What You Should Never Do During Sex Outdoors—and 4 Things You Should, Say Experts

Updated: Jun. 13, 2023

With summer knocking, some couples are leaning into having sex in the great outdoors—but is it really worth the risk? Experts gave us a list of sound considerations.

How To Have Sex Outside
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If you’ve ever considered having sex al fresco, you’re not alone (except, hopefully you are). In fact, according to data from Google Trends, searches around the topic of outdoor sex have even increased in recent years. That might be thanks, at least in part, to the feeling of being pent-up during COVID lockdown, which put a damper on new experiences. “The fantasy of having sex outside is fairly common,” says certified sex therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Kristen Lilla, LCSW, CST-S, CSE-S. “Part of the excitement within the fantasy is having sex in a new place.”

And while the thought of getting it on under an open sky might be thrilling because of the youthfully innocent possibility of getting caught, it also requires more planning for that same reason. If taking the heat outside with your partner is on your list of summer adventures, keep reading for all the dos and don’ts of outdoor sex, according to experts.

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Young adult couple admiring the sunset in a tent on the beach
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1. Pick a safe and wise location

When it comes to safely engaging in sex outdoors, Lilla says location is perhaps the most crucial factor. In looking for a place to have sex, you’ll want to find somewhere off the beaten path that’s more secluded. Because it’s illegal to engage in public sex, you’ll also want to be mindful to avoid areas with security cameras or places where someone may be present…or able to sneak up on you. “Having sex in your car, or in a tent while camping, can help create some safety and boundaries but still allow you to explore outdoor sex,” says Lilla. “It’s important to be mindful of privacy, as you don’t want un-consenting people to witness.” Another tip? You “don’t want get caught on security camera, or by the police,” she says.

According to Lilla, some other less-risky alternatives that still bring a rush can include having sex while camping in the great outdoors of your own backyard, or on your private balcony.

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2. Be strategic with your clothing choice

Keep as many items of clothing on as you can. That way, if someone were to come around the corner, you can quickly cover up.

Additionally, Lilla recommends sticking with items like a dress, or loose pants, which can provide easy access and coverage. If your outdoor escapades include swimming or a body of water, pulling your swimsuit to the side can be an easy method.

couple walking on the beach and drawing a Heart in the sand with their feet
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3. Be mindful of UTIs

In thinking about outdoor sex, sandy beaches, unoccupied hiking trails, and bodies of water often come to mind. But on the less glamorous side of the fantasy of having sex outdoors, is the reality: Mosquitoes, sand in places you don’t want it, and the dreaded increased potential for a UTI.

In general, UTI rates tend to be higher during the summer months. “We tend to be more dehydrated in summer due to sweating more and not drinking enough water to make up for that,” says Sara C. Flowers, PhD, MPH, vice president of education at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “It’s also true that bacteria of all kinds, not just those that cause UTIs, tend to thrive and grow more in warmer temperatures.”

To help support your sexual health and well-being—even when getting down outside—there are simple precautions you can take. This includes always pee after sex, using wipes, and staying hydrated. “If you’ve got a vulva, wipe from front to back after using the bathroom and keep your vulva clean and dry,” says Dr. Flowers. “You can do this by wearing underwear with a cotton crotch and not using douches, powder, or deodorant sprays in your vagina. It’s also good to avoid sitting in a wet bathing suit for long periods of time, as warm, wet areas create an environment where bacteria can really thrive.” In short: Keep it dry!

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One great date deserves many more
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4. Stay prepared

We often think of great sex as having an element of spontaneity to it. But the truth is that most of the time, it calls for forethought and a plan. This is especially true in the case of having outdoor sex, when planning ahead is crucial to not getting caught.

But according to Lilla, spontaneity and preparedness may be more hand-in-hand than we realize. “I often encourage people to schedule sex, and they argue that takes away from the idea of being spontaneous,” she says. “However, planning time to be intimate helps make it a priority, and what couples do during that time can absolutely be spontaneous.”

So while the preparations needed to safely engage in outdoor sex require planning and effort on the front end—and varied levels of alertness from all parties during, depending on the location—the experience is still one that’s charged with adrenaline. Before your next trip, discuss the idea with your partner and see if they’re down for some adventure. The anticipation of what’s to come could keep you both on your toes.

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