All you have to do is watch a movie with a sexy hot tub sex scene to know that getting it on in a hot tub looks sexy AF. Personally, I see it as a hot, piping bowl of bacteria soup, just begging to make a home in every corner of my body, but I'm also the same person who thinks about all the bacteria being passed during kissing, so I'm hardly the most romantic sort. I'm sure there are more than a few who disagree me — and who really just wish I didn't put the thought of "bacteria soup" in their head.
But when we're talking about hot tubs, especially public hot tubs where, we all have a pretty good idea as to what's going on in there. It's hard, even when thinking sexy thoughts, not to question the safety of having sex in a hot tub. If hundreds of people have climaxed in those waters before you (I'm thinking more about male ejaculation than a female orgasm that didn't include ejaculation), what's really happening in the steaming pool of, well, stuff might be worth considering. Especially if you're a germaphone like me.
I spoke to Dr. Sheila Loanzon, board certified OB/GYN, Fellow of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and author of Yes, I Have Herpes: A Gynecologist’s Perspective In and Out of the Stirrups. about what we should all consider before dropping our pants and jumping into a hot tub for sexy fun. Here are the seven things you need to know before having sex in a hot tub — no matter how sexy it might seem in theory.
1Heated Water Can Burn Vaginal Mucosal Skin
Mucus exists to protect the body's organs, and the vagina's mucosal skin is not different. As Dr. Loanzon tells Bustle, the high temperatures that you're likely to find in hot tubs can burn that protective mucosal skin, creating both irritation and basically an open door to a bacterial invasion you just don't want.
2It Can Lead To Vaginal Infections
"Due to the chlorinated water in pools and hot tubs, the exposure of sensitive vaginal skin to that water can cause pH changes in the vagina, which can lead to a yeast or a bacterial infection," says Dr. Loanzon. "Women in general are prone to UTIs because of the anatomic location of the urethra to the vagina and rectum."
If you're someone who's prone to UTIs or yeast infections, even more than the average woman, you may want to rethink your sex location.
3Water Doesn't Negate Chance Of STIs
Although it might be easy to think chlorine water can some how abolish any risk of STIs, you couldn't be more wrong. "Using water as lubrication can lead to micro tears in the vaginal skin," says Loanzon, "Which can lead to increased STD risk, like herpes and HIV."
In other words, thanks to those micro tears, you're increasing your chance of contracting an STI, especially if you don't use a condom. Also, it's worth noting that sex in bodies of water can make it more difficult for condoms to say on, so there's that, too.
4You Can End Up With A Bad Rash
If you haven't heard of pseudomonas folliculitis, also known as hot tub folliculitis, then it's time to get informed. Although this isn't related to STIs, it is the result of spending too much time in a hot tub and the effect that bacteria has on your skin. It's itchy, ugly, and resembles something between chicken pox and pimples. Although it clears up in roughly a week, if you pick at it or, are crazy enough to get back in a hot tub for even more hot tub sex (why?!?), you're looking at the rash lasting for months.
If you were planning on having a multi-hour long sex fest in a hot tub, you may want to consider other options.
5Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant Aren't Any Different
In high school, there was a girl, who knew a girl, who went in hot tub, and got pregnant... or at least that was one of the many urban legends I heard growing up that, I'm sure, every high school has. In fact, she's probably related to that same girl who cooked her organs before prom by going to too many tanning booths, but I digress.
While the hot water may seem like a great environment for semen to hang out, just waiting to impregnate someone, it really isn't. Nor are these bodies of water going to magically eliminate your chance of getting pregnant either. "There is no higher risk of pregnancy in hot tubs or pools," says Dr. Loanzon. "Yet these bodies of water shouldn't be considered safe contraceptives." Takeaway? Don't skip the condoms.
6It Can Feel Uncomfortable
Just because you're in a body of water, that doesn't mean things are wet where they should be. While lubricant can help, the irritation between prolonged time in a hot tub (just think of what your fingers look like after sitting in the tub too long) and the chemicals used to keep the hot tub sterile can make intercourse feel less than great, even making it uncomfortable.
7You May Be Better Off Having Sex In The Shower
While I personally, after a bad experience, rarely advocate for having sex in the shower, Dr. Loanzon suggests otherwise. "If you really want the sex-in-water experience, you can opt for sex with your partner in the shower, as the water will be more hygienic," she says. However, if you do take that route, please, please, please be careful and only indulge in shower-friendly sex positions. There's no sense in throwing out your back or breaking a penis or chipping a tooth because you wanted to have a water-related sexual experience.
"While the water experience can be sexy," as Dr. Loanzon initially pointed out to me, "there are some health risks." She also said that it would be wise for women to avoid having sex in hot tubs completely, because yeah shower sex! However, if you just have to have it, then at least be aware and take the necessary precautions.
Check out the “Sex & Relationships” stream in the Bustle App for tips, tricks, and advice on friends, sex, dating, and everything in-between.