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'Sex Tourism' vs. 'Sexy Travel': What's the Difference?

Published: MAY 18, 2022
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Reviewed by Dr. Laura McGuire
on April 27, 2022
When, and only when, cultures, human rights, consent and impact are respected, ethical sex tourism—also known as sexy travel—can be a fulfilling pleasure practice.

Pleasure is my compass. And for pleasure to fulfill its own definition, it has a set of unmistakable guidelines.

For example, pleasure between more than one person requires enthusiastic consent and a person’s right to revoke consent at any time. These guidelines protect the emotional and physical safety of everyone involved; they are what I like to call "ethical pleasure practices," and they must be established and exercised every single time for pleasure to be achieved.

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READ: A Step-by-Step Guide to Negotiating Consent.

With that established, there is one type of pleasure practice that is rarely spoken about—and when it is, an ominous light is cast upon it. I am talking about ethical sex tourism, or what I like to call "sexy travel."

I discovered sexy travel in 2014, the year I met my husband James. It was a world I instantly fell in love with and has since become a major influence on my happiness and my career (hence this article!).

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But, as I alluded to, sexy travel is highly misunderstood. For some it is this threatening underworld that you cannot escaped from once you step into it. For others it is simply an intimidating, exclusive space for the rich and beautiful.

Friends, I am here to tell you that both those ideas are all sorts of wrong!

It's time to set the record straight. This, my friends, is your beginner’s guide to the art of sexy travel:

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How is Sexy Travel Different From Sex Tourism?

Sexy travel is an expression I use in place of the condemned phrase “sex tourism.”

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Instead, sexy travel is a form of tourism that holds a clear focus on engaging in ethical pleasure activities or services, as well as educational interests related to human sexuality.

READ: Why Everyone Should Explore Their Sexuality.

To be considered a sexy traveler, you must be vigilant in your research about cultures’ views on pleasure, their human rights laws (yes, including those of sex workers!), and the impact this kind of tourism has on its destinations.

A pleasure activity is considered ethical when:

  • There is a clear differentiation between sex work and sex trafficking—and when there isn't, you don't engage.
  • All participants are of legal age and are enthusiastically consenting to all activities and services.
  • It does not negatively impact the destination (including its people, economy, environment and culture). Ideally, it even supports it.

Types of Sexy Travel

Sexy travel is becoming increasingly popular around the world.

Its definition has extended beyond the “sex for money” cliché (even if that is still a prosperous form of tourism) and now encompasses a range of experiences for diverse interests. That means you can explore various forms of ethical pleasure activities and services to customize your next sexy travel itinerary!

But first, consider these questions:

  • How can you become a sexy traveler? Where can you improve your practice of ethical pleasure and tourism?
  • What type of experience(s) sound sexy to you?
  • What is your ideal sexy travel getaway?
  • What spaces do you want to support?
  • When looking at destinations, ask yourself: Do the human rights laws in this country support sexy travel and align with your values? In other words, are these countries adhering to the same ethics as you and are they contributing to pleasure on a national level?

READ: Sex Workers and Advocates Speak on Legalized Sex Work.

Once you've answered those questions, here is a (non-exhaustive) list of sexy travel experiences I recommend:

Sex Clubs and Spas

From swinger lounges to steamy saunas, there is a sex club for every desire.

If you enjoy a sexual ambiance and the company of others, sex clubs and spas may be a great place to start.

Exotic Dancers, Burlesque and Live Sex Shows

If you’re more the “kick back and be entertained” kind of sexy traveler, finding shows may be the ticket.

Keeping informed about sex workers' rights is of utmost importance in this space, even as a passive participant.

Sex Conferences and Conventions

A big, wide world of sex exists, and if you’re looking for a less "hands-on" way of stepping across the threshold, sex conferences and conventions are a great place to start!

Conferences and conventions will ease you into the sex industry and introduce you to the many tangents of pleasure. From lingerie and kink-wear designers to sex club representatives and porn stars, these exhibits have it all.

READ: Everything You Need to Know About Attending Your First Kink Conference.

Museums and Workshops

Let’s face it: We all came from sex. So why not learn a little more about it?

From sex machines in Prague to sexual art exhibits in New York City, this topic is infinite and interesting. Finding workshops on fun subjects that interest you can also bring you closer to sexual self-awareness and, therefore, pleasure.

How to Try Sexy Travel on Your Next Vacation

Of course, as a practicing sexy traveler, I have my favorite venues. These adult spaces all have high standards regarding ethical pleasure—and they're beginner friendly! Novice sexy travelers are welcome at these venues; they will do what they can to make you feel at home in their space.

My favorite places to practice sexy travel include:

The Benefits of Sexy Travel

As a seasoned sexy traveler, I can say this: The benefits are endless.

For one, discovering new places is always exciting. But adding this layer of pleasure—a layer most people deny themselves or overlook—is sexually, culturally and even spiritually expansive.

Additionally, by becoming a sexy traveler, you:

  • Help ensure human rights are being upheld.
  • Empower sex workers.
  • Support economies.
  • Become a pleasure activist.

Raising your global awareness in this way will only serve the world and generate ethical pleasure on a global scale!

So, hit the road—and until next time,

Fuck well, friends!

Quean Mo xx

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Photo for Quean Mo
Quean Mo

Quean Mo is a sex and relationship blogger, with a leaning towards kink, ethical sex tourism, and her cuckquean lifestyle. Her passion is creating space for people to accept their desires and find freedom through self-discovery. She is based on the Côte d’Azur with her French husband, where they’re always plotting their next adventure.


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