Illustration by Cathryn Virginia
Sometimes, despite the protestations of onlookers, people who want to hook up can’t just “get a room.” When the only semi-private space at your disposal is on the smaller side—like a car, a bathroom, or even a closet—it pays to know how to improvise. Whether you’re getting it on in a smaller space out of necessity (lack of privacy) or fantasy (the thrill of it all), there are certain considerations to keep in mind to help ensure you have fun (and minimize your likelihood of getting caught).
Advice on the finer points of having great sex.
It’s helpful if the clothing you’re wearing is easy-access, and even better if most of it can stay on your bodies throughout in case you need to unexpectedly bolt or make yourselves decent. Skirts and dresses are the gold standard—short ones and long, flowing ones each come with their own benefits. So do pants that can be pulled down or up quickly, like those with stretchy waistbands or zippers instead of button flies. (In general, you don’t want to have to worry about complicated straps, buckles, or laces.)OK! So now that you’re wearing your most erotic nylon basketball shorts, let’s talk about actually getting down to business in a tiny little zone. Small-space sex comes with its own unique thrills and discomforts—there are only so many places to put one’s legs in a Volvo hatchback, after all. But ergonomic, accessibility, and flexibility factors aside, you’re only limited by your imagination. No matter where you are, handjobs, fingering, and whatever other kind of manual stimulation you’re into are ideal ways of having sex at the drop of a hat. You can do them without fully removing any clothing; they’re discreet; and they work both standing or sitting, with very little flexibility or intense movement involved either way. You and your partner can also give and receive at the same time, which can help cut down on time if you’re aiming for a quickie.
Oral and penetrative sex take a little more maneuvering and space. Let’s break things down by some hypothetical venues for your tight squeeze:
Location and timing are important. Choose a place to park that offers as much privacy as possible, such as after-hours parking lots in regional or national parks, empty-ish parking garages (either at night or at a slow time in the afternoon—though be aware that many have cameras, so make sure your lights are off inside), or quiet, residential neighborhoods (don’t park under a streetlight!). If possible, wait until a time when few or, ideally, no people who could potentially see you might be around. Late-night forays tend to be safer options for this reason.Car sex positions depend on your flexibility, patience, and how much you can focus on pleasure if your leg falls asleep, but there are plenty of options to try. Hand jobs, as mentioned, can be easily accomplished here without drawing much attention to yourselves. For oral, push the passenger seat all the way back (we’re talking about adjusting the seat itself, not just reclining the upper part), and have the giving partner kneel or crouch in between the receiver’s feet. (The receiving partner can also be the lookout.) For penetrative sex, think of positions that keep you out of immediate view. For instance, if you’re in the backseat, try to lay down as flat as you can. If you’re less worried about staying out of view, seated lap positions (cowgirl, reverse cowgirl) can be hot, accessible, and one of the more comfortable options. You can even hold on to the headrest or steering wheel, to help you balance, rock, or bounce. No matter what position you try, crack the windows to avoid a Titanic handprint situation (i.e., steaming up the windows).
How to hook up in a car
If you’re doing it in a bathroom, you can’t beat the ones with locking doors when it comes to privacy, but make sure you’re not occupying the only one wherever you are. It’s rude, and you’re way more likely to get ratted out for pissing off the people who need to piss. Avoid multi-stall situations unless the doors run from the ceiling to the floor. “Family” bathrooms also lock and are increasingly common in malls, airports, and big box stores.Uncrowded dressing rooms with doors that fully close and lock are also good for giving head, although you might prefer to crouch instead of kneeling on their floors. Also choose a dressing room where there is no attendant monitoring. Multi-level department stores are great, as you can try out different floors if one is too crowded. Small vertical spaces are also ideal for standing, from-behind positions. Use the wall for leverage, or if you trust that the bar (clothing or shower) is secure, hold onto that for leverage and balance. (Learn the ins and outs of shower sex here.) If you’re in a closet, be mindful of not sullying the clothes, especially if they’re not yours. In any space that doesn’t belong to you, absolutely do not leave a mess of any kind—not even a trace that you were there. And watch out for coat hooks!
How to have sex in a small space with a door, like a bathroom, closet, dressing room, or standing shower
Balconies are great, as their heights, gates/walls, and furniture often provide you with tons of privacy and different ways to get it on. Remember to turn the lights off in your space to ensure you’re not drawing attention to yourselves and pay heed to where other people’s windows are positioned in relation to you. If there’s no other furniture, standing, from-behind positions are discreet, hot, and in most cases, offer a nice view. Keep your clothes on and have one partner lean over and rest their arms on the railing or wall, while the insertive partner stands behind them.If there are chairs on the balcony, try a position that doesn’t immediately and obviously look like sex, especially at a distance, such as seated reverse cowgirl (which can look like lap-sitting). If it’s comfortable to lay down (blankets and pillows help), try a spooning sex position—you won’t need to fully extend your legs, and this is also something that can be accomplished without having to remove your clothes.
How to have sex on a private balcony
Whether or not you’ll truly have privacy can be the biggest wild card when it comes to small-space sex, especially if your decision to have sex is impromptu, but a little strategizing does go a long way. The first and most important thing to consider as you’re eyeing spots to hook up: Is there a significant chance that you’re going to be seen or heard by someone else? Just wait—even semi-private sex (like in a car or on an unshared balcony) isn’t without risk. Don’t expose a non-consenting person to your sex life just because you’re horny in a given moment. In most states, that’s also considered a misdemeanor crime. (Learn more about the particulars here, and don’t do anything illegal.) Some situations are especially unsuited for close-quarters hookups. Joining the mile-high club (aka, having sex in an airplane bathroom) is sometimes considered a small-space holy grail, but don’t bang there—flight attendants monitor these trysts much more actively now and have the power to unlock the door. Most important, though: They’re just trying to get through their workdays without having to be confronted with your sex life. Don’t be an asshole by making it someone else’s literal job to break up or clean up after your hookup. Finally: Avoid any place that likely has security cameras installed, such as elevators, public transportation, and traffic intersections. In any of the above scenarios: Consider how loud you can be without alerting others to what’s going on. Are you in a place where it’s OK to make a little noise, or are you in someone’s vacation house’s coat closet where you might be heard more easily? When in doubt, keep things as quiet as possible. After all that planning and repositioning, accidentally telling on yourself would really cramp your style (in addition to your legs). Otherwise, have fun getting up close and personal!Follow Anna Pulley on Twitter.