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"Invincible" Travelers Report a Whole Lotta Unprotected Sex Abroad

Two recent studies by the British National Survey of Sexual Attitudes & Lifestyles published in Sexually Transmitted Diseases say that British backpackers are taking the term “international relations” to another level—like, they’re having sex. Sexual relations. Internationally.

Although travelers say they purchase condoms for their trips abroad, they usually don’t use them. More than a third didn’t even think to use them, because STDs are just a figment of the imagination, and a third admitted to not always using them, because travel makes them feel invincible! Really. The first study looked at 15,000 British citizens between 16 and 74 years old during 2010 to 2012, and the researchers found that one in 10 men and one in 20 women (1,071 altogether) said they had had sex with a new partner while traveling overseas during that time.

The second study took into account condom use—in this case with backpackers en route to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, Thailand. Travelers weren’t exactly concerned with ensuring sexual safety in their encounters abroad. Almost two thirds of all the respondents (61.5 percent) were traveling without a long-term sexual partner, and well over a third (39 percent) said they had had sex with a new partner during the trip—usually backpackers from other countries, although men were more likely than women to have had sex with locals while on the road. Nearly 37 percent reported no or inconsistent condom use. Brits and Swedes were the most likely to say this—and both countries have some of the highest reported rates of chlamydia in Europe.

But the real question is: What about the Aussies?

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