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Female Sex Tourists


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Mar 16, 2003
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First Article

Female Tourists Hard on Scuba Instructors with Small Dinghies

Second Article

Jamaican beach boys a tourist temptation
Miami Herald
Posted on Sun, Jul. 20, 2003
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NEGRIL, Jamaica - A baby-blue bandana covering his nascent dreadlocks, Anthony Dixon strides up to a female visitor on a beach stroll. ''Want to smoke?'' Dixon offers. Then, with the unsubtlest of glances: ``Your lips are so soft.''

It's an abrupt and slightly corny line, but Dixon says it has helped him pick up plenty of female tourists on the beach by ``telling them some nice things they want to hear.''

Dixon is one of 200 gigolos who Jamaican police say ply Negril's seven miles of sand to court women in exchange for money, gifts, or possibly marriage and a life in the United States. Known as Rent-A-Dread, the phenomenon -- which officials say is contributing to the region's AIDS crisis -- has flourished along with tourism over the last decade in Jamaica, Barbados and the small island of Tobago.

Remember Stella, and how she ``got her groove back?''

The main character from the bestselling Terry McMillan novel flew here for a vacation. Over a French-toast breakfast on her first morning, the 40-year-old stockbroker fell for a handsome local man half her age. The book is based on the author's own experience in Jamaica.

Although actress Angela Bassett played the lead role on film back in 1998, many other Stellas are still grooving.


Middle-age American and European women, looking more homely than sexy in sneakers and blue jeans, gather daily at beachside reggae clubs such as the Roots Bamboo. They attach themselves to muscular young studs, like koalas to a eucalyptus tree. The men hold tight, too. In this highly competitive business, plenty of others troll nearby, pitching what the women see as their ''exotic'' looks.

''Looking for a Rasta man?'' one offers, referring to the Rastafarian religious sect. Another screams above the music: ``I'm from the Blue Mountains, the tallest in Jamaica.''

Mostly young, poor and unemployed, the beach boys leave the countryside and come to Negril to make a living, said Kendric Davis, president of the Negril Chamber of Commerce.

''They come to the resort to find their future, their Dorado,'' Davis said.

Dixon has found a bit of his. His longest relationship, with a computer programmer from Michigan, lasted for one year. The most recent, with a Wisconsin woman, went on for a week. Most of his ''beach boy'' friends have gotten lucky, too -- many now living across the Midwest with American wives, he said in an interview.

Meanwhile, as a business group, the chamber would rather see the beach boys leave. But Davis is quick to note that their success rests on the fact that foreign women travel to Jamaica's northern coast to seek them out.

''If you didn't have any takers, there wouldn't be any givers,'' he said.

So hotels shush them away. The police try to crack down, but find it's easier to jail someone for illegally braiding hair on the beach than to prove that someone paid for sex with a gigolo, said police Cpl. Cornel James, who has spent more than a decade working on the beach.

Complaints are rare, he said. And usually, when he approaches a hustler soliciting a woman, the tourists protest.

'If I say, `Leave her alone,' she'll get mad at me,'' James said.

A 2001 study by two British researchers found that most of the women who had sex with local Jamaican men -- about one-third of the 170 reached in a beach survey -- were repeat visitors. The men approach, in spite of looks.

''If you've been ignored in the West for years, being older or overweight, and you go to places like that where the men are completely chasing you, it feels very nice,'' said Jacqueline Sanchez Taylor, a sociologist at Leeds University in England, who has written extensively on sex tourism.


Taylor and sociologist Julia O'Connell Davidson also found that 30 percent of the women who found sex partners reported not using condoms.

That worries officials in the Caribbean, where close to half a million people are infected with the HIV virus -- a rate second only to Africa's. Jamaica's Prime Minister P.J. Patterson recently called HIV/AIDS the greatest threat to development in the region.

While there are no studies linking the beach boys to the spread of AIDS, they are a factor, said Dr. James Hospedales of the Caribbean Epidemiology Center.

Concerned about the possibilities, the Jamaican government is considering putting condom dispensers in hotels and is already educating tourism workers -- both men and women -- in resort areas such as Negril and Montego Bay, which has the highest AIDS rate on the island. Jamaica's AIDS rate of 36 cases per 100,000 people is twice the U.S. average.

The beach boys are aware of the risks of their behavior, said Verity Rushton, coordinator for Jamaica's National AIDS Committee.

``The knowledge levels are there, but the behavior change isn't.''

Some of the beach boys have worked their AIDS awareness into their pickup spiels.

Dixon, a few minutes into conversation, mentions without prompting that he has a great fear of ''diseases,'' a subtle reference to AIDS, and that he takes care of himself and goes to the doctor even at the sign of a little cut.

He also offers up that he isn't promiscuous, and that he certainly doesn't get paid for being with women. Not in cash anyway.

The orange Nike shorts he is wearing, like his drawerful of Timberland and other clothing, were shipped over from ''friends'' in the United States.

He wears brand names only, he says.


A poor corrupt official
Jun 30, 2003
Here's a recent article from The Gazette on the topic of female "romance travelling." Hmm...I like that phrase better than "sex tourism." :D

Sex tourism: When women do it, it's called 'romance travelling'
The Montreal Gazette
January 27, 2007
In winter, a tourist woman's fancy lustily turns to thoughts of sex.

By the thousands they descend on the Caribbean every year, women driven by one urge: to spend a week or two sleeping with local "beach boys" and paying them back in drinks, meals, gifts and cash.

And it is Quebec women -- with reputations for being financially generous and uninhibited -- who are among the best established in the island flesh trade.

Sex tourists, they're called. Or as some prefer it, "romance travellers" looking for "love" and a little tenderness in the tropics.

This is the season -- building to a peak in February and March -- when business in Jamaica, Barbados and the Dominican Republic heats up.


Unlike most years, though, this winter's parade comes with a heap of advance media publicity. In 2006, there was lots:

On the screen and DVD, two movies dealt with the subject: Vers le sud, a French film based on stories by Quebec author Dany Laferriere, starring Charlotte Rampling as a British sex-seeker in late-1970s Haiti; and Rent-a-Rasta, a 45-minute U.S. documentary about women who flock to Jamaica in search of the "big bamboo" and the young Rastafarians who cater to them.

On the stage, there was Sugar Mummies, a much-reviewed play in London's Royal Court Theatre in August that starred Montreal-born Lynda Bellingham as a midlife hedonist in Negril, the Jamaican sun resort.

On radio last month, female sex tourism was the topic of a long segment on the national CBC morning show, The Current.

Host Anna Maria Tremonti interviewed, among other guests, Jeannette Belliveau, a Baltimore travel writer of Acadian origin who's written a provocative new autobiographical book called Romance on the Road.

All the coverage prompted an essential question: Is sex tourism by women any better or worse than sex tourism by men?

Does it just represent a new twist on exploitation of the Third World poor -- in other words, prostitution with the roles reversed, the woman paying the man? Or is it simply a case of women exercising their right to choose what to do with their bodies?

There is no single correct answer, just points of view coloured by politics and morality. But scholars agree on one thing: Female sex tourism is common enough and big enough to merit serious academic attention.

By some estimates, 600,000 western women have engaged in travel sex some time during the past 25 years -- many of them as repeat customers, returning to the tropics every winter for some sun and some action.

"Seeing it in operation, it's quite a phenomenon. There's a whole system," said Kamala Kempadoo, a global sex-trade expert who teaches at York University in Toronto. Of Guyanese descent, she did field work on female sex tourism in Negril in 2000 and 2001.

"It's not just women on the beach, it's the night life. You go to a party and see couple after couple of older, quite substantial -- I mean overweight -- white women with very young, very lithe black men," Kempadoo said. "It's quite a curious thing."

The root of it isn't just carnal. The women want a companion too, someone to show them around, romance them, make them feel special and needed -- something they don't feel at home.

But the names the men and women are known by colloquially belie the true nature of the transaction, some research suggests. It's sex for hire, where black men's flesh is tied -- at least temporarily -- to white women's purse-strings.

The men go by many monikers. In Jamaica and other former British colonies they're called rent-a-gents, rent-a-rastas, rent-a-tutes, the foreign service. In the Dominican Republic, they're sanky pankys (a play on "hanky panky").

The tourists get nicknames too. British ones go by "Shirley Valentine" (from the 1989 hit movie about a Liverpool housewife finding liberation in Greece). In Bermuda, they're "longtails" or "yellowtails."

In Jamaica, the name depends on the woman's colour: "Milk bottles" if they're white, newly arrived and, to put it crudely, "in need of filling" (as one Negril man put it to British writer Julie Bindel in 2003).

If they're black, the women are called Stellas (from the popular 1998 film How Stella Got Her Groove Back, about a black San Francisco stockbroker on holiday in Jamaica).

Canadians have made it into the slang lexicon, too. In Barbados, female sex tourism has been dubbed "Canadian secretary syndrome."

In Martinique, locals refer to incoming flights of Air Canada as "Air Coucoune" -- French for "Air Pussy."

Little wonder. Canadian women in search of sex have been coming to the Caribbean for years.

"You guys were the pioneers," said Belliveau, who sells her 410-page book through her publishing website, beaumonde.net. "Pretty much the first group (of female sex tourists) in the Caribbean after the takeoff of jet travel (in the '60s) was French-Quebecois women in Barbados. They had a tremendously high reputation among the local beach boys. They were fun-loving and generous and a real great time."

It's still true, added Belliveau, 52, an ex-journalist and divorcee who spent much of her 20s and 30s travelling the world and -- as she freely admits -- having sex wherever she went. (She's now remarried to an African-American.)

"Canadian women are mostly in Barbados now, which is somewhat upmarket; Jamaica is poorer," Belliveau said. "And the Dominican is slowly getting the reputation of having men who are very eager to be the world's best lovers. In the French islands, the men are more suave and gallant and won't accept (cash) payment."

But sex with the locals isn't without drawbacks, let alone controversy.

The most obvious is money. According to a couple of studies in Jamaica, it can cost $20 to $30 for an hour of sex, or $150 for a full night that includes oral sex (often seen as demeaning by the island men). Second, some tourist women have reported that Caribbean lovers are overrated, dulled by drink or dope; others can be chauvinistic, domineering, even violent.

Then there's the social impact of the sex trade. It affects ordinary tourists, who complain of harassment. Moreover, it affects local women, who complain of the men not being around to provide for their children. Island women can act hostile toward white vacationers, seeing them as homewreckers.

Half a million people have HIV/AIDS in the Caribbean, where the rates of infection are second only to sub-Saharan Africa: 3.8 per cent of the adult population in Haiti, 3.3 per cent in the Bahamas, 2.6 per cent in Trinidad and Tobago, 1.5 per cent in Jamaica and Barbados, and 1.1 per cent in the Dominican Republic, according to estimates by UNAIDS and the World Health Organization.

Those rates are exponentially higher than in Canada (0.3 per cent ) or the U.S. (0.6 per cent). Even so, female Caribbean sex tourists aren't especially preoccupied by the risk. Though most insist on condoms at first, after a few encounters they no longer do, studies show.

Is there any difference between female sex tourists and men who travel to have sex? Foreign men on the prowl are a common sight all over the developing world, especially in southeast Asia, North Africa, Mexico and Brazil -- women, less so. How come?

People who have been part of the crowd -- Belliveau, for example -- point to a definite gender gap in sex tourism. Women travel for romance, men for prostitutes, they say. And unlike men, female sex tourists usually steer clear of teenagers and other child prostitutes -- a huge difference.

But whoever they sleep with, men and women who travel for sex aren't all that dissimilar, some academics argue. It's what they do that counts, not how they go about it.

In an article in August in Le Monde diplomatique, French anthropologist Franck Michel argued that global tourism and the sex trade have "turned the world into a gigantic theme park" for both men and women from developed countries. Eager to reap the "strong sensations" of sex provided by the poor of the south, they become masters of slaves -- at least for the time of their visit. "The new popularity of female sexual tourism shows that women are walking in men's footsteps, repeating the same representations of power, dominance and exploitation," Michel wrote.

Whether the master is male or female hardly makes a difference, other scholars agree.

"People say that because it's not hard-core prostitution, women having sex with the locals is acceptable," said Kempadoo, the York sociologist.

"But they're actually so similar in their practices that I don't think one is more acceptable than the other."
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