8 Underwater Sex Tips You Should Know Before You, Um, Dive In

Photo: Getty Images.
For many people, having sex underwater is a major bucket list item. And it usually seems like a pretty great idea during the summer, particularly during a vacation: It’s hot out, you’re likely near a body of water, and if you are, there’s a decent chance you’re half-naked already. It can feel like a rush, too, since having sex in a new place breaks you out of your usual routine.
“Water is primal for us,” says Claire Cavanah, co-founder of Babeland and co-author of Moregasm: Babeland’s Guide to Mind-Blowing Sex. “Sex in water can feel adventurous, [and it’s] a way to mix it up and break out of a rut. In a lake or ocean, there’s an element of exhibitionism and the risk of getting caught that makes it exciting for some people.”
If you're looking to take things out of the bedroom and give underwater sex a try, here’s what you need to know, whether you’re in a hot tub, ocean, pool, lake, or bathtub.
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Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Lube is your friend.

It may sound counterintuitive, but all of that underwater rubbing can actually reduce your body’s natural lubrication and make sex less enjoyable (this can happen during shower sex, too). Cavanah says that that’s because your body’s fluids may be getting washed away — and that’s where lube comes in. She suggests using a silicone-based lube to avoid chafing, since water-based lubes will likely get washed away.
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You might have to get creative with positions.

In the water, your tried-and-true missionary position probably won’t work very well. Instead, try a more vertical approach. “Standing positions take advantage of your natural buoyancy when you’re in water,” Cavanah says. “Wrap your legs around your partner’s waist, or try it from behind.” And if you need more specific inspiration, we’ve got plenty of standing sex position ideas for you to choose from. Cavanah also says you can “try oral sex while someone is floating on their back.”
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Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Watch out for infections.

Can a little underwater fun make you sick? Probably not. “While there are certainly waterborne bacterial infections and diseases, it is very unlikely to acquire these infections through the vagina, penis, or rectum,” says Courtney Benedict, Certified Nurse Midwife and Associate Director of Medical Standards Implementation at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “These infections are more commonly acquired through your mouth or skin.”

Also, don’t worry too much about pollution. You may have been caught up in the moment and had sex, only to realize afterwards that you’re in some nasty-looking water. Fortunately, Benedict says that you’re probably in the clear. “There is no evidence that suggests that the more polluted or contaminated a body of water is, the higher your chance of getting a bacterial infection in your vagina, penis, or rectum,” she says.

That said, you’ll still want to watch out for UTIs or yeast infections. As Benedict explains, water reduces the vagina’s natural lubrication, which could irritate skin during sex, and could change the balance of good bacteria on the skin and in the vagina. “This may lead to overgrowth of yeast or other normal vaginal bacteria, causing symptoms such as abnormal discharge or itching,” she says. And while she contends that there have not been studies about the likelihood of getting a UTI from underwater sex, if the urethra is irritated, you could be more vulnerable.
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Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
You’re still at risk for STIs and pregnancy.

Yes, you can get pregnant in a hot tub (or anywhere else you happen to have sex) — the hot water and/or chlorine won’t kill the sperm. So, safer sex rules still apply when you’re having sex underwater if you want to avoid STIs and pregnancy. If you would use a condom on land, use one in the water, too. (Pro tip: Cavanah says that it’s easier to put a condom on a wet penis if you use a little silicone lube.)

Just know that there’s a higher chance that the condom will rip or tear (thanks to the decreased lubrication) or just slip off in the water, Benedict says. And be extra careful in hot tubs, since Benedict says that heat also increases the chances of a condom tearing.
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Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Don’t forget about sex toys.

Just because you’re in the water doesn’t mean you can’t use sex toys. In fact, there are many sex toys that are specifically designed to be used in water. Cavanah recommends the Waterdancer vibrator or the Fin Finger Vibe, since they’re both small and easy to carry and maneuver underwater. “A vibrating cock ring will do the trick as well, and the Tenga SVR Cock Ring has a lot of possibilities,” Cavanah says. You’ll probably want to reserve these for your bathtub at home, or your private pool or hot tub, though.
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Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
There are physical limitations.

No matter where you do it, underwater sex can be slippery, which can lead to injuries. “To avoid injury in a shower, bath, hot tub, or pool, make sure you can’t lose your footing and slip and hit something,” Cavanah says. So be extra careful, and maybe save the rough sex for the bedroom (or, you know, dry land). We also suggest wearing grippy shoes made for the water, and stay out of super deep areas of pools, oceans, and lakes. If you’re in a pool, hot tub, or bathtub, and there are rails, grab onto them to help keep you steady. Also, if you’re in a hot tub, Cavanah says to make sure you’re not getting overheated.
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Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Remember: Having sex in public is illegal.

If you’re outdoors and not in the privacy of your own backyard, don’t forget that you could get in serious trouble for having sex in public. While the fear of getting caught is half the fun for some people, in most states, public sex is illegal. If you’re nervous, your shower or tub is a great place to explore underwater (or, at the very least, wet) sex. And if you’re lucky enough to have a private hot tub or pool, by all means...
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Illustrated by Paola Delucca.
Not into the risks? Get things started underwater, and then switch locations.

Given all the physical and legal limitations that come with underwater sex, you might not be ready to fully commit, so consider underwater foreplay instead. Take advantage of the playful environment and tease your partner with prolonged (but hidden) caresses underwater, or start by kissing while you’re submerged and move out of the water when things really start to heat up.