Dear MKE SEX,
My boyfriend and I had planned to go away for a B&B anniversary weekend this summer, but then when COVID-19 happened, we decided that we would rather go camping so that we wouldn’t have to worry about cross-contamination. I haven’t been camping since I was a kid, so I have never had to think about how to do sex in a place that didn’t have a queen size bed and a bathroom a few feet away. I don’t even know what to anticipate or how to prepare. Am I overthinking this? What are some pointers for having enjoyable sex in the great outdoors?
Avoiding crowds while celebrating big milestones can be so tricky. Your plan to take your two-person party to the woods is great! I have some general camping and sexy-while-camping tips to help you enjoy your time away.
First, and I can not emphasize this enough: book your campsite soon! Wisconsin campgrounds are almost full for the summer already. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has a great tool to help you find a site that is still available. If you can travel during the week, your chances of getting a campsite go way up at this point.
Camping is a wonderful way to minimize your risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Remember, it is also our duty to minimize the risk of exposing other people. To do that, you should take everything you will need for the weekend (except firewood) so that you don’t have to shop in the nearby towns. Wood will need to be purchased locally (most state parks sell it on site). If you’re using barrier methods of birth control or STI prevention, take a few extras just in case. If you do need to go to town for anything, please wear a mask in public spaces.
If you’re wanting to enjoy a romantic dinner while camping, keep in mind that you’ll have limited cooking capabilities. You’ll either be using a camp stove or cooking over an open fire. Both can be a little tricky if you haven’t had much practice lately. Think about foods that are easy to cook and digest. There are a ton things that can be cooked in a tin foil packet (a quick Google search will yield a ton of recipes). In the vein of keeping things easy while camping, consider getting your food ready to cook before you go.
Make sure you’re ready to fight off biting and stinging insects. Stock up on bug spray for yourselves and citronella candles for your picnic table. And keep your tent zipped up at all times to minimize bugs in your tent. Also, it’s important to check each other for ticks every day you’re camping. Grooming each other can be very intimate! Ticks don’t always attach on the head the way most of us think. You’ll want to look at any place on your body that has been exposed.
Oh! And don’t forget the sunscreen! Sex with a sunburn is very un-sexy for most folks. You can get a sunburn even if your campsite is completely shaded. Fortunately, you’ll have a companion to help you cover those hard to reach places.
Since you haven’t camped in a while, you might want to find a less rustic campground (referred to as family sites or modern sites on the DNR website) that has flushing toilets in the bathroom. Even in the woods, you’ll still want to pee after sex to prevent a UTI.
If possible, use sleeping bags that will zip together for more space. Or you can open one out flat and use the other as a blanket on top. Since your goal is romantic sexy, take mats for under your sleeping bags to make it a little softer. Because of the risk of bugs and sunburn, I really do recommend keeping your sexy time in your own tent. There’s another very important reason to keep your private time completely private. Camping is only a semi-private activity. If you’re camping at a state park or private campground, there are likely to be folks walking past your site at all hours. Unless your campsite is completely isolated from all of the other sites, there is a pretty good chance that your anniversary celebration could be observed by someone who did not consent to that.
Even in a tent, it’s possible to create ambiance. You can bring a bluetooth speaker and play your favorite mood-music. Having a favorite blanket over your sleeping bags to remind you of home can be very sweet. I wouldn’t recommend candles inside a tent (though some people use them with no problem), but there are lots of soft light lanterns that are battery powered. If you want to get really fancy, you could get a string of battery powered fairy lights and hang them up with little binder clips.
For clean up immediately after sex, you can use a water bottle with a sport top on it. Rinse yourself (or each other) right at your campsite, or take it with you to the toilet when you pee.
And finally! It’s important to be a good citizen of the natural world. One of the main principles of enjoying public outside space is to leave no trace. That means that anything you carry into your campsite needs to be carried out again. Even your used condoms, gloves and dental dams. If you have an extra quart-size resealable bag, you can contain all of your sex related garbage in one spot and then throw it away when you get back to town. Let the next person enjoy the space as much as you did.
Lucky Tomaszek, LM, CPM, knows that Black Lives Matter.