IMHO, shower sex is vastly overrated. I'm all for a literal and figurative warm-up in the shower, but when it goes farther than a makeout session and maybe some fingers here and there, things tend to devolve quickly from "meh" to "good-bye, all of my natural lubrication" to "please preemptively call 911 because I am about to fall and split my head open on the edge of this tub."
Sex therapist Vanessa Marin agrees that it scores higher marks in the public imagination than in reality: "Most people want to try it because they've seen a hot shower sex scene on TV or in a movie," she tells me, "but you have to keep in mind that there's an entire crew making sure that scene looks effortlessly sexy." If you don't have a team of professionals assisting you and you are still determined to have not-awful sexy times in your shower rather than that big, comfortable bed of yours a mere 10 feet away, read on for common shower sex struggles and how to tackle them, with insight from Marin.
1. You're slipping and falling everywhere.
If naked and concussed on your bathroom floor is not how you want to conclude your shower sex session, consider putting down a bath mat for better grip, something with a lot of traction.
2. You're getting soap exactly where you don't want it to be.
Soap and your vagina don't mix. Vaginas are self-cleaning, and you don't need products up in there at all—some soaps' ingredients can even lead to vaginal infection, and they're not something you want getting on a penis or dildo before it penetrates you. Nor do you want hair products dribbling from your hairline into your eyes during your passionate makeout. This one's an easy fix: Just get over the idea that you can kill two birds with one stone by getting clean while you have shower sex, and save the body wash/shampoo/conditioner for after your hookup.
3. You're under a stream of water, but you're not wet enough where it counts.
Water actually reduces natural vaginal lubrication, but you can reverse the trend with some silicone lube—Uberlube offers a great one, as does Trojan. Skip the water-based lube, since it washes away easily. Just keep in mind that silicone lube can degrade silicone toys.
4. It's taking too long for you to feel ready for penetration and the hot water is running out.
Showers are for quickies. It's best to be raring to go as soon as you step in, so consider doing your foreplay on dry land and then transferring to the shower for the big finale, whatever that means for you—or "use the shower to prolong the fun after you've had sex in a more comfortable place," Marin suggests. "It's not foreplay, it's afterplay! Our bodies are still really sensitive after orgasm, so it can be fun to hop in the shower together, soap each other up, and make out."
5. The space is too tight for most positions.
It's not just the size of the shower that can be limiting. Marin points out that when "you can't both fit under the stream of water, one of you is always left outside of it, freezing," which isn't exactly sensual. Get your bodies as close together as possible with standing positions: "If you want to try intercourse, the best position is to have the receiving partner bend over at the waist, and place their hands against the wall for leverage," Marin says. "The penetrating partner enters from behind. It's like standing doggy-style. If you put a rubber mat beneath your feet, this can end up being a relatively safe shower-sex position."
6. Your condom is up against some challenges.
Water in general can lead them to slip off, while hot water specifically can weaken their latex, and ingredients in soaps, body washes, shampoos, and conditioners—if you ignored no. 2—can reduce their effectiveness. And remember how water lessens your natural vaginal lubrication? More friction = a higher chance the condom will tear. If you need to use condoms with your partner, a shower just isn't the best place to do it.
7. OK, the penetrative sex thing just isn't working out.
But that's OK, because there are so many other sexy things you can do. "If you want to get it on in the shower, I highly recommend giving each other hand jobs," Marin says. "Use some silicone-based lube, and go to town on each other. You can both get off, but without having to worry about cracking your head on the tile." Check out more position ideas here, and consider treating yourself to a waterproof vibrator that won't prune like your fingers.
And, when all is said and done, remember: Your bed is still right where you left it.
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This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.