Sex and the Traveler: Staying Safe While Abroad

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    Staying Safe While Looking for Love Abroad

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    Since the dawn of time, travel has been highly romanticized in culture, creating a certain allure to seeing the world. It's no secret that travel and sex can go hand-in-hand with each other. A 2013 study completed by the U.S. Travel Association suggests couples who travel together have better sex lives. For those who are single, can travel create the same sparks with a stranger abroad?

    A 2015 study completed by a professor at the University of Illinois suggest without the fear of judgment or reputation, travelers between 18 and 30 will become more sexually experimental when visiting another country. However, the rules for safe and consensual relationships should never take a vacation. Even thousands of miles away, travelers must still maintain safe and vigilant in their activities.

    For those who hope for an unforgettable night with a local stranger abroad, be sure to plan ahead. Here are five ways travelers can keep safe while abroad. 

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    Maintain Birth Control and Health Regimens Across Time Zones

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    Our bodies have very strange reactions to time zones, both physiologically and emotionally. In addition to suffering from jet lag, travelers who are dependent on time-sensitive medications (like oral birth control pills) may find themselves struggling to maintain their everyday regimen while abroad.

    Make sure to understand the difference in time zones between your home and destination, in order to adjust for the differences in medications. Those who will be gone for a significant amount of time may want to talk to their doctor about transitioning their medication to the new time zone or considering a different regimen that would work better for their destination. 

    Furthermore, jet lag and exhaustion can change traveler's outlooks on travel, especially when alcohol is in the mix. Be sure to adjust to the time zone before going out on the town, as drowsy drinking can lead to bigger problems down the line.  

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    Make Sure You Are Comfortable With Your Chosen Partner

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    While in different countries, it is not uncommon to run into a number of interesting and colorful characters who offer a certain amount of intrigue. Add in a language barrier, and misunderstandings can happen very quickly. The last place someone wants to receive an unwanted surprise is in the bedroom.

    From private home hosts who turn out to be someone different than they portray, to predators looking to attack tourists, it is quite possible to run into someone who portrays themselves as one person – but in reality is someone else. Before agreeing to go anywhere with someone, make sure you are comfortable with who they are, and who they portray themselves to be. If you are at all uncomfortable with the person or believe they are something than what they claim, get away as soon as you can. 

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    Prostitution Is Still Illegal in Many Countries

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    When it comes to finding an interested partner, not everyone a traveler meets has the same intentions. While some may be genuinely interested in an international tryst, others may be in it for the money (either willingly or coerced). In Ronald Weitzer's book Immoral Landscape: Female Prostitution in Western Societies, the sociologist identifies six types of prostitutes a traveler may run into.

    In many parts of the world, prostitution is still illegal, with tourists facing fines and other punishments if caught. Furthermore, working with the wrong prostitute can result in extortion, blackmail, or even an attack from the prostitute's associates. If a potential partner seems too eager to get out of a bar or off the street, think twice about taking them back to the hotel.

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    Protection Is Critical in All Steps

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    In an ideal situation, travelers looking for love can find it in a willing, warm, and enchanting partner. However, there is still a key detail travelers need to keep in mind: protection. Using protection should ​never be a request with a new partner – it should always be a non-negotiable demand.

    Contraceptive barriers (like condoms) are widely available throughout the world and can be most commonly found at pharmacies. For those travelers who are hopeful for love abroad, purchasing and packing protection ahead of time can save time and provide convenience when the time is right.

    For women, carrying emergency contraception can also be an appropriate step in practicing safe sex while abroad. Consider speaking to a doctor prior to a trip to determine if carrying an emergency contraceptive is an appropriate choice. 

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  • 06 of 06

    Make a Morning-After Plan

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    Finally, different people and cultures have different demands for post-intercourse activities. Some may want to stay the night and keep in touch with new friends online, while others may want to leave immediately and never be seen again.

    No matter what norms or culture says, do what is most natural. It is okay to use an assumed name and never speak to the one-time partner again, just as it is acceptable to build a friendship. As long as you are comfortable and do not feel that you are in immediate danger, do what feels right.

    While engaging in "risky business" abroad can be an exciting and exhilarating experience, it should always be safe. By engaging in these tips before a trip, travelers looking for love in all the right places can make sure they stay smart and protected when they travel abroad.