Mmm, vacation sex. Can’t you just hear the palm trees rustling outside the windows while you’re getting down with your partner in your hotel bed — or, um, elsewhere in the great outdoors? And while we’re daydreaming, why does it seem like vacation sex is always so much better than the sex we have at home?
“Being freed up from the hard decisions and stressors big and small — traffic, dishes, doctor’s appointments, texting people back, etc. — enables your brain to spend more time, energy, and attention on things like sex,” says sexologist Dr. Jill McDevitt, Ph.D. “And that extra time, energy, and attention makes sex a ton more fun, pleasurable, and satisfying.”
Plus, the novel, exciting things couples tend to do on vacation, like hiking together or going dancing, generate a feeling of closeness that is “strongly, positively associated with feelings of romantic passion,” according to research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships — a.k.a. hotter sex.
Whether you already have your big summer vacation planned or you’re looking to leave the kids with Grandma and grab a quick romantic weekend away, read these tips to keep the sex steamy and the disagreements at a minimum.
Set sexual expectations first
Having a deadly serious discussion before a vacation starts can be a buzzkill, but to avoid disappointment, both partners should know what to expect sexually on vacation: Sex every day? Twice a day? When the moment is right? How experimental do you want to get?
Turn the conversation into a game instead, says Dr. Laura Deitsch, resident sexologist with Vibrant, Planned Parenthood’s sex toy e-tailer: “For a real chance of reducing disappointment, engage in a round of ‘wishes and worries’ ahead of time. Each partner gets to express any wishes they have regarding sex on the trip and any worries they have. This way, the partner knows the expectations and can offer feedback on the chances and assuage any fears.”
Adopt a mantra to repeat when things get stressful
No vacation can go 100 percent smoothly: Beach days get rained out, car trouble happens, a sexual encounter can be so-so.
When things start to go south, try looking at each other and saying, “‘This is supposed to be fun,’” McDevitt says. “The vacation and the sex. This is important, lest scheduling vacation sex and jam-packing excursions and hikes and trips during the vacation become stressful, which is the opposite of what you want.”
Give yourself permission to be sexually selfish
If you’re an overworked, overstressed woman — that would be all of us — vacation sex can be especially restorative.
“Women are often the ones in families and relationships that carry the heaviest burden of decision-making, cleaning, responsibilities, etc., so when women are freed of this burden on vacation, it’s even more of a relief,” McDevitt says.
One study in the journal Annals of Tourism Research indicated that, for women, the “mental transition” of vacation acts as a license for sexual thrill-seeking, enabling women — even those with steady partners — to engage in unconventional sexual behavior, role-play, and “authentic expression.” The women in the study also reported heightened awareness of bodily senses and their sexuality.
So, before you set your sexual expectations with your partner, think about what you want. No, what you really want — that thing you’ve been craving for months, whether it’s a tie-me-up-and-blindfold-me scenario or a long, sweet sex session you simply haven’t had the time for. Then ask for it.
More bluntly, McDevitt says, “Girl, get yourself an hour of receptive oral sex on clean sheets that someone else washed, without having to worrying about a kid barging in or what time you have to be up in the morning!”
Use every inch of that hotel room
Hey, you’re paying for the room for a reason. Get creative in your new surroundings with these positions:
Doggy Style: “Take advantage of the large mirrors that hotels rooms often have by doing classic doggy position, but facing sideways so you can both watch yourselves in the mirror,” McDevitt says.
Snuggle Puss: “Does your hotel room have a secluded private balcony? Try the Snuggle Puss, in which the penetrating partner sits on a patio chair, and the receiving partner sits on his lap, plants both feet on the floor, and rides,” she says.
Draping: “It’s sexy and different for a partner who likes giving oral to a penis to lie sideways across a bed, dangling their head off the edge. The penis owner then can stand over an open mouth and get great depth because of the angle of the throat. Lying back and receiving a penis from this angle can help with muscle fatigue and offers a lot of touching/grabbing/rubbing options for the standing partner,” Deitsch says.
Bring proper supplies — and common sense — for sex in the water
If you’re seduced by the idea of having sex in a swimming pool, ocean, or hotel bathtub (and the potential for a chemical reaction to pool water doesn’t faze you), repeat after us: Water is not a lubricant.
“Sex in water washes away your natural lubrication, actually making it worse than sex out of water, not better. Using silicone lube, which is waterproof, is the only way to make sex in the pool or ocean super slippery and sexy, the way it looks in movies,” says McDevitt, who recommends Essence by CalExotics. Deitsch’s pick is a sexy little TSA-approved vial of Überlube.
Once you’re in the pool, the possibilities can be gravity-defying. “Because of buoyancy, we feel lighter when submerged in water, meaning you can lift and thrust your partner in ways that would be impossible in a bed,” McDevitt says. “For instance, have the penetrating partner stand waist-deep in water and the receiving partner float on their back. The penetrating partner can hold their hips and thrust at a perfectly horizontal angle, something nearly impossible except for maybe a sex swing.”
If your partner is a woman, lucky you: “For two female-bodied people, scissoring in a pool can be really steamy and doesn’t need lube,” Deitsch says.
When getting freaky in the ocean, “safe sex” takes on a whole new meaning. We hope this goes without saying, but don’t have sex in full view of other beachgoers — you’ll run the risk of being arrested and charged as sex offenders, McDevitt says. And keep an eye on the current, waves, and other nature-related issues. “Sex is never worth drowning,” Deitsch says.
The easiest position for ocean sex? Face each other and wrap your arms and legs around your partner — it allows the most stable penetration for insertive sex, she says.
Road-tripping? Apply that sense of open-road adventure
These car sex positions will get your motor running — provided you’re in a safe area and out of view.
Cowgirl: Try it “with the man sitting in the passenger seat and the woman sitting facing him with knees on the seat between the door and center console. The passenger seat is better than the driver’s side, because there’s more room without the steering wheel and no risk of your behind hitting the horn and drawing attention to yourself,” McDevitt says.
Reverse Ride: “Depending on the roominess, the back seat lends itself well to Reverse Ride: The penetrative partner sits back, legs apart, and the receiving partner faces front and rides what is provided,” Deitsch says.
No matter what kind of sex you plan to have on vacation, indulge in the feeling of anonymity, throw antiquated double standards out the window, and pack your sexual health toolkit.