If you have the foresight to know you’ll be having sex in a tent, bigger is better, says Israel Helfand, PhD, the author behind Sexploration. The main benefit is pretty self-explanatory: more room to stretch out. But a larger tent can also be used for dancing, role play, and other forms of foreplay, Dr. Helfand says.
No matter how big your tent is, chances are good that you’ll be a little cramped. So spooning is a great position for tent sex (and after-sex cuddling). “It’s good for low-ceiling tents,” Dr. Helfand says. If you get too hot cuddling your partner that closely, he suggests cooling off by jumping in a nearby brook or pond.
Unlike when you’re all alone in your home (with running water), you’ll have to think ahead about how you’re going to clean up post-sex. That includes wiping yourself down and disposing of any condoms or dental dams that you use. So, Dr. Helfand suggests using little plastic tubs to carry water from a stream or other water source to the outside of your tent. After you’re done, you can just dip a cloth in the water to wipe up.
Also good to keep in your tent? A trash bag. You can use that to discretely dispose of used condoms and dental dams, instead of having to carry them to a larger trash can outside.
It’s probably not the best idea to start a fire and keep it going while you’re having sex, but a post-coital fire can be incredible, Dr. Helfand says. It can even help you get in the mood for round two (or three, or four). “A nice fire outside is useful to warm and dry those sweaty parts, so you can get back to it,” he says.
“Food after a sex workout is similar to having the munchies,” Dr. Helfand says. So keep some snacks stashed in your tent to refuel after sex or between rounds. Dr. Helfand suggests trail mix, granola, cheese and crackers, dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate. It can’t hurt to have some wine, too.
If you know that you’ll be getting down and dirty (in all the good ways) in your tent, then it might be worth it to invest in some gear that’ll make tent sex way more comfortable, says Rachel Needle, PsyD, licensed psychologist and co-director of Modern Sex Therapy Institutes. She recommends buying an air mattress so you’ll be raised off the (inevitably lumpy) ground. Outside Magazine also recommends gear like foam cushions and dry down pillows.
“If you’re backpacking into the wilderness, you need not worry about noise,” says Dr. Helfand. Family campgrounds are another story. Nothing kills a sex drive like listening to a family of four make s’mores at the campsite next door. So, if you can, plan to set up your tent in a place where your sexplorations can go uninterrupted.
Even if you’re not worried about camping neighbors (or find the idea of getting caught kind of hot), location is important. Because no one wants a surprise rock digging into their bum as they’re getting busy. So be careful to avoid rocks, roots, and other protrusions when you’re scouting the location for your tent.
Depending on the time of year that you’re camping, bugs could become a problem, Dr. Helfand says. “May flies, deer flies, horse flies and no-see-ums can really suck,” he says. While there’s not much you can do to avoid bugs if they’re there, be aware if they’re around, and apply an extra layer of bug spray before you take all your clothes off.
Finding a secluded location could help you avoid this problem, but if you’re at a family campground, Dr. Helfand suggests using your inside voices (which can actually be really erotic). And, you can always build the sexual tension in your tent at night and then find a secluded spot outside to get loud, he says.
There are other ways to stifle your noise, too, of course. “Depending on how much noise you typically make during sex, putting on some music can help mask the sound,” Dr. Needle says. And if you’re face-to-face with your partner, you can kiss when you want to moan or scream. Or, bite down on your pillow to hold back your moans. “Even gazing into your partner’s eyes or verbally telling them how good the sex feels can be hot and less noisy,” she says.
You’re already having adventurous sex by taking it out of your house and into the wilderness, so there’s no need to get too creative with your positions, Dr. Needle says. And letting yourself use easier sex positions like missionary, side-by-side or bending over your air mattress can make tent sex much more comfortable. “If you want a variation of missionary position, put a rolled up sleeping bag or pillow under you to prop your hips up,” she says. “This position changes the angle and allows for deeper penetration.”
Even easy, low-energy sex positions like side-spooning can be fun and intimate, Dr. Needle says, because you’ll have to hold your partner close, and you can ramp up the excitement by moving their hands to caress your body.