Beau Monde Press

Female sex tourism and related books

Author Jeannette Belliveau

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A listing of books, tending toward the academic and away from the memoir, that shed light on various facets of the emergant phenomenon of female sex tourism and travel romance. These I found useful in writing Romance on the Road thumbnail Romance on the Road. See also my lists of women's travel romance narratives and travel romance films.

International focus

TabooTaboo: Sex, Identity and Erotic Subjectivity in Anthropological Fieldwork
Don Kulick and Margaret Wilson, eds.
Fox would call this "When Anthropologists Go Wild." Seriously, reflective essays on daring against all anthropological training to take a foreign boyfriend from Jill Dubisch, Jean Gearing and Helen Morton, and a rare instance of a lesbian girlfriend story, contributed by Evelyn Blackwood.

Tourism and SexTourism and Sex: Culture, Commerce and Coercion (Tourism, Leisure, and Recreation Series) Stephen Clift, Simon Carter, eds.
Highly recommended collection of essays including a pair from Michael Bloor and Michelle Thomas, who conducted the only random survey of male and female sex travelers. Jacqueline Sanchez-Taylor examines the Caribbean scene, and Paula Black touches on reasons for sex travel.

MindThe Mind of the Traveler: From Gilgamesh to Global Tourism
Eric J. Leed
Reading this was a "Eureka" moment for me. A look at why travelers can adapt wholly new identities when away from home, and the history of sexual hospitality. Doesn't mention female sex tourism, but the reader can marvel at how applicable many of the observations about male conquerors are to today's female Centurions, bringing home husbands from overseas.

Sex Tourism:Sex Tourism: Marginal Peoples and Liminalities Chris Ryan, Colin Michael Hall, eds.
Excellent preface notes complexity of sex tourism as women arrive on the scene as customers, and the services they contract don't preciselly fall under the rubric of prostitution. Also see valuable chapters on "Holidays, Sex and Identity," "Tourism and Prostitution" and "Paradigms of Sex Tourism."

ProstitutionSex Tourism and Prostitution: Aspects of Leisure, Recreation, and Work (Tourism Dynamics)
Martin Oppermann, ed.
Christine Beddoe briefly mentions female sex tourism in Sri Lanka, and Heidi Dahles takes a deeper look at women visiting Indonesia.

Regional focus

SunSun, Sex, and Gold: Tourism and Sex Work in the Caribbean Kamala Kempadoo
Valuable updates from Amalia Cabezas on the Dominican Republic, Shirley Campbell et al. on Jamaica, Jacqueline Martis on St. Martin and Curacao, Joan L. Phillips on Barbados, and an overview by Julia O'Connell Davidson and Jacqueline Sanchez-Taylor.

VergeWomen on the Verge: Japanese Women, Western Dreams (Asia-Pacific) Karen Kelsky
Ground-breaking, admirable look at how women in Japan almost have to travel, live and work overseas to carve out their own identity, and the role their foreign love affairs play in their explorations.

MadameModern Madame Butterfly: Fantasy and Reality in Japanese Cross-Cultural Relationships
Karen Ma
A more accessible and anecdotal work than Kelsky's, above, and I would highly recommend both to get a full picture.

TigersTigers of the Snow and Other Virtual Sherpas '
Vincanne Adams
Describes how visiting female mountaineers began to entertain local Sherpas in their tents; there is not very much information on this phenomenon via other sources.

SeductionThe Seduction of the Mediterranean: Writing, Art and Homosexual Fantasy
Robert Aldrich
Paints picture of how improved transportation links brought sex pilgrims from Britain down to Berlin, Italy and Greece in the Victorian era. Though focus is on gays, background is useful for understanding why Victorian women also migrated to Italyand other sunny areas. See also John Pemble's The Mediterranean Passion.

Skin TradeTravels in the Skin Trade: Tourism and the Sex Industry
Jeremy Seabrook
Well-done and quite readable look at relationships between Western men and their Thai girlfriends, with some touching case studies of men shattered by widowhood and finding comfort in the Land of Smiles. Nothing about female sex tourists in Thailand; for this see Odzer, below, but notable for respecting the fact that some "sex tourists" are just lonely and decent people

The next four titles are also described in women's travel romance narratives:

PatpongPatpong Sisters: An American Woman's View of the Bangkok Sex World
Cleo Odzer
Rare depiction of casual sex with Thai men, valuable as the Land of Smiles becomes a major sex destination for women, both Japanese and Western.

Sultry ClimatesSultry Climates: Travel and Sex
Ian Littlewood
Strong on Victorian era and early 20th century pilgrimages to the fleshpots of Paris and Italy.

Seductive JourneySeductive Journey: American Tourists in France from Jefferson to the Jazz Age
Harvey Levenstein
Good on American travel to Europe, less explicit than Littlewood's Sultry Climates: Travel and Sex

Middle EastSexual Encounters in the Middle East: The British, the French and the Arabs
Derek Hopwood
Interesting material on the relationship of the Arab man, especially the returning expatriate or the novelist, to the Western woman.

Please see our presentation on Love, Sex, Romance and Travel.
More resources:

Women's travel romance narratives

Travel romance films