Holiday romance: The safety manual


“There is no intensity of love or feeling that does not involve the risk of crippling hurt. It is a duty to take this risk, to love and feel without defense or reserve.” ― William S. Burroughs

The mix of love and lust can cause anyone to forego the most basic safety recommendations. This is especially true during summer vacations when we are more inclined to let go and have a good time.

So, before you throw all caution to the wind, here’s a bit of advice.

Beware of cultural faux-pas
When travelling to new countries, take some time to get accustomed to local dating and courting traditions. Most countries view relationships and sex very differently than we do in Western cultures. Casually inviting a pretty stranger for a drink might not be taken lightly in more traditional cultures. Similarly, public displays of affection are frowned upon in various places around the world.

Sex on the beach: not such a great idea

Sunset sex on a deserted beach sounds awesome in movies and romance novels. The reality of it is the combination of sex and sand often results in a rash caused by the friction. 

Don’t forget sunblock

Getting sunburn isn’t healthy or attractive. More importantly, it makes every tender caress excruciatingly painful. If that’s what you’re into, knock yourself out. 

Practice safe-sex

One souvenir you don’t want to bring back home is an STD. So, use protection for every intercourse. Yes, even and especially if he/she is really cute and looks trustworthy. 

Manage your expectations

Just like Sandy and Donny in Grease, there will come a time when at least one of you departs. Much heartbreak is caused by unrealistic expectations about the long-term potential of a summer affair. Sometimes, a relationship doesn’t survive long-distance or the return to normal life. 

The many benefits of summer romances

Truth be told, I was a bit reluctant to write this piece when my editor sent me the subject. I meet and work with many people who long for romance. It seemed counterintuitive to warn people against the perils of love. So… 

Summer romances are great for a number of reasons:

Enjoying life in the present tense
Are you sometimes too future-oriented?

The very fact of having little or no expectation of a future relationship can actually be a great way to start enjoying the moment. During summer holidays, you can leave work-related stress behind – you’re finally taking time to chill. This will allow you to be more attuned to your basic emotional and physical needs.

What better opportunity could there be to truly enjoy every instant spent with your lover?

Enjoying the adventure

Summer is a great time to step out of your comfort zone. It is a season for trying new things and meeting new people. A couple of weeks ago, I met a couple of American tourists in Amsterdam. They told me about every museum they had visited and every landmark they had admired. One thing they didn’t do was take time to actually meet the locals. Be curious and open to memorable encounters. 

Cherish the memories
Imagine you’re on the plane back home, about an hour away from landing. Soon enough you’ll be at the office. The whole thing will seem but a vapid dream. Pretty soon, you’ll readjust to your routine. However, the images, sounds, emotions and sensations are now stored in your episodic memory. They will inspire you in future relationships. If you’re lucky they’ll be stories for your children of how you met their mother.

In any case, the perils I listed above are merely the risk we take for experiencing one of the most beautiful and pleasurable things in life.

How to find summer romance if you’re not going on vacation

Times are tough and many among us can’t afford to go on a vacation. Don’t let it stop you from enjoying the most passionate summer love story. There are many places and ways to meet the one that will rock your world. Discover new hangouts in your own neighborhood. Find what summer classes you could enroll in or try a new sport. Organize picnics at the park and start a group of single hometown-vacationers. Invite tourists to join. 

A torrid summer romance… with your partner
Summer love isn’t just for single people. You can have a torrid summertime with your partner. Just leave the kids at your parents’ house for a few days and spend this vacation between the sheets – the beach can wait.

This article is less of a word of caution than a word of encouragement. Sure, love is a risky business and your feelings might get hurt. Still, I insist on daring you to take a chance on a little romance this summer.

Find out more about Jean Baptiste Trannoy at

Photos: Holding hands, April Killingsworth – Creative Commons
Love on the beach, Pedro Simões – Creative Commons