Summer Lovin'

It should have been the roll in the hay to end all rolls in the hay. But the long love-making session on the secluded Cretian beach that Suzanne had hoped to have with her husband of 17 years was just not to be.

"There we were, wearing next to nothing and alone on one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen - but instead of having a romantic fumble, we were arguing about our flipping car hire," the 44-year-old explains.

"We eventually worked it out, but by the end of it, the mood was gone for good - we didn't have any sex for the rest of the week we were in Greece."

It may sound like just a case of bad luck, but Suzanne's experience is an all-too-common one, says relationship expert Simone Bienne, as holidays can often provide more expectations over the prospect of excitement than excitement itself.

"You get more happiness in the build-up to the holiday than the holiday itself, because you're looking forward to it," she explains.

"But couples who want to live the fantasy of that fab holiday can have it without a doubt - they just need to talk about it."

We're not talking fabulous cycling holidays here, though - we're talking about sex, and how to have it while on holiday. And whether you're in a couple of 25 years or a singleton just looking for a tryst, getting in the mood while on holiday is, definitely, all at your fingertips.

Getting away from it all

There's something about a change of atmosphere that sparks the libido, whether it's the light sparkling on the sea or the fact that you can wear a bikini to breakfast.

But it's all down to science, says Bienne.

"Doing something new - whether it's travelling or trying out a new position - fires up different lights in your brain and can flush you with happiness."

Perhaps that's why 63% of couples make love more often on holiday, according to research by Philips Sensual Massagers, with the average session lasting 29 minutes, 11 seconds.

In spite of the few extra sessions between the sheets, sex on holiday is rated just 5.8 out of 10 - perhaps reflecting the stress brought from home, says Bienne.

"We all have a million things to think about every day, so if you're in a relationship where you've let sex get to the bottom of the 'to do' list, then on holiday you might struggle to turn your libido on - or even enjoy it when it's happening."

Some couples might find that being together 24/7 throws water on their flames of desire. Doing a little forward planning to work out what you both want to do while on holiday can help you both keep your sanity and sex-drives.

"For some couples it might be nice to see each other all the time, but for others, you needn't live in each other's pockets," says Bienne.

"If you can create space in your day to do your different things - he goes windsurfing while you go shopping - it means that you give yourselves two hours to bring something fresh to your relationship, like you would in your normal working day.

"You create a 'date effect' by doing something new and different, which restores the PEA - or 'love cocktail' - chemicals in the brain. You come back fired up and with something new to talk about, which should help you in the bedroom."

Let's talk about sex

If you've got into a rut of not having much sex at all, you need to look at why - as it's unlikely it will change.

"The fact is that if you don't have sex for whatever is a long time for both of you, and you don't talk about it, it will damage your relationship," says Bienne.

"So you need to look at the reasons why you're not having sex. Are you resentful about something? Anger kills the libido - but holidays are a great way for you to bring things up where you're in a neutral setting, outside of the daily stresses, where you can focus on each other and hear the other person's thoughts and empathise."

But talking through difficulties isn't necessarily everyone's idea of a perfect vacation. Indeed, minor disputes can often lead to tell-tale fallouts, with some 42% of Brits having argued with their partners while on holiday, and one in 10 splitting up while abroad, according to DirectGov research.

So how can you turn your heated debate into a hot night between the sheets?

"Ask yourself, 'Do you want to be right, or do you want to get laid?',"says Bienne. "The best way to get through an argument is to stay calm and repeat back to the person what they just said.

"That way, you both hear what the other person is saying, and as soon as you get that right, then you can focus on connecting again in the bedroom - and perhaps trying something a little new, like a striptease or a new position to fire up that love cocktail again."

Sex for singletons

If you're single and looking for a tryst while on holiday, be realistic about what you want and be careful.

Research from the 2006 Durex Summer Survey found that holidaymakers were more likely to be drunk when they had sex (76%), with women more likely to wish it had never happened - and a whopping 44% of them feeling sorry for themselves the morning after.

According to the survey, single people will have sex with an average of four people while on holiday, with 2% of men and 1% of women returning with an STI after sex on holiday.

While STIs are always a danger no matter what, so is the emotional link that sex can bring, says Bienne.

"Keep in mind that after two or three trysts with someone, it's likely for a woman to get attached and feel disappointed if the man doesn't," she warns.

"That's because the female orgasm releases a chemical called oxytocin, which helps them bond with their sex partner whether they want to or not.

"So if you're going on holiday to have sex, be safe and have fun, but don't be under any illusions that you won't be hurt because you have allowed yourself to attach to him."

Top tips on having a sexy holiday

:: Try something new: "On holidays you laugh more, flirt more and have more time to focus on each other, like that massage you wouldn't normally do," says Bienne.

:: Get tongue-tied: "Couples often forget to kiss, but kissing has amazing anti-anxiety and boosting properties," says Bienne.

:: Don't drink: Alcohol depresses the libido, so if you're looking for a roll in the hay, try a virgin cocktail instead.

:: Know the rules: Don't get arrested for having sex on the beach in Dubai. Know the customs and rules where you're going and respect them - it's only fair.

:: Make sex a date: "It seems crazy but if you get back home and realise your work is keeping you away from the bedroom, start putting sex in the diary. Your brain is your biggest sex organ, so a diary date will give you something to look forward to," says Bienne.

By Kate Hodal

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