It's true that there is no shortage of sex tips out there, all designed to enhance our sexual experience or to spice things up with your partner. And although magazines, as well as internet forums like Reddit, can be chock full of insightful and informative sex advice, there are also plenty of tips that are not only wacky but potentially dangerous.
And while sex is supposed to be a fun, enjoyable experience, we all know that one wrong move can lead to a lot of pain or even an injury. These popular sex tips often make the rounds for years and years, but they could lead to bodily harm or injury.
As with any and all sexual activity, you should communicate with your partner and stop if anything feels uncomfortable or painful in any way, whether you're trying something new or pulling out an old favourite. Pain during sex should be taken seriously, and you should always listen to your body, even in the heat of the moment.
Having sex in the shower, hot tub, pool, or ocean can lead to serious slippage … and infection.
Whether you're on vacation and enjoying a night in the hot tub or getting a little bit dirty as you clean up in the shower, water and sex really don't mix.
Aside from the risk of slippery surfaces in the tub or shower (we recommend laying down a mat to protect against a fall), Idries Abdur-Rahman, M.D., a board-certified OB-GYN, explained to SELF magazine why getting busy when submerged in water is super risky for people with vaginas.
"People think water is like vaginal lubricant, but they're completely different," he said, adding that water is actually very drying to the vaginal canal. "That lack of lubrication can make you more prone to micro-abrasions," he explained, which can be worse if you're in chlorinated or salt water.
If you're willing to take this chance, opt for silicone-based lubricant because oil-based lubes can damage the condom, while water-based will simply get washed away in the water. But you'll definitely want to use the silicone-based lube of your choice, because condoms are more prone to breakage due to water-induced dryness and friction, upping your risk for unintended infection or pregnancy.
Aside from that, public bodies of water are actually rife with bacteria even when they are chemically treated, according to a May 2016 report from the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which found that many public pools still have improper pH levels, upping your risk for bacterial infections.
"[Lakes and oceans] are by far the dirtiest," explained Dr. Abdur-Rahman, so you'll want to take extra caution when slipping off those swimsuits.
Enjoying a mid-sex snack can do more than mess up your sheets.
Sex tips involving food are the stuff of legends - from the doughnut around the penis tip to a grapefruit blow job that made the rounds again after 2017's "Girls Trip" repopularized it - plenty of us have tried to sweeten our sexual experiences by way of whipped cream, honey, chocolate, or other food items.
But food and sex don't usually mix for people with vaginas, and experts say you're better off keeping your sexy snack in the kitchen before or after the deed.
"The vagina is its own microenvironment, and it has bacteria that provides a function," says Dr. Abdur-Rahman, who told SELF, "Vaginal pH is normally pretty low to protect the vagina against certain bacteria and yeast that don't thrive in an acidic environment."
Putting sugary foods near the vagina can increase vaginal pH, making it easier for bacteria to grow and thrive. Spices and juices can irritate internal and external skin on the vagina and anus, as can alcohol. And oil is a thick substance, so it can help trap bacteria.
"Normally, we tell people if they're using food during foreplay, they can place it on any part of the body minus mucous membranes like the vagina and rectum," explained Dr. Abdur-Rahman, so feel free to feed each other as part of foreplay, but keep the whipped cream away from more sensitive body parts to protect yourself from a potential infection or irritation.
Don't make things too hot … or too cold.
If you're playing it safe by avoiding bringing food into the bedroom but still want to turn up the temps, you'll also want to be careful with anything too hot or too cold, like ice cubes or hot water.
If you're thinking of incorporating ice cubes to your repertoire, you might want to,ahem, chill. "Our bodies sensitivity to cold can vary wildly, but generally speaking, it's hard to tell the difference between fun shocking cold and damaging shocking cold. This is even more true on the sensitive skin around genitals or other erogenous zones," explained Crista Anne, a sex educator and Advisory Council Member for the Effing Foundation for Sex Positivity, who told Elite Daily why it's not a good idea to get ice cold between the sheets.
And you should also avoid making a DIY dildo out of ice cubes, says Anne, who adds, "Suggestions of made-at-home ice dildos or ice being inserted anally [at all] are uses that I recommend against experimenting with. With internal ice anal play, you're running a high risk of the ice damaging delicate tissue should it slide out of reach ... or existing rough edges doing damage that isn't immediately felt because of the natural numbing from the cold."
Conversely, Dr. Hilda Hutcherson, board-certified OB-GYN and gynecology professor at Columbia University told SheKnows why you'll want to avoid heating things up with hot water, heat packs, and the like. She says "the [vaginal] lining is very delicate and can easily be burned," and the same goes for you and your partner's skin just about anywhere.
Using sex toys on yourself and your partner without cleaning them first.
Few things are less sexy than needing to run to the sink to wash a sex toy in the middle of the act, but using sex toys between partners can up the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Even if you've both recently been tested, you'll still want to avoid inserting a sex toy anally and then vaginally before properly disinfecting it. You can avoid this by putting a fresh condom on with each individual use and be sure to clean your sex toys according to the product's instructions since some toys can't be exposed to water.
Don't try any kind of sexual stimulation without proper lubrication.
Spontaneous sex or quickies can definitely be fun, but you should never proceed with sexual activity before you're adequately lubricated.
Having sex without lubrication can be painful, so while you might want to go for it when the mood strikes, you should be sure to have lube on hand.
And play it safe with your fingers.
Basically, anything you're inserting inside your body must be clean, and that includes fingers. Wash your hands before doing the deed so the bacteria from your hands isn't then inserted in your partner's vagina or rectum,Elizabeth Boskey, PhD wrote in VeryWellHealth.
You should make sure your nails are clipped and smooth so you don't scratch your partner, but be careful.
"You may also want to clean under your fingernails and keep your nails trimmed and filed," Boskey wrote. "That way they won't snag or cut a partner's delicate skin. However, be careful to avoid cutting your skin when you cut your nails. Open wounds are an invitation for bacteria."
Be careful about taking your escapades on the road.
We don't recommend trying any sexual activity when you're in a moving vehicle, even though the thrill of the chase is probably strong.
Despite sex tips suggesting that you get a little frisky in the middle of a car wash or while driving on a deserted road late at night, this is unsafe and could potentially cause an accident. Even having sex in a parked car is a misdemeanour in most states, either considered a "lewd act" or "indecent exposure," depending on the situation.
If you're going to try it, be as discreet and quick as possible, and make sure the car is safely in park when you do.
In fact, be extra safe in any public place.
There's no denying that sex in public places is among one of the top fantasies for most people, but having sex at work, on an aeroplane, in a fitting room, or a quickie on the bus is generally a bad idea, as per the above.
Nothing kills the post-coital glow faster than a visit from the cops, so be mindful and respectful of the people around you when you're looking for a little fun hidden in plain view.
Take any sort of BDSM play safely and seriously.
"Fifty Shades of Grey" might have taken BDSM to the mainstream, but its popularity is certainly not new. That said, activities like bondage and choking can have serious consequences if not done properly, and you never want to take that chance with your partner's or your own safety.
The first step with anything sexual, but especially activities with high risk of injury, is communication. Not only should you establish a safe word, but you should be OK with hearing the word, "no" and stopping immediately. That goes for any and all sexual contact.
And while bondage is also fun, you'll want to be sure to regularly communicate with your partner, before and during the act. Trust and communication is key, so be sure to keep supplies around (like a pair of scissors) to loosen or break free of any holds if necessary.
When it comes to BDSM and kink, it can be fun and a great way to spice things up, but it also requires patience and care.
Stick with positions that work for you and your body's abilities.
Porn may have us convinced that most people swing from the chandeliers or have sex in all kinds of positions, but it's crucial to work with you and your partner's abilities, and not force any positions that don't feel comfortable.
But even if you're not trying any acrobatic moves, some of the most popular sex positions are also among the most dangerous. Sex expert Samantha Evans explained to the New York Post that missionary can strain a person's back muscles if not properly supported, and there's the "risk of a broken penis from over-thrusting." Ouch.
And it seems doggy style is the most prone to injury position for people with vaginas, because a "vagina can actually tear if her partner enters her wrong," as physical therapist Kristi Latham, DPT, founder of physical therapy clinic Beyond Therapy & Wellness told Yahoo.
For safe entry, it's all about the angle, which often involves the person with a vagina being on top. That said, this position also poses the most risk for a penile fracture, so you'll always want to start slowly and only do what feels comfortable and pleasurable for all partners involved.
Soreness, muscle strain, and even friction burn is something that can happen when we least expect it, so paying attention to your body and your partner's is of the utmost importance.
Sex injuries can happen even outside the bedroom.
Having sex in different parts of the house can be a fun - and relatively low-risk - way to switch things up, but you'll want to be sure to keep balance on steady, solid surfaces.
Be careful on any elevated surfaces, like the kitchen counters, a table, or laundry machines, because these are some of the riskiest sex moves, especially if you're in the heat of the moment and not worrying as much about proper balance. One wrong move can lead to serious injury, so play it safe no matter where you are.
And be wary of any supplements or medications designed to enhance sexual pleasure.
There are lots of supplements out there that make claims about enhancing sexual performance, pleasure, or libido, but you should be wary of anything that may not have gotten clearance from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Even if you're taking a medication prescribed by your doctor, you'll want to be certain you're taking it as prescribed no matter what it is, and that you're not sharing it with someone else.
Supplements and medications - even when prescribed by a doctor - can have potentially serious side effects, so you'll want to check in with your doctor before trying anything new, or if you experience any unpleasant or undesired effects.
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