Sand hassles

Grit, grunge and chlorine make outdoor sex an overrated ordeal.

Published July 17, 1998 8:29AM (EDT)

Not long ago, I received an offer to host an online sex conference. The
producers hoped I could coax their members out of the architecture and
music criticism chat areas to come talk candidly about their erotic lives
-- and not anonymously, which was the biggest challenge. The bulletin board
operators hoped that since I was notorious for talking about my own sex
life with apparently little shame or self-censorship, I would inspire
others to do the same.

I had to decline because of time constraints, but the thing I didn't
mention in my polite withdrawal was that they had asked me to do something
that scared me. By tradition, all the new members of that sex conference
introduce themselves by confessing the most outrageous location they have
ever "done it." And while movie clips of stuck elevators, bungee cords and
large aquarium tanks ran through my mind like a bunch of horny James Bond
movie clips, it was only to remind me that I have never fucked my brains
out in any particularly exotic setting at all.

I think that during my youthful sexual adventures, I did have plans to try
everything Bond did and more. I lived in various paradisiacal locations
along the California coast and redwood belt that just screamed for sensuous
abandonment. I couldn't go anywhere without tripping into someone's hot
tub. Yet after my first attempts at appreciating all this outdoor splendor,
I came to the conclusion that a mattress is a girl's best friend. A bottle
of lube, rechargeable batteries and clean sheets can also make the happiest
camper happier.

Please don't think I'm dreary with my list of material demands. I am the
first to admit that being in the right frame of mind is 90 percent of the
enjoyment in sex. It's just that if sand in your vagina is the other 10
percent, that's enough to make you want to die on the spot. This I learned

When I was 17, I experienced the perfect frame of mind one summer night
while trespassing on some outrageous Malibu beachfront with my older lover.
I was so crazy about him. He pulled me from behind onto his lap and was
inside me, hard, right as the horizon was sinking. He called my name like
we were the last two people on earth. The breaking waves sprayed on my
breasts and cheeks, and the sky was flaming lavender. Deborah Kerr and Burt
Lancaster had nothing on us -- and every time his cock drove into me and
rubbed those grains of movie-star sand against my pussy, I wanted to claw
his eyes out, it was so painful.

But I didn't claw his eyes out. I think I only whimpered. I don't know how
I learned this lesson, because no mother or teacher ever said to me, "Now
girls, when a man is having intercourse with you and it really, really
hurts, never say anything to him because it will only hurt his feelings and
make him mad and besides, YOU CAN TAKE IT." But ladies, I got the message
loud and clear, and to this day I meet legions of women who make the same
unfortunate and masochistic mistake.

I once got a phone call from one of those women's magazines that
relentlessly seek to improve their readers' sex lives -- without ever
telling the truth about female bodies, or using unladylike words, or
offending the conventions of holy matrimony. That just about covers all
women's magazines, doesn't it?

Anyway, they asked me for advice on having wonderful sex outside, and I
told them, "Here's the deal: Men can get off much more easily having
intercourse in a variety of locations, because of the nature of their
genitals -- they have the shape that sticks out instead of the tender parts
that accept whatever is put in." I didn't want to offend her tender
sensibilities, but how many men do you see clamoring to be anally
penetrated in a sandbox with no blanket?

"Men," I said, "also can, statistically speaking, bring themselves to a
high state of arousal much faster than women, so they can make the most of
time constraints and odd positions, which are often a feature of an outdoor
rendezvous. However, this doesn't mean that sex outside can't be delicious,
it just means that for women, if you want to have an orgasm, you need more
than five minutes, and you need something soft and reasonably clean to lie

There! I thought I had given the editor excellent advice, but she was
sulking. "I really don't think that orgasm is the point here," she sniffed.

Not the point?! The day a woman's orgasm is not the point in a women's
magazine article about how to make love is the day I am blasting off to
another galaxy. These magazines already exist in another universe, I guess
-- one where "making love" is actually code for "pleasing your man so he
will spend more money on you and not look at other girls." Who needs
orgasms (or liberation) when you have self-loathing and the highest bidder
to worry about?

I never got the chance to give her my hot tub tips. Here is another myth:
the famous underwater love fantasy, which can be an exercise in sheer
feminine torture unless you practice common sense. Once again, penetration
presents a problem. Water -- salt or chlorinated -- does NOT make for
pleasing friction between phallus and vagina. For the woman, it feels like
the below-the-waist equivalent of dental work. This sex-in-water business
is such a disaster, I've often wondered what it would be like to fuck in a
tub of warm oil -- and if I ever get around to it, THIS will be the wild
"location" that I mention in my erotic risumi.

The real treat to water sex is being someplace with a nice spout or jet --
the most pleasing sensation in the world to a clitoris. I once went
apartment-hunting in Detroit with the sole criteria of finding a bathtub
that had the right water pressure and the correct faucet placement. Yes,
water is wonderful to embrace in, kiss in and lick in -- but not to do
anything that requires pistonlike movements.

Now that I think of it, the sweetest outdoor tryst I ever had (without a
mattress) was the time a very nice girl gave me body surfing lessons. Every
time a wave came up to us that we couldn't catch, and I'd get scared, she'd
tell me to hold her hands, kiss her and duck/dive down under until it
passed over us. I didn't have a human being orgasm, but I think I had a
mermaid one, and that's the sort of thing you would like to look forward
to when you leave the comfort and safety of your bedroom behind.

By Susie Bright

Susie Bright is the author of the new book "Full Exposure" and many other books, and the editor of the "Best American Erotica" series. For more columns by Bright, visit her website.

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