Sex & Relationships

Yeah, You Might Wanna Rethink Having Sex In A Hot Tub

Great idea in theory, not so much in reality.

Originally Published: 
Having sex in a hot tub sex comes with risks like infections.
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Getting it on in a hot tub is one of the ultimate fantasies. Maybe it’s all those steamy movie scenes. There’s also the thrill of getting caught. Or perhaps it’s just because, given that you’re already practically naked, you might be tempted to go all the way.

Unfortunately, having sex in a hot tub is better left to your imagination than played out in reality. The hot, chlorinated water can cause irritation and bacterial infections. Plus, water doesn’t lubricate in the way you’re thinking; it actually has the opposite effect. And it can sabotage your efforts to practice safe sex, because the heat weakens condoms and dental dam materials, and the water can cause awkward slippage.

Dr. Staci Tanoyue, board certified OB/GYN (and popular TikTok sex educator) and board certified OB/GYN Dr. Sheila Loanzon, a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) and author of Yes, I Have Herpes: A Gynecologist’s Perspective In and Out of the Stirrups, weighed in about why the fantasy might be more trouble than it’s worth. Here are eight things you need to consider before having sex in a hot tub — no matter how sexy it might sound in theory.


Heated Water Can Burn Vaginal Mucosal Skin

Mucus exists to protect the body’s organs, and the vagina’s mucosal skin is no different. As 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 infection you just don't want.


Hot Tub Sex Can Lead To Infections

If you’re someone who’s prone to UTIs or yeast infections, you may want to rethink your sex location.

“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,” explains Loanzon. The same goes for a UTI, which occurs when bacteria gets trapped in the urethra — already a risk during sex, because the uretha is located near the rectum and vagina.


Water Doesn't Negate Your Chance Of STIs

Although it would be convenient if chlorinated water somehow removed any risk of STIs, that couldn’t be farther than the truth. “Using water as lubrication can lead to micro tears in the vaginal skin,” according to 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 or dental dam.


Hot Tub Sex Doesn’t Change Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant

The hot, chlorinated water doesn’t deactivate the semen, nor does it help it swim faster. “There is no higher risk of pregnancy in hot tubs or pools,” says Loanzon. “Yet, these bodies of water shouldn’t be considered safe contraceptives.” The takeaway? Don't skip the condoms during hot tub sex.


It’s More Difficult To Use Protection In A Hot Tub

You should always practice safe sex to protect yourself from pregnancy and STIs. The problem here is that condom use is more challenging in a hot tub: “There’s an increased risk of the condom slipping off and the chance of excessive heat weakening the latex or polyurethrane,” explains Tanouye. The same would be true of dental dams, which are used for STI protection during oral sex — they are also made of latex or polyurethane. Plus, the water would make it difficult to hold the dental dam in place, making it less effective.


You Can Get A Bad Rash After Sex In A Hot Tub

If you haven’t heard of pseudomonas folliculitis, also known as hot tub folliculitis, then it’s time to get informed. Although this bacterial infection isn’t sexually transmitted, it’s caused by spending too much time in contaminated water, such as in a hot tub or a lake. It takes the form of an itchy, bumpy red rash and pus-filled blisters.

“Risk increases with prolonged exposure — staying in the hot tub for a long period of time or wearing the bathing suit that's been in the infected water for a long period of time,” says Tanouye. “Sex itself won’t necessarily increase that risk unless it causes people to stay in the tub for longer than recommended.”

If you must get hot and heavy in the hot tub, at least make it a quickie.


Hot Tub Sex Can Feel Uncomfortable

It may be counterintuitive, but sex in water doesn’t make you wet in the way you want. “Water itself is not a good lubricant and will dissolve any water-based lubricants, so those often won’t help as much,” says Tanouye. “Water is also likely to increase the risk of chafing and discomfort.” Moreover, the chemicals used to keep the hot tub sterile can make intercourse feel less than great.


You May Be Better Off Having Sex In The Shower

“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,” says Loanzon. However, if you do take that route, be careful and only indulge in shower-friendly sex positions.

Tanouye agrees that a private space at home is a better choice than a public one. “Public pools, hot tubs, or things like oceans or lakes are at much higher risk for bacteria in the water that could increase risk of infection,” she says. “At home, at least you can be more aware of maintenance and cleanliness.”


Dr. Staci Tanouye, board certified OB/GYN

Dr. Sheila Loanzon board certified OB/GYN

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