Last updated: 02:30 PM ET, Thu June 09 2016

Sex And Travel: What A New Study Teaches Us About 'International Relations'

Features & Advice | Gabe Zaldivar | June 09, 2016

Sex And Travel: What A New Study Teaches Us About 'International Relations'

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

According to a pair of recent studies, visiting landmarks and tasting the local cuisine isn’t all the fun you travelers are having overseas. Quite a lot of you are having sex.

A health professional journal by the name Sexually Transmitted Diseases released a few studies recently. Of particular import to global travelers is one produced by the British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes & Lifestyles that centers on “Forming new sex partnerships while overseas” and one that concentrates on “sexual behavior of backpackers who visit Koh Tao and Koh Phangan, Thailand.”

A wide swath of the study concentrates on those leaving the United Kingdom to travel abroad and the sexual encounters they might consider while on vacation.

Boiled down to the most simple terms, there are far too many people who are having sex on their International trips without protection.

The first study looked at more than 15,000 British citizens between the ages of 16 and 74 during the years 2010-2012.

What researchers found was 12,530 people had had sex with at least one person in the last five years.

A good chunk of that subset did the deed while overseas: “Of these, one in 10 men and one in 20 women – 1,071 altogether — said they had had sex with a new partner while traveling overseas during this time.”

The intriguing aspect in this study is those who did make sex an International affair also showed signs of overall “risky” behavior, namely multiple partners and drug use.

The study states: “At a population level, those reporting new partners while overseas continue to be a high-risk group, being more likely to report sexual risk behaviors as well as potentially harmful health behaviors, including drug and alcohol use.”

The second study did actually take into account condom use of travelers. In this case, it was backpackers en route to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao.

As was found, travelers weren’t exactly that concerned with ensuring an important level of safety in their sexual encounters abroad.

The study’s release sums this up: “Almost two thirds of all the respondents (61.5 percent) were travelling without a long term sexual partner, and well over a third (39 percent) said they had had sex with a new partner during the trip—usually other backpackers from other countries, although men were more likely than women to have had sex with a local person. But nearly 37 percent reported no or inconsistent condom use, with Brits and Swedes the most likely to say this—echoing patterns of sexually transmitted infections in both countries, which have some of the highest reported rates of chlamydia in Europe, the researchers point out."

More than a third didn’t think to use a condom, which is remarkable considering the myriad diseases that can be acquired.

What’s more astonishing is that many of those backpackers actually stowed away condoms in their luggage. However, a third admitted to not always using them.

We have to echo what’s stated in the studies. This is indeed a brief look at one corner of the globe and how its residents act while traveling.

Still, it’s a tremendously valuable insight into possible behavior across the industry as a whole.

Perhaps due to inconvenience in the moment or just a possible subconscious belief that being away from home makes one invincible, many people are having unsafe sex while traveling.

This, of course, is one fine way to turn a magical trip into a lifetime disaster. 


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