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I admire you; I really do. You are a unique creature, the kind who doesn’t care about the opinions of others. A person who proceeds based on your own set of rules – far from the puritanical grip of larger society.
Maybe the mere mortal envies your cojones, after all isn’t my brand centred on chucking convention?
On that level, this is where you and I are equal, which is why I feel emboldened to speak to you as a peer.
First, we should start with who you are.
The Urban Dictionary defines you as such:
“A sexpat is one who participates in tourism with the express intention of having sex.”
Naturally we should really distinguish you between those young, backpacking males who stumble into a romp with a local hottie. Typically under the influence of alcohol and loose inhibitions.
No, you are the guy who actively seeks out the hostess bars on Pat Pong in Bangkok or hand picks two or three women from pictures tacked to a piece of hastily cut cardboard, serrated at the edges, it’s existence brought to your attention by a compact Philippine man who stopped you on the sooty, humid streets of Manila.
You hunger for sex, like all of us, but the confines of sex for you involve an exchange of bodily fluids for money.
I’m sorry, that sounds crude, doesn’t it? Because in truth, in travel, lines become blurred. That petite, cute Cambodian girl flashed her sparkling eyes and flirty smile. She makes you feel special and important, by asking all about you, tinkling with laughter at your attempts at humor, slyly grazing her hand across your thigh. She thinks you are the most fascinating person in the entire room and that sends your head spinning, dizzy with an injection of self-worth. You might buy all the drinks and food, maybe even spring for a hotel suite afterwards, and of course, give her a few dollars for cab fare, because that’s only gentlemanly. It’s all so subtle, pervasive and easy to ignore, because she lit you up on the inside.
With that melted centre and newly discovered sexual freedom, you forge ahead. Your once blinded eyes have flown open, like a pair of shutters in a damp, musty house – for now all you see are beautiful girls, ones who clamour to bed you with very little effort on your part. A smorgasbord – a secret place where your innermost desires can play out in reality.
Soon, you convince yourself of the economic benefits you reap on these third-world dwellers. Aren’t you uplifting their lives? Helping these women support their impoverished families? Landing yourself a gorgeous, Thai girlfriend with a banging bod? Yes! Oh yes!
You continue to build this house of cards ignoring the statistics. The United Nations estimated in 2008 that 12.5 million women and children were trafficked from 127 countries to 137 countries. Human trafficking and sexual exploitation is defined as ‘physical coercion, deception and bondage through forced debt’. Could be your ‘girlfriend’ was promised domestic work and arrived in Brazil only to be told she’d be doing most of the work on her back or knees.
Ah, but there’s that niggly thing called ‘choice’. Between working at a Nike factory for $54 a month or earning a $100 per night, the choice is clear. Sexual trafficking is a messy, violent criminal act and prostitution is another. In your mind, there’s a large difference between the two. Save the Children view these definitions as murky .. who’s getting forced, who’s not? Does she enjoy it or doesn’t she? In the end, most governments categorize prostitution as a form of violence against women.
It’s hard to imagine, because you don’t treat your girls badly. You shower them with affection. They make you feel special and deep in your gut, you convince yourself they enjoy the attention, not just the monetary gain. They like you.
Everyone has a hopping good time.
You shouldn’t feel shame about your libido, my friend. Because no one should feel ashamed about their sexual desires.
So, let me come down a few notches and speak in a language you’ll understand. Say there are two opposing football teams. Let’s call one of them the Angels. The Angels play above board. They are hard workers and follow regulations and strategize the game to win. Players are treated fairly and paid well. The Angels are a clean team. The other team, the Blackhearts, are motherfuckers. They juice up on steroids, grease officials and use physical intimidation to neutralize their opponents. Management recruit players with coercion or a promise of a lucrative career, when in fact it’s not the case. Their tenure with the team is laced with fear or lack of choice due to financial stress. In essence, they are coated in dirty tactics.
Which team do you support? Where do you put your money?
Here’s the truth, friend, what you’re supporting financially and morally are the Blackhearts. An organization of dubious people, who exploit, sometimes abuse, drug, or kill other human beings.
Of course not all prostitution establishments are like this. But, which ones are reputable and how do you measure if the girls are treated badly and which ones are not?
The sick and awful truth is: you don’t know.
That’s just blind consumerism. That’s pure stupidity. That’s like supporting the clubbing of seals. Wearing fur, because it’s fluffy, soft and feels yummy on your skin. Never mind the amount of foxes who had to die for your coat.
Never mind about the other women you claim to not know about who had no choice, felt frightened, pressure or worse. Who arrive to work without job security, benefits, fairness or a regulatory body behind them. What they live on is phoney love, paper promises and a fleeting caress from the likes of you.
Shame on you. Not for enjoying sex, but for pain, hurt and potential harm to the other half of the human race whom you declare to love so much. Womanhood.
Jeannie Mark is a mid-lifer who sold all her earthly possessions and set off for a life of full-time travel in June 2010. Having just completed the infamous running with the bulls in Pamplona, Jeannie is now considering her next great adventure. Nomadic Chick, her home on the web, is all about putting the gypsy back into travel and life. Check her out on Facebook and Twitter for more.[Image by PositiveAussieImage.com]