So long as it’s done with a sense of class.
Forget, for a moment, everything you have heard about sexual tourism. Forget the negative image the media displays, forget the notion of perpetuating a bad situation for the workers, forget the often-touted idea that it’s morally wrong and the myriad of other criticisms of sexual tourism. Instead, consider sexual tourism within a set of assumptions that should universally be applied to sex of any kind. That is, that the people involved in the sexual act are consenting adults.
Even the most liberal of discussions relating to sexual tourism should easily come to the conclusion that sex with minors and sex with someone against their consent has no place in the world today. So too will this discussion operate under that truth and point out why some of the common criticisms of sexual tourism are overstated or completely inaccurate.
Prostitution is a Crime
No discussion of sexual tourism would be complete without first discussing prostitution. If you believe that prostitution is wrong, then there is no point in having a discussion about sexual tourism, a form of prostitution and the definition of which is “travel for which the main motivation is to engage in commercial sexual relations” according to an article on KinseyConfidential.com, a website that considers itself a “sexuality information service.”
Whether or not prostitution is a crime is technically not a matter of opinion. It’s a fact based on the laws of any given location. However, the idea that prostitution is a victim-less crime is perhaps a matter of opinion. In a discussion on ProCon.org, a website that presents “controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, primarily pro-con format” a law professor from Rutgers University listed as a reason why prostitution is not a crime, “Prostitutes are not committing an inherently harmful act.”
Indeed, as long as the participants are adults and consent to the sex, it’s difficult to see the harm in prostitution and therefore sexual tourism. Moreover, any harm involved, examples of which might be sexually transmitted diseases, infidelity, or abuse, are problems that exist in any type of relationship be it a legitimate relationship or casual sex.
Sexual Tourism Only Happens in Poor Countries
While it’s certainly true that many poor countries, particularly in Asia and the Caribbean, are popular destinations for sexual tourism, many people will be surprised to find out the better-known poor countries are joined by a number of Western countries. The best examples of which are Iceland, Spain, and Holland, though there are several other European countries which are popular sexual tourism destinations.
Holland is perhaps the best-known sexual tourism location in Europe. Its red light district is world-renowned. A Dutch man in an article from The Guardian made a very poignant point, “It will always be there, if you try to suppress it, it will come back in one form or another and it will be harder to control.”
The Dutch are well-known for being a tolerant people and their open-mindedness has benefited the sexual tourism industry as well as perhaps the wider community. Not only is the industry well-regulated, but it’s also considered reasonably safe in terms of STDs, likely due, at least in part, to the regulation.
‘Johns’ Perpetuate the Need
Clearly, without customers, there would be no market. Sexual tourism, which would be referred to as simply prostitution when the patrons are the locals, has two types of customers or “Johns,” – tourists and non-tourists.
A prime example of this is illustrated by an article on ProCon.org which indicates that a whopping 75% of Thai men have paid for sex. If not the most well-known sexual tourism destination in the world, Thailand is perhaps among the most popular sexual tourism destinations. What that stat reveals is that the ability to pay for sex in Tourism would exist with or without patrons from other countries.
In the personal experience of the writer of this article, as a former patron of prostitution in a different Southeast Asian country, the clientele was always overwhelmingly local. While there was the occasional foreigner, that was always the exception, not the norm. This was true regardless of the type of venue. Whether visiting what was considered a “high-class” establishment, a spa featuring a massage and happy ending, or a girly bar, which had an appearance of a bar or disco club but employed girls and had unadvertised rooms “in the back.”
Prostitutes are Underpaid
The argument that prostitutes are underpaid is usually made through the perspective of a Westerner without a clear understanding or consideration of the standard of living in a given country. The sad truth is that the standard of living in many countries that are sexual tourism destinations falls well below that of the countries from which the “Johns” usually come from.
To illustrate this point, consider a bank teller. According to PayScale.com, In the United States, the average yearly salary of a well-paid bank teller is approximately $30,000. By contrast, the average yearly salary of well-paid bank teller in the Philippines, is approximately $6,000. As you can see, there is a significant difference and any discussion regarding how well a prostitute is paid should occur with this discrepancy in mind.
The point here is that prostitutes are paid as well as can be expected given the standard of living in their home country. However, many prostitutes make significantly more money. Especially if they are particularly attractive and are able to market themselves well enough to forego an agency or bar/strip club/spa type setting. Using the example of our bank teller, an attractive prostitute could easily acquire a bank teller’s monthly salary, around $500, in as little as two evenings with a “John.”
A final thought is centered around the prevalence of STDs, specifically HIV. Of course, any sex, paid for or not, can lead to an STD. However, it’s untrue that sexual tourism destinations are places with rampant HIV. According to the CIA World Factbook, the rate of HIV in the United States is 0.6% while in Cambodia, another sexual tourism destination in Southeastern Asia, has a HIV rate of 0.64%. Hardly a noticeable difference. Other sexual tourism destinations have even lower rates of HIV.
Ultimately, it’s a personal decision whether or not sexual tourism is a bad thing. This article simply suggests that it’s not as bad as people often assume if the worker has a choice and is an adult. Respect during sex is always necessary as it is in any interpersonal interaction. Follow these very simple rules and the world can be your sexual playground without tiptoeing around misled notions of right and wrong.
Additional Thoughts On Sexual Tourism or Sex During Travel
Sex tourism is travel to engage in sexual activity however lets speak more broadly about this. Many people travel for travels sake, food culture, sightseeing, fresh and unique experiences. There are many reasons to travel and some include meeting new people and absorbing the amazing cultures that exist in this world. Sex is a base level human emotion and primal need so it should not be a surprise to anyone that it will be present during travel for many. Especially single businessmen and women. Add to that the inherent attraction that exists between cultures and you get a wonderful experience for the traveler and local.
It has to be done with some level of class otherwise it’s just sleaze.
What this means is – you are not using anyone, you are not abusing the increase in attraction you get. The encounter should always be a win win.
Sexual attraction is the initial force bringing two cultures together perhaps but lifelong friends can be made as a result. Sexual tourism is not just a quick 20 minutes with a thai prostitute in a side ally. It can be a classy celebration of two very different cultures inside and outside the bedroom. This culture difference can often lead to a very special sexual experience that cannot be experienced back home.
An increase in attention
For example – i have noticed almost a TEN FOLD increase in the number of online messages and attention i am receiving from women compared to back home. (from messaging apps such as badoo)
However cringe-worthy it may be for a Caucasian man to be seen with an Asian women. So long as the two parities are involved in consensual sex and boundaries are respected. Alot can be learnt from the experience.
The benefits as discussed before include but are not limited to increased cultural understanding, enjoying new cultures, food culture, sexual culture. This will lead to less racism and bigotry, ultimately becoming a more rich and open minded person as a result of experiencing someone sexually. Not prostitution but consenting adults enjoying time together and learning a lot from the experience.
A moral dilemma?
Basically I’m getting hunted down by a pack of horny wolves at the moment. Perhaps women wanting to get out of there current low paying situation – I’m not sure. Perhaps there is a moral dilemma there. In any case it is a very eye opening experience to see a different side of female behavior. If you are not used to being able to pick your women from a long list that have messaged you to meet and sleep with every night it can be overwhelming. The tables have turned and gluttony is not the answer here – quality over quantity even in women.