Out of the sheets and into the streets: the case for sex in public

The used panty marketplace

If you haven’t done it, you’ve at least fantasized about it: sex in public. Getting freaky on the streets. Canoodling behind some cars. For some of us, public sex is just a one-off to mark on our sexual bingo. For others, it’s a downright lifestyle. Some, sadly, keep it as nothing more than a forbidden fantasy under lock and key. 

If you’re one of the folks who can’t say no to the thrill, or just want to see what all the fuss is about, you’re not alone. According to one Canadian study, roughly 60% of people have fantasized about getting down around town. 

This obsession with public frolicking is relatable (just ask me about my early twenties), but why are we all so collectively obsessed with sex in public? 

The thrill, the rush, the danger

As a bonafide sex expert and founder of Good Clean Love (a fabulous organic lovin’ line), Wendy Strgar knows a thing or two about what makes good canoodling great. That’s why I don’t take what she says lightly – and her opinions on just why we love to get sexy out in the wild are right on the money. Rather than it being all because couples can’t keep their hands off each other, this obsession has roots in our love for danger. Doing the deed out on the town is so thrilling, she says, because “endorphins in the brain increase due to a combo of fear of being caught and the anticipation of an orgasm...since it’s so out of the ordinary, engaging in public sex will be something you remember, regardless if you actually had an orgasm...it’s the experience itself that’s memorable.”

And she makes a great point. Sex is sex, and orgasms are lovely, but sex in public takes you out of your comfort zone. When that intimacy is paired with the (slight) fear of getting caught, even the implication of having sex in public is enough to give you a thrill to remember. Some of the time, you may not get much further than a hand down the pants, but because of the risk, the sex you have in public is much more about the journey and the tease, rather than the destination. Because there’s a chance neither of you will orgasm, you can find yourself relishing each forbidden act instead. 

It’s this attitude that makes sex in public so blissfully lighthearted. Seriously. I’ve yet to meet someone who has had serious, reflective sex in an alley. Most of the time, it’s all about levity, laughter, and sneaking around. 

Maybe all that sneakiness has us calling back to our teenage days. There’s something that borders on innocent in this deviant pleasure – because it’s for pure pleasure and happiness in that moment that you choose to go for it. Whoever you’re with, your relationship goes from partners to partners in crime, sharing a naughty, sexy bonding experience. I imagine it’s kind of like how Bonnie and Clyde must have felt, but, you know, without all the armed robbery and death. 

Whatever it is, there’s no denying that we love to do it. But if you’re a first timer (or just looking for some fresh ideas), don’t limit your imagination when it comes to places to have some fun. 

Sex in nature

There’s something so magical about being out in nature and exploring our sexuality – and I’m not talking about ecofetishism. Nature has the capacity to wow, astound, and overwhelm us – anyone who’s been to an old-growth redwood forest or a north Florida sinkhole can attest to that humbling feeling that washes over us in the face of so much beauty. It stands to reason then, that we’d be called to explore a lover’s body and their intimacy in moments like that as well.

On the path, in a tent, or just deep in some woods, sex in nature links us to our most primal selves. It also just so happens to be one of the (potentially) safest ways to get it on in public. Wild animals aside, you have the benefit of these spots being less populated by humans, giving you the thrill of open air with minimal risk of getting caught.

Whatever you do, stray to a more secluded area, hide behind a tree, wind your way down to the end of a quiet dock, or find a quiet spot beside a creek. Places bursting with hikers and people aren’t impossible, but you’ll have to leave the beaten path to pull it off. 

Risky business

As a Floridian, I always knew that getting frisky on the beach came with its own set of woes. Sand is nobody’s friend. If your hellbent on doing it, however, bring a bigger blanket than you think you’ll need, and sequester yourself far enough from late night drum circles or beach fires, so you’re just a blur of bodies and blankets. Most of the time, people will leave you alone anyway.

But sand wasn’t the only enemy. In Florida, the creeks and ponds had me envisioning alligators a little too often to close my eyes for more than a blink. Everywhere you go in nature comes with its own risks; play smart, know your area, and listen for any noises to tip you off.

If you’re too scared to just hop off the path and go at it behind a tree, start with a light version: get frisky while camping in a busy campground. Although you’ll be in a tent, you can dip your toes into that wild world of wilderness lovin’. Knowing you might just be heard is a ride in and of itself, without having to worry about too many bugs (or cops) interrupting your canoodle-fest.

My advice? If you’re somewhere so beautiful you’re floored, just go for it. After all, I’d rather (hypothetically, of course), be someone who’s had sex beside Morro Rock than miss out on that once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere with nature only a short drive away, enjoy that seclusion and become one with your animal side.

At the end of the day, having that kind of experience off a quiet country road with a view of the night sky will stay with you forever. And while the back of your mind may whisper I could get caught, you’ll rest easy knowing your risk of getting peeped is low somewhere so secluded.

Sex in the city

Of course, some of us are closer to the concrete jungle than the actual jungle – and these days, most of us fall under the former. If you’re (un)lucky enough to be gridlocked between asphalt and brownstones, then you may be thinking you’re somewhere too busy for sex in public, that it’ll only end with your deeds plastered across the The Sun or The Enquirer for your grandma to see. While that absolutely is a risk in a metropolitan area (in a way that it just isn’t in nature), you can still have fun so long as you’re smart. Generally, that means avoiding getting naughty in the city center, where people are milling around pretty abundantly at all hours. Instead, opt for a part of town that’s got that trendy, neighborhood bar kind of vibe. Places like those are quieter at night but not abandoned, giving you a good blend of thrill and security. It also makes it easier to find one of the best places for getting frisky...


Making out in an alley earns its spot as a cliche. The alley is prime real estate – quiet, secret, and seldom-used. I mean, chances are you’ve peed in one after a long night dancing or singing karaoke. That same level of seclusion that has you comfortable enough to drop trou is also why it’s a good place for getting sexy – if you don’t mind that it’s probably not as pristine as your bedroom. I won’t lie and say an alley is the cleanest spot you’ll ever have fun in (although it’s definitely not the dirtiest), but it does offer semi-decent privacy when you and your partner just can’t keep your hands off each other.

Try and find an alley that goes behind several buildings, not just between two. You’ll have a little more room to move, and can have a better escape route if you need to scramble, fast. These back alleys are wider typically, and offer a few more places to have fun behind, like overgrown vines on a fence, cars, building sides. 

Public bathrooms

Ever the controversial decision, some people don’t even consider the bathroom an actual place to have sex in public, if it’s in a single-stall bathroom. I disagree. Clearly, that person has never had to finagle entering and exiting unseen. Public bathrooms are hands down a rather filthy experience on more than one level, but hey, if you just can’t wait, it’s one hell of a way to get a real rush. Just make sure it’s either a bar you won’t be returning to, or one you don’t mind getting kicked out of. Like all public locations, be smart and keep your ear out for people who know you’re in the bathroom. Whatever you do, keep in mind that a public restroom feels just as unsanitary for sex as it does for, say, reapplying lipstick. 

The dressing room

One of the riskiest moves out there, the dressing room is the Oscar-winner of all public sex locations. People bustling in and out, security cameras everywhere, the fact that you’re actually inside a mall or a Target or a Goodwill – you’re practically begging to be found out. 

That being said, it can be done. When you head over, keep a cool head. Don’t walk towards the dressing room all handsy with one another, but keep a straight face. Go in first, with a few clothes to try on (maybe you’ll score a cute top while you’re at it). Your goal is to make the whole thing as believable as possible.

Next, you’ll ask your partner to come in and give their opinion or help with something. When the door (or curtain closes), the games begin. As one of the riskiest spots, it’s crucial that you stay as silent as possible. Think of it as a part of the kink. Unlike the anonymity of a dark alley, one peep or odd motion here, and you will find yourselves in trouble ASAP. 

When you’re ready to leave, exit separately. Have the person who “helped you” leave first. Collect yourself and whatever you tried on, and emerge a minute or so later. Mission accomplished.

Final thing on the dressing room foray: this spot doesn’t lend itself to slow, mindful fun. Expect it to be fast, dirty, and wild. Even a fifteen minute romp will arouse a lot more than you and your partner: the employees will get suspicious. Keep it quick, enjoy the moment, and let it build anticipation for later.

A parking garage

Depending on where you park, what time it is, and whether you’re going at it in or on the car, a parking lot or garage is a safe(r) bet. If you’ve wanted to get your feet wet without going full Dressing Room just yet, getting frisky in the backseat of your car is a great way to have a little fun. 

In a parking garage or lot, park as far from the entrance as possible. If it’s night time and you’re feeling extra wild, you can try your hand at having fun on top of the car, but if it’s daytime (or three a.m. and you just aren’t comfortable), you’ll have just as fun behind your four doors. .

Beginner’s fun

Sex in public seems like it should have a clear definition – right? Sex...outside...where you could get caught. In reality, sex in public has a broader definition, one that can incorporate less danger, but is just as valid. 

Safer options for sex in public are perfect for people who aren’t sure that that kind of risky behavior is right for them. It could be that you’re just new to it, or maybe your pairing is mismatched: you’re ready to go, but your partner has reservations. Whatever your case, or even if you’re just looking to expand your already-seasoned palate, there are liminal ways to get that scintillating naughtiness without the fear of actually getting caught.

Keep the windows open

For the exhibitionist thrill without the hassle of ants biting the backs of your thighs or police officers slapping you with a misdemeanor, having open windows or your lights on can stir up a scandal in your loins from the comfort of your own room. 

This really works best if you live in an apartment or hotel, but if you’re feeling extra wild, I’m sure your home windows work just as well. Once it’s nighttime, pull up the blinds and turn the lights on, then start going to town. If you’re across the street from another apartment or hotel, even better.  

Still too nervous? If you live in or are visiting a part of the city with some foot traffic, try going to town right against your window with the lights off, so you can see people milling about, but they can’t quite see you.

The balcony or porch

Another diet way of getting frisky is by playing around on your porch or balcony. If your balcony has rails, try setting up a blanket or a towel to block the most of it from view, and enjoy the sounds of life bustling around you while having sex on the ground with your partner, right there. If you’re feeling extra risky, or live on a higher floor, skip the towel altogether.

Your backyard

Depending on your fence situation, this may be easier said than done. If you’re lucky enough to have a tall fence, having sex in your backyard can be like a private oasis, fun and safe and sexy. If you’re the kind of person who has a chain length fence (or no fence at all), you may want to wait until dark, pull out a blanket, and enjoy the view of that night sky.

With all of these public options from home, one of the main benefits is that you can take your time exploring your partner’s body. Instead of the urgency of an alley, let yourself play, and stretch each delicious sensation out as long as your partner can stand it.

Tips for a good time

There’s a lot to say about making the most if it, but my main piece of advice goes out to straight people: loosen up your definitions of sex. The rest of us have already left behind the notion of sex being a penetrative act alone. Sex in public is still sex in public if its oral or digital, and whatever fills you with that satiating, sexy, overwhelming feeling, no matter the level of physical contact, is sex. Plain and simple. Understand this, and sex in public will be a lot easier to achieve and enjoy.

Whatever kind of sex you’re having, be sure you find somewhere that’s not too close to prying eyes. Although the thrill is fun, consent from all parties is mandatory – and that includes anyone you’re having sex right in front of. Getting caught is one thing, but if you know that someone’s going to be seeing your bare booty right up close, you’ll probably want to move. That’s why somewhere near people, but also removed, is best for all people involved.

No matter where you are, you’ll do best if you keep things quiet(er). Think of it as a facet that only deepens the thrill. If you’re too busy getting it on to notice footsteps, your game will be cut way short. 

Safety comes first

While this sex in public is a rush of alifetime, it doesn’t mean you should be going at it everywhere. For starters, it’s illegal. And while personally I’m not against a little mayhem now and then, you should also be aware of the fines or misdemeanors you can face if the cops catch you. Look up state or regional laws in your area and stay informed about your local regulations.

To play it safe, there are a handful of places you should never, ever have sex in public (no matter how abandoned), and they all are places that can get you a spot on the sex offender registry, no matter how innocent or consensual your interactions. Don’t have sex on a playground at night (even if nobody’s there), don’t have sex near a school, don’t have sex anywhere that hypothetically a minor would be – even if it’s three in the morning. 

Finally, if you’re having sex in a way that can transmit diseases or get someone pregnant, pony up and have a condom stashed in your bag. You never know when the opportunity will arise!

Be smart, have fun, get out there!

Having sex in public is one of the most fun ways you can connect with your bratty self and your partner. This great way to bond is one for the books if you do it right. When you’re just starting out having sex in public, check in with your own needs again and again. Remember to always keep other people’s boundaries in mind, and don’t do anything in a place that could land you in too too much trouble. And for those of you reading this article and judging, remember we’re all into different things – from spectrophilia to used panties to wax, all kinds of lovin’ is on the table if consenting adults are involved.