewmla’s book – ถุงกาแฟ = coffee bag – which had both Khun Phairo and Khun Pissout laughing hilariously.
Great post Cat. I read the interview Kaewmla that Dan did and she really has a good head on her shoulders. I’ve been to her site but have not yet purchased her book, plan to soon.
“This book is intended primarily for those who are, or expect to be, in a cross-cultural romance with a Thai.” That would definitely include me and sometimes I need all the help I can get!
I look forward to reading the book and I hope Kaewmla stops by to give us some more insight and maybe a tip or two not contained in the book.