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Intimate tourism

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Intimate Tourism, also known as Emotional Tourism, is a concept created by Paula Bialski, a student sociologist, while studying CouchSurfing, a hospitality exchange network. Intimate tourism is a term which is used to define the process of hospitality exchange networks as the individual experiences a kind of relationship without physical or geographical borders – a post-friendship where the personal needs of the individual such as “personal growth,” direct dialog, and human closeness, is met instantly, without taking into account any time-space continuum traditionally ingrained in the institution of friendship.

Within Intimate Tourism, there are key social processes which assist this mechanism to fully function as it does – factors which allow people to become close, and verbally intimate after a very brief time.

  1. The dichotomy between public and private space within our urban environment can influence our intimacy level - specifically, the fact that individuals are meeting in the utmost of intimate spaces - the private home.
  2. The specific goal and mindset of the CouchSurfing individual is crucial as they make use of this previously-mentioned space in order to fulfill their agenda of ‘personal growth.’
  3. Finally, the Internet is the crucial key in merging these two worlds and quenching the individual’s need for closeness by providing access to the locality of intimacy – the private home or ‘couch.’

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