Love Tourism vs Sex Tourism

Love Tourism vs Sex Tourism

By Jonathan Roseland

Men are irresistibly drawn, arguably thanks to evolutionary psychology, to travel to foreign lands and conquer sexually there. Many women travelers, applying the "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" logic, see travel as a time to let the inner slut out. Indeed, the prospect of hooking up with a curvaceous, exotic local, the sexy novelty of hearing lovemaking moans in a foreign accent, and living out our fantasies about having a French, Korean, Italian, English, or Brazilian partner are a big factor of the motivation to swipe our credit cards and go see the world.

This article will analyze the two ends of the spectrum and make the case that sex tourism is at its core unethical, harmful, and shameful while love tourism can be a beautiful cultural experience, more economical, and good adult fun.

Sex Tourism

The Client

The Client

This guy is not making things any more complicated than they need to be. He’s got $50 and knows where the red light district is. When a hooker approaches him in a seedy bar he wastes no time getting down to business negotiating hourly vs nightly rates. He doesn’t care what her name is and he doesn’t want to cuddle afterwards.
The sex tourist creates demand for sex workers which has the simultaneous negative effects of:

  • Driving impoverished local women into long careers in prostitution.
  • Creating ill will towards foreigners.
  • Providing a barely livable, yet reliable income source to women who would otherwise develop real career skills and enter the workforce.

The one thing you learn living in a country where the world’s oldest profession is legal is that hookers are profoundly lazy; they don’t do the 5-day workweek, they instead work just the two or three days of the week that they can make the most money. Think they get all dressed up and put on all that makeup just to serve a single customer? Not likely! I’ve never slept with a prostitute mostly due to the sheer ickiness factor of not wanting to physically go where two or three other men have likely came in the past 24 hours.
The Client perpetuates mediocrity, not only in the women he penetrates and the local economies he passes through but also in lowering his own personal standards and his cowardice with women.

The Arbitrageur (someone who arbitrages something for gain)


This guy primarily uses money to attract women while lying to them, he deeply believes that ‘it’s just a numbers game." Examples:

  • The guy who lurks on dating websites sending messages to hundreds of girls offering to buy them dinners, smartphones, trips, pay their rent, etc.
  • The guy who buys every pretty girl in the club a shot, hoping one hooks on him.
  • The guy who promises faithfulness to every girl he gets a date with; that he is looking for love, marriage, and children.
  • This is the guy who in his home country could barely afford to take a girl out to a casual dining restaurant so he travels to a third-world country where he can afford to take an 18-year-old girl on a romantic weekend trip and get her drunk enough to have unprotected sex.
  • This is the guy who makes marriage proposals on the second date while fully intending to continue playing the field. As his main girl sinks into the fairytale narrative he’s spun, he locks up his smartphone and sets up secondary and tertiary Facebook accounts to continue the digital hunt for side poonany.

This behavior is intrinsically gross and when we see him doing this we have a visceral gut reaction of disgust.

Most of the girls this guy hooks up with are playing the same game but from the other side of the coin. They are semi-professionals, not exactly prostitutes (professionals) but women who expect some type of financial compensation for their companionship and sex. They are serial online daters and usually juggle a couple of "sponsors" at a time. If you encounter someone like this it would be very wise to get an STD test done.

Unfortunately, the Arbitrageur also hooks a few nice girls with his "I am here to stay" act, who he cheats on remorselessly, eventually the nice girls find out, are heartbroken, become skeptical of foreigners, are a little closer to giving up on love and becoming semi-professionals themselves.

Can girl travelers be Arbitrageurs?

Sure, although it's a whole lot more rare. Traveling in Latin America, we’ve all seen the occasional gringa who leads a local guy on that she’s not even remotely interested in for free drinks, sightseeing trips, a place to stay, rides to the airport, help moving her stuff, etc.

Love Tourism

The Ethnic Comfort Zone Hugger

The Ethnic Comfort Zone Hugger

The chain-smoking English bird hooking up with a drunk Aussie, the Russian guy and the Ukrainian girl, the two Scandinavian girls who have a threesome with a lucky American dude, the Argentinean chey who seduces a Chilean chica, the black guy with New York swagger and the bleach blond from LA, and of course the Israeli girl from Haifa who travels to the other side of the world to hook up with an Israeli guy from Tel Aviv (I don’t even try with Israeli girls anymore!) They all qualify as Love Tourists because of the none non-transactional nature of the relationship. But they typify hookup culture at its most bland and meaningless:

  1. Guy and girl meet at a hostel.
  2. Get drunk at the hostel together.
  3. They go out to some gringo trap bar or club and a few sexy moments under the low lighting lead to drunken face-sucking.
  4. They stumble back to the hostel together.
  5. End up in a bed together and proceed to disturb those sleeping in a nearby dormitory.
  6. The next day they nurse their hangovers with pizza and a Game of Thrones marathon.

These ethnically homogeneous relationships, usually consist of a few days of very casual sex, laughs, cheap drinks, and hangovers followed by years of Facebook stalking. Lame.

Comfort Zone Huggers, while unadventurous and unromantic, are mostly harmless but they can get lazy about practicing safe sex (I remember one cocky, unshaven Aussie guy bragging about having unprotected sex with 15 different girls during a single Euro trip - talk about a Euro romp!)
Most girl travelers are Comfort Zone Huggers, which is understandable since it seems safer and every girl’s parents exhort her repeatedly before leaving home to "stay safe" by hanging out with those from the same or similar culture and avoiding trouble by mixing with the locals.

The International Lover

The International Lover

This is the guy (or gal) traveler who uses dating as a pathway to cultural enlightenment, novelty, and mastery of another language. While they may occasionally hook up with other travelers they prefer locals and expats for the practical reason that these partners will physically be around longer and are much better candidates for a long-term relationship. 

While chivalry and being a gentleman is dead in America and most of the "developed" world, the International Lover understands that it’s still appreciated and rewarded in societies with more traditional sex roles (Latin America, South East Asia, Eastern Europe). The International Lover faces a variety of cultural and language barriers, which they overcome with charm, boldness, persistence, and application of social dynamics specific to the culture in which they find themselves - meeting a girl’s parents, taking salsa dancing classes, cooking for one’s lover, remembering sexy little details, and learning the first language of their partner. 

The International Lover model is the most economical, out of a few cheap dates, it produces real relationships that are consistent sources of intimacy and companionship. It’s the best way to get a boyfriend or girlfriend abroad. The International Lover may occasionally blow their partner’s socks off with a romantic night out on the town but they spend just as much time together doing simple things like eating ice cream on a hot day, sipping coffee on a sunny patio, going hiking, getting happy hour beers with friends, buying groceries together at a farmers market, or simply watching a movie.

I classify myself as one of these, my core philosophy behind dating on the road was: I will leave her better than I found her.
Not because my culture is superior to hers or because I have more money than her, but because I have some uncontrollably contagious passions and am very well-studied on a few uncommon subjects that can significantly improve the quality of anybody’s life: Smart drugs, the philosophy of ethical hedonism, antiaging technology, privatized space exploration, open-source-powered Entrepreneurship, sobriety (Don’t think sobriety is sexy? Let me change your mind!), and language learning to name a few.

Aspiring International Lovers, DON'T DO THIS

Cringey Facebook post

Living abroad for 8 years I've seen this kind of cringey Facebook behavior from Medellin, Colombia to Kiev, Ukraine. An older foreign man comes to a new country to conquer local young women and announces it with a post and an unattractive photo in an expat Facebook group. It's mind-boggling to me that these decrepit dudes think that this will actually work to attract a girlfriend. Don't be like this guy.

How to differentiate between well-intentioned Love Tourists and exploitative Sex Tourists 

After meeting thousands of people in the course of years on the road I’ve found it’s this simple; Sex tourists almost never make an effort to learn the native tongues of the people they are sleeping with while for love tourists, dating is an expression of their passion for language learning.
Likewise, the easiest way to differentiate semi-professionals, who will simply milk you for cash, from nice girls is to only date girls who:

  • Speak at least some English.
  • Come from a traditional nuclear family.
  • Are university educated.

Anytime I dated girls lacking two or more of these qualities, because I hoped they were a diamond in the rough, they eventually revealed themselves as some flavor of semi-professional. Like Andrea, the fun but not very smart, curvaceous Colombiana who on our fourth date, in between Reggaeton-inspired vertical lap dances, revealed her ulterior motive for dating me - she needed me to buy her a DVD Player (Bitch please! I could make it rain DVD Players!)

Update: I'm now an International Lover of one beautiful Bulgarian girl, my approach(es) paid off and I got married (and have remained happily married for seven years now). As an 8-year digital nomad dude/pickup artist, I encountered dozens, if not hundreds, of men who traveled to exotic places and then failed to get girlfriends or even get laid. In my new book, Don’t Stick Your Dick in a Blender, I have a deep dive chapter breaking down just what they did wrong on their international skirt-chasing missions. If you’re going to spend the money and time to come to Sofia (or anywhere in Eastern Europe) with the aim of seducing the local girls, at least read the chapter, Dating and Marrying Exotic Foreign Women. Give a listen to this deep-dive podcast on the topic at least...


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