When we think ‘motel’ in North America or Europe, we tend to picture a budget place to crash for the night when travelling on a budget. In Brazil, however, a motel is a place to have sex and many are extravagantly prepared for this purpose.
The concept isn’t unique; Japan among other countries have embraced the love motel idea for some time. Similar to their Japanese counterparts, Brazilian love motels offer a private place to have sex where discretion is taken very seriously. You arrive at the motel, book your room through a kiosk at the front and slip inside to your room. The surrounding high walls conceal the motel’s presence and internal private parking serves to hide car number plates and occupants’ identities.
The efforts to keep things discreet is merely a common courtesy to maintain privacy. Motels play a very important role in Brazilian society. It is a cultural norm for the younger generation to stay living with their family until they marry and, as a result, Brazilian families tend to be very close units. This unity comes at a price though – a lack of privacy for couples. The motel fulfills the need to have a private place for couples to have sex away from their family.
Motels are not brothels. Although a client may take a prostitute to a motel, the concept is no different to booking a private room in a paid hotel. A motel is also a way of spicing up couple’s sex life, even if they have the privacy of their own home. As anthropologist and architect Dinah Guimaraens, who has several books on the topic, describes, ‘motels in Brazil are like the Disneyland of sex. They provide a combination of entertainment, fantasy, and escapism, allowing the middle class to feel powerful for a few fleeting moments.’
Motels are everywhere in Brazil from business districts to densely populated residential areas and nowadays are not exclusive to the middle class. Options range from a no-frills, cheap and cheerful room, to luxury motels that offer a place for sex within a lavish and memorable environment. It’s not unusual for rooms to come with swimming pools, hot tubs, and full-ceiling mirrors. Others cater to various fetishes such as domination rooms with handcuffs and chains, or romance rooms with soft music and rose petals scattered over the bed.
Other luxury accessories can include champagne baths, extensive porn channels, gourmet food and even helicopter or Ferrari rides to get the adrenaline pumping before returning back to the motel’s love nests. Some motels are structured around creating an entire fantasy world with rooms such as the Las Vegas room with roulette, strip-poker and a pole-dancing space, or the Suite Aeroporto that is a huge room built inside a plane with multiple rooms and hot tubs. Many come with reminders that these rooms can accommodate a large number of guests too with some suites squeezing in up to 100 people.
Some revealing research conducted on motels concluded that motel use during the week tends to be those who are having love affairs or use prostitutes (prostitution is legal in Brazil) whereas the weekends have a higher rate of couples using it, both gay and heterosexual. Although it comes as a shock for many tourists from countries where motels are just for sleeping, Brazilians see motels as a fun way to be intimate with their partners. So if you are travelling to Brazil, just be aware that booking into a motel for the night could be a lot different to what you may expect!
What are your thoughts on Brazilian love motels? Have you heard of these concepts in other countries? Feel free to share your stories, I’d love to hear them!
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