Female sex tourism

Female sex tourism is travel by women, partially or fully for the purpose of having sex. The practice differs from male sex tourism in that women do not typically use the structures of the sex industry (e.g. strip clubs, sex shows and organised tours) to meet foreign partners. Women's trips may be referred to as "romance tourism." They typically involve sex with locals from the holiday destination country, as opposed to with other tourists, possibly from their own country (a holiday fling).

The phenomenon has been explored by French Novelist Michel Houellebecq in his novel Platform and in the non-fiction book Romance on the Road. These works support the idea that sex tourism by both men and women reflects serious problems in the tourists' home countries, including a "dating war", or profound conflict between the sexes.


The primary destinations for female sex tourism are Southern Europe (mainly Italy, Greece, Turkey, Croatia and Spain), the Caribbean (led by Jamaica, Barbados and the Dominican Republic), Southeast Asia, Phuket in Thailand, and Ghana, Gambia and Kenya in Africa. Lesser destinations include Egypt, Nepal, Morocco, Fiji, Ecuador and Costa Rica.

Thailand, the Dominican Republic and Cuba are exceptional in that both male and female sex tourists use these countries.

An estimated 600,000 Western women have engaged in travel sex from 1980 to the present, many of them as repeat customers. By some estimates, 80,000 North American and European women flock to Jamaica for sex every year.

Lesbian sex tourism is nascent but evident in Lesbos ("seagulls," Bulgaria), sharks (Costa Rica), rent-a-dreads, rent-a-rastas, rent-a-gents and the Foreign Service (Caribbean), Marlboro men (Jordan), bomsas or "bumsters" (the Gambia), "sanky pankies" (Dominican Republic), "gringa hunter" o caza-gringas in Ecuador and brichero in Peru. "Beach boys" is a more generic term.

Male prostitutes may in general be referred to by various terms and euphemisms. Some of these men can be considered gigolos, for instance.

"A holiday fling" or "a holiday romance" may refer to either sex tourism (having sex with a local) or an affair with a fellow holidaymaker, possibly from one's own country or indeed package tour. Either may be called "fun in the sun". Euphemisms abound.


Barring some isolated cases of women traveling for sex among North American Indian tribes and within Turkey, female travel sex (involving American and English women) began in Rome in the late 1840s, at the same time as first wave feminism, which encouraged independence and travel.

Affairs and intrigues, particularly between American heiresses and impoverished European aristocrats, continued steadily until World War I, inspiring a whole genre of literature such as Henry James's Daisy Miller, Joaquin Miller's The One Fair Woman, and much of the early output of E.M. Forster.

Female sex travel declined from the time of the Depression until the 1960s.

Coincident with the explosion of leisure travel in the 1960s and second wave feminism, sex tourism by women re-ignited, first via French Canadian women travelling to Barbados and Swedish and Northern European women to Spain, Greece, Yugoslavia and the Gambia. Female sex travel became ubiquitous throughout the Caribbean, from the tiniest islands through the big destinations of Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Barbados.

In the 1990s, women from Japan and Taiwan began to appear on the beaches Phuket in Thailand.

Today, many other destinations are popular, including Morocco, Nepal, Thailand, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Mexico -- everywhere with beaches (or in Nepal's case, mountains) and a surplus of underemployed men.


Female sex tourism's first and second waves coincided not only with feminism but with Victorian era man shortages that began in England and later occurred in continental Europe and the United States.

Social reasons for women seeking promiscuous and no-strings-attached sex abroad include the dating war, as typified by extreme competition between the sexes in schools, the workplace, while dating, in marriages, and even in contentious divorces. The dating war appears especially to drive sex tourism by Australian and Japanese women, and to a lesser extent, German and Scandinavian female tourists. The changing theme of pop culture in the wake of the feminist heyday in America and elsewhere cannot be ignored. From the 1970s onward, the emergence of stronger, independent character roles for women in film, music and television doubtlessly influenced the expectations of ordinary women viewers everywhere in the western world.

The men may do it for the money, or for the sex, or for other unresearched reasons. Women usually give clothes, meals, cash and gifts to their male prostitutes. In some destinations, there are "going rates" for male companionship, ranging from $50 to $200. In other destinations, especially in Southern Europe, Turkey, and the French Caribbean, men do not expect to be compensated.


Non-fiction books include Anne Cumming's The Love Habit and The Love Quest, Fiona Pitt-Kethley's The Pan Principle and Journeys to the Underworld, Cleo Odzer's Patpong Sisters and Lucretia Stewart's The Weather Prophet.

Female sex tourists have been notoriously difficult to find and interview on the record (see de Albuquerque, 1998, in "Major academic publications" subheading, below). Thus some observers have turned to film and fiction to examine the motivations of women who travel for sex, love and affection. Movies include Heading South (Vers le Sud), with Charlotte Rampling, which depicts three Western tourists in Haiti in the 1970s, taking their pleasure with local men. Earlier film depictions include How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Shirley Valentine. Stella led to a quantifiable increase in trips by women to Jamaica . Important works of fiction include, in addition to Michel Houellebecq's Platform, Erica Jong's Fear of Flying, which coined or popularised the term "zipless fuck".

Risk of HIV/AIDS

Half a million people have HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, where the rates of infection are among the highest in the world, second only to those of sub-Saharan Africa: 5.6% of the adult population in Haiti, 3.2% in Trinidad and Tobago, 3% in the Bahamas, 2.5% in the Guyana, 1.7% in the Dominican Republic, 1.5% in Barbados, and 1.2% in Jamaica.

Those rates are an order of magnitude higher than in Canada (0.3%) or the U.S. (0.6%). Even so, female sex tourists in the Caribbean are not especially preoccupied by the risk, and condom use is sporadic.

See also

Major academic publications

External links

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This article is based on "Female sex tourism" from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org). It is licensed under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation Licencse. In the Wikipedia you can find a list of the authors by visiting the following address: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Female+sex+tourism&action=history