There’s a big chunk of alone time coming up. You feel stressed. Anxious. The truth is, you would rather skip taking annual leave and just work instead. You know that isn’t healthy but the very thought of having all this empty space either at home or with your partner away on holidays is causing you to recoil. You know sex will be expected and you just don’t want to. It’s not that you don’t love your partner, just that this is your pain point and you don’t want to feel pain when you are meant to be offline…relaxed...connected. How can you feel connected when you don’t feel like you are open to sex and intimacy?
Cue hiding, excuse making and potential sabotaging of plans.
When sex isn’t happening at home during regular life, it dawns on you, how is it magically going to happen when you are away? Yup, sometimes it works – women who say no to being sexually propositioned somewhat suddenly open up when they go on holidays. They feel relaxed, maybe have a few drinks and close the mental door on everyday stressors back home. I also know that there are a significant number of women that say yes to going away but are secretly dreading it for one big reason. That they know sex is expected and that they don’t have the usual excuses to get out of it.
The following is a guide to feel more open about sex and intimacy on holidays and mini-breaks.
1) Anchor in. Do whatever you can to anchor into the space or location that you are in. If possible, before you arrive at your hotel, grab a coffee or a bite to eat at one of the local shops. This is an early action that says ‘this is where I am’ rather than going straight to the hotel to a bedroom and feeling…ooooh pressure. Anxiety responds well to feeling secure and like it has landed in somewhere rather than it being in limbo so orientate yourself in a small way and feel that distinction between: home life is back at home and now I am on holidays.
2) Have sexual contact of some sort on the first day – as early as possible. Recently we went away for a wedding and only had hours before the ceremony. I knew it was going to be a long night and that sober sex (what used to be slightly drunken sex before I stopped drinking) at 1230am was not going to happen. The day had just been too long. So, once I felt safe and anchored into the room, I initiated. We had limited time and sexual expression is an important ingredient in connection so I made it a priority. That way, I ensure it happens and then we aren’t trying to make it happen later at a less optimal time like when we are too busy/tired/full of food.
The second reason why I propose this is that negative anticipation for sex usually only gets worse and creates more anxiety and mental distractions from the fact that you are away and could be enjoying yourself! You need an early ice-breaker so that you don’t start to shut down and get bitter and your partner doesn’t feel rejected and perhaps gets grabby or needy in a way you don’t respond to.
Keep in mind the first sexual contact doesn’t have to be intercourse or penetration or oral sex or whatever you consider to be the most ultimate form of expression. It could be you receiving a slightly erotic or risqué massage from your partner or you both agreeing to have a shower together and washing each other down sensually. The point is to have an interaction that shows that you care about your intimate life together and wades you into the waters of being sexual without the pressure or build-up.
3) Set up some verbal expectations for sex and sexual contact on your holiday. If you know that it is unrealistic for sex to happen every day or every second day, establish what you will say yes to. That way, there are clearer lines and hopefully less pestering towards you and less rejection towards them.
4) Keep the connection going on the holiday or mini-break in other ways. Dance together at the wedding, put down your phones, browse the stores together, go on the ATV tour, white water raft or bush walk together. Doing something active (hence why I haven’t proposed the old go-to-dinner suggestion) is great for getting your body moving, feeling present, being engaged, increasing your feel-good neurotransmitters and hormones and what-do-you-know, you are all of a sudden mimicking what happens in sex.
5) Drop the expectations of your sex being any different to what it is at home. A new location and some more active conversation could spark a fire in your belly but that might not necessarily mean that you feel like your full-blown wild woman will emerge in the bedroom (if she does…bonus!). New places can work as permission granters to cross new boundaries but the odds are…wherever you go, there you are. Your sexuality (including your blocks, inhibitions and hang-ups) are carried around with you. If all that feels possible is the same type of sex as back at home then that is OK. Remember, one of your options is to use your new locale to your advantage and to read up on what you can do to liberate your sexuality. Get your kindle fired up and open your mind to the possibilities of a sex life that is different to the one you have right now. Even if you tried one new thing on your holiday, you will probably recall it better but also positively associate it with dropping inhibition on a memorable holiday that helped you to open.
Troubleshooting – I just don’t want to and I am sabotaging intimacy so they don’t even try and initiate. My advice. Take a breather. Pause right now. How has this played out in the past? Think back to some of the fights and conflicts that ensued. How enjoyable was your precious time away when you were in shutdown? Could you really enjoy anything else when you had the shits or were giving them the silent treatment? You can only be responsible for how you act on your end – make steps towards softening and warming toward your partner. From this moment on, create the holiday that you want. Facilitate the bond with the small gestures, like a gift, kind words or quality time together outside of sex first. Be honest with yourself that you are sabotaging and it isn’t solving anything. From that moment on, it may take a day or two to feel open to sexual expression but know that everything that else that you do will help you to get there. If all else fails, it may be time to address the bigger problems that exist within your relationship and sex life with a professional when you return home.
Sex on holidays can recharge a couples almost dead sexual battery and allow them to come home renewed. It can be the opening that you need to keep the good feelings flowing, the relaxation you needed for conception to happen or for you to step into the next chapter of owning what you are bringing to the table. You don’t have to live with sexual blocks and they don’t have to follow you on holidays. Truth.
P.S. If this blog has opened you up to how you shutdown when you have big periods (or even small periods) of time alone with your partner then can I ask...what do you think is holding you back? Do you know? Are you ready to leave that chapter behind? If there is an inkling of a yes then it's time to consider some very safe introspection. I have introductory sessions available for you to step into - it's a pressure and expectation free environment for you to just...release. Learn more on my sessions page and I hope to help make your next holiday far less anxiety provoking and a whole lot more open.