How to Have Great Sex in Water

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Sex in the water — usually the shower — is one of our most beloved sexual fantasies, embedded in our psyches through countless film scenes (think, Casino Royale) or simply the allure of a skinny dip in a moonlit lake. In practice, sex in the water is not always so romantic. Not only is it difficult to get leverage for thrusting, or just to keep from taking a spill, but water is also the anti-lube, washing away natural moisture. This leads to ironically dry, fricative sex, which is extremely unpleasant and increases the risk of abrasions, broken condoms, and thus sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. (The risk and sensation are worse in saltwater than in fresh.) 

Which is to say, you should be prepared if you want to have submerged sexual fun. 

The first step, says sex therapist Vanessa Marin, is to try to pick a clean body of water. “The mood can strike at some pretty opportune times,” she says, “but don’t have sex in bodies of water that look murky or unclear. It’s also not very considerate to have sex in pools… that aren’t going to be drained before other people use them, or when there are other people [there].”

Once you’ve done that, she says, it’s a good idea to put on condoms outside of the water to avoid trapping liquid inside of them, increasing the risk that they slip off. But as condoms aren’t tested for use alongside the chemicals that show up in some bodies of water, like pools, it’s worth keeping in mind that they’re not guaranteed to be as safe in that environment as on land, so alternative, reliable birth control may be ideal, if possible or desired.

You also ought to bring some silicon-based lube, adds Claire Cavanah, founder of the high-end adult store Babeland and author of Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex. “It doesn’t dissolve in water, is super slick… [and] it’s safe with bodies and condoms,” she says.

From there, says Marin, it’s just a matter of taking it slow and easy, reducing the chance that you slip or that you force potentially unclean water into a partner’s vagina. You can get a little more inventive in the shower, with slip-proof mats, railings, and footrests to lean on. But even if you’re a pro in your home tub, exercising caution in natural bodies of water is a good idea.

None of this guarantees a good time, especially given all the factors you need to prep for. That’s why Marin recommends using the water as a place for foreplay primarily — utilizing the slickness it creates on fingers and the sensitivity of wet skin to your advantage — rather than sex. “Try teasing each other under the water, but not allowing either one of you to have a release,” she says. “When you can’t stand it [any longer]… rush to the nearest private location” — on land.

Cavanah adds that there are many toys designed to enhance aquatic foreplay. She does caution that many water-resistant devices can’t actually be submerged and that, if you’re using silicon lube, you shouldn’t use a silicon toy as well. But as long as you do your homework, it’s easy to find a whole range of devices at diverse price points to bring out the best of water’s sensuality.

Again, buying a toy and planning to bring it down to the water with you for a half-choreographed and contained romp isn’t exactly what most people have in mind when they think of underwater sexy times. But that’s the price to pay for good sex in the water. Skimp on the preparation and consideration, and you’re apt to have a miserable time, brutalizing a perfectly good fantasy.