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Travel is often a time for indulging: Eating new foods, trying new activities, meeting new people. So, it comes as no surprise that you might find yourself falling for someone while traveling (travel and love). After all, with all of the excitement involved, being away from home and the short timeframe, this time is incredibly well suited for emotions to run riot and relationships to blossom! But as common as it might be, sex and relationships when traveling, it’s far from straight forward and can have a big impact on the experience. That’s why I’m sharing 10 things to think about when it comes to relationships and sex while traveling.
I’m forever impressed at how quickly relationships can form when you are traveling away from home. On the other side of the world you meet a complete stranger for the very first time and, before long, you’ve shared so much about yourselves that you feel as close to them as any long-standing friend from home.
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How does it happen?!
Well, travel is an intense experience of emotional highs and lows, close encounters and novel goings-on. Life often moves at a fast pace, you want to do and see as much as you can. You’re in a new place every few days with people you probably don’t know. No one knows you either, which means that, without that history, you can be anyone you want to be, especially your best self.
Add to that how going away will often lower your inhibitions, as you challenge yourself to try new things, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for ‘intimate relations.’ I’ve found that travel’s a bit like rocket-fuel for relationships. To get physically and emotionally close to someone overseas is novel, exciting and, frankly, a very common and positive part of many people’s travel experiences.
But it comes with possible challenges too. From unreciprocated love and sometimes the impossibility for long distance relationships, to misunderstandings and unmet expectations, there’s always the potential for hurt, uncertainty and negativity. Such emotional highs and lows can greatly impact your experience.
I wanted to put together a quick ‘guide’ to highlight some potential first time travel considerations when it comes to relationships and sex! I hope that it’s helpful.
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Table of Contents (skip directly to the info you're looking for)
- 1 Things to Consider about Relationships & Sex while traveling (in no particular order)
- 1.1 1. Sex and relationships overseas are fun and exciting
- 1.2 2. Don’t be ashamed of having sex overseas
- 1.3 3. It’s a new way of traveling
- 1.4 4. It is full of uncertainty
- 1.5 5. Try and stay present
- 1.6 6. It is better to have loved and lost…
- 1.7 7. The long distance eventuality
- 1.8 8. Definitely practice safe sex while traveling
- 1.9 9. Be aware of the Practicalities
- 1.10 10. Keep the culture in mind
Things to Consider about Relationships & Sex while traveling (in no particular order)
Here is a random assortment of 10 topics to think about before you decide about your feelings on sex and travel.
1. Sex and relationships overseas are fun and exciting
Everything is more extreme when you travel and that is never truer than when it comes to relationships and sex.
On the road, with your luggage or backpack in tow, you can fall for someone in a rush. The intensity and overwhelming feeling of excitement that comes from the possibility of liking someone new is almost like doing it all for the very first time. If it is just a casual thing, then the same is still true – a fling on the other side of the world is an exciting prospect!
Make sure to discuss expectations honestly, right from the start, so that no one is misled into thinking that it’s more serious than it really is. I’d encourage anyone to be open to new romance on their trip.
2. Don’t be ashamed of having sex overseas
Don’t be ashamed if you have flings while you travel! The topic of casual sex still remains one-sided in society, where guys often get applauded for it and gals get chastised, which is definitely unfair.
Let’s be clear. I’m not saying you should just go and have sex with everyone you see but, whoever you are, you shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about having, or wanting to have sex. In this day and age of online dating apps and multiple gender defining words, you’d think that we would’ve already moved passed this point of shaming consenting adults who enjoy sex.
Like I’ve been saying, relationships, sex and travel can often go hand in hand. You’ve gone traveling to have an adventure, try new things and experience life to its fullest. Sex overseas can be a part of this process and, in some ways, almost embodies these aspirations. It should be celebrated, as opposed to being shamed.
3. It’s a new way of traveling
Getting into a relationship on the road, and then traveling around as a couple, dramatically changes the experience.
Travel takes on an entirely different, fun and rose-tinted sheen, but also comes with a bunch of additional considerations. You’ll be making decisions together, altering your own plans to accommodate the other person, you may be sharing resources (food, money, space, etc.) and spending a huge amount of time together. It can become intense and arguments can occur if you aren’t careful. Make sure to keep the lines of communication open.
But, overall, sharing the experience of travel with someone is an amazing feeling, which adds a whole new dimension to what you do.
4. It is full of uncertainty
Any sort of relationship is full of uncertainty, so why should this be any different abroad? You fall for someone in a rush on the other side of the World and it is a complete whirlwind of emotion and intensity. But you might live hugely different lives back home, and/or come from completely different countries, cultures, religion and/or backgrounds.
Ironically, it is travel that has brought you together, but travel is what will also separate you eventually. Maybe you’re both planning on traveling for different periods of time, or have a flight to catch that’ll take you in separate directions. Did you know that it’s Sod’s Law that finding the person of your dreams often happens, when you least expect it, under circumstances that can often threaten the longevity of any potential relationship? Not to mention that the thought of saying goodbye can be pretty heart wrenching.
There can be very little certainty with relationships on the road, which can be hard to think about. But, in an attempt to reframe the issue, there’s also an added poignancy to anything that is soon to end, right? The fact that the future of your foreign relationship is so uncertain can, in a backwards way, add to its value. Feelings get intensified and, as it passes, the value of time spent with the other person is ever enhanced.
5. Try and stay present
In these situations, to the best of your ability, try and stay present in the time you have together. The future may well be uncertain but, as Ekhart Tolle points out, all we ever have is ‘now,’ and I agree.
As difficult as it can be, try to enjoy the time you have with each other, rather than projecting into the future and worrying about the coming separation. Embrace what time you have together and later you’ll figure out the rest. Keeping in contact with people from around the world is definitely easier in this modern world of cell phones, social media and facetime than before.
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This leads me to my following points.
6. It is better to have loved and lost…
“It is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” is never more true than when describing short-lived romances. I know this old adage is super-cheesey and clichéd, but I think it is apt in this context!
It can feel like a hard decision to get involved with someone when you know (due to time and travel plans) the relationship is likely to end before it really begins.
You might ask yourself:
“What’s the point of letting myself in for the pain of the unavoidable separation, for the sake of a few days/weeks together?”
It is a fair question and one that many people will choose to consider. But I’d always err on the side of action: Going for it, in spite of the inevitable heartache to come. Revel in the experience of it and try not to talk yourself out of it for fear of future hurt. I hate regrets, especially those decisions resulting from fear of the unknown. Sometimes it’s better to take the risk.
7. The long distance eventuality
Equally, remember you don’t actually have to say goodbye if you’ve made a deep and meaningful connection. Even if your homes are separated by oceans and continents, and it seems impossible to sustain a relationship at such distance, know that you most definitely can, and many people do.
It isn’t easy, but neither is it impossible. And it is happening more and more these days, as people meet online, greater numbers of us travel overseas, falling in love with people from all over the World as we do.
With a bit of work and commitment, through technology (Skype, Facebook, Whatsapp etc…) and cheap air tickets, long distance relationships are more feasible than ever.
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8. Definitely practice safe sex while traveling
I’m not your mum, but it’s just common sense. When it comes to sex and traveling, do it safely! Use some form of contraception if you’re having sex overseas to avoid unnecessary problems later on.
Take a pack of condoms/dental dams (or your preferred form of contraception) with you when you travel and remember to actually carry them on your person, rather than leaving them in your luggage!
You can also find contraception on the road in all of the same places you do at home: Pharmacies, supermarkets, some public toilets, etc.
Remember that these protect you from STDs, some of which can stay with you forever – better to return home with wonderful memories rather than a permanent reminder of your stupidity/laziness…call it what you will.
9. Be aware of the Practicalities
Having sex (or at least, having sex in private) when you travel can be something of a practical challenge.
You’ll probably be staying in hotels, hostels, or guest houses, where there are always lots of people milling about. Privacy can sometimes be hard to come by.
So, get creative. Be inventive. Make it a challenge. But be respectful of other people too. No-one wants to be unable to sleep because of the two love birds making a racket above them…but remember the saying that “Necessity is the motherhood of invention.”
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10. Keep the culture in mind
Likewise, keep the culture in mind. Be mindful of the country in which you’re traveling and aware of their social practices, as well as (in some cases) the laws that are in place.
For instance, in some Middle Eastern Countries, in line with Islamic Law, public displays of affection are socially unacceptable and sometimes even a criminal offense. A lack of cultural awareness catches many travelers off guard every year and, in severe cases, ends in their arrest.
Beyond the threat of prison time though, it is just good practice to be aware of and respectful of the social customs and (oftentimes legal) expectations of the place you’re staying.
When it comes to relationships and sex, especially in conservative and religious countries, be mindful of what is and isn’t acceptable. What may seem harmless and innocuous to anyone from Western society may be explicit and deeply troubling to communities overseas.
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Time for Wrap Up
There you have it: 10 considerations for relationships and sex while traveling.
As you can imagine for yourself, they can be a somewhat natural part of traveling. Meeting someone new is always full of excitement and novelty but even more so when traveling. It packs a whole host of awesome new experiences to have but it can bring its own challenges too.
Hopefully, this piece has highlighted exactly what to expect and provides important food for thought, in all of the best ways possible! Enjoy!
This is a guest post by: Danny Newman of the blog What’s Danny Doing.
Author’s Bio: Danny Newman is currently writing and traveling his way around the world in a bid to figure out exactly what he’s doing with his life. He’d love you to follow along with his journey over at What’s Danny Doing.
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