Relationships may be more complicated than ever, but the eternal truth is, sex is—and should be—good. In order to help you get the most out of your sex life, you need advice from experts on both sides of the bed.
By Martin Downs, M.P.H., and Victoria Zdrok, Ph.D.

Is there anything wrong with having sex in a hot tub or pool in the privacy of your own backyard? My wife seems to have a never-ending list of reasons why we shouldn’t, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with screwing in the water—is there?

The Downs side: There’s a myth out there on the internet that having sex underwater can “force bacteria into the vagina” and cause an infection. It looks to me like writers have just been Googling one another and parroting this factoid. There is not a shred of evidence to show that fucking in water increases the risk of vaginal infections. Perhaps this misconception is based on the fact that douching can lead to an infection called bacterial vaginosis. Washing out the vagina can disrupt the normal balance of bacteria living there, allowing unhealthy bacteria to take over.

Some water may squelch into the vagina while you’re fucking, but that’s not the same as flooding it with a scented detergent solution. What if the water in which you’re fucking is contaminated? A poorly maintained pool or hot tub can be teeming with nasty microbes like E. coli, a common cause of urinary-tract infections. But so can your dick, even if you soap it up in the shower every day. Each time you screw, you and your wife swap genital bacteria, so her cooch is no more likely to get rankled in the Jacuzzi than it is in your bed.

That’s not to say that sex underwater is easy to pull off. Water washes away the natural lubrication of the vagina. Without added lube, submerged sex is not at all comfortable. You might as well fuck one of those inflatable water wings that kids wear in the pool.

To get the glide on, you need a lube that isn’t water-soluble, like a silicone-based one. Have her lube up before going in the water, and keep the bottle handy in case she needs to reapply. Oil-based lubes also stay slippery when wet, but they could leave a greasy slick on the water when the waves subside. And I’m always obliged to mention that oils destroy latex condoms. If you would normally use a condom, don’t forgo it in the water. Just keep in mind that it could be more prone to slippage. Try using a female condom instead, which would be more likely to stay in place while you churn it up.

The Pet doctor: Your spouse is right—hot-tub intercourse is not a great idea. It’s one of those things that seems to be a lot more fun, romantic, and sensual than it actually is. In general, aqua sex is often physically uncomfortable, especially for the woman, as the water washes away her natural vaginal lubrication. Without artificial lube, there is a high possibility of vaginal-tissue tear during penetration. In addition, chemicals in the hot tub (such as chlorine and bromine) can cause a potential infection or irritation of vaginal or penile tissue. That’s the reason why many women report a high incidence of yeast and urinary-tract infections following hot-tub sex.

If that’s not enough, a hot-tub orgasm can lead to vertigo and dizziness, particularly if your body is fully immersed and the temperature is above 102 degrees. Having an orgasm raises your heart rate and body temperature and makes you sweat, but the hot water does not allow your body to properly cool itself. As a result, if your body temperature spikes too high, you may pass out.

If you still insist on hot-water romping, follow these rules:

1. Don’t set your spa temperature above 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Assume a sex position in which you are not fully immersed—preferably one in which your genitals are out of the water (doggie-style with her leaning over the side of the tub works).
3. Apply a silicone-based lubricant to your penis and your wife’s vagina to reduce friction.
4. Do not use too much thrusting, as even with copious amounts of lubricant, penetration in the water can cause minor tears in your wife’s vagina.
5. Stop and get out immediately if you feel dizzy or faint. A safer idea: hot-tub oral sex instead of intercourse (just don’t swallow too much chlorine).

Submit your questions about sex, relationships, and women to Martin and/or Victoria at
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