Communicating for Safe Sex While Traveling
This post was made possible with help from the NHS Freedoms site.
I firmly believe that, like many aspects of human relationships, sex is improved by good communication. Talking honestly, openly and clearly about sex, even with a partner you’ve been with for many years, may be difficult at times, but ultimately it’s worth it.
For some perspective, if you are for example an out gay guy, consider this: you have essentially already told your mother that you like to suck dick, so how hard can it be to tell your partner you want to be tied up and spanked? Just for example, of course.
If you really do have problems expressing yourself verbally when it comes to sex, it might be worth doing some internal reflection to see if any part of that is due to internalised homophobia or a reluctance to accept who you are as a sexual person.
Assuming you don’t have trouble expressing yourself about sex in your native language, but you’re planning to travel to places where you don’t speak the local language and you think you might have sex with people who might not speak the same first language as you, your communication skills are going to be put to the test, so here are some basic tips on how to communicate for safe sex while travelling if you don’t speak the local language of wherever you are.
Try alternative vocabulary
If for whatever reason, you’ve forgotten your condoms on a date (buy some before you leave home so you know the quality can be trusted – the NHS Freedoms shop is a good resource in the UK) and you need to ask your partner for one, but the word ‘condom’ doesn’t register, try for example some variety of the word ‘preservative’ as in many languages, the word for condom resembles this word: preservativo in Spanish and Portuguese; préservatif in French; презерватив in Russian.
Repeatedly gain consent
To make sure that an initial yes wasn’t based on a misunderstanding, gaining consent for each step of your encounter with a new partner with whom you don’t share a first language is definitely advisable.
Obviously, yes to kissing doesn’t mean yes to anything else. Naturally, you should be able to rely just as much as you would with someone who speaks the same language as you on non-verbal cues your partner gives, but being explicit is better.
Avoid culturally based assumptions
In the place you come from it might be understood in the LGBT community (or whichever other one you associate with) that if you hook up with someone, it’s acceptable to out that person by association with them, be that in public, on social media or wherever.
If you’re travelling to a less socially progressive country than your own, this may not be the case, as people within the LGBT community may be much more reluctant to be out due social stigma attached to their orientation. This can be hard to witness with as a visitor, but ultimately respecting the wishes of others is more important than your own feelings.
Featured image by Rupert Ganzer and used under a creative commons licence.