11 Ways To Make Sex In A Tent So Much More Comfortable

Once I made it through the obligatory family camping trips of my youth, I expected to never step foot into a tent again. (The great outdoors isn't really my thing.) But that vow lasted only a few years, because soon after I finished college, a woman I was sleeping with asked me to go camping with her. It was an intriguing offer. Camping sucks when you're forced to share a tiny tent in the freezing California mountains with your brother, I thought, but maybe it'd be amazing when you get to have loud, wild, (kind of) outdoor sex.

Unfortunately, my dreams of camping sex adventures were shattered when my partner and I arrived at our campsite late and were forced to set our tent up: 1) right next to a tent that was housing three children; 2) on top of a large rock. We still had sex, but it was a very watered-down (and much more painful... in a not-fun way) version of the unabandoned camping sex I'd envisioned. Needless to say, I've re-upped my vow to never go camping again.


But that doesn't mean that all camping sex is destined to be terrible. I still hold out hope that outdoor-enthusiasts can have fantastic sex in their tents. So, I spoke with two outdoor sex experts to help you do it right. Read on for their advice below, and learn from my mistakes.

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Photo: Getty Images.

Get a big tent

If you have the foresight to know you'll be having sex in a tent, bigger is better, says Israel Helfand, PhD, the author behind Sexploration. The main benefit is pretty self-explanatory: more room to stretch out. But a larger tent can also be used for dancing, role play, and other forms of foreplay, Dr. Helfand says.
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Photographed by Natalia Mantini.

Get used to spooning

No matter how big your tent is, chances are good that you'll be a little cramped. So spooning is a great position for tent sex (and after-sex cuddling). "It's good for low-ceiling tents," Dr. Helfand says. If you get too hot cuddling your partner that closely, he suggests cooling off by jumping in a nearby brook or pond.
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Bring lube packets

Keep lube in your duffel bag. “Being in the outdoors can make it easy to get dehydrated,” as Mia Barrett, sexuality educator and consultant, told Mens Health. “If you have a vagina, that dehydration can decrease your natural lubrication. Pick up a few sample size packets of lube for your trip.” Place a towel under you, or have wet wipes at the ready to clean up afterwards.
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Photo: Getty Images.

Think about clean up ahead of time

Unlike when you're all alone in your home (with running water), you'll have to think ahead about how you're going to clean up post-sex. That includes wiping yourself down and disposing of any condoms or dental dams that you use. So, Dr. Helfand suggests using little plastic tubs to carry water from a stream or other water source to the outside of your tent. After you're done, you can just dip a cloth in the water to wipe up.

Also good to keep in your tent? A trash bag. You can use that to discretely dispose of used condoms, dental dams, and spent lube packets, instead of having to carry them to a larger trash can outside. Remember the phrase: Leave no trace.
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Photo: Getty Images.

Start a fire

It's probably not the best idea to start a fire and keep it going while you're having sex, but a post-coital fire can be incredible, Dr. Helfand says. It can even help you get in the mood for round two (or three, or four). "A nice fire outside is useful to warm and dry those sweaty parts, so you can get back to it," he says.
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Photo: Getty Images.

Get some snacks

"Food after a sex workout is similar to having the munchies," Dr. Helfand says. So keep some snacks stashed in your tent to refuel after sex or between rounds. Dr. Helfand suggests trail mix, granola, cheese and crackers, dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate. It can't hurt to have some wine, too.
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Photographed by Savana Ogburn.

Make yourselves comfortable

If you know that you'll be getting down and dirty (in all the good ways) in your tent, then it might be worth it to invest in some gear that'll make tent sex way more comfortable, says Rachel Needle, PsyD, licensed psychologist and co-director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes. She recommends buying an air mattress so you'll be raised off the (inevitably lumpy) ground. Outside Magazine also recommends gear like foam cushions and dry down pillows.
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Photo: Getty Images.

Be careful about location

"If you're backpacking into the wilderness, you need not worry about noise," says Dr. Helfand. Family campgrounds are another story. Nothing kills a sex drive like listening to a family of four make s'mores at the campsite next door. So, if you can, plan to set up your tent in a place where your sexplorations can go uninterrupted.

Even if you're not worried about camping neighbors (or find the idea of getting caught kind of hot), location is important. Because no one wants a surprise rock digging into their bum as they're getting busy. So be careful to avoid rocks, roots, and other protrusions when you're scouting the location for your tent.
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Photo: Getty Images.

Remember that bugs happen

Depending on the time of year that you're camping, bugs could become a problem, Dr. Helfand says. "May flies, deer flies, horse flies and no-see-ums can really suck," he says. While there's not much you can do to avoid bugs if they're there, be aware if they're around, and apply an extra layer of bug spray before you take all your clothes off.
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Photographed by Ashley Armitage.

Keep it quiet

Finding a secluded location could help you avoid this problem, but if you're at a family campground, Dr. Helfand suggests using your inside voices (which can actually be really erotic). And, you can always build the sexual tension in your tent at night and then find a secluded spot outside to get loud, he says.

There are other ways to stifle your noise, too, of course. "Depending on how much noise you typically make during sex, putting on some music can help mask the sound," Dr. Needle says. And if you're face-to-face with your partner, you can kiss when you want to moan or scream. Or, bite down on your pillow to hold back your moans. "Even gazing into your partner's eyes or verbally telling them how good the sex feels can be hot and less noisy," she says.
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Photographed by Savana Ogburn.

Don't get (too) creative

You're already having adventurous sex by taking it out of your house and into the wilderness, so there's no need to get too creative with your positions, Dr. Needle says. And letting yourself use easier sex positions like missionary, side-by-side or bending over your air mattress can make tent sex much more comfortable. "If you want a variation of missionary position, put a rolled up sleeping bag or pillow under you to prop your hips up," she says. "This position changes the angle and allows for deeper penetration."

Even easy, low-energy sex positions like side-spooning can be fun and intimate, Dr. Needle says, because you'll have to hold your partner close, and you can ramp up the excitement by moving their hands to caress your body.
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Photo: Getty Images.

Turn the lights off

While doin' it with the lights on is super hot, you might want to make an exception while camping, sex therapist Vanessa Marin pointed out for Bustle. If you keep flashlights, lanterns, or other lights in your tent, the light inside combined with the darkness outside will turn your bodies into perfect silhouettes, meaning that everyone will be able to see exactly what you're doing, (like that one scene in Austin Powers). So, to be safe just skip the light and do it in the dark.
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