March 4, 2024


Vacations and travel encourage occasional sexual encounters. But this type of relationship, as respectable and rewarding as the most, must have some rules so that, in the future, they become beautiful memories and not bitter experiences.

1. The condom is non-negotiable

If we don’t want to play Russian roulette, having unprotected relationships with people whose sexual history and health status we don’t know is buying a lot of STI raffle tickets. It is true that sexual relations always imply a risk and that total safety does not exist, as in any other aspect of life, but the correct use of condoms prevents many sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV, gonorrhea or chlamydia, which is increasing in recent years.

If you are traveling and the possibility of sexual encounters is foreseen, it does not hurt to include condoms in your luggage. It is better to take them from home, from a well-known and reliable firm, than to buy them at the destination and take a risk with strange, cheap brands that break at the first opportunity or that cause itching or allergies. You also have to make sure that you use them not only during intercourse, but also for oral and anal sex, and it doesn’t hurt to check, from time to time, that it is still in place when you change positions. Some have the bad habit of removing it at a moment of carelessness, to see if it strains, a practice that law of only yes is yes recognized as a crime.

2. Sex and rock&roll, but drugs for another time

When we travel we find ourselves in a more vulnerable position because we are in a place we don’t know, with customs that are foreign to us and, in many cases, people speak an unknown language or that we mutter with more or less success. In this context, going overboard with alcohol and/or trying drugs, even if they are not the hardest, can put us at a disadvantage. Our speed of response to an emergency decreases, intuition can be disturbed, we become more confident, the senses are clouded. Without even imagining a dangerous situation, being under the influence of certain substances makes us more likely to commit certain acts or practices that we might regret the day after, or to dispense with condoms and the most basic precautions.

It is understandable to want, at some point in our lives, to experience the fusion of sex and drugs; but for that it is necessary to be accompanied by people we trust and move in safe spaces. The sum of the geographic trip plus the lysergic trip has never paid off very well, as can be seen in the series The snakeabout the murderer Charles Sobhraj, who robbed and killed young people who were going to do the route hippy South Asia in the 1970s.

Still from the film 'Farewell Emmanuelle' (1977), by François Leterrier.
Still from the film ‘Farewell Emmanuelle’ (1977), by François Leterrier.IFA Film (United Archives / Cordon Press)

3. On safe ground

Your place or mine? The answer to the typical question, when two people decide to have casual sex, is, in this case and without a doubt, mine; since dangerous situations are minimized when we are in known scenarios. In our hotel room or in our rental apartment there are fewer surprises than if we go to the local’s house, since we play on our own ground.

Going to the opposite field raises many unknowns, in principle, without an answer. Will you live alone or with more people? How will the others react to seeing us? If you are not convinced and decide to go back, will there be transportation to return to the hotel? Will it be a safe or dangerous neighborhood? On the other hand, the mere insistence of the other in taking us to their terrain should already be the object of suspicion. It never hurts, for security reasons, to inform your fellow travelers that you have an appointment and the place where you are going to be.

Nor is it the most appropriate time to have sex outdoors, on beaches, forests or in the middle of nature; since it would be adding more vulnerability to the one that one has for the simple fact of being in a foreign country and not knowing its laws and customs.

4. Consent and culture of the country being visited

Sex is very instinctive and biological, but also cultural, since culture and lifestyle determine our way of interpreting sexuality and intimate relationships. Starting from this approach, it is important to take into account the country where we are and find out a little about its vision regarding sexual relations. Are we, for example, in a macho nation, where women have fewer rights and are second-class citizens? Is there an idea or fantasy that foreign women who travel alone are easy to approach and, deep down, they are looking for company? Would the people of that destiny understand that, once in bed, the couple can back down and decide not to continue with the relationship; Or will they be sure that at that point there is no turning back? It is clear that living in a certain society does not make us participate in all its maxims; but it does not hurt to reflect on these aspects before sleeping with someone from a totally different culture.

Regarding consent, we should speak clearly about our position, what we are willing to do and what we are not willing to do, our intentions and expectations, and always leave the possibility of canceling the relationship open, if someone so decides. At this point we should learn from BDSM practitioners when it comes to establishing clear, precise and unbreakable rules when practicing their games.

Scene from the film 'Nymphomaniac' (2013), Lars von Trier.
Scene from the film ‘Nymphomaniac’ (2013), Lars von Trier.©Magnolia Pictures / Everett Collection / Cordon Press

5. Compromised photos? No, thanks

Most will agree that the context of casual sex, in the middle of a trip, is not the best time to become an Olvido Ants. It seems like common sense, but it doesn’t hurt to remember that requests for intimate photos or videos (“just to remind you!”) should always be denied. The sum of sensitive material plus social networks is carried by the devil, with the added mystery of never knowing where these images will end up, or how.

Nor should it be necessary to point out that it is better not to give too many clues to the friend or lover about our life. Of course we can tell generalities, but the address, place of work and other specific data is better to avoid. There is always time to expand information; Deleting it is not always possible.

6. Emotional intelligence: distinguish between love and a good romp

In an idyllic setting (whether it’s a beach with coconut trees or a Norwegian fjord), with no work obligations or schedules to keep, it’s easier to see the bottle half full. Here can be placed those who tend to romanticize situations and let the imagination fly. On the opposite side, and in order not to fall into the previous error, some people behave like sexual robots, trying to limit the relationship only to the physical plane and gagging their emotions; forgetting that they will always be present, at least until transhumanism turns us into docile and obedient machines.

But casual sex is just as valid, satisfying, and worthy of recognition as any other, as revealed by a 2018 study published in the Cambridge University Presswhere it is concluded that people who have sporadic sex exhibit behaviors similar to those who are in a relationship.

Surely, the key for a night to become a good memory is to make that choice for pleasure, feeling safe and not pressured. A 2020 study, published in The Journal of Sex Researchrecognizes that it is easier to end up feeling empty, used and depressed if you have had casual sex under the influence of alcohol, than if you have a less permissive attitude or if the partner was a complete stranger with whom you had not interacted before .

7. Make use of observation and intuition

It is likely that the numerous non-personal interactions we have with others (calls, emails, messages on social networks) have already moved us away from that intuitive ability to know if someone is a good or bad person shortly after meeting them. However, if we let observation and intuition act, we can glimpse if we are dealing with someone rather reliable; unless this is a professional deception with excellent acting skills. Generally, good people are thoughtful, they practice good treatment (especially with those who serve them or are in a position inferior to theirs), they know how to listen more than talk about themselves, they are kind, they maintain eye contact, they smile at often and his account is coherent and believable.

It is worth remembering that sex tourism exists, even if one does not practice it. Moral considerations aside, it’s good to know. As it is also important to keep in mind that money or social position do not always put us in an advantageous situation when we travel. There are other qualities (intelligence, wit) that can be much more useful in certain circumstances.

To finish, I advise that casual sex not be out of pity or a bad conscience, because you are in a poor and needy country for two simple reasons. First, it won’t work out. Second, you are no more than anyone, no matter how much money you have.

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