Those steamy, body-pressed-on-body, sex-in-the-sand scenes in the movies may look tantalizing. But let's inject a healthy dose of reality into sex on white sands, and then you're faced with some cumbersome logistics:
Sand, wind and curious onlookers, to name just a few.
Almost 50 percent of adults in the United States have had sex on a beach, according to a 2021 survey reported by SWNS Digital, and the appeal is high. Whether you're on an exotic getaway or a day trip to enjoy local surf and sand, here's what to do for the most pleasurable sexual experience.
Avoid the sand
Getting sand in your crevices is one of the biggest obstacles to amazing sex on the beach.
"Get a large, thick blanket to make sure sand doesn't detract from your romp on the beach," explained Lori Lawrenz, a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in sexual health at the Hawaii Center for Sexual and Relationship Health. "A towel alone is not enough of a barrier between you and the sand. Once exposed genitals come in contact with sand, it's very hard to engage in pleasure."
Further, sand in the vagina, urethra or anus can be irritating and, in turn, cause a bacterial infection, added Debra Laino, a sex and relationship coach based in Wilmington, Delaware, and author of "The Missing Link: A Fusion of Sexuality, Psychology, Lifespan Development and You."
Be sufficiently protected
Sandy condoms can be rendered ineffective, not to mention wet, sandy genitals can make for a thoroughly unpleasant experience. Plus, you don't want to leave condoms sitting in the hot sun, as heat can boost the odds of breakage.
"If you're having sex underwater, use a silicone lube," recommended Jess O'Reilly, a sexologist in Toronto and host of the "Sex With Dr. Jess" podcast. That's because a silicone lube won't break down in the water.
Find a secluded area
If you enjoy having sex outdoors, you're not alone. About 76 percent of Americans have enjoyed sex outdoors, according to the aforementioned 2021 survey, which was conducted by the sex toy store Eden Fantasys. The risk of getting caught, combined with the novelty, might make sex more exciting and pleasurable and can even bring couples closer. Seven in 10 survey respondents said having sex in an adventurous locale made them feel closer to their partner.
Of course, while you might enjoy the thrill of being discovered, make sure you aren't having sex in a highly populated area in the middle of the day, Lawrenz recommended. If you're camping on a beach, make the most of your setup and have sex inside a tent instead.
When you're outdoors, being thoughtful about when you have sex can help create ambience.
"Choosing a time at sunset or prior to daybreak can help set the mood and ensure a slight veil of darkness," Lawrenz suggested.
Explore new positions
As you're working with sand and being exposed to the natural elements, why not try out new positions?
"Being creative with a beach chair can help foster a positive sex-in-the-sand experience," Lawrenz said. You can also bring a mat or a comfy pillow.
"Being aware of different positions to use for penetrative sex can help you experience the beach and your partner in various ways," she added.
Here are a few sexual positions to play around with:
- Director's chair: Use a foldout chair to prop yourself and your partner up, O'Reilly explained. One partner sits on the chair while the other stands in front of them. If the chair is spacious enough, lie together in a spooning position.
- Doggy style: Try this position as long as your privates are away from the sand, Laino recommended. Note that this position isn't the most discreet, so it's probably best if you're in a tent or where no one else is around.
- Girl on top, missionary or legs-up: This position can work nicely, but make sure to set a large towel or blanket down to avoid sand getting into your genital area.
- Reverse cowgirl: Having one partner on top and facing away can allow them to be fully immersed in the environment while experiencing the pleasure of penetration, Lawrenz explained.
- Sand furniture: Use the sand to your advantage, O'Reilly suggested. Create a mound of sand to support you like a wedge pillow. "You can use it in doggy-style—with a blanket between you and the sand—or simply use it to prop your hips and legs to experiment with new angles while you're on your back," she added.
- Spooning position: If you're concerned about lurking voyeurs, spooning and having sex with your clothes on is a good choice. When spooning, there's a chance that the partner whose arm is situated on the bottom can get squished. "Dig a little ditch in the sand for that lower arm, lay a blanket on top and enjoy the intimacy of full-body contact," O'Reilly said. "Sex is not just penile-vaginal sex; it can also be oral sex or digital penetration," Lawrenz added.
Just to note, if you're planning on any masturbation, self-pleasure on the beach is still considered sex on a beach.
Unless you're at a beach or private club where sex is specifically permitted, people around you have not consented to be a part of your sexual experience, O'Reilly noted.
"Respect their boundaries," she added. "You don't expect to see people have sex on a public beach while you're walking with your family, so consider what their expectations might be. A secluded cove at 3 a.m. is not the same as an open stretch at sunset."
Make sure it's legal
Be aware of any local laws about having sex in public. But just to give you a head start, in most states in the U.S., and in the world at large, it's a misdemeanor to have sex in public. In other words, if someone can see you, it's not legal.
Bottom line: Be discreet. Try to be quiet when doing the deed.
You might be able to enjoy sex at a private beach, or stake out a secluded or remote place that's hidden from passersby.
"If you're traveling out of the country, respect their laws and customs," O'Reilly said. "Don't assume that you can break the rules just because you're away from home."
Sex in the sand can be hot and fun. But make sure you mind the rules and are respectful of your partner, passersby and the environment.