Monday, December 6, 2010

So I'm a sex tourist but does that make me a deviant?

My first attempt at university I studied tourism. I am not really sure why, I love to travel but I am way to much of a bitch to spend my life looking after others and making sure they have a good time while I work. One thing I did find interesting during this two year study tangent was the branch of tourism theory looking at travel motivation, particularly sex tourism.

Every year millions of people set out across the globe and unknowingly engage in sex tourism. It isn't just the dirty old men who head off looking for cheap prostitutes, it's 20 year old English lads on Contiki tours hoping to bag a fit bird on every stop around Europe or a middle-aged divorcee hoping to have a passionate fling in Tuscany or Paris. It is anyone who ever thought “I might go there I heard the locals are banging hot”.

I admit it. I'm a sex tourist. It isn't my only reason for travel but it certainly helps me to keep returning when the men in Nepal are really attractive.

I am in Thailand right now. When I think Thailand I think Sex Tourism. This place is the sex tourism capital of the world. It is full of dirty old men picking up beautiful young Thai girls (and boys).

It is really freaking me out. What disturbs me the most is the Thai girls look really happy with their balding, over-weight perverted lovers. I see them riding around on the back of motor bikes, throwing back drinks in bars, laughing it up in the surf... I am starting to question my assumptions about the situation and about my own relationship.

My boyfriend is Nepali. He is younger than me, but not so much that people stare and he is above the legal age of consent. He is good looking, probably better looking than me. I make more money (but only because of the exchange rate, i'm a student not a rich expat trying to make my retirement package last the distance). I have the potential to offer him a life out of Nepal. I am starting to notice some disturbing and uncomfortable correlations.

Maybe I am as bad as those creepy old men? Maybe I am exploiting some kind of power balance that I thought wasn't a factor for us? Maybe I just need to get out of Thailand... this place is messed up.