While talking about sex with a friend of mine, I expressed my ambivalence toward shower sex and was met with a completely incredulous response. “Shower sex is the reason I believe in God,” he said. “Your partner is clearly not 11 inches taller than you,” I replied. It’s true. The most challenging thing aspect of my relationship isn’t that it’s long distance or that we both have incredibly full work schedules. The single most grating thing about my relationship is that my partner is 6’3”. Or maybe it is that I’m only 5’4”. What it amounts to is that being around him is like being around a giant. When I go to his house for dinner, I can’t help but think of Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, feeling like I’m seeing everything from a much smaller perspective than everyone else.
If Jack had ever wanted to make out with one of those giants, he would have found it very difficult. Although an 11-inch height difference doesn’t quite compare to that between a human and a giant, I feel like Jack and
I would have shared the same pain. Making out cannot happen standing up. A peck on the lips involves tiptoes and craning my neck as far back as it’ll go, in one of the least comfortable positions I can imagine.
Eleven inches means I can step up two stairs and still be looking at his chin.
When you translate that into the shower, you get limited kissing because of the discomfort; and your face turned up like you’re watching fireworks on the fourth of July, which means you’re in the perfect position to swallow water. When it comes to the actual physical connection of sex, the fact is that parts just don’t fit together as well as they do in a bed. Dancing is hard enough. Grinding for the two of us means his knees are bent, practically to 90 degrees, like he’s sitting in a chair. There’s something innately unsexy about thinking about doing squats while your partner is rubbing her ass against your jeans. Sex in the shower is even more difficult than that. Picture someone bent at the waist, on his or her tiptoes, hands on the wet, slippery shower wall. Now picture someone behind that person, also bent at the waist, as well as at the knees. With no eyes at crotch level, getting the ball in the hole is hard enough. Add all the wet factors to it — the slippery wall, the slippery floor, the flowing water, and the fact that vaginal fluid is water soluble — and you’re basically looking at a circus. Picture clowns slipping on banana peels, trying not to land face first.
I imagine there are ways around this situation. But let me tell you the ways that are not. In order to navigate around the problem of height, do not attempt to stand on the edge of the tub. Your feet are slippery. The tub is slippery. There is very little to hold on to, besides the shower curtain rod, and that thing is not as stable as one might think. (Ditto the towel rack.) Laying down in the tub is out of the question as well. I have such fond memories of taking baths as a child, and even now, when I have a really stressful day, there’s nothing. I’d rather do than light some candles, pick up a book, and lay in the tub until every inch of my body is pruny.
Unfortunately, any normal sized bathtub is only going to fit one person and will not fit a person who is 6’3”.
Other things I don’t recommend: Getting fed up in the shower and deciding to have sex lying on the bathroom floor. It sounds like such a good idea, especially when your partner’s roommate is asleep three feet from your partner’s bed. Unfortunately, being slippery is still a problem on the tile floor. And truthfully, getting any leverage involves being on your knees, and in addition to the fact that it’s difficult to keep your balance, tile floors hurt. Also, the idea of lying on a bathroom floor does a lot to kill any sexy factor, unless you’re into the smell of cleaning products and urine. For some reason, trying not to hit my head on the receiving end of crap, pee and vomit, ruins the mood for me.
If bathroom sex is your only option and the shower isn’t doing it for you, my best bit of advice is to flip the toilet cover down and have one person sit there while the other straddles him or her. This is good, because it allows the person on top to get leverage and control the pace. But please be aware that toilet seat covers are not indestructible, and it’s pretty difficult to make up a convincing lie about how you snapped the toilet seat in two.
__Krystyna Holland is a Behind Closed Doors columnist and plans to stop by Target to purchase a non-slip bathing mat for her tub.__