The sex hotel: What, where and why

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(Last updated on: 19/10/2020)

Whilst many people are ignorantly unaware of the concept of the sex hotel, others are frequenting them on a regular basis. An important part of the tourism industry in some parts of the world, sex hotels give people a safe and secure place for intimacy and bring in lots of money to the local economy.

In this article, I will tell you more about what a sex hotel is and does and give you some examples of famous sexhotels around the world.

The sex hotel

What is a sex hotel?

Similar to a ‘love motel’, a sex hotel is somewhere where guests go specifically to have sex. They tend to be a bit less soft and fluffy than love motels, with their purpose sometimes a bit more obvious. These hotels are (pretty much) for sex and sex only. Essentially, however, a sex hotel and a love motel are the same thing – it just depends on who you are and where you are.

You can read more about love motels here on Tourism Teacher. But as a brief overview, a love hotel is a type of short-stay hotel operated primarily for the purpose of private sexual activities. They tend to be frequented by those who don’t have much private time (or space) at home, by sex workers and their clients or by those conducting illicit affairs. Hourly, daily and overnight rates are available. 

A sex hotel will have a discreet entrance, and often there is no need to interact with staff. You can book online or at a machine in the lobby, and payment can be made by card or pneumatic tube. There are few windows and the whole experience is one that doesn’t have to publicised. It comes down to this: a sex hotel is a hotel that encourages sexual behaviour from (or among) guests.

Who would use a sex hotel?

As briefly touched on, a sex hotel might be used by many types of people.

Sex hotels are used for prostitution and escort services as well as extramarital affairs, which is where many get their sordid and sleazy reputation from. But they are also used by loving couples, swingers, people looking to discover their sexuality and people just wanting a different holiday experience.

Research shows that there is no solid demographic when it comes to who visits a sex hotel. The average age of guests across sex hotels is mid-40s to 50s but that’s not to say there are no millennials or retirees that use them! Older guests are largely caucasian, while the younger guests are from a slightly more diverse range of backgrounds. The people you might see at a sex hotel are just people: office workers, chefs, bus drivers. They are people who enjoy sex, and don’t think it needs to be kept within the four walls of their own bedrooms. You’ll see a mixture of body types and sizes at a sex hotel: it’s not all glamorous, toned couples!

You will find most straight couples at sex resorts (big, all-inclusive hotel resorts that focus on sex as opposed to just a small hotel), though sex hotels are used by people of all sexualities. At these sex resorts – like the Desire Riviera Maya Resort mentioned below – sex between two women is common when it comes to swinging couples. It is much rarer to see sex between two men at a sex resort.

Why do couples visit sex hotels?

Sometimes, people visit a sex hotel for a change of scenery. If a couple feel that their relationship and/or their sex life needs a bit of spicing up, then a sex hotel can be a great idea. As they say, a change is as good as rest! In some cultures, young couples might be living with their parents small houses, unable to find the time and space to have some intimacy between themselves. 

There is a lot of research into why ‘hotel sex’ is better and more enjoyable. Of course, the obvious thing is that it’s something novel – you’re away from home, in a stimulating new environment. Novelty is a proven aphrodisiac after all… And being in a hotel means no responsibilities, no cooking or cleaning or answering the phone.

According to a poll by Jetsetter, 35.5% of people would purchase a ‘hotel intimacy kit’ if it was bought from the privacy of their room. 14% said they wouldn’t mind asking for one at reception, too.

Being in a sex hotel, then, simply exacerbates each of these points. Hotels have fantastic ambience anyway, but bring in crushed velvet or padded walls, dark red rooms and mirrored ceilings – that’s some atmosphere…

Where would you find a sex hotel?

There are sex hotels all around the world.

As mentioned, a sex hotel is similar to a love motel – and both can be found all over the world. From motels in the middle of nowhere that you can only access by car, to almost-hidden buildings in the middle of big cities, there are sex hotels in more places than you might think.

Here are some sex hotels located around the world…

Sahara Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

If you want somewhere that combines luxury and sex appeal, this is the hotel for you. Sahara Las Vegas was designed by Philippe Starck, and there is so much about the place that will have your libido up and running in minutes. From mirrored ceilings to peek-a-boo showers, stunning decor and ginormous beds, you’ll definitely be happy here. The hotel intimacy kit here contains fancy condoms, various lubes and a vibrator.

The Drake Hotel, Toronto, Canada

Rustic and pretty basic, this hotel comes with a Pleasure Menu for each room. Think toys, raunchy films, massage oils and so much more. If you want to have some adventurous sex in the six (as rapper Drake, funnily enough, refers to the city) then this is a sex hotel that should be on your list. The establishment gives off a cool retro vibe, and you are bound to have plenty of fun if you book a stay here!

The Secret Dungeon, High Wycombe, UK

The UK has a surprising amount of sex themed hotels and B&Bs. The Secret Dungeon is one of them, with a four poster bed, hot tub, mirrored ceilings and so much more; labelling itself ‘a boutique B&B and BDSM play-space, for a truly unique erotic experience’, the dungeon is available for couples looking for to spice up their sex life but also for photographers and film makers needing a set that has plenty of atmosphere.

You can book by the hour or overnight, and the dungeon has free WiFi, kitchen facilities and a bathroom. Inside the dungeon you’ll find a padded wall, a throne chair, a leather swing, various hoists, different sex machines, whips, chains and much more. If you are into this kind of sex and need somewhere to play out your fantasies, you won’t get much better than a sex hotel like this!

Click here to take a virtual tour of The Secret Dungeon and see what a sex hotel looks like for yourself!

Desire Riviera Maya Resort, Puerto Morelos, Mexico

An all-inclusive couples-only resort sounds ideal for many people – but if nudity and PDA aren’t your bag, then probably avoid don’t book here for your Mexican getaway!

This is a sex hotel that allows sex in pubic spaces, such as the Sin Room and the whirlpool; adored by swingers and young nudists, this is a popular hotel for those who like a bit of atmosphere any time of day. It is the kind of place where everybody is thinking about sex all the time. Even the decor is based on the Karma Sutra.

Copacabana Hotel & Suites, Costa Rica

Another adult-only hotel with all-inclusive options, this is a bit tamer than the last offering.

There are two pools, one where nudity is required; sex in public spaces isn’t allowed, but the general atmosphere will definitely get your libido up and running.

Prostitution is legal in Costa Rica, meaning sex tourism is on the rise. People come here for this reason, and a hotel like this offers something a bit extra.

You also don’t have to be part of a couple to stay here, meaning single travellers who want to keep their options open and explore their sexuality have somewhere to do so… This is definitely a sex resort, but this kind of place doesn’t always have to be about the physical act of having sex. Often, it’s simply about cutting loose.

Hotel Pelirocco, Brighton, UK

Known for its beaches, lanes and nightlife, Brighton is also home to Hotel Pelirocco; a more unassuming sex hotel, but a sex hotel nonetheless.

They label themselves as Brighton’s original rock n roll boutique hotel. It’s a punk-themed hotel that from the outside looks like any other seafront B&B. But step inside to find rooms decorate floor to ceiling with leopard print, a mod-themed room and one room (called Kraken’s Lair) with a circular 8ft bed below a mirror – the perfect sex room, and one that sleeps three if that’s what you’re into. Koibito love hampers are available to purchase at the hotel, which come with lube, games, sex toys and more!

Sex hotels: What’s your view?

From understated hotels to hotels that have hundreds of photographs of their products online, there are plenty of sex hotels found around the world. What’s your view on sex hotels? A necessary evil? A seedy business venture? A bit of fun?

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Hi, am Dr Hayley Stainton

I’ve been travelling, studying and teaching travel and tourism since I was 16. Through Tourism Teacher I share my knowledge on the principles and practice of travel and tourism management from both an academic and practical perspective.

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