Phenomenology of young women's sexual risk-taking in tourism

Liza Berdychevsky, Heather J. Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tourist experiences have been conceptualized as heterotopias, and liminoid contra-normative settings offering a license for thrills, situational disinhibition, and sexual experimentation. The purpose of this study was to explore the links between tourism and young women's sexual behavior, focusing on their perceptions of sexual risk-taking in tourism and its consequences. Transcendental phenomenology was implemented to grasp the uniqueness of the individual experiences and assess the universal meanings of the phenomenon, proceeding through the stages of epoché, phenomenological reduction, imaginative variation, and synthesis. The findings of fifteen in-depth interviews reveal that women's sexual risk-taking in tourism is a complex and multidimensional phenomenon involving physical, sexual health, social, emotional, mental/self-perceptional, cultural, and legal aspects. Clarifying the dimensions of sexual risk-taking in tourism and its consequences benefits the literature in terms of shedding light on an under-researched topic and provides information for health education/intervention programs aimed at addressing sexual risk behaviors in tourism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)299-310
Number of pages12
JournalTourism Management
StatePublished - Feb 2015


  • Cultural risks
  • Emotional risks
  • Mental risks
  • Phenomenology
  • Physical risks
  • Sexual risk-taking
  • Social risks
  • Young women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Transportation
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management
  • Strategy and Management


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