Alix Fox, Superdrug’s resident sex expert and co-host of BBC Radio 1’s Unexpected Fluids chat show, shares her advice on frolics at festivals…
Condoms are the only form of contraception that help to protect you from STIs, as well as unplanned pregnancy, so make sure you pack rubbers along with your rubber boots. Think ‘wellies and willies’ when you’re loading up your festival backpack!
I’m a big fan of ONE Mixed Pleasures Condoms. The pack includes glow-in-the-dark varieties: when you charge one up by shining your torch on it through the transparent back on the foil, it lights up for half an hour… great fun in a dark tent! The round foils are printed with lots of vibrant, eye-catching designs, which can act as useful ice-breakers to broach the subject of protection.
It’s worth taking condoms with you even if you’re on the contraceptive pill and heading to the fest with your long-term lover. You might not use them at home, but when you’re away from your usual schedule, it’s easy to forget to take your tablets at the regular time. Having condoms on you means that humpin’ and pumpin’ needn’t be off the cards if you accidentally miss your meds. And it’s good to have them on you in case your pals need one. My friends call me The Pair-y Godmother because I’ve helped them stay safer when they couple up on nights out! #LookOutForYourMates
As a bonus, condoms mean there’ll be no wet patch – and no one wants to kip in a soggy sleeping bag.
Sharp shards of glitter, intense heat (like hours of direct sunlight) and greasy sun lotion can all damage condoms. Make sure you’re clued up on how to store and use connies ’n’ johnnies to help them do their job properly – my vid has the lowdown.
If you do end up having unprotected intercourse, or a condom breaks, or you have any other type of sexual accident or issue, head to the on-site festival medical team asap. They’ll usually be able to supply emergency contraception and give further health advice.
Although emergency contraceptive tablets are nicknamed the morning-after pill, you can take them later than that: Levonelle (or own-brand equivalents) can be administered within 72 hours (three days) of sex, while ellaOne gives you 120 hours (five days) in which you can take action. However, both are more effective the earlier they’re taken, so head to the medical tent as soon as you can.
Wet wipes are a festival must-have. After a day of sweaty dancing, use them to give your pits and bits a quick wash before any action occurs and to clean up afterwards. Avoid heavily scented wipes if you have sensitive skin, though. If your down-belows are prone to thrush or irritations, pH-balanced intimate wipes or mega-mild baby wipes might be better for you.
A tube of flavoured lube makes festival sex smoother and tastier, and its sweet scent can be a godsend in a stuffy tent! Alcohol + dehydration can make the vagina produce less natural moisture than usual, too, so if you’ve spent hours sipping in the sun, lubricant will help make matters slicker ’n’ sleeker. Antihistamines can cause dryness as well – hay fever doesn’t help your, um, wahey-beaver! Superdrug Cherry Lube can also be used to treat your lover to a sensual massage.
Heading back to the campsite to get frisky with a newfound special friend? Make sure your mates know who you’re with and where you’re going – both to help keep you safe, and to ensure they don’t accidentally interrupt you if you’re sharing a tent together.
Camp = cramped. Spooning is the ideal sexual position to pick if you’re in a teeny tiny tent, since it doesn’t require lots of room.
Tents ’n’ tarpaulins aren’t exactly soundproof, so avoid annoying your neighbours by keeping the noise down while you’re getting busy. Challenging your partner to stay quiet (in a fun, consensual way) while you tease them can be a terrific turn-on.
According to Public Health England, one in four young people who have had sex without a condom said they did so because they were drunk and forgot.Get too many festival ciders inside ya (or other extracurricular substances) and you may make decisions about sex that you later regret, or – heaven forbid – end up in a dangerous situation. Pacing yourself, making sure you eat enough, and staying hydrated by making every second-or-so drink a soft one will help you avoid post-booze blues. Chat to friends and lovers about your boundaries before you start celebrating, so if your non-sober self gets carried away, there are people looking out for you.
Being drunk or high can alter your perception of how much someone else is enjoying a situation, too. Consent is CRUCIAL. If you’re hooking up with someone, you want them to be entirely enthusiastic about what’s happening. If you think they’re too out of it to make clear choices, you have to make the decision to stop. If they go quiet while you’re getting it on, don’t take that to mean that everything’s OK – check in with them. Pay attention to their physical and emotional cues to ensure you’re BOTH having a great time.
For more essential festival info, including mosh pit etiquette, mental health tips (going wild in a crowd isn’t everyone’s comfort zone) and ways to deal with the top ten festival health hazards, check out FestivalSafe.com. It’s been put together by a top UK festival director, the emergency services, and Brook.org.uk sexual health, so you know the advice is sound.