Vacation sex can be better than when you’re at home. But that’s not the case for everyone. A recent survey shows only 34% of American couples report having “better than usual” intimacy on vacations, whereas for 11%, it actually gets worse.

“Anytime you have these expectations, whether it’s vacation or your anniversary, it’s going to put pressure on,” says Laurie Mintz, a professor of psychology at the University of Florida. “And pressure and sex do not mix well.”  

To ease some of the tension, talk about your expectations with your partner, preferably before you get to your destination. “Sexual communication is always the key,” says Mintz, who wrote “Becoming Cliterate: How Orgasm Equality Matters – And How To Get It”

You should also take some time to settle in. Mintz says she and a lot of her clients have great vacation sex, but usually after they’ve taken a day or so to decompress.

Here are a few other vacation sex-enhancing tips from Mintz.

Try something new

Novelty can be an aphrodisiac for couples. Whether it’s a cooking class or a skydiving lesson, pick an activity neither of you have done before. If you break a sweat, even better. Getting revved up — like going for a run together — will increase blood flow that can benefit arousal, says Mintz. Research backs up the claim that exercise is good for your sex life.

To test this theory, skip the museum and add in some adventure by hiking, taking a surfing lesson together, or going rock-climbing.

Schedule sex

It might sound unromantic, but planning sex — after breakfast, before sightseeing — can take some of the pressure off. And if you’re like a lot of women, you may be more responsive than spontaneous with your desire anyway. In other words, your urge to have sex doesn’t just materialize out of thin air. Instead, you get in the mood after foreplay.

“So many women say, ‘I don’t want to have sex,’ without realizing that the activity of sex leads to desire and they need to reverse the equation,” says Mintz. “I think that’s especially true on vacation.”

Put sex on the back-burner

Sometimes, the key to more sex is actually removing it from the equation completely, says Mintz. Basically, you experience intimacy organically when you aren’t so worried about it. Anxiety can tank your libido if you’re on a trip constantly wondering: Is it going to be now? Is my partner in the mood? Am I in the mood?

And if you’re prone to this kind of apprehension before your trip, it’s not likely to disappear because you’ve changed the scenery. “People think they’re going to be different on vacation,” says Mintz. “But people don’t leave behind their issues and their sexual problems because they happen to take a plane somewhere else.”  

So just enjoy yourself

The next time you and your partner take some time off together, try not to set unrealistic expectations for your sex life. Mintz calls this the New Year’s Eve phenomenon: “It’s the pressure we feel to have an amazing time. It always falls short.”

A little rest and relaxation can give you a chance to reconnect as a couple, and that doesn’t just mean physically. But if you want to experiment with new toys or positions, go for it. Just don’t add extra pressure to perform. And you never know, if you toss out the myth that mind-blowing sex is a vacation must, you may actually end up having it.

Keri Wiginton is a writer and photographer focusing on issues related to women's health, mental well-being, and feminism. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, Austin-American Statesman, Tampa Bay Times and Houston Chronicle. Follow her work at or on Twitter at @keriphoto.