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On vacation and undersexed

The article below is from a Valentine's day travel section of Sunday newspapers. Comments are in red.

Given the time and space to really enjoy sex. Two-thirds of vacationers don't do it.

You've studied the slick brochures that promise untold moments of passion. You've looked forward to the trip for weeks, if not months, if not years. You don't have to go to work the next day, or get the kids off to school, or make the bed, or deal with the sister with the untreated mood disorder. Not to mention, there's something deliciously naughty about the transience of a hotel room, and something exciting about adding a new spot to your list of lovemaking locales. It's just the two of you. And a ''Do Not Disturb'' sign.

Yet you wonder: Why, oh why, am I not swinging from the chandeliers of this $300-a-night hotel room with a partial ocean view?

One-third of people report that they have better and more frequent sex on vacation, according to the 2004 National Leisure Travel Monitor, a random survey of 1,350 people.

Good for them.

So what's up with the other two-thirds?

"Random survey of people who travel" sounds like they polled people who travel as couples as well as people who travel by themselves. It's possible (in fact very likely) that about one third of people travel be themselves, and those people have better sex on vacation. So that means that almost all people who travel as couples have unsatisfying sex on vacation.

Apparently they're not the couples in the brochures -- the slim, tawny, beautiful people chasing each other down a desolate beach, or sipping wine and seducing each other over a crisp white tablecloth, or clinging to each other in a crystal blue, kid-free pool.

Where's the image of the sunburned couple arguing because the guy drank too many tequila sunrises and, as a result, nothing else will rise to the occasion that night? Or the photo of the woman burrowed under the hotel bed covers because she feels fat and doesn't like the way she looks in a bathing suit, so she plans to reside in the room for the rest of the trip -- or at least until this particular depressive episode passes?

It's not surprising that we equate exotic with erotic, given our reference points -- best-case scenario brochures, romance novels, From Here to Eternity. But what it really comes down to is this: We Americans ("We American women" would be more exact) are insatiable. No matter how much we get, it's never enough.

Vacation time, that is. So when we (again, replace "we" with "American women") do get away, we can't help but yearn for perfect passion. Or any passion, for that matter.

"I'm always excited about the possibility of getting to have sex, even more so when we're on vacation,'' says a Phoenix man with a wife and three kids. "Maybe it's because I don't get sex often enough and I don't get vacations often enough, so they go together. It's never as great as I hope it will be when we're on a trip, but I'm still happy to get what I can."

His wife replies: "Sad, huh?"


There are a hundred ways bad sex -- or no sex -- can happen to a good vacation. What once ruined the romance for Sharon Walker, a Fort Worth accountant: a sunburn earned during a snorkeling trip in Mexico.

"I was as red as a fire engine and totally miserable," Walker says. 'I think the phrase most often heard by my fiance was, 'Ouch! Don't touch me!' So much for a romantic getaway."

Other touch-me-nots are just plain too tired. They worked 60 hours the week before, packed in a frenzy and arrived exhausted -- only to be greeted by a week's worth of hyperscheduled days.

Some people can't ever really get away, no matter how many miles they are from home. They never forget that reality awaits their return -- as do the kids, the ancient and asthmatic cat, the ailing parent and the 742 e-mails. Instead of taking a vacation, they take a seven-day, six-night guilt trip -- and that can interfere with anybody's ability to have good sex.

Then there are those who think the most exciting part about a hotel bed is that they don't have to make it.

"I see vacation as a time to get away from everything I'm responsible for at home, including my husband's sexual appetite," says a Phoenix mom of three. That's a very good example of why you should never marry a western woman, and why her husband is a complete fool for marrying her.

Trouble in paradise most often arises when one partner's desires differ from the other's. That's why a sexually successful vacation starts way before take-off, with that most untitillating technique: communication.

Couples should sit down and talk about their expectations for sex, romance and togetherness on a trip. Both people have expectations, but they don't want to share them because it kills the quote-unquote spontaneity.

But that failure to communicate is the core of most vacation disasters.

A Fort Worth couple tells of spending an ill-fated fifth wedding anniversary at an upscale resort. To mark the occasion, the wife wanted the sex to be the tender, lookinto-my-eyes-and-tell-meyou-love-me kind. She didn't tell her husband that. He put his efforts into endurance and technique.

For that, he was rewarded with the silent treatment throughout their $200 celebratory dinner.


Some travelers may not be so venturesome, but they make up for it in volume. A Phoenix woman in her 30s says that when she and her husband travel, the sex is more frequent and intense. It's the frequent part that starts to get to her after a while.

"Whether it's a three-day weekend or two-week trip, he expects to have sex pretty much every day," she says. "My guess is that this precedent is set on a couple's honeymoon, and from there on out, the man feels it's his right to expect regular sex on any trip.

"I also think it has to do with the fact that vacations are expensive, and both parties want to feel they got their money's worth."

She agreed to be interviewed as long as her name wasn't published.

Most people interviewed didn't want their names used -- especially those who've not always gotten their money's worth. Who wants to publicly admit that their long-awaited ''Barbados or Bust'' trip was a bust between the sheets?

When destination sex disappoints, the consequences can be serious. When you'd hoped for From Here to Eternity, and what you got was "From Here to Five Humdrum Minutes From Now," it can be devastating.

"You've been looking forward to it, you got a bikini wax, you got your nails done, you're revved up and thinking it's going to be really great sex, and then it isn't. You think, 'Even the bikini wax and palm trees didn't help. . . . We're hopeless.'"

When that happens, not only can vacations get cut short, but relationships can, too.

Want to have great vacation sex? Pack a good attitude (or go without a female partner and meet women while on vacation).

"Your body isn't always in sync with your head, and laying a lot of expectations on a given night or weekend or trip can set you up for disappointment," Schwartz says. "If it isn't the best lovemaking you've ever had, so what?" You're just trying to be there with each other in a good way."

Just be glad it's not your honeymoon.

"A lot of people are disappointed by their honeymoons -- that's a common complaint," says David Olson, a Minneapolis marriage and family therapist. "The expectations are off the wall there."

This article is a good example of pathetic lives American married men live. Most of them work hard the whole year, then pay lots of money for a "romantic getaway" with their fat bitch-wife only to deal with this kind of BS throughout the vacation.

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