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Caribbean Pleasure Industry: Tourism, Sexuality, and AIDS in the Dominican Republic

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In recent years, the economy of the Caribbean has become almost completely dependent on international tourism. And today one of the chief ways that foreign visitors there seek pleasure is through prostitution. While much has been written on the female sex workers who service these tourists, Caribbean Pleasure Industry shifts the focus onto the men. Drawing on his groundbre In recent years, the economy of the Caribbean has become almost completely dependent on international tourism. And today one of the chief ways that foreign visitors there seek pleasure is through prostitution. While much has been written on the female sex workers who service these tourists, Caribbean Pleasure Industry shifts the focus onto the men. Drawing on his groundbreaking ethnographic research in the Dominican Republic, Mark Padilla discovers a complex world where the global political and economic impact of tourism has led to shifting sexual identities, growing economic pressures, and new challenges for HIV prevention. In fluid prose, Padilla analyzes men who have sex with male tourists, yet identify themselves as “normal” heterosexual men and struggle to maintain this status within their relationships with wives and girlfriends. Padilla’s exceptional ability to describe the experiences of these men will interest anthropologists, but his examination of bisexuality and tourism as much-neglected factors in the HIV/AIDS epidemic makes this book essential to anyone concerned with health and sexuality in the Caribbean or beyond.


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In recent years, the economy of the Caribbean has become almost completely dependent on international tourism. And today one of the chief ways that foreign visitors there seek pleasure is through prostitution. While much has been written on the female sex workers who service these tourists, Caribbean Pleasure Industry shifts the focus onto the men. Drawing on his groundbre In recent years, the economy of the Caribbean has become almost completely dependent on international tourism. And today one of the chief ways that foreign visitors there seek pleasure is through prostitution. While much has been written on the female sex workers who service these tourists, Caribbean Pleasure Industry shifts the focus onto the men. Drawing on his groundbreaking ethnographic research in the Dominican Republic, Mark Padilla discovers a complex world where the global political and economic impact of tourism has led to shifting sexual identities, growing economic pressures, and new challenges for HIV prevention. In fluid prose, Padilla analyzes men who have sex with male tourists, yet identify themselves as “normal” heterosexual men and struggle to maintain this status within their relationships with wives and girlfriends. Padilla’s exceptional ability to describe the experiences of these men will interest anthropologists, but his examination of bisexuality and tourism as much-neglected factors in the HIV/AIDS epidemic makes this book essential to anyone concerned with health and sexuality in the Caribbean or beyond.

30 review for Caribbean Pleasure Industry: Tourism, Sexuality, and AIDS in the Dominican Republic

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sonia

    Mark Padilla does an amazing job with this ethnography of Dominican (re)-presentations of sexuality. He brilliantly explicates how shifts in the Dominican political and economic environments directly affect constructions of masculinities, sexualities, gendered labor, sexual practices, identities...etc etc. However, I do feel that he fails to discuss the effects and confines of sexual and gender stigmatization, which I believe also strongly shapes these constructs (he mentions both but does not d Mark Padilla does an amazing job with this ethnography of Dominican (re)-presentations of sexuality. He brilliantly explicates how shifts in the Dominican political and economic environments directly affect constructions of masculinities, sexualities, gendered labor, sexual practices, identities...etc etc. However, I do feel that he fails to discuss the effects and confines of sexual and gender stigmatization, which I believe also strongly shapes these constructs (he mentions both but does not detail or deconstruct these complex theoretical lenses...but perhaps that's not what he set out to do). Overall, wonderful text and actually reads very well. It really gives voice to this incredibly marginalized community too.

  2. 4 out of 5

    William D.

    Disclaimer: I work with the author, so take the rating with a grain of salt. That being said, this is an excellent example of a detailed ethnography of the "pleasure industry"of the Caribbean, and how it is shaped and affected by changes in the political and economic environment in both the Caribbean and globally. Its filled with interview excerpts, which make it deeply engaging and personal, but also gives the larger perspective on how the interviews illustrate the face of a changing industry. Disclaimer: I work with the author, so take the rating with a grain of salt. That being said, this is an excellent example of a detailed ethnography of the "pleasure industry"of the Caribbean, and how it is shaped and affected by changes in the political and economic environment in both the Caribbean and globally. Its filled with interview excerpts, which make it deeply engaging and personal, but also gives the larger perspective on how the interviews illustrate the face of a changing industry. Lastly, it demonstrates the cultural and structural conceptualizations of gender and gender roles, how these roles are affected by economic need. A must for those interested in the sex industry, gender, or the Caribbean.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Armonté Butler

    I came across this book after learning about HIV and AIDS in Latin America and the Caribbean. This book provides an interdisciplinary framework to the field of global health and has various case studies from individuals in the Dominican Republic. While participating in HIV and AIDS work in the Dominican Republic during the summer of 2016 this book served as a dictionary and Bible.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aishe

    An excellent ethnography!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marcy

  6. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Lavasseur

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  10. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  11. 5 out of 5

    Juliana

  12. 5 out of 5

    Josh

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kirk Gibson

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sana Aslam

  15. 5 out of 5

    Krzys Chwala

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julien

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aliza

  18. 5 out of 5

    Darbee Hagerty

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

  20. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Urena

  21. 5 out of 5

    Matt Chisling (MattyandtheBooks)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Francis Sanchez

  23. 4 out of 5

    Merissa Matheson

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ahaqir

  25. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Hanson

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kirk

  28. 4 out of 5

    Colin

  29. 5 out of 5

    Razieh

  30. 5 out of 5

    A. S.

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