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Have sex will travel: romantic 'sex tourism' and women negotiating modernity in the Sinai

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Abstract:

Since the 1970s, studies on western women's ethnosexual tourist-local relationships have tended to focus on the beaches of the Caribbean and have come to one of two main conclusions - either they are no different from the overtly exploitative relationships of heterosexual male sex tourists or they are different because they involve a softer, caring element of romance. This article proposes that both positions have led to constrictive, circular research that highlights the racialised and economically disparate nature of these exchanges but mostly ignores the importance of imaginative and emotional geographies caught up in such relationships. Based on fieldwork interviews with men and women in the resorts of the South Sinai, Egypt, I argue that these encounters can be seen as examples of a modern subjectivity that are defined by and take place within imagined (fixed) constructions of landscapes, native third world masculinity (in this case Arab/Bedouin), femininity (white, heterosexual, western), freedom and love (spiritual and physical): all presented in some form of opposition to a particularist idea of modernity and viewed through a filter of selective (and spatially circumscribed) histories. By adding a geographical dimension, this article aims to open up the current debate on female sex tourism to a wider range of issues and reveal more of the conflicts, tensions and imaginations that make up these encounters.

Keywords: emotional geographies; female sex tourism; geographical imaginations; romance tourism; the modern subject

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09663690802574787

Affiliations: Geography Department, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK

Publication date: 2009-02-01

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