Magazine article Newsweek International

Sex on the Beach

Magazine article Newsweek International

Sex on the Beach

Article excerpt

After vacationing in Jamaica, an anonymous American woman logged on to Negril.com, a Web site devoted to the island. But she didn't want to comment on the weather, the food or even her tan. She wanted to talk about her new beau. "I found the man of my dreams," she wrote. "I am in love."

For increasing numbers of Western women, a steamy fling has become one of the most coveted souvenirs of a trip to the Caribbean. Since the 1970s, some upper-class European women have sought sex holidays in Spain and Italy, then considered poor and developing countries. But the rising popularity of cheap package tours--combined with women's growing sexual boldness--is encouraging a number of affluent women to look for love abroad. While Israeli and Japanese women tend to travel to Thailand and Hawaii for romance, Americans prefer the Caribbean islands. "They can do things they wouldn't be able to do on their own turf," says Margaret Byrne Swain, a women's studies professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who teaches a class called Gender, Sex and Tourism. "No one back home will know what happened."

To be sure, it's a difficult trend to document. Women are reluctant to discuss such exploits. And while male sex tourists have been widely studied, women have been largely neglected. But that's changing. Last year Jacqueline Sanchez Taylor, a sociologist at the University of Warwick in England, polled 240 female tourists traveling alone to resorts in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic. …

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