The Pros and Cons of Water Sex

Illustration by Sophi Gullbrants

According to porn and pop culture, a romp in the water is undeniably erotic—and it certainly can be!—but how does it feel in real life? Is it hot, or more trouble than it's worth? If one is committed to water sex, what venue is best and what are some precautions to take?

We asked our Instagram followers and Dame Labs members: What are the pros and cons of having sex in the water?

Most of you liked the idea in theory. “In your head, you look like every sexy waterfall/pool/ocean scene from every movie,” one Dame Labs member wrote. It often has a thrill factor: “Water sex is often public sex”—and that can be “fun and exciting,” someone told us on Instagram. We’re often naked or nearly naked when we’re in the water, so many people pointed out that just the act of swimming made them feel sexy. Because of the weightlessness water offers, “positions that don’t work on land can work in water.” And that can buoy our confidence, too: “The buoyancy of my big boobs in water is quite pleasurable to me (and some of my partners),” one Dame Labs member pointed out.

"Water washes away all the lovely juices of the vagina and ironically dries it up."

And yet we were inundated by one major downside: Water gets in the way of natural lubrication. “Water washes away all the lovely juices of the vagina and ironically dries it up,” one Dame Labs member pointed out, echoing many other vulva-havers who were frustrated by “too much friction” and difficulty with penetration. For these reasons, readers recommended using an oil-based or silicone lube, which doesn’t wash away as easily. One reader mentioned that the shower, while of course requiring extra lube, is a good option for butt play because of the easy “post-sex cleanup.” The same goes for period sex. 

But lube problems weren’t the only cons you all cited. Several of you mentioned that water sex led to urinary tract infections, particularly in a hot tub (where high temperatures can breed bacteria). Others warned of “sand, creatures, and salt” from the ocean. Washing away fluids might be great in the shower or a huge body of water, but “gross,” for others, in a pool. “I hate the feeling of water in my vagina,” somebody on Instagram wrote. Shower sex can be slippery and awkward; “one person is freezing while the other partner feels like they are getting waterboarded,” someone colorfully put it on Dame Labs.

Bottom line? Given that water sex is often better in fantasies than reality, it might actually be better for foreplay. There’s no law that says you need to end a sex act in the water that was started there. One Dame Labs member says it’s fun to fool around “in a jacuzzi, but for like a few minutes max. [I] always end toweling off and continuing elsewhere.” Some people swore that solo play is the best move of all: “My only pleasurable water sex comes from one of the well-placed jets in in our jacuzzi,” one person wrote. “When it’s just me.”