Sex Tourism

Carly Ozarowski

This weeks reading addresses the notion of vacation locations as “sexual paradises” or “Fantasy Islands”. These get places that need the economic tourism to employ people and help their country economically have been viewed as place in which prostitution is another form of economic growth between locals and tourists. This form of prostitution is not just the local female and tourist male but also local male and female tourist. Taylor addresses the double standard men and women face in sex tourism. Tourist males are viewed as engaging in sex tourism while tourist females are viewed as engaging in romance tourism. Taylor goes on to explain that “prostitute-use” is usually stereotyped to be a male only practice and that is why when females engage in prostitute-use the term “sex tourism” is not used; hence a double standard. Sex tourism does not just include brief cash for sex exchanges but also longer term relations where other forms of benefits are exchanged.


Davidson and Taylor open up their paper with Shrage’s notion that in the sex tourism market men are interested in engaging in relations with women of a minority race, this is because of stereotyped ideals about the sexualization of these women and the stereotype of white women as being pure and not sexualized. This goes in line with the idea of over sexualizing black women in American media and their representation. This also relates to an article I read for Social Inequality, about how often times white homosexual men seek out minority homosexual men for same stereotypes of them being over sexualized. An interesting idea in this article was the idea of a “love object” and the idea of sexual control over yourself and over others. There is a contradiction in that men want a prostitute that doesn’t just want sex for money but also for pleasure. They describe the ideal prostitute as a “person who can be treated as an object”. When seeking a prostitute these men do not just want a woman who will only be there for their sexual use but also a women that will engage in a more “love-making” style of sex. They do not want to feel like they are with a prostitute but more with a person equally involved, although also being controlled. It is a hard dichotomy for me to understand or explain. This article also addresses the idea the sex workers do not just engage in brief sex for cash exchanges but there is an array of options that the worker can choose. For example if a person chooses to be in a relationship were their expenses are paid for this can seem like a less harsh version of prostitution for them, and they are given the choose to decide how they act and in what way they are involved in the market. Another idea that I thought was very interesting was the idea that in “’civilized’ countries on ‘bad’ women become prostitute (they refuse the constraints civilization places upon ‘good’ women in favor of earning ‘easy money’), but in the Third World… ‘nice girls’ may be driven to prostitution in order to survive” (page 458). This idea completely disregards women in “civilized countries” as ever having the feeling that is the only way they can better their life or help their children.


7 thoughts on “Sex Tourism

  1. Jihmmy N. Sanchez

    It is also important to mention that both male and female sex tourism is also used by western males and females to establish or even reestablish their privilege. Women engage in sex tourism because they seek a physical relationship where they are the ones in control, this control coming from the fact that western women for the most part come from higher socioeconomic classes than the local men they embrace. There affluence then gives them control, which in turn gives them power. The same goes for western male sex tourists who engage in sexual acts with local women as a form of establishing control. Their affluence and and gender gives the control of the physical relationship.

  2. Brittany Juliano

    I like that you included the quote that distinguishes civilized prostitution from Third World prostitution. This distinction confused me, when I first read the article, because I have a hard time understanding why the motivations for prostitution should change someone’s perspective about it, especially if they themselves participate in prostitution regardless. This also plays into the notion discussed in Fantasy Island that the male sex tourists believe that the women they engage for sex are more sexually driven than their White counterparts. Their racialized bodies are considered the Other, and thereby given a different ‘natural’ function than is found in civilized society. The implications of imperialism and colonization of women are huge here, but it is not just men that are colonizing. A change in that traditional role stems from the large phenomenon of female sex tourists. Despite the fact that they do not view their actions as prostitution or exploitation, they are certainly colonizing an ‘exotic’ body just as men traditionally assume power over women’s bodies. Does that mean they are trying to assume male roles of power, however negative?

  3. Sophie Furman

    The title “sex tourism” is so interesting because it’s almost as if it’s an excuse title given when females enter that behavior. Like they’re only “touring” that field and wouldn’t ever actually hire a prostitute and their for there needs to be a different name for it, so society doesn’t put males and females in the same category as being capable of doing such a thing. Even in this instance where they are the same situation, and equally as bad males and females need different terms so they aren’t put on the same playing field.

  4. Sarah Wills

    I like how you picked up on the dichotomy about how men want more than to just view women as a sexual object, but that they also want to use them for “love making”. When this was mentioned in the article, it gave a different perspective about my pre-conceived notions about what men want out of prostitutes. Also, the fact that men tend to be more drawn to non-white prostitutes is very interesting. Like you mentioned, this is due to the fact that the ideal white female has different standards in society. She is supposed to be pure and innocent-which are not the characteristics that prostitutes are considered to have. Also, men are drawn to non white prostitutes due to stereotypical behaviors of these women in the bedroom.

  5. Gina Pol

    I think what I found interesting about “Fantasy Island” is men and women’s desire for “otherness.” They wanted to engage in sexual activities with someone that they did not see themselves closely related to (white men/women) because that will break down their own power. Therefore engaging in sex with those who were from third world countries would still allow them to have their power and control. I also found it interesting how women sex tourists would consider these engagements as “romanticism” and that they were on dates, but they would never actually date a black man when they go back home. These women did not consider themselves racist, but their statements contradicted their actions.

  6. You point out something pretty cool about how people find other people attractive and how this relates to what type of a person we actively pursue (which are often times very different). I’ve been thinking a little bit recently about what social force motivates us to think that someone is attractive. Heteronormativity seems to dictate that, for males, they are or should be the direct opposite of femininity but that their opposites (women) should be violently eroticized so that their sexual identities can be dominant (men don’t see it this way because they believe that women should want them as this image). However, it’s interesting that these articles point out the fact that women also find that it is appropriate to exploit who they perceive to be hyper-masculine men for sexual services when they have significantly higher economic power.

    Patrick Gallagher Landes

  7. Sophie Sharps

    I think it is really important to recognize the economic aspect of tourism and how crucial this is to the country’s economy. Tourism forms the basis of many economies (especially Caribbean countries such as Jamaica). However, I wonder the extent to which sex tourism contributes to the economy. In particular, because there is so much emphasis on the formal economy, how does informal sex tourism contribute and/or enhance the economy?

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