Getting frisky in the great outdoors can be one of summer’s greatest pleasures—that is, if you can find a place and a time that give you that free, al fresco feeling without subjecting you to bug bites, sunburns, or prying eyes (hey, unless that’s your thing—no judgment). And if you haven’t taken things outside yet, there’s good reason to.
“Outdoor sexual play pushes buttons that women need to become aroused and feel lust,” says clinical sexologist Marlene Wasserman, DHS. “There’s surprise and unpredictability, it’s a step outside your ‘responsible’ sexuality, and it can be empowering.” Most of us are raised to believe that sex is a private activity—something we engage in together or alone, with or without external stimulation like porn and toys, but almost always behind closed doors. And breaking free of those conventional inhibitions can be hot, according to Wasserman.
Alexandra, age 32, of New York City, says she’ll never forget one particular outdoor sexual adventure—in the best way. “My boyfriend and I were on vacation in California, and we pulled over on the side of a steep, curving road to have sex doggy-style on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean,” she says. “My boyfriend actually took a short video during part of it. All you can see is him thrusting behind me, and the panoramic view in front of us. It’s now his favorite thing to masturbate to when I’m away.”
“Women grow up with many restrictions on their sexuality,” says Wasserman. “Imagine the psychological thrill of liberating yourself from the rule of privacy and indulging in a curiosity-fueled fantasy, in which spontaneity rules and excitement and fun is the goal—not necessarily orgasm.” (Though it’s certainly a plus.)
Here 7 tricks from Wasserman and real women for having the best outdoor sex of your life.
Wasserman suggests packing a “summer sex bag,” and keeping it in your purse or car. “The thrill of outdoor sex is that it’s unplanned and outside your regular routine, so keep the things you’ll need on hand in case the moment grabs you.” Include condoms, lubricant, a towel, wet wipes, sunscreen, bug spray, sunglasses, a clean pair of undies for afterward, and a hat to make you less recognizable. Having the right supplies makes it easier to enjoy the full experience.
Build up to it.
Since women tend to need 20 to 30 minutes to become orgasmic, consider starting foreplay inside, or in the car, or wherever you are before the outdoor sex. “Chances of orgasm increase if there is a lot of arousal beforehand, whether that’s sexting, sexual touching, playing, and teasing, so that by the time you get outdoors you’re ready to pop,” says Wasserman. That worked for Alice, 30, of New York City. “Last summer, my ex-boyfriend and I were poolside hanging on chaise lounges at the gorgeous New England country home of his father, who happens to be a famous political commentator,” she says. “We’d been lounging and flirting for hours, nearly naked, so when everyone else left to run errands in the middle of the afternoon, it was on: Summer sweat, breeze blowing, swimsuits pulled to the side—thinking back on it still gets me all hot.”
Look for a gorgeous view.
Like Emma and her boyfriend, Tess, 29, of Sydney, Australia, was all about the location. “It was my last night visiting Sorrento, Italy, and I was on my Italian friend’s bike,” she says. “We drove ahead of everyone and got out at a cliff overlooking the ocean and started having sex on the concrete. I think his friends figured out what was going on, because they stayed behind until we were finished. Not a bad way to spend my last night in Italy. Unfortunately, I was also having a fling with this guy’s best friend, and when I got home, I found out that he’d heard about our outdoor adventure and was not too happy with me. Womp, womp.” But arguably worth it!
Don’t get caught.
Unless you want to, that is. But for the non-exhibitionists among us, who are looking to keep our thrills to ourselves, remember to choose your location wisely and stay aware of your surroundings, even during the act. “My boyfriend and I go camping a lot and having sex in a tent is trickier than it seems,” says Samantha, 29, of San Francisco. “Often we’ll stay at state park campsites ,which can be less secluded than you’d expect. Last time we went, our tent site neighbors were a church group. Not exactly the kind of people you want to be having loud sex around.” Awkward! Wasserman suggests Googling local laws about public indecency if you’re planning on doing it somewhere risky, so you at least know what you’re up against if unwanted authorities do come your way.
Try night and day.
“There’s a freedom for women in exposing their bodies to the outdoors since it’s usually prohibited,” says Wasserman. “Women consciously hide behind darkness, so if you’re one of those self-conscious women who keeps the lights out even when you’re inside, challenge yourself to try outdoor sex during the day. It may just free you up from worrying about how you look and let you fully engage in the fun and thrill of the experience.”
Be practical—to a point.
While choosing a beautiful location with an awesome view sounds like a great idea, make sure you’re picking a place that isn’t overly risky—whether that’s the risk of getting caught, or hurt. “My high school boyfriend and I were terrified of getting caught having sex in our boarding school dorm, so we’d go on adventures deep in the woods, where no one would spot us,” says Kate, 29, of New York City. “One of our go-to locations was on a big rock in the middle of a stream. It was relatively flat and the stream was secluded, so it seemed like a great idea. Unfortunately, we were heading back to campus after a quickie one day, and my boyfriend tripped and fell in the freezing-cold water. Definitely not sexy.”
Keep it hygienic.
“If we go on multi-day camping trips, my boyfriend and I try to bang the first night and morning because that’s when you’re cleanest,” says Samantha. “There’s nothing like being covered in campfire soot and congealed sweat from a long hike to ruin the mood. I also bring baby wipes on every camping trip to help freshen up, even if sex isn’t on the agenda.” Smart.