Women who prefer relaxing beach vacations are steady in their sex lives but those who opt for group tours and sightseeing trips generally look for casual sex with acquaintances or even strangers, reveals an interesting survey.
High alcohol consumption was the primary facilitator of risky sex with strangers, the researchers found.
"It provided them with 'liquid courage' and 'a psychological excuse' to transcend their usual sexual boundaries or taboos for experiences they were curious about, but reluctant to try in their everyday lives," said researchers Liza Berdychevsky from University of Illinois and Heather Gibson from University of Florida.
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Wearing revealing clothing and feeling more sexually confident, along with feeling disconnected from everyday life and social expectations, also encourage sexual risk-taking, Berdychevsky and Gibson found.
More than 850 US women in the age group 18-50, participated in the online survey which asked about specific tourist activities, destinations and atmospheres that women believed to be highly conducive to sexual risk-taking.
Participants also rated 23 sexual practices on their perceived degree of risk, such as having unprotected sex with a regular partner or stranger or becoming intimate while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Sexual experimentation and conquests were vacation "musts" for some women, providing erotic thrills, a sense of empowerment and bragging rights when they returned home.
Anonymity, along with opportunities for acting out sexual fantasies that were off-limits at home, perceptions of being free from negative judgment and fun seeking were women's primary motivating factors.
However, some women said that risk in itself was a significant motivator.
"The uniqueness of tourist destinations, especially those with permissive, party-oriented social atmospheres, promote an altered sense of reality that condones sexual experimentation and exploration while minimizing perceptions of risk and long-term consequences," the findings showed.
Women who had previously engaged in risky sexual activities as tourists tended to perceive these behaviours and situations as less dangerous than did their peers who lacked such experience, the researchers wrote in a paper that appeared in the journal Tourism Management.
"While women rated a variety of sexual activities as risky during tourism, unprotected penetrative sex was consistently perceived as involving the highest degree of risk," Berdychevsky said.
Some women also tended to underestimate the risks involved in non-penetrative sexual activities and to overestimate the degree of protection offered by latex barriers.
"Identifying women's risk perceptions, motivations and the rewards in these contexts is important to tailor sexual health education messages to specific demographic groups," the authors said.