Is Hot Tub Sex Ever Good? An Investigation.

Yes, you could have sex in a hot tub. But should you?

January 19, 2021 8:37 am
hot tub sex
This theoretically romantic endeavor comes with significant logistical drawbacks
Rinee Shah for InsideHook

A lot of what I knew about sex as a child came from The Sims — something I can only imagine is probably true of many people who came of age in the aughts. The year 2004 saw the release of The Sims 2, and in addition to a slew of new features that rendered the original life-simulation game rudimentary by comparison, your Sims could now fuck — or “WooHoo,” as the game euphemized it.

In the earliest version of the WooHoo feature, your Sims could get it on in two main places: a bed or a hot tub. This was how I, a 10-year-old whose parents had gifted me the game unaware that the sequel included this racy new element, learned that people could and presumably did have sex in hot tubs. In the game, two Sims having sex in a hot tub would first cuddle, then kiss, then pull each other under the water, disappearing beneath the surface of the rollicking waves except for the occasional glimpse of flailing limbs. They’d splash around under the water for a bit before an eruption of fireworks welcomed them back to the surface, where they’d cuddle together again in a state of post-coital bliss. 

As anyone who has ever attempted to have sex in a hot tub knows — “attempted” being an operative word here — this is not quite how it usually goes. Even beyond the more obvious inaccuracies, The Sims’ version of hot tub sex is unrealistic for a much more pressing reason: hot tub sex is not good. In fact, it’s barely even possible. 

“If you and your partner are submerged in a hot tub, the answer is no, hot tub sex can really never be that good,” says Zachary Zane, a sex advice columnist and sex expert for Promescent. Not unlike road head, hot tub sex falls into the category of novelty sex — a bucket-list sex act which, while surrounded by plenty of sexual lore and cultural reference points, is rarely as fun, satisfying or even logistically possible as it might seem.

“The allure of hot tub sex is really fantasy-based,” says Davia Frost, sex coach, educator and founder of Frosted Pleasure. “Resorts and hotels put them in rooms to aid in the romantic ambience,” she adds, though even that ambience seems to belong to an increasingly dated and tawdry era of sexuality. Like the sexual associations that first popularized — then obliterated — the waterbed, the midcentury fascination with hot tub sex that saw the Poconos-based rise of the heart-shaped jacuzzi has long since fallen out of fashion.

Moreover, having sex in water presents certain obstacles that having sex on it does not. Hot tub sex belongs to a specific yet relatively large subgenre of novelty sex: aquatic sex. From shower sex to pool sex to ocean sex, we seem enthralled by the idea of having sex in water — despite the fact that it almost never goes well. 

“Underwater sex is never good — doesn’t matter if you’re submerged in an ocean, lake, or hot tub,” says Zane, explaining that there are a few logistical obstacles working against water-based intercourse. For one thing, “You can’t quite get the momentum you want when you’re thrusting underwater,” he explains. Meanwhile, the cruel irony of underwater sex is that water actually washes away a vagina’s natural lubricant. As Zane puts it, “You’d think you have a WAP underwater, but in actuality, you get a DAP.” This is bad for both vulva-havers and penetrators. “I learned this the hard way,” Zane admits. “The first and only time I had underwater sex in a hot tub I was 19 and very drunk at a party. All of us were having sex outside, and I had sex with this woman in the tub. The next day, it was like my penis had a rug burn.”

This tracks, according to Tatyannah King, a sex blogger and sex therapist-in-training at the Widener University Center for Human Sexuality Studies. “Any sex that takes place in a hot tub without any lube will create a sensation with friction rather than a smooth glide each stroke,” says King. Moreover, she adds, “The friction caused by chemical-filled water may create microtears in the vaginal or anal canal, which increases the risk of infection, irritation and pain.”

This is why, if you still happen to have your heart set on hot tub sex, Frost recommends sticking to “any position that keeps the genitals out of the actual water.” For Frost, this usually means limiting hot tub sex to foreplay: “You know, kissing, fondling, careless whispers in the ear. Then I like to move the party to another location.”

Taking a hot tub half-full approach, King suggests hot tub sex might actually be “an ideal time to prioritize non-penetrative sex acts,” including massaging, biting, kissing, grinding, nipple and chest stimulation. “Expanding sexual activity outside of penis-in-vagina is the key to good hot tub sex.”

But if you’re really committed to going the more penetrative route, it seems the best hot tub sex is really hot-tub adjacent. “I say dry yourself off, then do it on the steps of the hot tub,” Zane advises. “Honestly, I think that still counts as ‘hot tub sex.’” 

That said, even perfectly executed hot-tub-adjacent sex isn’t without risk, as one anonymous hot-tub sex haver learned the hard way:

“I must have been seventeen or eighteen,” he tells InsideHook. “It was winter, probably close to Christmas. My parents had a hot tub on our back patio. My girlfriend and I got in and smoked a blunt — we might have been drinking too, it’s hard to remember.” The two started fooling around, as teens in a hot tub are wont to do. But even though they were smart enough to keep their genitals above water — “It made sense to partially exit the tub to help with lubrication and not filling the tub with cum” — it was still an ill-fated rendezvous. “After we were finished we got out of the tub and started drying off. She took a few steps and started looking woozy, then she flat out fainted.”

So if you must fuck in a hot tub, do so at your own risk. 

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