To her left, the expansive, dense flora reaches out covering the mountainous ranges as far as her eyes can see. To her right, the dip in the mountains part to reveal a pristine, aquamarine bay with a white sandy beach embracing the soft waves as they hit the land. Making her way down to the shoreline, she basks in the crisp golden sunlight, letting the beads of percolating sweat drip down her olive toned skin and the smooth, warm sand cascade off her buried toes. As she sits up from the outstretched beach chair, a perfectly sculpted, shirtless man approaches with his chiseled chest and stunning smile.
“Can I help you?” the local man offers to the awed female.
“More than you can imagine,” she replies, with a cunning grin and acceptance to his offer, for this seemingly innocent female tourist came on vacation not only to immerse herself in the culture and beauty of the land around her, but to also become equally immersed with the locals themselves – especially the male ones.
Despite misconceptions and adverse taboos, the female sex tourism industry is very much alive and booming. And further to that point, it is not just reserved for upper-class middle-aged Westernized women as it is commonly perceived. No, the female sex tourism industry spans all ages, motivations and regions in the world and has become increasingly popular amongst the younger generations in search a tryst or adventure.
While the term generally refers to the hiring of sex workers or male prostitutes, aptly named beach boys, rent-a-dreads, rent-a-gents or similar depending on the country, it has more recently amalgamated to reflect tourists who are always looking for a rendezvous with a local without trading for monetary gain. Classified under three separate types, the female sex tourist generally falls under one of the following categories: Situational Sex Tourist, Traditional Sex Tourist, or Romance Tourist.
“I didn’t intend for it to happen,” Amanda Tennille insisted as she sipped her dacquari and stubbed out her cigarette. “I was just looking to relax after a stressful time in my life.”
Amanda, 36, had just gone through a particularly nasty divorce and, on the advice of a friend, booked a five night stay in Aruba. She’d barely checked into her hotel rooms when she caught the eye of several young local men.
“I wasn’t planning or trying to meet anyone but I hadn’t been that popular with guys since high school,” She said with an excited gleam in her eyes. “they were so young, muscular and, well, black!”
She hooked up with three of them while on her solo vacation and claims it was the best sex of her life.
“Unless I get into a serious relationship at home, Aruba might just be a yearly playcation for me.” She said.
The situational sex tourist isn’t typically motivated by sex as their original motif for their trip. Instead, it is an added feature to complement their initial reasoning for travelling. Situational sex tourism transpires when female tourists are enticed by local men for their exotic appeal.
The traditional sex tourist has an unambiguous motive – sexual companionship for specific lengths of time that they could not necessarily partake in back home. The women who partake of this fruit are usually older and wealthy. For the duration of their vacations, the local men they choose are usually no more than sexual playthings and they are rewarded for their services with gifts and money.
Barbara Lawson, 48, has been visiting Italy for the past eight years. It’s officially a business conference for the corporation she works for. Her husband attended with her for the first three years but decided he’d seen all he needed to see there. So the past five visits have been her secret.
“I’d always heard the other women whispering about the local men but never thought much of it because I was with my husband,” explained Barbara. “But the first year he stayed home a co-workers invited me out with her and her lover.”
He brought a friend, Barbara detailed, and one thing led to another.
“I thought, ‘why not,” she said. “I’d been a good girl all my life and didn’t think a little fun would be a bad thing.”
Since then, she’s sought out local men to sexually service her every year she’s gone alone. In return, she buys them drinks, dinner and nice gifts. She considers it a gender role reversal.
“The sex is, well, very raw,” Barbara says excitedly. “And it’s actually helped my sex life with my husband. I literally attack him now when I want it.”
It’s been widely debated whether the romance tourist should be considered a female sex tourist at all. Seeking out the potential for a deeper emotional courtship supersedes the purely sexual encounter for the romance tourist, and their desire to prove their independence and break conventional roles are at the forefront of their motivations.
It has been said that in some underdeveloped tropical nations, such as Jamaica, that upwards of 80,000 women from Westernized societies visit for the purpose of sex tourism annually. A majority of these women also return each year to rekindle their sexual relationships and bring gifts to their men. Similar to the white woman’s magnetism towards the elusive black male, the men also find the fair-skinned women equally appealing and a representation of higher aspirations. This makes the partnership favourable and popular amongst both parties.
Comparably, more and more young women on spring break are finding themselves drawn to the stimulating and exciting world of sex tourism. Through the use of alcohol and partying by college students becoming customary for one or two week periods at a time at tropical destination during spring break, the term ‘female sex tourist’ has broadened to take on new forms. The practice of casual sex for the duration of the vacation is not only commonplace, but usually sought after by female partners. For many, spring break encourages “social disinhibition” or in other words, a separation and escape from their regular, routine lives. This leads them to feel less reserved in engaging in otherwise precarious sexual relationships because it is socially accepted among their peers and they will likely never come across the one time partner again.
But even that dynamic is quickly evolving. Once content to hook up with college guys from other schools, women are now quietly slipping away in groups to beaches and night spots off the spring break tourist map to sample the flesh of the locals.
Kimberly Mason comes from an affluent Baltimore family and has been traveling to vacation hot since she was born. She knows all the best places to eat and the sexiest night spots in cities all over the world. Jamaica has been her spring break choice since her freshman year.
“We’re not usually part of that sea of white bikini-covered flesh you see in spring break news clips and TV shows,” she says, sipping a margarita. Her eyes slowly follow a muscular dark skinned man who passes by our table. He returns the lusty glance and they both smile.
“My friends and I head across the island where the locals party and the men are more willing to please.”
Kim’s first trip to Jamaica was in high school. She experience her first hook-up with a dark skinned adonis then, too.
“He was so much better than my boyfriend back home,” she states, then smiles. “More between his legs, too, and that’s what keeps me and my friends coming back, the guys here aren’t just the ‘hit her and quit her’ types, they actually take the time to make us feel like goddesses, and that means something.”
While there are many health risks potentially involved with a foreign suitor from STDs to HIV, the risks of casual sex is diminished through the use of contraceptives. In fact, female sex tourists have made condoms part of their ‘must haves’ during their trysts.
And so the debate goes on…is it morally and ethically wrong for women to participate in sex tourism as men have for decades? Does the stigma hold true for young women on spring break looking for ‘hook ups’, as well? Should ‘renting romance’ be less vilified and more accepted? These questions will likely never have concrete answers as they vary from each individual perception.
At the end of the day, if that dark beach boy with the chiseled body approaches you as you tan in your feminine glory and you are so inclined to use him for sex, who is anyone to judge? Be a savvy sexual goddess while practicing safe sex, being prudent about your decisions, and above all, having a memorable trip!