Purpose: The relationship between sex and tourism remains ambiguous in the tourism literature. Few studies have examined the underlying motivations behind sex-driven travel, and little is known about factors inhibiting tourists' procurement of commercial sex when traveling. Therefore, this study explored male Chinese tourists' perceived constraints during decision-making and developed a comprehensive scale to assess constraints to commercial sex consumption overseas.
Design/methodology/approach: Data were obtained from male Chinese tourists purchasing commercial sex while traveling overseas. This study involved a four-stage process as recommended by Churchill (1979) for scale development research. In Stage 1, preliminary items were generated through a comprehensive review of the constraints literature and in-depth interviews with 16 sex tourists, which generated an initial 26 items. During the second stage to purify the measurement items, six items were eliminated, resulting in 20 items. Stage 3 involved exploratory factor analysis (N = 275) to extract the scale's underlying factor structure. Results revealed a five-factor structure with sufficient evidence of internal reliability given Cronbach's alpha coefficients between 0.722 and 0.843. The final stage included confirmatory factor analysis (N = 259) to verify the scale's reliability and validity.
Findings: Ultimately, 20 items were developed to measure sex tourists' perceived constraints toward engaging in commercial sex services overseas based on five factors: structural constraints, intrapersonal constraints, interpersonal constraints, value conflicts and service supply–related constraints.
Originality/value: This study advances the scope of sex tourism research by verifying how these five constraints are independent, generalized and can influence the procurement of sexual services overseas. This study is the first in sex tourism research to explore the difficulties facing sex tourists. Results offer marketers important insight on how to better address these constraints while providing a safe and legal sex tourism experience.