What's Love Got to Do with It?

Transnational Desires and Sex Tourism in the Dominican Republic

By Denise Brennan; Denise Brennan; Brennan
Duke University Press, Paperback, 9780822332978, 296pp.

Publication Date: May 2004

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In locations around the world, sex tourism is a booming business." What's Love Got to Do with It?" is an in-depth examination of the motivations of workers, clients, and others connected to the sex tourism business in Sosua, a town on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. Denise Brennan considers why Dominican and Haitian women move to Sosua to pursue sex work and describes how sex tourists, primarily Europeans, come to Sosua to buy sex cheaply and live out racialized fantasies. For the sex workers, Brennan explains, the sex trade is more than a means of survival it is an advancement strategy that hinges on their successful performance of love. Many of these women seek to turn a commercialized sexual transaction into a long-term relationship that could lead to marriage, migration, and a way out of poverty.

Illuminating the complex world of Sosua's sex business in rich detail, Brennan draws on extensive interviews not only with sex workers and clients, but also with others who facilitate and benefit from the sex trade. She weaves these voices into an analysis of Dominican economic and migration histories to consider the opportunities or lack thereof available to poor Dominican women. She shows how these women, local actors caught in a web of global economic relations, try to take advantage of the foreign men who are in Sosua to take advantage of them. Through her detailed study of the lives and working conditions of the women in Sosua's sex trade, Brennan raises important questions about women's power, control, and opportunities in a globalized economy.

About the Author
Denise Brennan is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Georgetown University.

Denise Brennan is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Georgetown University.

Richard P. Brennan is a veteran science writer and editor whose previous books include Levitating Trains and Kamikaze Genes (Wiley) and The Automobile: Technology and Society. Mr. Brennan has served as a consultant to Lockheed, the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the National Academy of Sciences.
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