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Travel Med Infect Dis. 2007 Sep;5(5):287-94. Epub 2007 Aug 21.

Understanding sexual relationships between tourists and locals in Cuzco/Peru.

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School of Nursing, Midwifery and Nutrition, James Cook University, Townsville QLD 4811, Australia.



Casual sexual encounters between tourists and locals have been increasingly discussed. The city of Cuzco/Peru is well known for an increased availability of such sexual opportunities. The objective of this study was to explore tourists' and locals' knowledge, attitudes, and reasoning for engaging in casual sexual relationships.


In this qualitative study, 10 locals and 13 tourists were in-depth interviewed (15 women, 8 men, aged 19-50+). Participant and non-participant observations, and informal discussions provided supporting evidence.


For tourists, the relationships with locals ranged from one-night-stands as part of the travel experience and having fun, to commitment for the term of a longer stay, to marriage. From the locals' point of view, these encounters ranged from sexual adventures to increase self-esteem and high standing in their circle of friends, to serious long-term commitments. In both cases, the difference in the physical appearance played a main part in the perceived attraction that had triggered the encounter. Lack of consistent condom use remains a concern along with the locals' profound lack of knowledge of STIs.


Travel health advisors should place more emphasis on sexual health in pre-travel consultations. The use of condoms cannot be stressed enough. Local health professionals should aggressively increase safe sex health promotion, specifically targeting people related to the tourism industry.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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