Safe sexual practices abroad

Published on 26 February 2014 by in Travel


Having fun is the essence of a vacation, but sometimes you can go overboard and get yourself in trouble. You need to take part only in safe sexual practices, especially when you are holidaying abroad – not doing so can lead to unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and you may not be able to take care of these potential problems

Oral sex

There is a possibility to get STIs by taking part in oral sex. As many as 7% of people on vacation have had STIs from taking part in oral sex. People under the age of 25 are more vulnerable to this. Some doctors even go so far as to recommend masturbation over oral sex as no fluids are passed during masturbation from one person to another. Things which can be passed by oral sex include Herpes simplex (cold sores being a clear and obvious symptom), gonorrhoea, genital herpes and even Hepatitis B.


Doctors say a lot of patients start showing the symptoms only a week or two after they get back from their vacation, especially during the summer. People drink and lose their inhibition – they start doing things they’d never do at home. Some of these things turn out to be really unsafe. Not all people who have STIs or STDs show symptoms of their problem, so think about that before you have any unprotected sex. A lot of people who have Chlamydia don’t even know about it – as many as 50% men and 80% women with Chlamydia didn’t initially know they had it. Some common symptoms for STDs and STIs are unusual discharge form your penis, your vagina, itches, sores, blisters or lumps near your genitals, painful urination and bleeding between periods for women.


In certain countries, STIs and STFs are very common – never have unprotected sex, which might put you at risk of contracting something. If you do have sex on your vacation, use CE marked condoms – they have been tested for the high safety standards required in Europe, the others don’t. Specifically tell your partner that a condom should be used, even if they don’t bring it up themselves. Also, be aware of the fact that condoms are damaged by moisturisers, lotions, lipsticks, baby oil and other oil based products. The condoms need to be stored in a dry place too as heat can be damaging.


Any stomach bugs, diarrhoea and vomiting can make your contraceptives less effective. Medication can make contraceptives weaker too putting the woman at risk.

STIs and STDs

If you are worried about an STI or and STD, get checked up at a contraception clinic in the neighbourhood, at a sexual health clinic or at a Genitourinary Medicine Centre. Tell the doctor about your sexual history and your travels, so that they can help you with the appropriate tests.

When you are abroad, it may not seem a bad idea to abstain from sex, especially with strangers. If you do need medical care, you will be asked for credentials. Have some identification on you like your passport or your driver’s licence. Take a driving theory test online to get your licence in case you do not have a licence. You’ll need one to drive around in a foreign land.


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