We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto this week’s topic: how to have sex while camping.
Q: “My partner and I are going on an epic camping trip to cap off the summer. We’re both relative camping newbies, so we’re doings lot of research to prepare ourselves. One of the questions I thought of was how to handle sex while camping. I’m excited about getting to do it someplace new, but also a little concerned about some of the logistical challenges (hygiene, comfort, etc.). Any tips for making the most of camping sex?”
A: Thanks for the question! Sex in the great outdoors can be quite polarizing; some people love the novelty and adventurousness, while other people are too distracted by the bugs and lack of privacy. That being said, it is definitely something you should experience at least once in your lifetime. Here are 10 simple tips for having great sex while camping.
1. Pack A Large Tent
If you’re going on a long camping trip, you’re probably trying to keep your gear as light as possible. Unfortunately, a two-person tent just isn’t going to cut it if you want to have sex. When a tent says it’s for two people, it really means, “this tent is for two people who want to crawl in, lie down, and not make any further movements whatsoever.” You’ll need at least a four-person tent to be anywhere near comfortable. A bigger tent is more of a pain to carry for sure, but it’ll be worth it when you have the space to stretch out your limbs ... if you catch my drift.
2. Keep It Cozy
The first thing that should go into your tent is a pair of sleeping pads. The ground is hard, and you don’t want to have twigs and stones digging into your back while you’re trying to get it on (much less while you’re trying to sleep). If you decide to have sex outside of the tent (more on that in a bit), you can drag one or both sleeping pads out to help protect your bodies from the rough ground. When it comes to sleeping bags, try unzipping one sleeping bag and laying it down as flat as possible. Unzip the second one and use it as a blanket to cover your bodies. You can always zip the two sleeping bags together, but it can get a little hot and cramped that way. You can also try this comfy-looking two-person sleeping bag.
3. Find A Secluded Spot (If You Need To)
Tents provide zero soundproofing, so you’ll want to make sure you set up in a spot that has relative privacy. Unfortunately, many popular campsites can be quite crowded in the summer months. If you’re hiking into your campsite, spend a little extra time trying to find a secluded nook. If you’re driving in, try going off-road for a bit (if that’s allowed in your area). At the very least, please don’t camp and get in on around families with children! Camping is a time to learn about the literal birds and bees, not the figurative ones.
4. Stay In The Dark
Make sure to turn off flashlights and lamps while you’re getting it on, unless you want the people around you to see your bodies perfectly illuminated against the side of your tent. Tents were just not designed with sex in mind.
5. Get Creative
If you can’t find a private enough spot or your tent just isn’t comfortable enough, you can always get creative and try having sex in other places. If you have a car, you can always hop in there for some extra privacy. If you’re brave, try going for a quickie braced up against a rock or tree. Or just tease yourselves by keeping it PG-13 and waiting until you get back to go all the way.
6. Watch Out For Bugs
Bugs might be the biggest foes you’ll have to contend with during your outdoor sex adventures. They are not discerning, and will bite any bit of exposed flesh. You definitely don’t want to put bug spray anywhere near your nether regions, so that makes you extra vulnerable (in fact, it’s also a good idea to wipe bug spray off your body before having sex, since you don’t want any trace of those chemicals getting on your genitals). If it seems like you’re in a bug-heavy area, or if you’re near water during a mosquito-friendly season, do yourselves a favor and stay inside the tent. Do a quick sweep with a flashlight to make sure there aren’t any stray bugs zipped up with you — and don't forget to check for ticks after!
7. Bring Baby Wipes
Baby wipes are an absolute necessity on a camping trip. If you’re going to be hiking for hours at a time, you’re gonna get a little musty. There’s no shame in having body odor; it’s just a reality of being human. Nonetheless, it’s nice to feel refreshed before getting intimate, especially if you want to have oral sex. A quick baby wipe shower can make you feel much better. Your campsites may not have showers, so baby wipes may even be the only way you can stay clean during your trips (and between romps).
On a logistical note, please do the earth a favor and get biodegradable wipes. You also want to avoid wipes with strong chemicals or perfumes, since you’ll be using them on your most intimate areas, and those ingredients can cause infections.
8. Use A Condom (Even If You Normally Don't)
If your partner has a penis, one of the best ways to keep things clean is to use a condom. Even if you don’t use condoms in your non-camping sex life, I still highly recommend using them in this occasion. You won’t have to worry about cleaning up a mess after he ejaculates, nor will you have to worry about anything dripping out of you if you have intercourse. Just tie it up and toss it in the trash. If you don’t have a dumpster near your campsite, make sure you pack the condom out with you (yes, "pack it in, pack it out" covers condoms too).
9. Bring Single-Use Lube Packets
If you have really limited space, you can also bring along super handy single-use lube packets, like this Sliquid sampler, and try out several varieties. Don't forget to properly dispose of the packets after you use them. If you like using vibrators as well, a battery-operated one is obviously your best bet, since you probably won't have an outlet.
10. Keep Your Sex Positions Simple
There are obviously a fair number of logistical challenges around camping sex, so do yourselves a favor and stick with what you know. Now is not the time to try anal sex for the very first time. Keep it simple and enjoy the things you already know you like. If you're going to have intercourse, Missionary, spooning (facing the same direction), or face-to-face on your side are all great options since they don't require a lot of space or movement.
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