It’s incredibly common for people to experience enhanced desire and arousal while on holidays, but why is that? One word, my friends: context.
When you’re on a vacation, chances are you don’t have a strict schedule to adhere to, you’re far less stressed compared to your regular life and way more relaxed. It’s easier for you to be present and loving towards your partner and to allow space and time for intimacy and eroticism. These are all the key factors that contribute to cultivating what is referred to as a sex-positive context, which ultimately enhances the likelihood of desire.
In fact, according to Emily Nagoski, sex educator and author of the book Come As You Are, things that contribute to a context being perceived as sex-positive can be split into four categories. These are high trust, high affection, low stress and explicitly erotic.
High Trust refers to a feeling of safety with your partner and within your relationship - physically, emotionally and mentally. High Affection is that warm fuzzy feeling you have towards your lover, feeling close to them and treating one another kindly and with care. Low Stress speaks for itself - being in a relaxed environment and mental state is vital, along with not feeling rushed or worried. Explicit Eroticism is another important element defined by the presence of a romantic, sensual and sexual environment that is different from ‘regular’ life.
So since you’re typically in a low stress and explicitly erotic context while on holidays, your brain is better able to perceive any sexually relevant stimuli or sexual advances as something worth moving towards with curiosity. Pair that with a high level of both trust and affection with a lover, and it’s no wonder the sex tends to be so much better away from home.
When you get back into your regular day-to-day routine and a somewhat heightened state of stress, it doesn’t matter how sexy or seductive your partner is - the context has changed significantly and often these internal and external environmental factors will be perceived by the brain and body as a potential threat, in turn shutting down your sexual desire.
So, how do we combat this and bring that holiday magic into our daily life?
Well, we can intentionally work to create a sex-positive context in our lives, as opposed to the standard stress-centred context many of us live in. Let’s use the four key components as a guide.
What can you do to cultivate a closer relationship and higher levels of trust in your relationship? Often we experience a lack of sexual desire as a result of a lack of closeness and intimacy or a breakdown in communication with our partners. Underlying resentment can be a big libido killer, so do what you can to open the lines of communication, rather than letting old fights fester. Committing to regular date nights and relationship check-ins where you can speak openly about the state of your relationship, your dreams, goals and desires - in and out of the bedroom - is a really helpful way to maintain the level of intimacy that sexual desire thrives on.
Relationship researchers at The Gottman Institute refer to the importance of what they call ’small things often’ as key daily factors that contribute to the long-term success of a relationship. Small things often are those small thoughtful gestures and acts of kindness towards your partner that reinforce your love and care for them, leaving no space for doubt. It’s the little things, like making them a cup of tea when you’re making one for yourself, picking up their favourite sweet on the way home, wishing them luck for an important meeting or leaving little notes, that compound and build a strong relationship over time. Being openly affectionate with your partner, physically, emotionally and verbally has a wonderful impact on the overall sense of love and trust between you two, which is a key element in having a healthy libido. Share physical touch often, with no expectation of it leading to sex. Give each other long hugs, cuddle on the couch, massage one another, kiss each other hello and goodbye and don’t forget about the make-out session!
While this one is understandably easier said than done, it really is incredibly important and has a big impact on overall levels of desire. Regular life definitely comes with its stresses and while you may not be able to reach that beach-holiday level of blissed out on a daily basis, I would highly encourage you to look into meaningful ways to manage your stress levels. What helps you wash away the day, to get out of your head and into your body? Tune in to the things that bring you deep relaxation and start to intentionally incorporate them into your life. Whether it be gym sessions, yoga, regular walks, reading, cooking, dancing, meditating, getting massages, taking baths or anything else - make the time to infuse stress relieving practices into your day. Typically, the less stress, the higher the libido.
L'Amour D'Abord Vibe Bundle
This is where things get fun! You can cultivate an explicitly erotic context by incorporating spicy date nights into your life at home, committing to time spent luxuriating in one another’s touch. You might like to set the mood with candles and sensual music and try something new in the bedroom - whether that be fun new sex toys, a new position, sharing a lap dance, watching porn or listening to audio erotica together. Remember that for those with a responsive desire type (that is, they don’t feel sexually aroused unless something sexual is already happening), the slow build is key. Try swapping steamy sexts and spicy nudes during the week and fantasising about the things you’ll try together come date night.
While the sex you have on holidays carries with it its own mystique, there’s so much potential to create a deliciously decadent sex-life back at home by prioritising your communication, reducing your overall stress and leaning in to new experiences together. Try out these tips to keep that holiday glow long after you’ve landed back home.