Looking back, I didn’t realize when I set out to research the new manifestations of sex work in post-Soviet Cuba that I would end up in the Dominican Republic as well. I thought that I would be investigating sex work: simple sex-for-money exchanges between local women and foreign men.
But the universe I encountered was far more complex and intriguing. The eroticization of labor in Caribbean beachfront resorts, spiritual divination, violence against women, a budding sex worker movement that sought to confront and redefine the relationship of sex workers to the nation state and wider society, and love, a lot of love.
These are some of the topics and issues that I encountered and which I write about in Economies of Desire, a book that challenged me to rethink theories of sex work and sex tourism.
Sex, money, romance, reciprocity, solidarity, and affective exchanges are intermingled as tourists and locals rework identities and meanings crafting relationships to preserve integrity and dignity in what is an otherwise crushing system of local and global inequalities.
For more information about Economies of Desire by Amalia Cabezas, visit: http://www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/1965_reg.html