Sexual health

How to Take Care of Your Sexual Health During Spring Break

Published: APRIL 18, 2024 | Updated: APRIL 18, 2024
Experts share tips for taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health if you decide to hookup during Spring Break.

Spring break is known for parties, vacations, and, often, hookups. While many people know about the fun side of spring break, with great pleasure comes great responsibility (who said that? Spiderman?). Spring Break is also an important time to be mindful of your health — physical, mental, and sexual.

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“Spring break is a time of partying and for some reckless behavior because of the freedom many young adults have,” says sex and relationship therapist Dr. Deb Laino.

But, of course, spring break activities need not be reckless to be enjoyable. Here are a few tips for staying safe over spring break and having the best sexual experiences possible — if you choose to partake.

Avoid mixing sex and substances

While spring break is known for both alcohol and sex, it’s definitely dicey when you mix the two, especially when it comes to consent.

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“If someone is intoxicated, it makes consent difficult to impossible,” says Laino. “Having one drink for most will not blur the lines of consent, but when excessive alcohol (or drugs) are involved, consent can't be given because they are in an altered state of consciousness.”

If you are going to drink, you can tell your friends in advance how much you are willing to do with anyone sexually. Then, if they see you getting involved with someone, they can check in on you. If you meet someone you like, you can always exchange contact info and reconnect when you’re sober. Or alternatively, put a cap on the number of drinks you’ll have.

Sex is often better sober anyway, as you’re more aware of your body and sensations.

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Read More: Quiz: How Well Do You Know Consent?

Talk about STIs and pregnancy

Any time you hook up with someone new, the only way to avoid STIs is to talk about STI status and protection. Barriers like condoms and dental dams are helpful for preventing STIs.

“Have condoms readily available so you are not waiting for the other to have them,” says Laino. “Trojan has some amazing condoms that feel very natural such as Bareskin Raw. You can let the person know you are concerned about STIs and you want to use protection. If they decline, then find someone else.”

Even if you use condoms, getting tested before you head to your Spring Break destination and asking someone about their status is important nonetheless, as barriers do not always protect against all STIs. If someone doesn’t want to talk to you about this, that’s an indicator of their maturity and your cue to proceed with limits, if at all.

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If you are having penis-in-vagina intercourse, it is also important to talk about what you are doing or will do to prevent pregnancy.

“Keep cool and composed,” says Laino. “If you meet someone you want to hook up with and it's consensual, then have a conversation about your concerns and see where it goes.”

Ask for what you like

In addition to discussing what you want to avoid — e.g., STIs and pregnancy — it’s important to voice what you like and ask your partner what they like so that you both have a pleasurable experience.

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“Tell the potential hookup partner what you like and what feels good,” Laino advises.

Women often report fewer orgasms in hookup sex than in relationship sex, often because there is less communication — but this doesn’t have to be the case.

Think of it this way: “A spring break hookup is likely a one (or two) night thing, so it's a good time to practice talking about protection, pleasure, and desires and really get connected to your own sexuality,” says Laino.

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Since you’re unlikely to see the person again, you have little to lose by taking a risk and being more vocal than usual.

Take responsibility for your own pleasure

Communicating what turns you on and gets you off requires knowing and taking a stand for it. People’s bodies are different.

“Some orgasm because of connection, some because of excitement and risk,” says Laino. “Take control of your sexual experience by knowing what you want and being clear with it. The best thing to do is to be present in the hookup situation and allow yourself to feel pleasure. Making a conscious decision to have sex with someone — versus not really wanting to but consenting anyway — is the best way to ensure orgasm.”

In other words, stay tuned into your body and be true to yourself. Say “yes” only if you mean it. And if there are any limits to what you’d like to do with someone, be sure to let them know upfront.

“Communicate where your boundaries are if in a hookup situation,” says Laino. “The last thing you want is to regret what happened or put yourself in danger.”

Be clear about what this is for you

When it comes to hookups, few things are worse than misunderstandings about what the hookup means to each person involved. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, make sure the other person knows so that you don’t end up expecting more from them than they can give. And if you are only looking for a hookup, communicate that too so that you don’t hurt your partner.

“A spring break fling could become a long-term thing,” says Laino. “Lots of things need to be considered here: Where are both of you from? What's the distance in between (graphically)? If someone is looking for long-term and that is their boundary, then they should say it upfront (with no expectations), as many are just looking for hookups.”

Spice things up with your partner

If you’re already in a relationship, spring break can still be an exciting time for sexual and romantic exploration.

“I would suggest doing some new and novel things to build the desire in the relationship,” Laino says. “Have sex on the beach [or] in the water. Take romantic walks.”

You can also try massaging each other, taking luxurious baths together, incorporating sex toys, watching porn together, or acting out fantasies together. Planning fun joint activities and expressing appreciation for each other will also go a long way toward improving your relationship and sex life.

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Suzannah Weiss

Suzannah Weiss is a feminist writer, certified sex educator, and sex/love coach. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and more.

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