The shower scene in “Skyfall”; the pool sex scene in “Wild Things”; the threesome in “Alpha Dog”—you can see where people have gotten the idea that having sex in water is an exotic change of pace, a step up from banging between boring sheets. And sometimes, if you’re skilled, water sex can be pretty good, but nine times out of ten, it’s more trouble than it’s worth.
Lots of factors make water sex complicated: slipperiness (and related injuries), pain (because water strips away your natural lubrication), and hygiene (due to potential infection-causing bacteria in the water), among others. And yet, many of us still try to pull it off: According to a 2015 survey of millennials’ sex habits done by SKYN condoms, 74 percent of Americans have had sex in a hot tub or pool.
“Shower sex seems so good in theory, but it is almost universally terrible in practice,” Leila, 29, a PR account executive in New York City told us. “It’s slippery, he’s taller, you somehow always end up going down on him and it hurts your knees, there’s water in your eyes, and you didn’t even get to finish. Disaster.”
Audrey, 29, a real estate agent in Los Angeles, also had a hazardous shower sex experience: “We were doing it stand-up doggy, and as we were getting into it, we slipped and pulled down the shower curtain to help break our fall.” Yeah, not hot.
Possibly worse than that is what happened to Allie, a 29-year-old book publicist in New York City. “We were having sex in the shower, which was already physically painful because the water made me dry, but then it became emotionally painful when I spotted another woman’s razor in his shower.” Ouch.
When it comes to other watery venues besides the shower, they’re not much better. Hailey, a 29-year-old writer, admitted that she once had a “pretty good session between two kayaks in the Atlantic Ocean with my college boyfriend, but the setting and thrill were better than the actual sex, since he’s the only one who got off.” Adds Leila: “Hot tub sex is fun, ocean sex is complicated, and pool sex is a little too public.”
If, in spite of these less-than-stellar stories, you’re still intrigued by water sex (like most of America, apparently), there are a few ways to make it a little easier, better, and safer. Sexpert Emily Morse, host of the Sex with Emily podcast, gave us a few pointers.
Your shower is safest.
And you can probably guess the reason: Despite being the least glamorous location (not to mention the most claustrophobic), your shower is by far the cleanest. “Even with chlorination, if the water in a pool or hot tub isn’t properly maintained, it could be swarming with harmful bacteria that could lead to infection or irritation,” says Morse. “The chlorinated water will also likely wash away your natural lubrication, leaving you dry and uncomfortable. Nothing wrong with a little foreplay in the pool, but when it starts to get hot and heavy, time to move onto the chaise lounge.”
Choose the right position.
“A great position for a steamy sex session in the shower is when the woman bends over and the man enters her from behind,” she says. “It offers stability because she can anchor her hands on her calves for support. This position also works for any sex session where you don’t have a sturdy surface to lean on.” And don’t make Audrey’s mistake—the shower curtain does not count as a sturdy surface.
Use the shower head.
It’s a great way to get some extra stimulation. “Many women are no stranger to an adjustable showerhead,” says Morse. “Angle it so it’s hitting your clitoris while he’s inside you for extra stimulation from all angles. You can also both take turns spraying it on each other wherever.”
Throw some lube into the mix.
To replace whatever natural lubrication the water might be washing away, use lube, says Morse. “Try a waterproof silicone kind, which is waterproof and will last longer.”
Take extra precaution with birth control.
“Condoms aren’t as reliable when they get wet,” says Morse. “They are more likely to slip or tear off and the chemicals in the water could further break down the condom.” So if you’re using one, be sure it’s still intact before he comes—and don’t think the water is giving you any protection. “Many people still believe the myth that sex in the water is pregnancy proof,” says Morse. “In fact, you can not only get pregnant from sex in a hot tub or pool, you can also get a bacterial infection from all the germs floating around in there. Sorry to say, chlorine doesn’t kill everything, include bacteria and sperm.” Good to know.