Here comes the second episode of our most intimate column. Join Martina Lopes for a European sex trip to Barcelona and find out how this journey turned out to be a complete disaster.

Buy- bought- bought?

Did you enjoy sex and the city? If so, this column is definitely for you. We don’t need to go to New York to discover people’s sexuality, Martina Lopes writes openly about her European sexual experiences here in E&M. Let’s talk about sex, baby!

In our second edition of this column she talks about being bought – or at least about the feeling of being bought.

Daydreaming about European men | Photo: Nico Ernst; License: CC-ND

It is unbelievably easy to travel anywhere in Europe. The distances are minuscule and the airfares are often shockingly low (thank you, Easy Jet and Ryanair). Now, for someone who instantly thinks about travel, sex and romance in the same sentence, you can see how this is a very exciting prospect. But sex travel, as I call it, isn’t always as uncomplicated as we might like it to be, especially when someone generously offers to pay for the whole thing. But let me start at the beginning.

Before my first week at university, I flew to Copenhagen to visit a gorgeous Danish boy I met while on vacation in Argentina. I thought we’d never see each other again, when it occurred to me how close Denmark and the UK actually are, and, more importantly, how affordable the ticket was. And so off I went for a weekend of fun, partying and, yes, sex. This was my first taste of the forbidden fruit Europe has to offer, and I definitely wanted more.

But I had to wait. Alas, essays and exams have an annoying way of interfering with an international sex life. So I studied hard while longing for another European adventure. And then, as though someone had been watching my daydreams, I receive an extremely flirtatious Facebook message from a good friend, a very successful consultant who used to be an investment banker. I don’t think there’s any group of people that take more advantage of the ease of European travel… I felt my stomach flutter at the sight of his name in my inbox. What could he want? To my great pleasure, it turned out he was back in Europe for work and he wanted to see me. “Name your destination and we’ll go: Berlin, Florence, Paris, Barcelona, it’s up to you.” This was it! The ultimate European sex trip.

This was my first taste of the forbidden fruit Europe has to offer, and I definitely wanted more.

Back to earth, I told myself as I wrote back. I said I hadn’t been to any of these cities, and was up for anything he recommended. He responded that same night and told me he had to attend a one day conference in Barcelona in two weeks, and that I should meet him for a weekend of partying and fun. My stomach fluttered again. Classes would be over by then and I was thankfully free to accept, which I immediately did.

I was incredibly excited until I logged on to my trusty reduced-fare airline sites. The prices were exorbitant! I should’ve known, since Barcelona tends to be a very popular destination around the end of June… Sheepishly, I wrote my friend another message explaining that the price tag on our little vacation didn’t exactly fit a student budget. He called me the next day. I love the sound of his voice, it reminds me of the fun we’ve had between the sheets in the past… “I’ve found some tickets that are perfectly reasonable and as soon as you say the word, I’ll buy them.” This is where I should’ve thought twice, but the lure of sex travel was too great and I accepted his very kind offer. I wish I’d known the trip would turn out to be a complete disaster.

He’s organised everything perfectly, and I arrive in Barcelona on a Thursday evening. We’re staying at an incredibly fancy hotel only a block away from the beach. He’s clearly very excited to see me, but has to go to a business meeting so he promises to call me later. I go for a walk on the beach, feeling really happy and excited to see him later on in the evening. It’s midnight by the time I get back and I’m exhausted. No word from him until 1:30am telling me he’s going out to a club and that I should join in the fun. I’m half asleep at this point so tell him I’ll see him in the morning.

No problem so far. He works all the next day while I explore the city on my own, and then the same thing happens again! I decline his 2am offer to go to some party with people I don’t even know and try to go to sleep. I’m miffed but figure we’ll get to spend some real time together the next day. Indeed, we do go to the beach together and even have a fun, crazy night out with all his colleagues. Great foreplay, but to my big disappointment he doesn’t try to initiate anything intimate that night and we just go to sleep. At this point I’m really confused, given how forward he’s been up until this point, and I can’t help but feel slightly neglected.


The feeling of being bouught! | Photo: Ben Foertsch; License: CC-ND

Sunday morning, he wakes up in a foul mood. The entire day, he’s complaining and complaining about how this trip ‘hasn’t turned out the way he wanted it to.’ I can only guess that it has something to do with the fact that I didn’t go out with him the first two nights of our trip, and that I was already asleep both times when he finally made it back to our hotel room at 6am. Was the lack of sex last night, our first real opportunity, some childish form of revenge? He continues to treat me really badly for the rest of the day, and all of a sudden I start to feel immensely guilty, since he’s paid for my expensive flight and the even more expensive hotel. I’ve insisted on paying for most meals and taxis, but it still doesn’t come close. The trip is pretty miserable so far, and I’m glad we’re leaving the next day.


But it gets even worse. That night, his friends invite us out to a salsa club. Now, this is the one thing I suggested we do, since I know he’s a great dancer. He flat out refuses to come and says he’s going back to the hotel to sleep before his flight at 6am (funny how sleep wasn’t a priority before). At this point, I’m fuming. He doesn’t even want to spend his last night with me so we can at least talk and work things out. Fine. I end up walking on the beach alone for a while, getting angrier and angrier about the fact that he clearly believes he can treat me as badly as he wants just because he paid for the damn trip.

At this point, I know what I have to do. I march straight over to the ATM near the hotel and withdraw the entire amount of the plane ticket and a third of the hotel, which is very painful and kills most of my savings, but I would much rather have my dignity than my money. I creep quietly into our room, relieved to find that he’s sleeping. I write him a short note saying that I’ve decided to pay for my own trip, and I hide the money in his suitcase. Eventually, in the hazy hours of the morning, I feel him get out of bed. To my great surprise, he leans down, kisses me on the cheek, gives me a hug and whispers that he’s sorry. I’m confused as hell, but also too tired to care.

We obviously didn’t end up having sex on our supposed sex trip, but the fact that it didn’t happen was intensely complicated by the looming shadow of all the money he’d spent to have me there.

The next morning, I wake up with the sun shining through my window. I feel extremely relieved that the trip is nearly over, and also proud of my plan to return his not-so-kind favour. Checkout is at noon so I take my time showering and getting ready. Then, as I reach into my suitcase for some underwear I feel a wad of paper. It’s all the cash and the note that I left in his suitcase. *&@#$&! I have no idea how he found it, and I’m pissed that he didn’t take the money, but I can’t wait to get out of there and put the whole incident far behind me.

It’s hard to describe, but the worst part of the entire experience was having the feeling that someone could treat me with as little respect or compassion as they wanted just because they felt as though they’d bought my time. We obviously didn’t end up having sex on our supposed sex trip, but the fact that it didn’t happen was intensely complicated by the looming shadow of all the money he’d spent to have me there. What disappointed me most is that we truly were good friends, who enjoyed sleeping together from time to time (perhaps complicated in and of itself…) and who wanted to meet up in a fun European city. I can’t help but feel that if I’d paid for my own trip from the beginning—virtually impossible, given the standard of living he’s used to—he wouldn’t have been entitled to the same actions and attitudes.

And thus ends another European sex (or lack thereof) adventure. Once again, I’ve learned a valuable lesson, and let me caution you, dear reader: before you accept that generous sex travel offer, think twice because nothing ever really comes for free.

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