Way back in June, I spoke with Steve Bramucci, an editor at UPROXX Life, about consensual sex between adults. But there was a corollary — This was re consensual hook up sex happening between adults, one from a developing nation and the other from the United States.

Steve framed our conversation with the query:

When I read your [Adult Film Minute column on UPROXX] it helps me with the eternal question of: “Can I be aroused by porn and still be a generally good, pro-gender equality person?” I’m looking to hit a variant of that question: “Can I have sex with a person in a third world country and still be an awesome, non-exploitative person?”

He wanted to know what I thought.

Hook-up Sex, Travel, Power

Here’s what I had to say to Steve’s question. My response has a lot to do with awareness, both of one’s own self in relation to others, as well as one’s own place within a wider system of global inequality and power disparity.

In a perfect world, all communities (including nation-states) are always “developing” – seeking to improve in whatever manner for the benefit of all their members. Further, also in a perfect world, the concept of “development” isn’t so loaded and monolithic. A “developed” nation-state isn’t necessarily a first world, Western space, and a “developing” nation isn’t evaluated against a litany of perceived characteristics and structural advantages presumably embodied by developed nations. But all that being said, “Can a person from the US or the UK have consensual casual sex with a person in a third world country and still be an awesome, non-exploitative person?”

Such an ethical question is predicated on the unequal distribution of global and cultural power, which is inextricably linked to the aforementioned developed/developing “worlds” system. This is made even more complex by issues related to gender, sexualities, ethnicity, social class, and whiteness (among many other things), and all of which is made even further complex when you consider both consent and intent.

With all this in mind, the answer to the question ranges from “Absolutely not” to a complex consideration of intersectionality (put so simplistically in this context: How does the sum of your privilege play out in an interaction with a person of variable privilege?) to truly – “It depends.”

To say that it’s impossible to engage in a hook up scenario as described above and also be an awesome person is to consider said interpersonal interaction from a global, high-macro level only, without considering the nuance. But to assume one can figure out all the nuance (possibly) present in such a (probably) loaded hook up scenario – no matter the amount of lighthearted consensual fun present – is kinda impossible, too.

I think the answer is “Maybe” – It depends on whether or not you’re an awesome, non-exploitative person in the first place (acknowledging, of course, what constitutes awesome and non-exploitative in this context).

What do you think about the relationship between hook-up sex, travel, and power? Is there such a thing as non-exploitative in this context?

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(Can we travel to this place?)

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