How to Have Super Intimate, Romantic Sex In the Bath
Including nine bathtub sex positions that are sure to make a ~splash~.
There are a lot of depictions of shower sex in movies and shows, but if you've ever given it a go, you know it's not for the faint of heart. What I don't understand is why we rarely ever see people having sex in the bath.
Don't get me wrong; there's a lot of sensual, romantic, pre-sex (I assume) soaking in the bathtub. Bathtubs equate to romance in our culture. They're seen as part of the overall seduction, but not for actual sex.
But, if you ask me, a certified sex educator and explorer of MANY sex settings, I can say quite definitively that sex in a bathtub is actually much more reasonable than shower sex: you're lying or sitting down, there is warm water all around you, and the likeliness of an accident happening is pretty low.
Sure, you might get pruney, but isn't that worth it for a highly sexual bathtub experience? We have all the tips you need right here to have truly orgasmic sex in a bathtub.
How to Have (Great) Sex In the Bath
Step 1: Relax, wash, soak.
I am here for the whole "romance in the bath" thing. Because bathtubs are romantic. Lean into that. Instead of rushing into the sexy bits, take your time and lather up. Enjoy the smells and suds. The bathtub offers up an entire sensory experience on a porcelain platter. You have all those expensive soaps, bath bombs, and lavender Epsom salts — make the most of them. Light some candles all around the tub (or bathroom), cue up some music, and make a whole sensual scene out of rubbing, washing, and snuggling each other. This bit of relaxing, sensual foreplay can help ease you into the experience — after all, relaxation is a key component of the sexual arousal cycle, especially for people who have vulvas.
One thing to note: Bath products such as bath bombs and fragranced soaps can mess with your vaginal health, so if you're prone to yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, or other irritation, consider keeping your in-water additives as basic as possible.
Step 2: Make the most of surfaces.
The surface areas available in bathtubs already offer a smorgasbord of sexual options. Where there are steady surfaces, there are orgasms to be had. Try sitting on the side of the tub so your partner can give you oral or hand sex while your bottom is comfortably shelved (or vice versa!). Bonus: They get to stay in the nice warm water, which will keep them from freezing their asses off — which is not a great way to maintain erotic energy. (More on making the most of bathtub sex positions below.)
Step 3: Toys and lube are not just for the bedroom.
It's 2021, pals. A lot of sex toys are bathtub-safe now. Keep in mind that "waterproof" is different from "submersible." Sometimes vibrators will say waterproof when what they mean is "splashproof." Before taking a toy with a motor into the bath, read the directions fully and be sure that your toy is truly bathtub safe.
In the market for one? I love this vibrator from SVAKOM (Buy It, $98, amazon.com) that looks and moves like an octopus and this palm vibrator from PlusOne (Buy It, $21, walmart.com) for the bath. They're both small, made from body-safe silicone, and will not be destroyed when dropped in the water. Or, have some fun with this sex toy that looks like a rubber duck (Buy It, $38, babeland.com).
Ok, now really listen to me: Don't forget the lube. Water is wet, but that doesn't mean it is lubricant. Water actually washes away the natural lubricant that the vagina produces. But the vagina's natural lubrication is often not enough lube anyway, so always, always, always use lube.
For bath play, I personally recommend using an oil-based lube like Woo More Play Coconut Love Oil (Buy It, $20, woomoreplay.com). As a lube and a bath soak, coconut oil keeps your skin soft and moisturized while giving you the staying power you need during water sex — but it is NOT latex friendly. If you're using latex barrier methods (such as condoms), stay away from oil-based lubes and bath products, as they can degrade the latex and cause breakage. Oil is safe to use with your toys, just be sure to thoroughly wash them, as oil can leave a residue that can lead to bacterial growth — and no one wants that! If you're using condoms, stick with a water-silicone hybrid, such as Sliquid or an aloe-based lubricant like Queen V P.S. I Lube You Organic Personal Lubricant (Buy It, $23, amazon.com) or Cake (Buy It, $14, hellocake.com).
Step 4: Penetration is fun, but it's not necessary.
We need to move away from penetration (or penis-in-vagina/PIV intercourse) as the definition of what makes sex "sex." Putting intercourse at the top of the sexual hierarchy only really makes for sexual letdowns. It can be very fun and pleasurable, but it isn't better than any other sex act. I bring this up now because having penetrative intercourse in the bathtub is hard AF. That said, there are lots of alternative sexual things you can do that are just as fun.
In fact, Taylor Sparks, erotic educator and founder of Organic Loven, of one of the largest BIPOC-owned online intimacy shops, points out that having penetrative sex in bathwater can actually be kind of gross. "Every time your partner (male/female) strokes, they push all of the bathwater [which may include soaps, germs from bodies, dirt, etc.] into the vagina. This can typically lead to an unbalanced pH, which could lead to a yeast infection or some other type of unpleasant vaginosis."
That is not something anyone needs. To avoid this pitfall, stick to penetrative positions that don't involve a lot of thrusting, such as those listed below. Or simply feel free to explore other sex acts. Just make sure to rinse off after any type of sex to make sure there isn't any bacteria or residue left on the skin, which can cause vaginal infections or skin irritation.
Step 5: Things to consider before jumping in.
Before getting into the bath with someone, it's important to take stock of a few important details. You want to chat about consent, current STI status, whether or not they have a disability you should know about, and whether or not they'd even be down to clown in the tub. Everyone has different preferences and physical limitations.
"Never be afraid to advocate for yourself even when 'caught up' in a moment," says Tiana North, a polyamorous educator. If you're using a barrier method (such as a condom) to protect against pregnancy or STI transmission, be sure to put it on before getting into the tub, so you can be sure it's securely in place. For dental dams, stick to using them outside the tub to avoid slippage.
One more thing: "Make sure the water is not too full so that when both of you get into the tub it doesn't overflow," suggests Kenneth Play, an international educator and creator of the Sex Hacker Pro Series, a 70-video series on becoming a better lover.
8 Bathtub Sex Positions to Try
1. Doggy Style
How to do it: Try this one "outside of the tub, bent over for a modified doggy position, holding on to the edge of the tub," says Sparks. If you're blessed with a huge bathtub, this might be doable inside the tub as well; just try to keep the water lower than vagina-level, as to not shove water up there. You may also want to have a towel (or something else squishy) for extra knee support since bathtubs aren't exactly joint-friendly.
The perks: Doggy style is great for deep penetration. Once you're all warmed up and raring to go, this animalistic position can be just the ticket.
How to tweak it: If it's not working for you in the bathroom, post-bath, take your doggy style position into the bedroom. This can help with height disparities between you and your partner. Plus, it's easier on the knees.
2. Reverse Rider
How to do it: "While in the tub, straddle your partner in cowgirl/rider or reverse cowgirl/rider," says Sparks. Have your partner lie in the tub and then lower yourself onto them, sitting backwards.
The perks: The top controls the speed, which can be helpful in a small space such as a tub. Plus, you'll look like a frickin' mermaid, and those visuals are priceless.
How to tweak it: You can go full monty and include penetration, but this is also a great position for hand sex, grinding, or playing with bathtub-safe toys.
3. The Lotus
How to do it: The penetrating partner sits in the tub, with their legs crossed in front. The top partner climbs into their lap, facing them, either with feet planted on the bottom of the tub or with legs wrapped around the bottom partner (this will depend on comfort, anatomy, and the spatial availability of your tub). Instead of moving up and down, rock bath and forth for more clitoral stimulation. This is a good opportunity to use bath-safe toys.
The perks: "It's sensual and doesn't focus on a lot of movement or thrusting, which is hard to do in the bathtub," says Play. This position allows for deep kissing and lots of passion — perfect for a bathtime setting. (It's also easy to see why this is a tantic sex position.)
How to tweak it: The lotus position is fabulous for clit stimulation, so grab your lube and bathtime sex toys. Penetration is definitely not required. What's so nice about this position is the intimacy it provides — there's no need to do anything besides enjoy one other. If the bottom's legs can't comfortably cross, they can keep them straight or with their knees up instead.
4. The Sexy Tub Snug
How to do it: One partner lies flat on their back in the tub. (Hopefully, their feet can reach the other end of the tub so they can comfortably keep themselves above water. If not, this might not work for you, and that's okay.) The other partner lies on top of them, face down. You're straight-up just stacked on top of each other. This position is ideal for grinding your genitals and general intimacy. It's not as much a penetrative sex position as it is a great position for building up sensation for more fun to be had later (in the tub or in bed).
The perks: "We like this idea because it doesn't involve tons of thrusting, which can awkward in the bathtub," says Play. This position is very sweet and intimate, even without any fondling of genitals. It's nice to snuggle your boo, with or without orgasms.
How to tweak it: Make it orgasmic by "using a vibrator to get [your partner] off while you hold them. Lelo's Smart Wand 2 Vibrator (Buy It, $199, lelo.com) is waterproof and has a nice handle to get a good position from any angle." Or, instead of using a toy, you can grind up against one other. It's really about using each other's bodies to get some friction happening.
5. The Shower Head of Glory
How to do it: The giving partner sits in the tub while the receiving partner sits in between their legs, leaning back against them. The giving partner then uses the showerhead as a sex toy. "This feels really good, and is often the way women get off on their own, so it can be a super intimate experience," says Play. No detachable showerhead? One partner can always shove their bits under the facet while the other person sits behind and plays with their nipples, etc. — perhaps with the help of The Water Slyde from Loveability (Buy It, $35, lovabilityinc.com). You simply tie the ribbon around the faucet and the perfectly shaped slide allows the water to run right over your vulva. (Related: The Best (and Safest!) Shower Sex Positions)
The perks: This is a very cozy way to have an orgasm, as it requires minimal effort for both partners. In a luxurious bath, luxurious sex positions can make it feel extra decadent. It brings on intimacy and closeness to control someone else's orgasm. And with a showerhead, it can feel very loving and tender — a big leap from the agressive sex we see in mainstream porn. "I love being in between my partner's legs, leaning my back against their body while their arms are wrapped around me controlling a toy and my orgasm," North says. You get to just lie back and enjoy.
How to tweak it: If the receiving partner would rather hold the shower head themselves, that's totally on the table. Play around with what works for you. If the showerhead doesn't reach (or you don't have one in the bath, use a toy instead. Your partner will have a great time watching you enjoy yourself so much, all naked and slippery.
6. Face-to-Face Masturbation
How to do it: Sit face-to-face, with each person at one end of the tub. Use toys, the showerhead, or hands to masturbate in front of each other.
The perks: You get a front row seat to how your partner likes to touch themselves, which is both visually stimulating and a personal materclass in how your partner likes to be stimulated. A lot of what turns people on is visual, so getting your own personal erotic show can be extremely hot.
How to tweak it: Depending on the amount of room you have, you can masturbate one at a time or one person can assist the other. While one person touches themselves, the other can suck on nipples, give them deep kisses, or caress their body in whichever way they like.
7. Side-Sitting Queening (or Blowjob)
How to do it: The receiving partner sits on the edge of the tub, legs spread. The giving partner then goes down on them. Literally, like a queen being worshipped in a bathtub. You don't get more glamorous than that, if you ask me. You can do the same position if the person receiving has a penis. Oral sex for everyone, pals!
The perks: The receiving partner gets to enjoy all the delightful scents of the oils and candles, the visuals of their partner in soft lighting, and they get to totally focus on themselves and their orgasm.
How to tweak it: If sitting on the edge of the bath is uncomfortable (or cold), stay cozy in the bath with other fun sex acts and then go try this on the bed or a chair instead.
8. Solo Sex
How to do it: As a certified sex educator, my favorite sex position for the bath is one that doesn't involve a partner at all. Grab your favorite toys and put on a sexy playlist because bathtub sex is the perfect place for sex by yourself. "For solo sex in the bathtub, I swear by my Womanizer Starlet 2 (Buy It, $94, ellaparadis.com) for underwater clitoral love," says Ryn Pfeuffer, sex and relationships writer and author of 101 Ways to Rock Online Dating. "If I'm feeling adventurous, I'll double-down and use Betty Dodson's Barbell (Buy It, $165, etsy.com) in my vagina. The stainless steel sex toy weighs one pound, which keeps it in place."
The perks: You're warm and relaxed under the water. You can take your time. You get to simply enjoy your own company and listen to what your body wants. There's no one to please. No pressure. It's all you, baby.
How to tweak it: If you want to just lie there and relax, sip a glass of wine, and also masturbate, try The Water Slyde from Loveability. It's a bath-loving, pillow-princess' dream come true.
How to do it: For two vagina-owners, "sit facing each other in a scissoring position to allow both vaginas to be penetrated, by a double-ended dildo," says Pfeuffer. Make sure to use lots of lube in this position if you want to try it; you should always use lube with sex toys, especially in water, as water washes away natural lubrication. Instead of thrusting, grind against the dildo while it's inside both of you.
And scissoring isn't just for vulvas: You can also do this position with one vagina and one penis — you don't even need penetration at all. Grinding is a good old time, no matter the genitals you or your partner possess.
The perks: This position can feel pretty kinky and adventurous, without being too difficult to pull off.
How to tweak it: Skip penetration altogether. You can just grind against each other. You can also grab your toys and stimulate yourself or each other. This position, like all the positions here, are doable with any and all body parts. There are no limits.
Gigi Engle, ACS, is a certified sex educator and author of All The F*cking Mistakes: A Guide to Sex, Love, and Life.