The 17 Dos and Don’ts of Outdoor Sex

What to know (and pack) before heeding the call of the wild

April 16, 2018 9:00 am

National Park Week begins this Saturday.

We’ve already told you about the quintessential experience in each, but what about the inevitable experience?

That’s right, we’re talking outdoor sex.

Whether it’s Robert and Maria on the forest floor in For Whom the Bell Tolls or Jon Snow and Ygritte under a waterfall, coitus al fresco always seems like a good idea … in theory.

But to make sure you’re adequately prepared, we spoke with a variety of (s)experts to compile 17 dos and don’ts, from bug spray to scenic outlooks to dark-out tents.

Of course, we’re obliged to begin with a word of warning: outdoor sex doesn’t have to be “public” sex, per se: a tent, yurt or other camping shelter will do just fine. Be creative.


1. Do: Before anything else, be aware of potential consequences
“Sex in public can be a crime and the brief rush of adrenaline won’t be worth the hassle if you’re busted. Make sure you’re on your property or somewhere you have permission to be. Even then, you can’t always know if you’ll be seen by neighbors or random people.” —Jonathan Bennett, certified counselor and relationship coach at Double Trust Dating

2. Don’t: Put on the LED
“If you are in a tent, do not switch on that flashlight. Whether you are in a camping park or alone in the woods, there is always a chance that other hikers will pass by. Remember that leaving the light on will turn your intimate moments into a shadow show for everyone to observe.” —Alice Wood, sex and relationships coach

3. Do: Incorporate the splendor of your environment
“Try standing positions and make the most of the surroundings. Having your partner lean towards a tree and penetrating her from behind provides plenty of stability and pleasurably deep penetration. If you are feeling more adventurous, hold your partner in your arms while she hugs your hips with her legs. A tree can again be a useful prop to press her back against.” —Alice Wood

4. Don’t: Do it in the water
“Sex under water washes away your natural lubrication. It does not act as a lubrication, as many people think. So it’s good idea to use some silicone-based lube for her comfort, and because it lasts longer than water-based. Even with lube, penetration can be uncomfortable for her, so consider foreplay and oral in/under the water, then take it on land for intercourse.” —Dr. Sadie Allison, founder of sex toy boutique and author of The Mystery of the Undercover Clitoris—Orgasmic Fingertip Touching Every Woman Craves

5. Do: Choose the right body of water
“In pools and hot tubs, shoot for natural clean pools [to keep] chlorine from getting into the vagina — it can cause infection. As an alternative, try giving oral instead, having your lady sit on the edge of the pool on top of a towel, while he’s submerged in front of her. [Also] it’s better for the vaginal skin to do it in pools sanitized using a salt, bromine or mineral system. These systems keep the pool clean but in a way that does not irritate your eyes, dry out your skin or leave a smell.” —Dr. Sadie Allison

6. Do: Go off the beaten path for privacy as well as comfort …
“By going farther away from neighbors, passing cars and other people, you’re increasing your privacy, which will not only stop you from being seen, but also make the whole experience more comfortable for you and your partner.” —Jonathan Bennett

7. Don’t: Go unprepared into unknown territory
“Make sure you have a fully charged phone battery and GPS service. Don’t go so far off the path that you put yourself in danger of getting lost. Avoid other possible hazards like dangerous terrain, hostile wildlife and even poison ivy.” —Jonathan Bennett

8. Do: Come to terms with the inevitable annoyances
“It is not the time to embrace your fear of insects. Bugs will be under you, on top of you and might end up in between you. If you want to instantly kill your partner’s desire, start nervously itching your body. I would, however, recommend ignoring the surroundings and focusing on your partner’s and your own pleasure. And having bug spray in your backpack is definitely a good idea.” —Alice Wood, sex and relationships coach

9. Don’t: Keep going if you need more than a couple sprays of Off!
Ever accidentally sprayed insect repellent on a cut? Now imagine that, but it’s your genitals. If you’re in a situation where the mosquitos are biting, especially in areas where there are heightened risks of disease-carrying suckers, don’t risk it. Keep it in the tent.

10. Don’t: Write it off if one partner isn’t into it at first
“Many people were raised with cultural, religious or familial values that make it difficult or impossible to be more adventurous during sex. It’s kind of cliche, but the best way forward is communication and compromise. If your partner wants to try outdoor sex, but you absolutely hate bugs and fear for your privacy, you could suggest something a little more adventurous that doesn’t involve those factors.” —Jonathan Bennett

11. Do: Consider others, no matter where you end up.
“Be respectful of others. If you’re into exhibitionism, make sure the pool or body of water is appropriate for that, or big enough that you won’t impose your sexcapades onto others who may not want to see that, or have children around.” —Dr. Sadie Allison


12. Coleman Carlsbad 4-Person Dark Room Tent
When you plan to use your tent for more than catching some zzzs, a good rule of thumb is to get one that sleeps at least twice as many people. But Coleman’s Dark Room tents go one step further, blocking 97.5% of sunlight, which in turn reduces heat during the day.

13. Sustain Eco-Friendly Condoms
Yes, you still have to — as they say — pack it in, pack it out. But there’s no better time to reconsider the impact your purchases have on the environment than when you’re in the thick of it. These ultra thin condoms are vegan, nitrosamine-free, made with Fair Trade rubber and FDA-approved. Oh, you’re gonna want their PostPlay Wipes too.

14. Kamp Rite Overnighter 2-Person Sleeping Bag
Traditional sleeping bags, what with their fluorescent hues and synthetic fabrics, have been found wanting in the romance department. Not so here — the handsome canvas exterior on this 10-degree-rated sleeper zips open to a cozy flannel lining.

15. Klymit Double V Sleeping Pad
Klymit’s version is not as luxurious (or heavy) as some car-camping and glamping alternatives, but the stuff-sack air pump makes inflation a breeze and the design offers support without rocking the boat when one person moves.

16. Goal Zero Crush Light
We recently rounded up 10 of our favorite camping lanterns. The reason you’ll want the new Crush Light is its candle flicker mode — the ideal way to set the mood and see what you’re doing, without (as Wood says above) putting on an X-rated shadow puppet show for potential passersby.


17. If you end up getting it on in the open, don’t fall asleep
“It was about 10 p.m. on a Saturday night and we were at a party at a house in the mountains and every room was full of people, including my bedroom. We wanted to go to bed and have some sex, so we took our blankets and walked over the hillside to a nice, flat yard just a few minutes away, away from all the people. When we woke up in the morning, we found we were in the backyard of a Church on Sunday morning.” — Robert Barrows, President of R.M. Barrows, Inc. Advertising and Public Relations

Answers have been edited and condensed for length

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