News: Female “sex tourism” on the rise (New Statesman)

paradise-love_wide-620x349The New Statesman reports on a growing trend in holidaying. “Sex tourism” is nothing new, but it is the growing number of Western, middle-aged women participating in these illicit holiday trysts that is cause for concern.

In top holiday paradise destinations such as the Caribbean and Gambia, middle-aged women are finding themselves increasingly involved in prostitution activities with local young men.  However, this is far from a holiday romance, these comparatively wealthy women are in fact, participating in a financial transaction.

Barbara tells the New Statesman about her experience.  British, in her late fifties and divorced, Barbara travelled to Jamaica on her own for the first time.  Whilst she says she had no plans for a holiday romance, upon landing at Montego Bay she met Chris.   “I have never seen a man as fit as Chris. His locks were down his back and his legs were like a footballer’s. I thought, ‘Why is he looking at me like he fancies me? I’m not his type.’”

Lavished with compliments and attention, Barbara soon let loose and indulged in her new found freedom.  This was a far cry from her love life back home, where she found it difficult to meet a man of her own age who wasn’t looking for someone, younger, thinner and more beautiful.  Often women who become involved in sex tourism have a history of failed relationships with men.  But Barbara was completely unaware that she was involved in a sexual transaction until one night, when Chris refused to sleep with her until he received money, he stated  “no money, no sex”.

According to a recent academic study, this new phenomenon is not a strict gender reversal of the stereotypical Western man in Thailand.  For Barbara, and for many women who have had similar experiences, they believe that the men they meet on holiday are in love with them.  This could explain why internet forums have popped up with women connecting to their “boyfriends” once returning back from holiday.  Often women find themselves sending money to the men who need to pay “bills” or want to rent accommodation for their next visit.

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