When Margaret*, a 28-year-old nursing student in Chicago, traveled through Europe a few years ago, she did lots of things outside her comfort zone, like eat pot brownies, skinny-dip in an Italian river, and…bang a guy she barely knew on the hood of a parked car in Switzerland, sans condom. Margaret now blames that last move—and the case of chlamydia it led to—on #VacationVibes. “At home, I’d never have unprotected sex with someone I’m not in a relationship with.”
Research suggests this type of judgment lapse isn’t an isolated incident. Two recent studies, led by Liza Berdychevsky, PhD, from the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign found that women are much more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior when traveling (versus while hooking up at home), including unprotected sex and going back to a total stranger’s place.
“When people are on vacation, they often leave some of their usual boundaries behind,” explains Anna Kress, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in Princeton, New Jersey. This can, of course, feel liberating and wildly exciting, but if you don’t properly prepare (or exercise a little caution in the moment), a hot vacay fling can put you at risk.
WHEN SAFETY DOESN’T COME FIRST
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