For the duration of my sexually active life, I’ve believed that shower sex fully and completely sucks. It’s the sex equivalent of a consolation prize or participation trophy; it’s something you do if you’re sweaty and don’t want to get the sheets dirty, or you’re menstruating and…well, don’t want to get the sheets dirty; it’s what follows in any sexual situation when you might say “Ugh, fine.” In my book, the only reason straight-up period sex has a leg up over shower sex is because at least with the former, you go in already feeling disappointed, and usually end up pleasantly surprised. Shower sex is the opposite: You go into it thinking it’ll be lovely, and then you almost slip and crack your head open on a sink.
But could it be that I’m the problem and not shower sex itself? I do concede that my take on shower sex is starkly different from the intimate potential it theoretically stands to offer. After all, it’s a highly eroticized setup that could both make you feel closer to your partner and leave you with less cleanup than an in-the-bedroom session would. And fooling around in the shower can be (sometimes literally) steamy.
Considering those details, perhaps I’d benefit from opening my mind to shower sex tips that might help me see what all the others see. Below, sexologist Sadie Allison, PhD, sex educator and co-founder of GoLove CBD lubricant, shares her best shower sex tips.
Want to actually enjoy shower sex? Follow these 5 shower sex tips from a sexologist.
1. Don’t use water as lube
WATER IS NOT LUBE. Bold, highlight, underline that idea a million times—whatever you need to do to commit it to memory. While it makes sense to assume that shower sex will naturally be a slippery-fun time, for vulva-owners, the water is actually drying, in effect.
“Instead [of water], be sure to use a sex lubricant,” says Dr. Allison. “Water-based lubes can work, but they rinse off easily and don’t last a super-long time. So, if you’re using a water-based lube, try and keep your vulva and pelvic area out of the shower stream of water, and reapply as you go.”
2. Bring the right kind of lube for the occasion
To continue that line of thought, not all lube is identical. And when it comes to best shower sex tips for lube, one reigns supreme between water-based, oil-based, and silicone-based.
“The most favored lube type for shower-play is silicone. Silicone doesn’t absorb into the skin, lasts a long time—it’s why it’s preferred for anal too—and does not wash off easily with water, so it’s ideal for shower sex.” —sexologist Sadie Allison, PhD
“The most favored lube type for shower-play is silicone,” Dr. Allison says. “Silicone doesn’t absorb into the skin, lasts a long time—it’s why it’s preferred for anal too—and does not wash off easily with water, so it’s ideal for shower sex. Just be very cautious when using it in the shower, as you can slip on the silicone that may end up on the shower floor.”
3. Stick to positions that feel comfortable (and safe)
“Finding a comfortable position can be challenging,” says Dr. Allison. “Since you can’t lay down in most showers, you’re limited to a few standing positions. This can make sex awkward, tiring, and uncomfortable, especially if the height difference between you and your partner is big.”
If the goal is for you to experience penetration, have your partner “sit on the floor, and then do it in cowgirl position,” says Dr. Allison. “So your knees don’t get hurt on the hard surface, use a couple wet washcloths folded under your knees.”
4. Work with the water, not against it
On paper, it seems like having sex while dripping wet epitomizes intimacy, right? Well, not always. “If you’ve ever kneeled down in the shower to give oral sex, you may have experienced the annoying feeling of your face being doused with water, which can be a deterrent from being able to give a smooth, comfortable oral pleasure,” says Dr. Allison. “It can also cause choking or gasping for air if the water gets into your nose and/or mouth.”
Luckily there’s a pretty reasonable solution here. Dr. Allison recommends that you simply move your bodies to the side of the stream when engaging in any play that would benefit from extra focus.
5. Make the most of shower accessories
A slew of shower-sex accessories are available that can aid you in the process (because it is a process, don’t tell me otherwise) of learning to enjoy the experience. A few of Dr. Allison’s favorite suggestions include a shower handle ($11) that suctions itself to the wall and can be used balance and support, and an adjustable shower chair ($28). “It offers more position and seated options, as well as a place to rest your or your partner’s foot during standing positions,” she says.
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