Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The Sensual Traveler: The Exotic Erotic

by Teresa Noelle Roberts

My husband and I just returned from a week-long cruise to Bermuda. The days at sea gave us the rare luxury of time when we had absolutely nothing we had to do and absolutely no set schedule. A queen-size bed, an ocean view, and no reason not to spend the day in the queen-sized bed, watching the hypnotic blue silk of the ocean and immersing ourselves in each other.

Then there was Bermuda itself: a riot of fragrant flowers, warm azure water, colorful old houses, hot sun, scented breezes, and pink sand. At night, you could smell frangipani and salt water, hibiscus and greenery, on the soft air, and tiny tree frogs made a racket with their constant mating calls. Horny little buggers, tree frogs, almost as bad as the younger tourists and the island boys doing their mating dance in the bars at night. Bermuda aroused all my senses in a very erotic way, and my clever husband wasted no time in taking advantage of this. Repeatedly, despite us both being weary from long days of snorkeling.

Since one can’t have sex or snorkel (or have sex while snorkeling, but we wouldn’t do such a thing now, would we?) all the time (pity, that) and since I am an erotica writer, I found myself wool-gathering about why travel is so sexy.

Hot vacation encounters are a staple in erotica, with whole collections devoted to the topic. (Wicked Words: Sex on Holiday and E is for Exotic, among others, feature Lust Biters’ takes on the topic.)

From a writer’s point of view, it’s easy to understand why we revisit this theme: instant conflict potential. From cultural and linguistic misunderstandings to the inevitability—or is it?—of parting, the vacation fling or romance provides built-in ways to make your characters miserable even while they’re having amazingly hot sex. And if your characters are already a couple, removing them from their ordinary lives can shake things up, revealing all sorts of unexpected emotions, desires, and inner turmoil. Besides, exotic settings give you an excuse to waste time trolling around travel web sites and dreaming about your own future vacations under the guise of research. (Oops, was that the outside voice?)

But it’s not only in literature that exotic locations bring on erotic encounters. Most of us who’ve traveled at all could confess to a night of passion (or at least a titillating, much fantasized-about flirtation) with a stranger in a strange land, or to enjoying a familiar lover in a new way under foreign skies.

But why? Let me count the ways…and then ask for your theories and stories.

If you’re on holiday, there’s no reason not to take a mid-day siesta with your sweetie, or to “sleep” in without getting a lick of extra sleep. For some of us old married types, simply having a little relaxed time with the spouse, far away from leaking faucets, hairball-yakking cats, ringing phones, deadlines, etc., will wake up a lazy libido. And for those of us who stoke our libidos constantly due to writing smut for a living…well, things are bound to get interesting when we’re pulled away from the computer and we can finally apply all that sexual energy to real life!

Then there’s the exotic setting—see Bermuda, above. Anything could happen in this new and seductive place. You’re already on a grand adventure, your senses already stirred. Makes that much easier to get turned on, isn’t it? Back in college I met a boy in the walled medieval city of Avignon, on the night of a festival that involved the wild white horses of the Camargue being run through the narrow streets and wine being flung about to drench unsuspecting passersby. In a more mundane setting, I might not have looked at him twice, but in such a wild atmosphere, sparks flew that had very little to do with him and me and a lot to do with the exotic excitement of the night. (The wine, which was flowing liberally into us as well as into the gutters, helped, but those white horses really did me in.)

Sometime just before dawn, when we were all fucked out and the wine was gone, we all bundled back into our clothes and wandered up onto the deck. The air had a nip to it, and the breeze was strong, but it smelled like ocean and, faintly, like herbs. Pale stars still hung in the sky, and at the eastern horizon, the sky was just starting to turn pink. We didn’t snuggle or anything, even though it was cool enough that it would have made sense to huddle together for warmth. We just stood there, holding the rail, letting the sea breeze wash the funk and smoke and stale alcohol off us, not talking, until the sun came up and Corsica came into focus through the fog.

I don’t know about you, but I find hotel rooms, with their clean, bland white sheets and their comfortable anonymity, a spur toward loud, messy, sheet-destroying fun. Even if it’s a random roadside motel halfway to someplace more interesting. Maybe it’s because hotel rooms are all about the bed. Maybe it’s something about “We don’t know these people, so who cares if we make embarrassing levels of noise?” or not having to wash the sheets. (Note: Courteous horny travelers should always leave large tips for housekeeping to make up for any strange stains we leave in our wake.)

The “I don’t know these people” attitude can be taken several steps farther, of course. Travel can take on the air of if it happens in a different country (or state or city), it doesn’t count. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas and all that. No guilt, no recriminations, no complications, just play safe, have fun, and come home with spicy stories to share with your girlfriends over drinks.

I helped Claudel open his pants. He was hairy, also uncircumcised—just assume they all are unless I say otherwise, a lot of Frenchmen are—and smelled like Camembert. Stop with the faces, Fiona. I know it doesn’t sound all that appealing now, but think about it. You’re in the bowels of this ferry, rocking back and forth, hearing the Mediterranean slapping against it as you move through the night. You’re young, on your way to someplace you’ve never been, someplace that smacks of bandits and The Count of Monte Cristo. You’re about to fulfil one of your top ten masturbatory fantasies, and someone has just succeeded in ripping your tights and is nudging the head of his big cock against you, trying to push his way inside. At a time like that, the hairiness and aroma just seemed French, and thus exciting.

The erotic possibilities are endless—a vast stock of sultry, seductive strangers (complete with attractive accents) to pick from. Maybe you’ll even try something edgy enough you don’t want to share it with your girlfriends. That hot couple? The leather-clad dyke? That obviously inappropriate biker/older married man/priest/barely legal piece of boy- or girlflesh? Why not—who’ll ever know?

It had always been a fantasy, being at the centre of a gang-bang, men everywhere, one after another using me—or me using them, or us using each other, however you want to look at it—until I was aching all over from orgasms, my jaws hurt from sucking so many cocks, and I was limp as a come-slick rag doll. But it wasn’t like I was about to suggest that fantasy to anyone back in the States. I didn’t want to be known as the gang-bang bitch […]. This was my chance, with a bunch of hot guys I’d never see again. […] And everyone knows that what happens during junior year abroad—and especially what happens on a road trip during junior year abroad—doesn’t count anyway.

Of course, “no complications” doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes your sultry stranger turns out to be more fascinating than you expect, and you linger in Barcelona when you’d planned to move on Segovia, and you try to change your ticket home, but finally you have to leave and you find yourself running up huge phone bills, IM’ing to all hours of the night, and trying to figure out how to bring together two vastly different lives. Here we enter the territory of the erotic romance, with hot sex aplenty and hope for a happy ending. And that possibility may be the most seductive fantasy of all.

So…why do you think travel is sexy? Got any good stories to share?

Excerpts from “The Wildest Thing” by Teresa Noelle Roberts (in Wicked Words: Sex on the Move)


Portia Da Costa said...

Fantastic post, Teresa! Love the excerpts too. I'm not a great traveller myself... I'm too lazy and I love my home too much, so I mostly travel via books and stories. :)

Erastes said...

Mmmmm. Now you've got my feet all itchy again.

I once had enormously hot sex with a Guardian Angel I don't remember the name of in the lift of the Port Authority YMCA in New York

*evil grin*

It was one of those lifts with a gate which could be stopped on demand - you probably couldn't do that in a modern lift.

*happy sigh*

Janine Ashbless said...

What a fun post!

I love travelling abroad but don't associate it with sex I'm afraid. How odd - I associate nearly everything else with sex. Maybe I need to rethink this!

We've had some really cute tour guides though.

Good stories? Er, mostly about toilets I'm afraid (The British abroad become obssessed with bowel movements). And there was that night-train across Turkey with 4 of us in bunks and we hadn't been given adequate linen by the guard so Mr Ashbless had to make do with a pillowcase to cover his modesty (inadequately, of course). And the train vibrations made our various flabby bits wobble so hard we were nearly sick laughing. See, not sexy at all!

Janine Ashbless said...

By the way, if I was ever lucky enough to snap boybuttsonvacation I would probably be able to get at least a novella out of it!

Deanna Ashford said...

Great post Theresa it made my thoughts return to earlier times in my life. I think there is something highly romantic about falling for someone on holiday, even though it doesn't last when you get back to reality.

My first holiday abroad alone was a trip to Austria skiing when I was just 17. I went with a girfriend but we were supervised by a tour guide, who was supposed to keep a close eye on us, unfortunately.

Young people were far more innocent then, I hasten to add. I fell for a gorgeous blond ski-instructor called Hubert. He couldn't go back to my room of course and I wasn't sure if I wanted to go quite that far with him anyway. We made do with outside even though the temperature was way below zero most of the time. All I will say about that was I learnt a lot that I hadn't known before!!

Then there was the time I went to Tunisia a couple of years later. I met this charming young man who was half French half Arabic. He fell for me and was serious enough about me to take him home to meet his parents and even talked of marrying me.

Yes, he was sweet and charming but when I got home the scales fell from my eyes and I realised how different my life was in England compared to that of the lives of women in Tunisia.

His ardour however did not fade and he used to keep writing and phoning all the time. Eventually I had to tell him that it was not going to happen between us. I've always wondered what happened to him.

Madeline Moore said...

Oh how I agree...with everything you've written today, Teresa.

Yes, like you I have many travel stories (true) and some travel stories (erotica) and some true ones that were so good they made it, unaltered, into fiction. Here's one of the best:

The setting: Guadalajara, Mexico. Rio Caliente, a hot springs spa non pariel, located in the bowl of a valley where the shamans used to go to dream the future. The hot springs were naturally infused with lithium and we bathed and drank and brushed our teeth with hot springs water. After a few days of soaking it up,one feels uncommonly...happy.Not a lot of men on the premises, tho. Just a lot of smart women on hols.

I was separated from my husband and had yet to enjoy a fling. On my last night at the spa I finally clued in to just how much I was desired, by a classic (plaid shirt, jeans,very short hair, tough)dyke. Her desire for me was so fierce I felt it would be churlish not to offer myself to her. And, I wanted to experience 'sex without consequences'. I was sure it had to exist. So...

Oh God it was fun. Different. Romantic. Hot. Even informative.

Since she lived and worked in the Far East, and was aware I was a Mrs. who was planning to reunite with hubby, we parted regretfully, exchanging phone numbers but clearly not about to pursue an actual relationship, no matter how huge our now mutual crush might be. But...

This really is an almost unbelievable story, however it is all true. But she ended up in solitary confinement in a far east prison, and dreams of me were all that kept her sane. When she was finally released and exiled from that country, she was finally able to get in touch with me. Her greatest hope was to come live with me and be the stay at home ma with my kids (!) while I went to work. I had to decline. And that was that. One broken heart, one basically hetero woman who learned a lot about the pros and cons of Sapphic love.

So - no - no sex without consequences. I console myself by thinking that it was a good thing for her to have something to keep her sane in solitary, and by the fact that I never ever led her on.
Her dreams were born of desperation.

Anyway, you know Mexico - add lithium and desire and you get - Mexican Madness, which is the name of the story I wrote about the night, ending it with a kiss, and not the messy, bizarre truthful ending. That's something I love about fiction - an experience can be tidily summed up with a pithy sentence...if the author wishes. Not, alas, like life.

Kate Pearce said...

Beautifully written Teresa! I feel an urge to grab my passport

I love to travel and I particularly like to travel with Mr Kate Pearce, without any of the kids. Unfortunately what usually happens these days when we are alone in a lovely big hotel bed is-we go to sleep-because we're so knackered!

Erastes, hot sex with a guardian angel in a lift? cool!

Jeremy Edwards said...

Just the phrase "hotel room" makes me think of sex.

My wife and I like the kind with just enough modest, elegant luxury to make us feel that on vacation, even collapsing into bed with museum-and-wine-bar-fatigue is a special experience. And, yeah, in a hotel room we're even more likely to get full value out of the bed than at home.

At the risk of shocking everyone horribly, I'll also confess that hotel rooms are my favorite places to read erotica anthologies and, you know, etc.

Kerry said...

hmmmm. I was reading LeCarre's The Night Manager about a hot multilingual hotel manager when I was traveling from the states, from Paris to Venice with stop in Montreux. I stayed in a beautiful Belle Epoque hotel on scenic Lac Leman and 13 years later I'm still here, and do I have stories to tell...

Ally said...

Very nice post Theresa. Oh dreams of Cancun and snorkeling tonight.

Anyway, you know Mexico - add lithium and desire and you get - Mexican Madness

My Ex and I went to honeymoon in Cancun Mexico. Yes I was filled with all the mexican maddness (tequilla), less the lithium, Dr. hadn't diagnosed me yet LOL.

Yes endless days snorkeling, walking peacefully along the beach, finding a secluded spot for naked tanning, deep sea fishing and of course had to see Chichen Itza, the big Mayan pyramids. We were pretty pooped.

Seeing as how it was a honeymoon I had prepared a little something to wear, but found out my Ex was not visual. I ended up throwing them in the garbage with my frustration.

But I settled into the warm breezes, other mens buns and nearly jump on some poor mexican boy. There he was laying on the ground, passed out cold from his drinking and he had a tent in his shorts. This tent pole was pretty big, so I commented to my own man. "Honey since you're so tired and all, may I?" That was our favorate story of the whole trip.

kristina lloyd said...

First cock I ever sucked was on holiday.

Jeez, did I really just say that? Well, anyway. Lovely post, Teresa. And yes, hotel rooms and B&Bs. They're so hot. I love the anonymity, and what really excites me is that awareness of all the 1000s of people who've been there before me. I like slightly shabby B&Bs best for this - the worn out carpets on the stairs, the faded curtains, the light fittings from lost decades, that starched prissiness in the 'breakfast room'. Um, I may have written something centered around this in Asking for Trouble. I can't help myself. Brighton's great for seedy B&Bs, places that tease you with secrets and stories. If I had money to burn, I'd stay in B&Bs in my own town.

I've only been to the US once, and I was young, but I was quite taken with motels. They have such an exotic blankness to them. I remember ice vending machines. You could just get a tub of ice for your room. Is that right? Or is that a distorted memory? I do remember that when you bought a coke, it would have practically half a glacier of ice in it so I may be conflating memories.

Anyway, when you go on holiday you need to take shrunken stuff with you like mini shampoos, travel wash and speaker docks for your iPod.

OK. So those links aren't quite what I say they are. Nice though.

TeresaNoelleRoberts said...

Everyone: thanks for the comments!

Ooh, erastes, that's a hot one! In Port Authority? Go you!

Janine, I wish I'd taken boybuttsonvacation--I actually found that in some random gay guy's blog and it was clear from context that he'd found it on some site of erotic photos. WISH that had been one of the sights I'd seen. (And yes, I have my share of hilarious travel stories too, but that's a different blog topic!)

Madeline: Wow, what a story. Proof that truth is stranger than fiction.

Jeremy: Man after my own...something. But we already knew that.

Deanna: The abortive Tunisian romance sounds like a novel in embryo. I've always wanted to visit Tunisia but, (despite some very politically incorrect harem fantasies) can see why you'd not want to stay there forever.
Kristina: Yes, Americans love ice, and most motels and hotels have ice dispensers. Perfect for romantic bottles of champagne or naughty teases.

Kerry: Tell us some of your stories, please!

Alison Tyler said...

Ah, Kristina, you like B&Bs? I used to clean one in high school. Was just talking to someone about that the other day. Even more than staying in hotel rooms, I like going into other people's hotel rooms. See? I'm even a voyeur when there's nobody around....

Just Craig said...

Great post Teresa. I really enjoyed your excerpts!

Kristina wrote: I remember ice vending machines. You could just get a tub of ice for your room. Is that right? Or is that a distorted memory?

That's an accurate memory, Kristina. When we moved across the USA about 12 years ago, we were stuck in a motel for about a month. We lived out of two coolers filled with copious quantities of ice from the motel ice machine, plus lots and lots of restaurant food.

Fortunately, the company was paying relocation expenses.

I've had a lot of travel in my life. But sadly, most of my travel hasn't been very sexy.

Shanna Germain said...

My wife and I like the kind with just enough modest, elegant luxury to make us feel that on vacation, even collapsing into bed with museum-and-wine-bar-fatigue is a special experience. And, yeah, in a hotel room we're even more likely to get full value out of the bed than at home.

Oh yes! My guy and I often talk about the "perfect" hotel room: It has to be clean-clean, but it also needs just a bit of the sleeze factor. Don't know why...

And, yes, travel. I love it. And I get many of my best ideas from being on the go. New places, new people, new places to get lay down. It's all I can do not to whip my pen out right there and start scribbling!

:) s.

Jeremy Edwards said...

First cock I ever sucked was on holiday.

I've never heard it expressed that way. Usually in the U.S. we just say "limp."

Anyway, I trust that under your ministrations it came home.

Anne Tourney said...

That's an absolutely beautiful post, Teresa. I loved the gang-bang excerpt, and your lush description of Bermuda. Since most of my traveling these days is vicarious (Dallas is about as exotic as I've gotten, recently!), it's a treat for me to be able to read about other people's erotic escapades.

This probably shows my grimy side, but I have a weakness for trashy old roadside motels, the kind you find on road trips across the West. There's something about those anonymous places that lets you shed your proper social identity and be as nasty as you want to be. Driving all day through the desert without any particular destination . . . stopping at night to buy a six-pack and enjoy some down-n-dirty fucking on one of those vibrating beds, with porn from the 80's playing on the TV . . . .

Traveling anywhere, even if it's just getting out of town for a weekend, seems to set my imagination free. It loosens the moorings of a heavy life, fills me with a sense of possibility. All those fantasies that seem so outrageous in the context of the average workday suddenly seem graspable, touchable. And in some ways, distance allows those wild dreams to reveal themselves as essential ingredients of who we truly are.

Now I'm going off to surf the net in search of cheap travel deals to Bermuda :). Thanks for a luscious post, Teresa. That made my night.

Just Craig said...

I've never heard it expressed that way. Usually in the U.S. we just say "limp."

Ooh! Ba-da-boom-CHEE (rough approximation of comedy rimshot)

Good one, Jeremy.

Anne Tourney said...

. . . . I had to sneak back and take another look at your Bermuda photos :).

Next time y'all take one of those trips to the islands, could you sneak me on the plane in a dog carrier? Or is that too kinky?

Janine Ashbless said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Madeline Moore said...

When Felix and I were in the 'sneaking around' phase of our romance we frequented a hotel that charged by the about sleazy...and desperate, hot, stolen hours...

Now we take mini-holidays, booking into a fancy Toronto hotel for the night, (the whole night!) and availing ourselves of the pool,hot tub, jacuzzi tub, and the big, inviting king size bed. Fun!

And let us not forget Niagara Falls! For sleaze, it can't be beat. Heart shaped jacuzzis in the room, mirrored ceilings, vibrating beds, the noise from the street (Come see Dracula's mansion...Madame Tussaud's wax museum...the's largest pinball machine...etc. and etc.) Niagara Falls is still our favourite destination for a little R n R.

angell said...

DAMN do I wish I had something really sexy, but the only tale I can tell is the very hot security guard who came up to my room after a concert, smoked a joint with me and tried to fuck me in the elevator.

Now I have wanderlust, and an urge to leave the hubby at home.

Have to say though, I LOVE this phrase...

and I was limp as a come-slick rag doll

FANTASTIC imagery.

Now where did I put my passport?

Ally said...

And let us not forget Niagara Falls! For sleaze, it can't be beat. Heart shaped jacuzzis in the room, mirrored ceilings, vibrating beds, the noise from the street (Come see Dracula's mansion...Madame Tussaud's wax museum...the's largest pinball machine...etc. and etc.) Niagara Falls is still our favourite destination for a little R n R.

You make it sound like I should move back to the Falls..."not"

TeresaNoelleRoberts said...

Anne, we'd be glad to sneak you on board in a dog crate (and since Himself is a humane officer, we even have a suitably sized dog crate) but the poor cruise ship staff would be awfully confused. Mind you, that would be part of the fun...and now I have this story idea...