Are more middle-aged British women the new sex tourists?

This article was published as:

Thought it was just men who flew abroad for squalid sexual kicks? Meet the middle-aged, middle-class women who are Britain's female sex tourists


PUBLISHED: 18:56 EST, 25 August 2013 | UPDATED: 11:52 EST, 26 August 2013

They are called ‘bumsters’ in Gambia, ‘Rastitutes’ or ‘beach boys’ in the Caribbean and ‘sanky pankies’ in the Dominican Republic. These are the men who, in increasing numbers, are providing sex in return for money or goods to women who want a holiday ‘romance’. The men are invariably from impoverished families, have little or no education and are sometimes illiterate.

Sex tourists 1

According to the beach boys, there is little shame or stigma in selling sex to older white female tourists, and some claim earning money this way affirms their masculinity (photo from the 2012 film Paradise Love)

Most of the women are white, middle-aged or older and come from Europe and North America. They travel alone or with female friends and often have a history of unhappy relationships with men at home.They are looking for attention and excitement but end up, often without realizing it, being one half of a prostitution deal.

Barbara is one such woman. In her late 50s and divorced, she travelled to Jamaica for her first holiday alone last winter. She had fantasies about sunbathing on white sand and swimming in a clear blue sea, but no plans for a holiday romance. Her destination was an all-inclusive resort in Negril, on the western tip of Jamaica, one of the biggest destinations for female sex tourism.

‘I got off the plane at Montego Bay and — boom! — there he was,’ she tells me over the phone from her home city of Sheffield.  ‘I have never seen a man as fit as Chris. His dreadlocks were down his back and his legs were like a footballer’s. I thought: “Why is he looking at me like he fancies me? I’m not his type.”’

Soon Barbara threw aside her inhibitions and realized she could behave in a way she would never dare to at home. ‘It was like total freedom. Chris was all over me and I couldn’t get enough of that beautiful body,’ she says. ‘He showered me with compliments about my legs, my hair, how I smelled, everything. He even said he liked my accent.’

Barbara’s previous marriage had been abusive and damaging, leaving her feeling, as she puts it, ‘worthless and like no man would ever look at me again’. She says: ‘Chris made me feel gorgeous and special straight away.’ 

Yet this was the beginning of not a holiday romance but a commercial exchange between a relatively rich Westerner and an impoverished ‘beach boy’. It is prostitution, but often only the seller, and not the buyer, is aware of that. Barbara realized Chris viewed her as a sex tourist only when one day he told her, ‘No money, no sex’, after she refused to give him cash for a drug deal. 

sex tourists 2

According to the beach boys, there is little shame or stigma in selling sex to older white female tourists, and some claim earning money this way affirms their masculinity (posed by models)

Barbara, like many women who find ‘romance’ in Negril, says she is shunned by men of her own age in the UK, ‘because they want thinner, younger women and for some reason can get them’. 

One young man told me the white women he had sex with made him feel sick. ‘They stink, have rough skin and look like old dogs. No wonder they have to pay for a man’

Barbara and Linda are in good company. Each year, as many as 600,000 women from Western countries are said to engage in sex tourism. (The statistics in this area are little better than guesswork, given that few would confess to engaging in the practice in a self-reporting survey, but the figures for men are thought to be many times greater.)

Read complete article at Daily Mail

My personal comments:

Tourism professionals in Jamaica and other Caribbean islands must deter the thinking that these activities are wide spread on the islands. I think that these activities are not unique to Caribbean islands or African countries.  These activities happen all over the world and have been happening for centuries. Therefore, if we are branded as such, our tourism industry may suffer.

Karl A. Haughton



scroll to top