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Thursday, July 18, 2013

SL Letter of the Day: Unwitting Sex Tourist?

Posted by Dan Savage on Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 11:29 AM

This is in response to the Turista, the woman who couldn't figure out what was up with the man she met on vacation in Costa Rica. I suspect she got jilted because she didn't realize she was a john that didn't pay.

I've spent a lot of time over the last two years in the West Indies/Caribbean, surfing and working abroad. As a foreign white female, I've been the target of a lot of, uh, attention, from local men. I have a boyfriend and wasn't interested, but what I didn't realize until trip #2 was that these men were essentially prostitutes.

Prostitution in these areas isn't like it is in the US. Most prostitutes are men. In studies of the phenom, they're called "beach boys." Locally, they're "players." These men may have other low-paying jobs, wives, or girlfriends (plural intended). Female tourists pay for the activities, meals, hotel, and, maybe, will provide some spending money or the guy will have an "emergency" and the female tourist will "help them out." It's common in places like Barbados and Costa Rica to see women who are over 40 and/or have high BMIs from Canada or the UK dressed scantily, looking for a beach boy or two. Or three. These women come looking for a place they can be sexual and feel sensual. It's probably a healthy chunk of the economy.

But younger women sometimes have little clue that the handsome guy they're hooking up on vacation may have had another tourist last week and the week before, etc. Plus, these guys are skilled manipulators; I met a tourist—a professional model from NYC—who had a camera stollen by a local "date," and then was stalked by another.

While these countries may profess sexual conservatism—being gay is still illegal—the truth is, having multiple partners is common, and some men work hard to get one or more women to think they're in committed relationships so they can go from being a beach boy to a husband who spends half his year in the UK or Canada. Worse news for female sex tourists: these small countries have growing HIV rates that their governments sweep under the rug and few people get tested. In the last year, I saw "Love safely" signs in tourist hotspots disappear. Long story short: Turista should get tested.

Surfer's Unsexy News

Thanks for sharing, SUN. Another letter after the jump...

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This letter is in a response to a recent SLLOTD about a boozy double standard...

I quit the sexual assault review panel at my university over this very issue. If both people are intoxicated, whichever person brings charges against the other first automatically won. The drunk person charges he or she was sexually assaulted because a drunk person cannot give consent. But the way the rules were written, the accused’s state of intoxication was irrelevant.

This created a clear double standard, as women bring charges 99% of the time. A drunk woman is not responsible for her actions—giving verbal consent, being on top, actively participating—because she was drunk and so could not consent. But a drunk man is responsible for his actions; he has to not have sex with the woman who’s climbing on top of him. And, in theory, if he brought charges, she’d be guilty. But men almost never do that.

I can't share the details of the case the prompted me to resign, of course, but both parties admitted to being blackout drunk. The woman did not bring charges till much later when someone told her that if she didn’t remember the encounter, she was raped because she was drunk could not consent. Total regret-rape accusation, and the way the rules were written, the board had to find the totally-drunk-and-so-also-a-rape-victim guy guilty. Fucked up his life up big-time.

Anonymous Prof

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