Keep Them Coming: Vacation sex is vital

Open The Doors Coaching

Kristen Thomas. // Photo by Nicole Bissey

I’m glad to be welcoming the warmth again and to be helping people use this time to improve their sex life. We typically have more sex in the summer (as I discussed in my December column). Even couples that have been side-stepping intimacy often share with me that they have sex more frequently and without much added effort as the temperatures rise.

Huzzah! But, my darlings, low bars are easy to beat. I want to help you increase the amount of sex you’re having as well as find ways to help you raise that bar off the floor long-term. Let’s talk about how to use a romantic vacation to ramp up the intimacy in your relationship.

The Gottman Institute found that there are 13 things couples who have a great sex life have in common. One of them is that they take romantic vacations. Family vacations can be critical for bonding with your children and making formative memories for them, but you still need one-on-one time away with your love.

Happier and hornier

Excitement and spontaneity add nuance to relationships. Esther Perel, world-renowned relationship therapist and author of Mating in Captivity, says that nuance is vital to maintaining eroticism and desire. Doing things like trying new foods, hiking a mountain, watching the sunset, or seeing a famous work of art together can induce these feelings.

How long of a vacation should you book?

A Finnish study showed that eight days is the optimal amount of time for people to experience the most joy and excitement from their vacation. Maybe you can’t take an entire week, but can you spare a three-day weekend within a few hours’ drive without the kiddos? Elicit help from grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, or even the neighbors to make this happen.

Planning a vacation together creates something called shared anticipation. When you are looking at websites together, sending links to one another, or adding things to your Vacation Dreams Pinterest board, there’s a certain happy flutter that stirs up. In fact, you’re likely to be happiest in the weeks and months leading up to a vacation.

Happier couples often have more sex. Use this time to increase the level of intimacy before you even pack your bags. Try cuddling on the couch while you watch YouTube videos about potential destinations and activities. Touch their leg as you scroll on your laptop together. Make out after you click “Book Your Reservation.” Intimacy is about so much more than sex.

Mommy came here to relax and get laid

If hearing children running down the halls or playing by the pool kills the vibe for you, consider an adults-only location. This doesn’t need to be a spicy locale like Temptations or Hedonism—any 18+ hotel will do if you worry that you’ll get pulled into “Mom” mode.

You can ask the front desk if they will place you at the end of a hallway, far from elevators, and away from families with small children. Act like you’re on a second honeymoon—you might even get a room upgrade!

Thanks to Dr. Emily Nagowski and her book Come As You Are, sexologists and laypeople alike were introduced to the dual-control model. What we understand from her research is that people have exciters and inhibitors, or accelerators and brakes.

While I’m a huge fan of compromise, I don’t think vacations are something to compromise greatly on. If you drag your spouse to an island to go scuba diving when they are afraid of the ocean, it’s going to slam on their brakes. Perhaps to a point of no return. You won’t be getting the yummy vacation sex you hoped for.

Instead, compromise on things like room quality at the resort, which excursion to book, or how long you want your couples massage to last.

How to keep it flowing

Put sex on the calendar, as you did on your vacation. I get tons of pushback about this when I first discuss it with clients and friends but hear me out.

In the early stages of dating when you had to coordinate calendars for a mutually agreeable dinner, pack an overnight bag (just in case), and sext or tease or flirt about what y’all were gonna do after your date night out—this may come as a shock. You were planning your sex life.

In fact, it’s likely because you stopped planning your sex life that you might be lacking these days. I said what I said. Go put that shit on the calendar now. Research backs me up on this.

Ask yourselves what lessons or experiences you can bring into your daily life once you’re home.

Perhaps you got a refresher on how good it feels to fool around in crisp sheets—go buy a new set of high thread count Egyptian cotton. If you had the chance to ride horses or ATVs on an excursion and couldn’t stop feeling the vibration, then spend more time together outdoors. Learn to replicate some flavorful food you both enjoyed so that when you have it at home, memories of that vacation come flooding back and turn you both on.

Vacations are not limited to summer. Shortly after your trip is over, look at your budget and calendars and plan an off-season getaway. Foreplay begins as soon as the sexual encounter ends. Keep committing to one-on-one time together. Your sex life will thank you for it.

Categories: Culture