Romance on the road is not an impossible dream

Published: Thursday, August 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, August 1, 2002 at 12:00 a.m.
Patt Wagner was feeling romantic even before her feet left the ground for Paris.
Freshly made crepes and roses with love notes arrived at her office. Her boyfriend packed a diamond ring.
The anticipation was killing her. But the vacation quickly turned sour. It was the little things. Annoyed that her boyfriend didn't pack walking shoes and suspiciously counted his change in front of shopkeepers, she found that there was no zest, no sex.
"We slept in the same bed, but it was completely platonic," said Wagner. "He was really bugging me."
The relationship was over by the time they returned to the States.
With a change of scenery and time off from work, many couples hope their vacation will set the stage for love, romance and - let's face it - great sex.
"Having enjoyable sex on vacation should come naturally, because there's reduced stress, free time and, usually, fantastic new locations to make love," says Sari Locker, Durex condoms spokeswoman and author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Amazing Sex."
"Don't feel pressure, but instead take advantage of it," she says. "Any time you feel pressure to perform, you need to change your thinking. You need to think this is not pressure - this is opportunity."
But it's often not quite that easy. Bickering, poor planning, -lugging work along on a trip and differing vacation styles can get in the way of love and tenderness.
Couples should discuss their expectations about sex before they pack their bags, according to Karla Erovick, author of "Love to Date - Date to Love: Unlocking the Secrets of Dating." Too many think, "It can't be just average sex because you can have average sex at home," she says.
Although it's much easier for a couple to be romantic while vacationing without children, says Joan Sughrue, a sex therapist, experts agree that it's not hopeless during family trips.
Older children should sleep in separate rooms, and parents should schedule some alone time.
In a survey for the travel industry this year, Yesawich, Pepperdine & Brown and Yankelovich Partners found that just over half of those polled said they feel more romantic on vacation.
But only one in four said they have more sex on vacation. Adults surveyed said they bring children along almost 30 percent of the time.
There are ways to improve the odds. Vacationing couples need to coordinate their activities, Locker says. If one hates to golf and the other has a conference call, the two activities should be scheduled at the same time.
Millie Kagan, a marriage therapist, says couples in flawed relationships often place high hopes on a vacation repairing woes and rekindling love.
A couple she counseled several years ago vacationed in Europe expecting to resolve conflicts but ended up sleeping in separate rooms. One returned home early.
"Some people look for a quick fix to a serious problem," she says.

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