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How to Hook Up in a Hostel

by Meg Cale Sep 18, 2015

As a professional travel blogger, sex columnist, and queer-sex aficionado, I’ve seen and heard my fair share of stories about sexual escapades while traveling. Lots of hormonal folks use being far away from home (and soaked in booze) as an opportunity to play out their long-held fantasies. In fact, Hostelbookers conducted a survey with just over 11,000 people in which 69.3% of those surveyed said they had sex with a local while traveling. That’s way more than half of the people polled and doesn’t include folks who got down and dirty with another traveler.

On some levels, vacation sex is different than everyday sex because we may be less inhibited by the social obligations of life back home. While researching this article, I polled “the internet” and was bombarded with stories from people of every stripe about their wild escapades around the globe. It seems that travelers are more keen to try something new because they may never see their hook up again and are not faced with the same social consequences they face at home. For women there is a social stigma associated with sexuality in most cultures. Traveling to a new place loosens the pressure to uphold these conservative values.

Frequent travelers trade hostel sex stories a bit like playing cards. Hostels are a budget-friendly alternative for backpackers trying to travel on the cheap and easy. They usually offer dorm room-style accommodations with bunk beds for anywhere from two to twelve guests all in one room with a shared bathroom.

I love hostels because I always meet cool and interesting people while I’m traveling solo. I’m an extrovert by nature so hanging out in the common room while chatting up new friends is always a good time. While surrounded by new and intriguing people from all over the world, it’s pretty common to run into someone of interest. Here are some of my best tips and tricks to getting it on, while staying safe and respectful in a hostel.

Don’t do it in a dorm room.

No one wants to hear your grunts and feel your thrusting shake their bed. Just don’t, it’s rude and tacky at best. Use the bathroom, find a closet that locks or gosh… spring for a private room? Having sex in an open dorm can be considered sexual harassment and in some countries, it can get you in legal trouble.

And please don’t try to pull off the “Shag Sheet,” the age old trick of hanging a sheet from the top bunk down on to the lower bunk in an effort to gain a bit of privacy. That doesn’t work, it just calls more attention to the obvious shag fest that’s occurring behind the sheet.

Protect yourself from STIs and unplanned pregnancy.

Don’t depend on a local pharmacy, bring your protection with you. Remember to use barriers and lube, and thoroughly wash any toys. Using condoms on toys is great for easy clean up and an extra layer of protection as well. Keep in mind there are some precautions that are necessary when traveling to other countries with sexually explicit items.

Also note the time change when you’re adjusting your oral birth control schedule. If you took your pill at 8pm every day in New York, You should be taking your pill at 9am in Seoul in order to maintain your schedule. The pill works best when it is taken on time every day. Always double up on protection when you’re traveling in order to avoid any timezone errors

Use your anonymity to embrace your fantasies.

Embrace the opportunity to try something new. According to Hostelbookers, 17% of travelers had a threesome while on the road. Another 13.9% engaged in sex with someone opposite of their identifying orientation.This really goes to show what happens when people are a bit more relaxed in their surroundings and free of some social pressure. Try out some new positions, like the ol’ foot on the handicap stall railing move. Or use the bunk bed rails in a private room for some bondage play. Many hostels have a roof deck or terrace that will be unlocked at night time. But be careful not to get caught, there’s nothing more embarrassing or potentially awful than international prison.

Know that some sexual acts are sometimes illegal abroad.

Depending on the country you’re in, you could face jail time or the death penalty for your sexual behavior. I’m not saying you should avoid these sexual activities all together while in one of these countries, but discretion is key. This is especially poignant for LGBTQ people who are traveling. Cases of entrapment are still being documented around the world.

Know what consent is and how it works in different countries.

For a lot of people, traveling means letting their hair down and exploring new ideas. This may or may not include the consumption of drugs and alcohol. Be mindful that consent is only given when it is expressly vocalized by a person of sound mind. The topic of consent gets decidedly more confusing when we’re discussing two partners who are both intoxicated. The best case scenario is to have a conversation about boundaries while still in the state of mind to consent, but this isn’t always realistic in real life situations.

Using affirming dirty talk can be a great way to access your partner’s boundaries in the heat of the moment without getting clinical and decidedly unsexy. Dirty talk is a great way to spice up your sex life and gain explicit consent. Arguments against the recent California law mandating consent believe asking permission is unrealistic and unsexy, but I beg to differ. Consent is extremely sexy and can be accomplished in a multitude of ways. Keep in mind that alcohol and drugs are often used strategically in instances of sexual violence. While I prefer not to focus on victim-based interventions, harm reduction does have its merits. Try not to leave your drink unattended and let people know where you’re going before you leave a party, just in case.

Think about after-sex etiquette.

Shit can get really awkward the morning after, so make sure to feel out your partner’s body language cues. Just because you slept together the night before, doesn’t mean they’re going to want to change their plans to hangout during the daylight hours. Try having a conversation with them the next morning, listen to the words they’re saying but also assess their reaction before making any assumptions. If you’re not sure, politely excuse yourself after at a reasonably early point. Connect on the internet before you leave if you think you’d like to maintain contact with them.

Just try something completely new.

The worst case scenario in trying something new is that you discover it’s not for you. Even if you end up being mortified the next day, you can always excuse yourself from the situation and move on with your travels. Sex should be positive, fun and safe. As long as you’re playing within you and your partner’s boundaries, have fun.

Do you have a question about sex?

I want to hear from you. I will be responding to reader questions on all things sex-related — from safer sex to self-pleasuring, relationships to marriage, and everything in between.

Maybe you’ve had more partners than you can count, but you’ve never had an orgasm. Or perhaps you think you might be interested in women, but you’re not sure how to take the first steps to discovering your identity. Maybe you’re in a country with strict reproductive health laws and need birth control. Any question is on the table.

Contact me at; on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram; or leave a comment below.

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