How to Have Sex While Camping
Picture this: You’re lying on your back next to your partner, fingers intertwined, the two of you staring up into a starry sky so big it feels as if you’re being swallowed by space. The air is cool on your faces, your bodies warm, wrapped up in sleeping bags you’ve unzipped to get closer. You can continue the narrative on your own from there—but it sounds pretty nice, right?
Camping is an opportunity to get closer to nature, but it can also be an excellent time to get closer to a partner. That said, the wilderness presents unique challenges that can prevent you from fully enjoying the experience. When it comes to pitching a tent after you've pitched your tent, preparation might be the sexiest thing.
Discuss your expectations
From what you’ll cook on the campfire to who is packing the gear, camping requires planning and teamwork. Communicating your expectations around outdoor sex—whether you’re both down to get dirty, how you’ll clean up without access to showers, what you should bring that feels sexy and romantic—is just as necessary for a mutually enjoyable experience.
First, be clear on whether or not you want your camping trip to get intimate. In discussing expectations, you may find that a partner is not getting naked with that many bugs around, or they might prefer a glamping cabin instead of a tent for added comfort and privacy.
“Start a dialogue and make it fun,” said Laura Borichevsky, host of the Sex Outside podcast. Talking about it beforehand is “a great way to make sure everyone is feeling comfortable and prepared—and then you can be more spontaneous in the moment.”
If you know that sex is on the table (or atop a fireside folding chair for the more adventurous), you can keep that in mind when choosing where you’ll camp, what you’ll pack and how you might prepare for romance. Then you can embrace whatever opportunities for seductive moments feel right, from skinny dipping in an alpine lake to a quickie on the trail.
Find the right camping spot
The best camping spot will be entirely based on what kind of experience you’re looking for—but privacy and amenities are important things to consider.
Borichevsky prefers backcountry camping—venturing beyond established, drive-in campgrounds by hiking (or boating) with everything you need on your back. “Riverside spots are great,” she said. “There’s more ambient noise by moving water,” which she enjoys for the freedom to make some noise of your own without every forest critter overhearing you. But you’ll need to possess basic wilderness skills, such as hiking with a heavy pack and filtering drinking water.
If you’re newer to sleeping under the stars, stick to campgrounds where you can load everything you need in the car and access amenities such as toilets and running water. Popular wilderness destinations tend to be crowded and might even book out months in advance, especially in summer, so do your research before you head out. Look for established campgrounds where the sites are spaced out and separated by trees for privacy. The Dyrt, Recreation.gov, Hipcamp and local state park pages all provide details on sites to help you find the right one.
Bring extras to feel clean and sexy
Whether you’re going hard on a hike or just cooking over a campfire, you’re bound to get dirty when camping. (That’s part of the fun!) But when it comes time for sex, you’re going to want to freshen up. “Not feeling clean is the number one thing that can get in the way of having a nice time,” Borichevsky said, “especially if it’s penetrative [sex].”
Baby wipes are a popular go-to for removing the grime of the day. For a waste-free version, Borichevsky loves Kula Cloths, which are squares of antimicrobial material, designed for women to wipe down (then rinse and reuse) after urinating outdoors.
Even with wipes handy, you’ll want to avoid nature coming too close to your private parts. Plants and bugs can cause ugly reactions with the potential to ruin your trip, so bring what you need to keep your sleeping/sex space tidy, such as a tarp or blanket you can throw down in the dirt.
Cleanliness isn’t just a preference when it comes to sex. It’s also an important health consideration. Women can be especially vulnerable to UTIs when spending time outside. “If you’re squatting to pee, sometimes the shake method doesn’t totally work,” Borichevsky said. She carries a portable sexual health test, Scanwell, which includes test strips and an app to diagnose UTIs and connect you with a third party to order a prescription at the local pharmacy.
Go wild, but responsibly
A romp in the woods, especially in places where you’re exposed to earth and the sky, can be a thrill. But the wilderness is not your private playground. It’s home to all kinds of life—and other people want to enjoy it, too.
Keep Leave No Trace principles in mind, which will help you minimize your impact on wild places. If you’re bringing toilet paper or wet wipes to wash up after sex, dispose of them properly in nearby garbage cans or bring a sealable bag to carry them out with you.
Also important: Sex in public is a misdemeanor in many states, and is punishable by up to a year in prison in Texas. If you take care to make sure no one sees you, you’re probably fine. But don’t ruin someone’s family camping trip by being too public or too loud. To avoid any awkward encounters with a park ranger, remember to adhere to quiet hour rules in established campgrounds.
Respect should always be top of mind for sexual experiences—for your partner and yourself. If Mother Nature is involved, respect her, too.