Female sex tourists are usually older women from First World developed countries who visit developing countries looking for the “love” of a younger man. These relationships are transactional in nature where money and gifts are going to the younger men who in turn are providing sexual services to the women. In essence these mostly older women are engaging in prostitution by any black-and-white definition of the word.
One would assume that since society views men who visit prostitutes in a negative light they would also be critical of women doing the same thing. In the case of sex tourism, both older men and women from developed countries make trips to the developing world to pay for sex with partners far younger than themselves. However the way society and the media view the men and women doing the same thing couldn’t be more different. Male sex tourists are depicted, at worst, as criminals or, at best, as low-life scum taking advantage of poor desperate women. Meanwhile, the media practically celebrates women who do the same thing—in the form of films and articles—while the at-large society seems to accept this glaring double standard.
In my opinion, the articles and films are really grasping at straws to depict female sex tourists in a positive light to the public. However, any objective look at the films and articles on the subject suggests that they actively promote, rationalize, and condone what these wealthy older women are doing with poor young men from developing countries while on vacation.
The movie Heading South, as seen in the preview above, is about older French women visiting Haiti in the 1970s. They exchange their money and gifts to get sex from the local teenage boys. Can you imagine how vilified a comparable film about old American men paying teenage girls in Thailand for sex would be in news media outlets? I suspect news media would create stories reporting mass protests and boycotts of cinemas that decided to show the film.
It’s safe to say that while the news media loves to go after any possibly deviant male sexual behavior like male sex tourism, they give women a pass for the same behavior. This why major motion pictures like Heading South and Paradise: Love (preview below) can be created with either news media complacency or support.
In recent years several articles discussing the phenomenon of female sex tourists have had writers trying to paint these women as victims who are tricked by local men who make them believe the relationship is about love and not money. For instance this is what one women comments as she realizes her boy toy was only with her for her money:
I used to think Derrick was respectful of me and really loved me, until I heard him laughing with the other boys one night. It turned my blood cold.
In one article, For Love And Money, writers Deborah Pruitt and Suzanne Lafont argue against the use of the word prostitution for the relationship that female sex tourists have with the men they pay for sex.
Male sex workers are involved in romance rather than sex tourism, because there is often a level of emotional investment that is not present in sex tourism.
The media is doing its best to either cast the female sex tourists as victims who are lied to about the nature of their relationship or they try to romanticize the relationship as deeper than prostitution. Also an implied message in the films above is that the female characters are only overseas looking for “love” because the men back home no longer desire them the same now that they have gotten older so these women are acting rationally by traveling to places where they are still desired by men.
I believe the goal of these articles and films promoting female sex tourism are largely to help women rationalize paying for sex. Female sex tourists are finding themselves in male territory as sex without feelings or a relationship element is difficult for many women to practice. Conversely, male sex tourists usually have no illusions about the transactional nature of their relationship with prostitutes, but this type of thinking is not as easy for women to achieve. Also, unlike women, older male sex tourists have typically had a lifetime of paying for sex one way or another—between divorce and courtship—so outright prostitution is not as hard of a transition for them. For older female sex tourists, it must be difficult to realize their vaginas, which at one time could command high value on the open market, now cannot even be given away for free.
While the media does its best to spin the reality about female sex tourists, the fact is these women are engaging in sex tourism because they are too fat, wrinkly, and outright painful to look at, so they have to pay poor men from third world countries for access to dick. The men they are fucking do so out of economic necessity and are disgusted with themselves. One of the male sex workers describes his experience with these women:
They stink, have rough skin and look like old dogs. No wonder they have to pay for a man. . . Men won’t touch them where they come from.
Only in the case of older women buying sex would you ever see films and articles putting a positive spin on prostitution. There is a long list of adjectives that the media uses to describe men who also practice sex tourism, but when women do it, the words associated with it are either positive and congratulatory, or even go as far to portray the sex tourists as victims.
The media understands that women have such fragile egos that any criticism of their behavior (solicitation of prostitution) is not permitted. In fact, it seems that the more women engage in undesirable behaviors, the stronger the need to celebrate the behavior (e.g., the fat acceptance movement, slut walks, pedestalizing single motherhood etc.). With upcoming demographic changes that will cause a large population of old single women, expect even more articles and films to promote female sex tourists so that they can easily rationalize exploiting young men.
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