One in five Britons has sex with someone new when abroad, according to research published in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.

The conclusions are based on interviews with 12,000 men and women aged between 16 and 44 as part of the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (NATSAL).

14% of men and 7% of women admitted to having sex with a new partner while overseas, with these encounters accounting for one in 10 of all men’s relationships and one in 20 of women’s in the past five years.

Those who are young and single were most open to having sex with someone new while abroad.

Almost one in four men (23%) and one in six women (17%) aged between 16 and 24 have slept with new partners when overseas.

Most also said that they preferred to have sex with a British or European partner in the belief that this reduces the risk of contracting HIV.

When asked about the chances of HIV infection, respondents stated North America, Thailand and Kenya as high risk countries.

One in 10 men and one in 12 women did however assess their HIV risk as high or moderately high when having sex abroad.

Organisers of the survey have said that the rise in overseas travel in the past five years has contributed to the increase in overseas sex.

In 2005, UK residents made more than 66 million trips abroad, three times the number since the mid-1990s.