Why do holiday romances always turn out to be a failure? The opinion of 3 sexologists

Are we programmed to love vacations? These stories, which we like to remember with nostalgia, may not last a lifetime. And maybe it’s better that way. Three sexologists explain why.

Nothing has been seen and reviewed more than this pitch. Because it’s him, because it’s him, a little beach here, a mojito there, everything’s on fire… and then it goes out, but not too quickly, as if it’s better to leave this little taste on the lips that is small. decorate the memories and dream, in “what if? from the other end.

With summer comes the endless fantasy of holiday love, an inexhaustible source of inspiration for marshmallow tubes that once in your ear will never let go. The reason has nothing to do with it, nor dating apps: these adventures under the sun have flavors like no other today.

Only a few of them lead to a strong relationship. And that’s probably why we don’t leave it. We asked three sexologists what drives us to fall into the trap.

Pascal de Sutter, sexologist, founder of the Academy of the Arts of Love

Everything is good for meetings. “During the year, sometimes there are few opportunities outside the workplace… On vacation, on the other hand, people are in a positive emotional state. They are there to have fun, to have fun, to live without the constraints of everyday life. And therefore more acceptable in relationships of a romantic or sexual nature.

Feelings are awakened. “The environment has an effect on human behavior: usually, the weather is good, the days are longer, the nights are sometimes a bit wet. Men and women make a little more effort to present themselves, they are one you are a little naked, the atmosphere is more sensual, the sight and smell are stimulated in a positive way. Even in strong and established couples, we observe an improvement in sexual relations during the holidays: they are less stressed and no longer in the work-sleep meter atmosphere with the children “.

Opposites attract. “On vacation, you can meet people from backgrounds and cultures that you wouldn’t normally meet. The difference is about the stimuli of a sexual behavior. We were also less demanding than usual: we told ourselves it was only for the holidays. The criteria are not low, they are just different, the physical part or the charisma will undoubtedly take precedence over the intelligence. That’s also part of why it’s a once in a lifetime.”

Love only lends to the rich. “When you lack, when one feels the need, a desperation, this ‘hungry’ part acts as a foil. But your radar must also be in aperture mode. That’s how two people might never looking at each other on the subway can fall in love when they meet on the beach. You have to know your own worth and that’s a challenge”.

This is a great novel, great story. “The important factor is this taste that is small: it makes the memory more clear. Even if there is a little sadness during the separation, a little disappointment that one does not follow, it is always less painful than a divorce! Because the expectations are lower, there is not the same anger as vis-à-vis a person we live with.

Caroline Styns, sexologist at the Louise Medical Center in Brussels

All it takes is a spark. “Whether on the beach, in the mountains, or in the extreme conditions of sports, when one is in a context that is very different from everyday life, love is easily present. People are known to meet people and live in a relationship that might not happen in “real” life. The other, because we know it outside of everyday life, the concerns, its work, must be adapted, more than the beginning of any story.


One day at a time. “For those who are afraid of commitment, there is no need to speculate on the future because the duration of the holidays and the story is known… Reunions, when they happen, are not always expected: the one we hope to be to be with a little street may no longer match our expectations. The colorful swimsuit giving way to a more strict outfit is less sexy. Romantic dates on the beach with a cocktail in hand are over, the attraction can be can only be used in a certain context and if you leave it you may wonder how you fell this person there”.

We only have the good we can do for ourselves. “If you can not put too much pressure on yourself, these stories are beautiful parentheses, which make life soft and light, captured moments that help to move on. As it all happens in a short time a time that, moreover, is always good, even the separations are gentle because it is due to the fact that one is obliged to separate when the holiday ends: these relationships are not damaged by difficulties , everyday life, anxiety , stress… They can be compared to a kind of flash in the pan, very intense, very noisy, we talk but quickly disappear. in the fire. Coming back from vacation is sweet and sad, even if there is no meeting, because you have to dive back into your life, it is difficult to turn the page … And that feeling that finally pushes us to think about the next vacation.”

Childhood idyll. “Can we really talk about love? They are idylls that mark more when one is a teenager. The intensity is there, we live in a kind of displacement, the two lovers know that they have little time and therefore must take advantage of everything that is offered to them. They are completely focused on themselves and the other, everything they experience is multiplied tenfold, sensations, feelings, emotions… The younger we are, the more these stories touch us and tend to become idealized . This is also what makes us want to bring them to life as adults too”.

Summer, eternal season of love?  The opinion of 3 sexologists
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Charlotte Leemans, sexologist at the Sexuality Clinic of the Grand Hospital in Charleroi.

The thrill of the forbidden. “As these are spontaneous loves, never formal, lovers often find themselves in secret, this gives this story a little smell of the forbidden, sometimes spiced with the fact of making love in extraordinary places. You feel that you are living a privileged moment, even more extraordinary because you know deep down that it will not last. There is longing of course… but not only because the couple is not content to make love , they spend time together, discovering each other”.

Better than real. “People always have a tendency to distort reality: they idealize the happy moment they experienced, amplify the memory in a positive way… On the contrary, they also amplify the line when it is negative. So sometimes he can expect at the worst and know that things are not so bad.”

Get the best out of it. “Some people are very good at compartmentalizing their lives, saying to themselves I’m having fun, I’m taking it and when I go back to my normal life, and it stops, I continue without worry. These people live very much in their holiday romances. Others, on the other hand, can’t bear it to end and have to be taken away. The more difficult withdrawal is to live with, the more they may hesitate to love. again next summer, they will be more cautious. But, in practice, it is difficult to resist! We are cradled in the sauce of romance in films, series, these loves are part of the mythology of the holidays. Even if the reason saying no, we fall into this air bubble, this rather strange moment and it’s too bad when the return to reality can be very violent”.

Enchanted Parentheses. “The younger we are, the less we resign ourselves to this end. At 17 or 37, you don’t approach such an adventure the same way. We may be tempted to communicate from a distance, to keep in touch… And sometimes this leads to intermittent relationships, a little ephemeral, where lovers meet from time to time in different cities and continue in their hidden idyll”.

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