Between the skimpy clothes and all the sweating going on, warm sunny weather is practically an aphrodisiac — so it goes without saying that when your half-naked sig-o is doing that glisten-y thing in the pool, you want to get it on. Like, right now. But how safe is sex in the pool really?
The short answer: You’ll end up hot and bothered, but not in a good way. The reason you basically only see swimming pool sex on TV and in movies is because they edit out the scene where the actress’s vagina falls off from infection. (OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating, but not by much.)
There are three major issues at play during swimming pool sex — lubrication, irritation and infection. “Swimming pool sex is less pleasurable and more risky for women than men,” says Nicole Prause, sexual psychophysiologist at UCLA. “Water and friction wipe away lubrication in the vulva area that usually makes sex comfortable and pleasurable for the woman.”
Ironically, being surrounded by water makes you feel drier and disrupts your pH balance. That combined with the level of chemicals in the pool puts you in the running for an infection, such as a yeast infection or UTI. “The chlorine, which is there to eliminate germs, can in fact work against you when you’re having sex since it allows bacteria and chemicals to be forced into the vagina,” says relationship and sex expert Dr. Jane Greer. You might not notice the irritation at first, but a post-coitus swollen, itchy, burning vulva? Total buzzkill.
You may have heard getting frisky underwater makes you less likely to contract sexually transmitted infections or get pregnant, but this is a total myth: As long as there is contact between two people, STIs and pregnancy are still possible. Especially during thrusting, “Small micro-abrasions can occur which could potentially lead to higher risk of STD,” says Dr. Alyssa Dweck, M.D., Clinical Professor of OB-GYN Mt. Sinai Medical Center and author of V is for Vagina, who recommends using a silicone lubricant—like Wet Platinum or Replens Silky Smooth—instead of a water-based so it doesn’t wash away and lasts much longer.
But what if you’re wearing a condom? “Condoms are not designed to be worn in this environment, so the risk of unsafe sex skyrockets if the partner is infected,” says Prause. “I’d worry less about direct infections from something in the water, but the increased friction could leave both partners more vulnerable to catching diseases from one another.” Plus, if the condom breaks or falls off, you’re much less likely to notice.
And as for the grand finale, fuh-gedd-aboud-it. “The majority of women use clitoral stimulation when they want to reach orgasm,” says Prause. “Needing to stabilize yourself in the water probably reduces either partner’s ability to stimulate the clitoris manually, and stimulation from thrusting alone is less direct.”
Your best bet would be to focus on manual foreplay while in the water, followed by getting jiggy on dry land. The end result’s the same, and you won’t have to worry about your vagina holding a grudge. And you thought sand in your lady business was bad.
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