Writing this post is obviously going into a minefield. It feels as if I’m opening proceedings in a court. But who’s on trial? Well, before I start the trial, let’s begin by defining the charge. The definition of a sex tourist seems to have got muddled. So, let’s begin with simply that. What is a sex tourist?
The obvious thought that comes to mind is one who abuses. This is an international issue and it’s not just something related to tourism. But do abusers come to the Philippines to abuse? Well, of course it happens, as it happens around the globe, but when somebody actually travels thousands of miles for a specific kind of abuse then that is an obvious sex tourist.
I have no idea as to whether or not the Philippines attract child abusers for example. I think its possible purely based on my own knowledge of that it gets offered. Only on very few occasions I hasten to add but I have been approached by shady characters as I spoke of in my article, Two Girls a Boy and a Goat, Please, and been asked if I wanted ‘young’. I never asked for details but I can only assume that means illegal age so yes, I guess it’s here and offered.
I don’t really have any idea how many people would travel thousands of miles for easy access to this kind of abuse. I’m sure it goes on and they are obvious sex tourists of the worse kind. So where does the definition get murky beyond that?
Well, I would say that people’s perceptions of relationships between foreign men and Filipina girls get cheapened in some people’s eyes; not just here, but equally abroad. A classic example of this is when there is a noticeable age difference which is commonly seen. The dirty old man (DOM) label is automatically banded about by people here and abroad; it’s taboo in many cultures.
But these relationships are not abusive. It may be for the wrong reasons sometimes on both sides but both parties agree to it and it’s not fair to assume it’s always because of money. Of course, that is sometimes the motivation of some but nonetheless, they agree and it is not abuse.
Many older guys over 50 and more settle here with a young Filipina wife or girlfriend possibly 30 years younger than he is, and in some instances, even larger age gaps. This does happen more times than is comfortable for some observers, but sex tourist?
I couldn’t claim anyone going into a consensual relationship with someone younger is abusing. I’m sure some would say its abuse because they are taking advantage of the girl’s poverty. Well, the girl was living before she met him, so how can anyone say that she had to do it, it’s her choice. It may be a route out of poverty for some, but that again is her choice. If the nature of that relationship becomes abusive, well of course that’s another matter. But it’s not the age difference that is at issue there; it can happen when they are the same age, too.
Now, as is the case with many things online, it can be a good thing or a bad thing. The bad is that many men from abroad are just interested in the internet as a vehicle to obtain sex. Some men both foreign and local can be abusive online in many ways; I’m sure that’s obvious.
As many Filipinas actively look for relationships online, these types tend to prey on local girls here. There are a lot of Filipinas online searching for varied reasons. Some are genuine romantics and some are financial opportunists. The volume of Filipinas online means that they are often targeted by these types of men. There is no doubt that the internet is misused by many. But many men of all persuasions are perfectly genuine and are simply looking for a partner; same goes for the girls.
It’s the age of the internet and it’s no worse than going to a bar to meet someone or a dating agency. The internet has made finding potential partners easy and there is nothing wrong in that. However, somewhat unfairly, there is a sense of mockery from some within these shores and abroad about the nature of such relationships.
Strangely, often the same type that sneers at internet long distance love sees nothing wrong in finding girls in a place where you can’t be heard, i.e. a nightclub. It’s a simple fact that people can widen their search these days. There is nothing wrong in finding a partner online in this day and age.
It’s sometimes too hasty and has a faint smell of desperation from both or either parties. The world is full of lonely people and loneliness sometimes leads people into making bad decisions. The majority are perfectly capable of not making those mistakes. Again, subjects of stereotyping, people forget that it’s not done for the wrong reasons every time, there is still such a thing as love no matter how cynical some can be.
The dangers of internet relationships lies in the fact that people can be whoever they want to be on the internet. I can be an ex-footballer who owns a restaurant, flies a hot air balloon at weekends and has a racehorse of my own. Sadly, it wouldn’t be true. I’m just a fat lazy old hippy who has very little of anything. Point being I could be anything and who’s there to disbelieve me.
I cannot account for abusive people, but let’s give the benefit of the doubt to most. It’s a small world these days and 20 years ago, people didn’t have Facebook. Facebook is commonly a medium for meeting people. Chat rooms are not as busy these days so online abuse I imagine has decreased.
A big reason why online relationships or communications gets a bad reputation with some is because the amount of online abuse from men whether foreign or Filipino is high. When chat rooms were more fashionable then serial wankers would spend hours online. In real life, they have to hide their abusive nature as it has repercussions. Online they feel empowered, especially when the person he targets is far away and cannot do anything other than block him. That happens after the abuse.
It’s normally simply a matter of an over-interest in sex and expecting webcam titillation in return for sometimes only promises.
Sometimes, I suspect that some of the mockers know too much; it’s a hypocritical world. It’s the internet and it’s a fact of life that sex is all over it. This encourages abuse. People forget that normal people use the internet too.
In other countries, there is still prejudice regarding homosexuality. Prejudice is not as widespread as it has been in the past and it varies from country to country. But even some more open-minded people, have a subconscious prejudice still alive in their heads. Subconsciously they think of gay as something a little dirty. With others, it’s not subconscious; it’s full on, and they regard it as something sordid and not right. This gives people the idea that gay men through their eyes, are not quite clean, good and even think of it as sordid.
So within that culture, the stereotype is that someone going to the Philippines that are gay is going for a naughty time only. There is plenty of prejudice towards gays and it magnifies to be something seedy in their way of thinking. Well, gays just like anyone else have varied reasons to visit the Philippines.
The Philippines has a high percentage of men that are gay. Being gay in the Philippines does not mean you’re free from prejudice, but it’s more open here than most places, and in some respects, it is much more accepted. Naturally enough, this attracts gay visitors who have relationships with Filipino men and even those that come to enjoy the gay scene here. Yes, sometimes I’m sure that involves sex as is common within the gay scene. It’s not always about one-to-one faithful relationships. That’s the gay scene the world over.
But that subconscious thought which is in many people’s minds where they regard anything to do with gay as a little sleazy, tends to overshadow their thinking. They only think about the sexual nature of such relationships and lifestyles. This has people thinking that they go only for sex. That may or may not be true, it depends on the individual. But I have explained the reason why many gay men come here from abroad; it’s because that there are many gays here. It’s not rocket science to work out that would mean many gay people will come. Sex tourist? No, it’s a fact of life. But it feeds into prejudices so therefore is spoken of negatively.
It has planted a seed in many heads which has them thinking that it’s all for pure sex and that the Philippines is some kind of haven for that. Again, let’s not assume anything. Often, it’s a relationship of their own choosing and it’s wrong to allow prejudices to earn someone a tag as a sex tourist.
Liar, Liar Pants On Fire
Now I will step into what I believe to be the most common kind of sex tourism. It’s not even illegal here or anywhere else for that matter. If we are to define sex tourism as people who travel to abuse, then this category is by far the biggest offender. They are the liars or should I say them that travel to acquire sex on false promises. The abuse is that they simply lie to get it which is something totally absurd and says a lot about these characters.
If a man travels all this way after possibly months of lying in online conversations just to fool someone who he will marry them, help them or take them abroad with him. He could definitely be rightfully tagged as a sex tourist. After the few nights in a hotel room, he disappears or returns home with no intention of meeting his promises; this is an all too common form of abuse here.
The purpose of all this deception is nothing other than to be able to obtain sex. This is not a category of sex tourist that people think of, but I don’t know why that is, as these are by far the most common offenders, and of course they break no laws in doing it. All I can say to that is that if anyone reading this is guilty of such actions, then can I ask, were you that in need of sex that you had to travel so far and tell lies? Are you actually that ugly and cannot find yourself a sex life back home. I will let you decide what their reasons are.
Well, the trial ends and I haven’t gone into other aspects mentioning prostitution and those that use them and foreigner-owned sex businesses as well as girly bars designed for titillation. These are all matters for another day.
But if I was the judge in this strange trial, I would find the people who are with partners much younger not guilty of being any kind of sex tourist. Those that travel thousands of miles simply to have sex I would definitely find guilty. There is more to life than sex and it’s a little disturbing some would lie and cheat and spend hard-earned money traveling so far just to have that.
Its time people actually had a clearer definition of what a sex tourist actually is. This is only my account. I’d be curious to know your thoughts. It’s a topic submerged in stereotypical thinking and often unfair. Yet the real villains seem to not get mentioned, the deceivers. Filipinas are mostly very real girls. Of course, they can be abusive on another level too and again that’s another article. This article focuses on those that travel for sexual purposes. What I ask people to consider is that most of us don’t. Don’t label as is too commonly done. It’s far too easy to label without knowledge. Keep the definition down to those that abuse and those that don’t. I think it’s fair to say most don’t. You can call the ones that do what you like; I don’t seek to defend them.