Shower sex was some sort of mysterious sexual milestone that loomed over me, mocked me, for years. I was too scared about slippage and too insecure about my body to ever consider partnering up in the rain closet the way I saw in movies, and even heard about from some of my more adventurous and care-free friends. Growing up, I had seen so many different advice columns and magazine spreads about “How To Have Great Shower Sex” and all of them seemed to convey the same message: it’s kinda awkward, it’s probably gonna hurt, bruises are to be expected, but he’ll love looking at you, so it’s totally worth it! Nothing about the way shower sex has been marketed to me over the years has made it seem like something for me, something for my own pleasure, so I consciously steered clear and instead maintained my solo bathing act.
It wasn’t until my junior year of college, when I found myself in my first long-term relationship, that I decided to give it a try, mostly out of necessity. For clarification, I’m the kind of gal who doesn’t want another face or set of hands poking around downstairs unless I’ve showered within the past couple of hours, and as someone who generally opts for an every-other-day shower sched (you’re welcome, environment), this can make daily sex an exhausting and tedious endeavor. Once I inevitably got sick of trying to time my showers to achieve peak vaginal freshness for each visit from the boyfriend (a paranoia that I understand is a problematic symptom of anti-vaginal smear campaigns propagated with the intent to make women insecure about their fur burgers. Totally separate note: use caution when looking to Urban Dictionary for slang words for “vagina”), I decided to take a risk and invite him into the shower with me. Excitedly, he agreed. Shocker! Together, we pulled back the curtain and hopped into our steamy sex vessel--the artist formerly known as the shower--unsure of what to expect, and also where to stand so that we could both be warm at the same time. Just as the magazines had promised, it was a little awkward at first. Eventually, however, we adapted to our new environment (don’t worry, no one sprouted gills) and took to the water like ducks. But not in a weird way or anything.
Five minutes in and against all odds, I hadn’t broken any bones. It surprised me, but shower sex was actually...really fun?
Not only did I feel 10 times sexier than I thought I could under the conditions, there was something especially thrilling about being two bodies in a space that I’d always only known as a space for one. And in a dorm shower, it’s really a space for one. Sidenote: I’ve had sex in some smaaaallllll showers in my time--if there were sex heroes, I’d be one by now. Anyway, while I thought it was kind of creepy having him wash my hair--a popular tip I’d read in many of these magazines--we did soap each other up, and proceeded to enjoy the feeling of closeness and separation from the rest of the world as the droning water drowned out any other intrusive thoughts and/or dorm noises. Yes indeed, it was all soap and roses until we went for the ...penetration. *shudders*
Trying to engage in P-in-V sex in the shower was like trying to walk up a wall of banana peels despite having left your no-slip grip Nikes in the car--in that, it was a grave and slippery mistake. Furthermore, it was a mistake made solely out of internalized societal pressure and expectations to adhere to a strict definition of what constitutes Shower Sex™ as outlined by those same sex columns, magazines, and other media that had informed my understanding of it over the years. Before that addition, I was enjoying myself so much more than I had ever expected; but all of a sudden, I was slipping around everywhere, knocking body parts into walls and corners, and getting mouthfuls of water that I was really not into. Of course hindsight is 20/20, etc., but just the foreplay would have been enough for me.
First of all, sex is not a Martha Stewart recipe; you never have to follow a strict set of rules (except for the rule of mutual and enthusiastic consent, of course). Intimacy does not belong solely to the narrow category of people who have sex with penises, and it isn’t limited to the act of inserting a penis into another person’s orifices, though that is one option. Shower sex doesn’t have to be a slippery, bruise-inducing dangerfest that you’re warned about and then encouraged to try by a number of sex advice columns. Shower sex can often be more enjoyable when it’s just the two of you (or more than the two of you, depending on how many people you can fit) sudsin’ and steamin’ it up, enjoying the naked company of the other. Despite the many tantrums I threw between the ages of seven and 12 about not wanting to take them, my burgeoning adulthood has shown me that showers can actually be a fun way to improve intimacy with a partner, potentially the save the environment a little water, and also take care of your bodies at the same time. Brb shower. ;)