Beach Sex, Underwater Sex, Sex in the Heat: Q&A with Dr. Zhana

Hi everyone! Dr. Zhana here for another monthly Q&A on LELO’s Instagram. Since it’s been hot lately, we’re gonna talk about self-pleasure in the heat, sex, vacation sex… and any seasonal sex-related things.

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Q: What is the difference between summer sex and other seasons?

Excellent first question! The greatest difference, I think, is the fun fact that people have more sex during the summer months compared to any other season. It kind of makes sense because:

  • People have more free time.
  • It’s warmer out so there’s less clothing in the way.
  • There are more outdoor sex opportunities. 

Q: Any suggestions for sex at the beach? How to avoid getting sand in places?

A lot of you asked about sex on the beach, popular idea! I actually love sex on the beach because it can be super fun. Of course, you have to make sure that it’s really private and that it’s in a secluded area.

Sand is usually the popularly discussed issue. Sand is abrasive, so it creates micro-tears in the vaginal or penile tissue if you rub it in. These tears are uncomfortable and they also increase your risk of STIs. Sand also has germs from all the poop and pee of birds and kids on the beach, so you definitely want to minimize sand in your private parts. I would say bring a large, clean beach towel and think about positions that don’t require laying on the sand, like standing or leaning against a rock or a tree.

Also make sure you have access to fresh water to rinse off as soon as you’re done. Don’t rinse off with the salt water.

Q: Sex in the water! Is that just stupid? Is it bad for people with vaginas?

This was the second most common question you all asked – sex in a body of water (ocean, pool, lake and so on). I honestly like it. I think it’s fun to get frisky like that. I’ll be honest though, it often sounds better in theory than in practice. It also carries some risks. 

Water, generally speaking, dries you out the vagina or the anus, which can create more micro-tears and abrasions (with all the discomfort and increased STI risk that these tears bring). The salt in salt water is also abrasive. So if you’re going to do it in the water, I’d say bring some silicone-based lube. It doesn’t rub off as quickly as water-based lube. 

Also, all bodies of water have some amount of germs (bacteria and viruses). Pools and spas, and especially public pools in particular, have a lot of germs. All this can increase the risk of contracting UTIs and other infections. You also can’t use condoms in water, so pregnancy still remains a risk. 

Finally, sometimes penises don’t work very well in the water because it’s too cold. I personally find non-penetrative sex in water much more fun and interesting—and more successful—than trying penetration.

All that said, you only live once and if this sounds like something you want to try for yourself, decide if the risks are worth it to you. Who am I to tell you don’t do it? I’ve done it… so have fun!

Q: Is there a lube that can be used safely internally?

All lubes advertised as personal lubricants are supposed to be safe to use internally, which I assume you mean inside the vagina or the anus. That said, different lubes have different ingredients, so you might find some are better for you than others.

Some people try to avoid the following ingredients in lube for various reasons:

  • glycerine
  • parabens
  • nonoxynol 9
  • chlorhexidine gluconate
  • propylene glycol
  • petroleum

You may or may not be sensitive to one or more of these.

There are a lot of good lubes out there. I personally quite like LELO’s water-based lube for most purposes, but it’s really a personal preference: Try different things and see which one works for your body.

Q: What’s a quick way to cool off between sessions w/someone while still keeping the mood hot?

I assume you mean cooling off in terms of temperature hot, like getting all the sweat off and all that because it can get pretty sweaty during summer sex. My favorite way to do that is to take a shower together or jump in a pool, lake or ocean. Or just blast the AC?

Q: Does masturbation affect the results of my workout?

No. Masturbate away!

Q: What is your favorite LELO product? And when will you release everything in black?

I actually have no idea if or when LELO will release everything in black (and I hear you girl, I love black too). But I can tell you what my favorite toys are! I have a few, depending on my needs: I love the SONA clitoral massager for mind-blowing clitoral, sonic pulsating orgasms; the SORAYA rabbit vibrator for dual action, internal and external; and the BILLY massager for anal pleasure.

Q: I hardly climax/ejaculate after the first “round”; what can be the cause of that?

I don’t know how many times you think you should be able to ejaculate after you’ve come once, but one time is pretty typical. All penis-owners have a refractory period, the period after ejaculation where they cannot get hard or come again. Even if you do get hard again and can maintain the erection for a while, it’s quite typical not to be able to ejaculate again. 

The length of the refractory period varies quite a bit from person to person. It can be a few minutes, especially if you are younger, and it can last up to 20-30 hours sometimes as you get older. The average refractory period for 18-year-olds is 15 min; 20 hours for 70-year-olds and 30 minutes for all penis-owners. Very few penis-owners show a refractory period lasting less than 10 seconds.

Q: Is it possible that it is more or less difficult for me to orgasm depending on penis size?

Absolutely! Anatomical compatibility between you and your partner can make a difference. Size, shape and curvature of the penis can all make a difference in how easy it is for you to get an orgasm. And, of course, it matters how they use what they have too.

Q: Is giving head to an uncircumcised penis done differently?

Yes and no, it depends. With uncircumcised penises, you kind of have two options for what to do with them during oral sex. You can pull the foreskin all the way down and hold it with your hand and just treat the penis like you would a circumcised penis, or you can incorporate the foreskin in the act by gliding it up and down the shaft, either with your hand or your mouth. You can also mix and match these techniques during the blowjob. To some extent, it’s a personal preference.

Okay folks, that is it for me today! I hope this was useful and you learned some stuff. I hope you’re also staying healthy and sane during this insane time. I’ll be back next month to answer more of your questions.

Written by: Dr. Zhana

Zhana Vrangalova, PhD, is a NYC-based sex researcher who studies casual sex, nonmonogamy, and sexual orientation. She holds a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University, teaches Human Sexuality at New York University, shares new sex research on social media, and runs the Casual Sex Project, a place for people to share their true hookup stories. She provides daily sex education using the live video streaming app Periscope, and is currently writing a book about the science of healthy hookups.

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