Wanderlust: Hooking up abroad

Credit: Getty Images, AP Photo/Menelaos Mirilas

Photo: Getty Images/AP/Menelaos Mirilas.

Many times it’s just a look that says it all, or a hurried grab of an already unbuttoned shirt in a Berlin underground bar. While hooking up with a foreign stranger may be a fun tryst, there are many things that one must be mindful of when in another country.

I’m not going to play parent here, but there are things watch out for when traveling to a distant land, especially if it’s your first time traveling away from home.

Tell someone where you’re going

If you’re with a group of friends tell someone where you are going—with as much specificity as possible—and when you expect to return. If this is not possible, agree on a certain meeting place at a certain time. Tell friends to also be able to readily identify the person you’re leaving with in case they need to describe him or her to the police.

If you’re by yourself, try to find a way to email someone you know and let them know you’re about to hook up with the hot bartender from a bar in Bangkok —again, with as much detail as you can. God forbid the worst happens, it’s better to be prepared than not.

Wrap it before you tap it

Protect yourself as you would at home. I wouldn’t—as I’m sure you wouldn’t either—want to come home with a rash or an unfamiliar burning that wasn’t there when you originally left home for your vacation.

Sex and hookups are often approached differently in places outside the United States, so it’s possible that you’ll get a expressions of someone’s lust for you in a more forward manner. Enjoy it. But you’ve gotta be safe.

Also, alcohol and drugs can cloud judgment. This can make for an anxious—even dangerous—time when you don’t know exactly where you are, or where you’re going. At least in Boystown or Hubbard Street, you can grunt your address to a taxi driver and he’ll make sure you get home safely. Be mindful of how much you take in when it comes to substances. A good time is quickly hampered when you realize you’re two trains and a bus ride away from where you started from, after stumbling into the dawn light after a 6 a.m. post-club boot-knocking session.

Watch your wallet

Sure the hot, smooth-talking stranger from Sydney has twelve-pack abs and a jaw that could cut stone! But that doesn’t mean he won’t swipe your money, passport—or even worse, a kidney—when you’re spent from a night of wild, crazy foreign guy sex.

I’m just kidding about the kidney comment. Or am I? Just go ahead and watch your organs.

Finally, know a little bit about local customs, laws, and rules of interaction.

Remember that in some places, it is still very illegal to interact sexually with someone of the same sex. In some places, it is illegal for two men to touch while dancing. Some places offer legal prostitution, but only under certain circumstances. From bathhouses, parks, saunas, clubs, bars, alleys, dungeons, prostitutes, you name it, there is a chance to sow your wild oats wherever it makes you happy. Do a quick online search to learn about where you’re going, the applicable laws regarding sexual activities, and how they are handled. You don’t want to find yourself in a sticky legal situation when the police find you in an alley with your hands in, on, or around someone.

Kenneth Edwards

About Kenneth Edwards

Kenneth Edwards is a clinical therapist and social worker by morning, traveler by afternoon, photographer by night, and writer by chance. Experiencing the world from different perspectives is a necessary part of living and growing up. Keep being curious. Questions for the Virgin Traveler, comments, or emotional outbursts should be directed at kennethfedwards@yahoo.com.

There are 3 comments

  1. Elon

    This is so funny, but so true. I wish I had read this before my first trip abroad. Lucky for me all I came back with was a stamp in my passport and a funny story about a boy who said he was 18 later to find out he was 16. His excuse, 18 is his Buddhist year age! Good article and good advice for anyone who has a trip planned.

  2. Sylwester

    Good advices, thank you! You gotta do your research, before traveling abroad if you want do more than just sightsee;-)! Always!

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