Every April, those of us who can only experience Coachella vicariously through our favorite influencers’ and celebrities’ Instagram feeds are treated to pictures and videos of poppin’ parties, spectacular performances, and the most fringe you’ve ever seen gathered in one place. But if you’re blessed enough to have a chance to attend Coachella or any major music festival this year, there’s a chance that being surrounded by alcohol and other drugs, attractive folks, and your favorite songs may move you to let your freak flag fly.
If you’re set on hooking up with a stranger (or role-playing as sexy strangers with your partner) in between camping out in a tent and fighting for a front-row view of your favorite artist, there are a few things you should keep in mind so that you can have memorable festival sex—and not regrets. Ahead are some tips for how to have safe sex at Coachella, and, of course, these tips can be tailored to whatever music festivals you find yourself at this spring and summer.
Consent in all things.
It’s unfortunate that some folks still don’t understand that a “no means no” and a “yes means yes,” but here we are. There have been numerous stories in recent years to come out of Coachella about rampant sexual harassment. And you can guarantee that the drugs and drinking that happen there will embolden some people to throw consent out the window and strip the ability of others to give verbal, enthusiastic consent.
If you know you want to get horizontal with someone, be mindful of your alcohol and drug consumption—and the people you want to get busy with. Keep a friend on standby who can swoop in if you meet someone who gets too close for comfort, or if you go too hard on the substances and either get wobbly or start slurring your words. Have a code word or signal if necessary. Thankfully, this year Coachella will have designated safe spaces for festival goers who experience harassment or triggering encounters.
Sure, the wilderness and excitement of a festival like Coachella might get you all hot and bothered, but make sure you don’t walk away from a hookup with a bothersome infection. If you’re camping out, then things like anti-bacterial wipes, post-play wipes, and even an emergency gallon of water are good things to have on hand. Use anti-bacterial wipes or hand sanitizer to keep your hands and fingernails clean for handsy sex acts and general skin-to-skin contact. It might also be a good idea to bring a travel-size bottle of sex toy cleaner or plain soap if you plan to use toys. Swipe with a post-play wipe if you plan on going right from having sex to crowding around a stage. And keep clean water on hand to chug, not just for hydration, but to help flush out bacteria that can cause common infections like UTIs and yeast infections.
P.S. You should pack an OTC treatment like Monistat—just in case.
No glove, no love.
In a perfect world, we’d all only have sex using condoms. But no one is perfect. Unless you’re having desert sex with a trusted partner, use a condom at all times, and change to a fresh condom any time you go from front to backdoor play to avoid introducing bacteria. You can make use of protection like dental dams and even gloves for some sex acts, too. And be sure to use a protective barrier on sex toys that are being used on you or someone else.
It’s always a safe bet to bring your own protection so that you don’t run into one of those “I don’t have anything” moments. And if you have a latex allergy, for example, you should pack the condoms that work best for you. Needless to say, there are far too many forms of protection for all kinds of couplings to risk pregnancy or STIs/STDs in the name of a little frisky fun.
What do you do if you forget to pop your birth control? Or if you just so happen to take a psychedelic drug, how will your birth control be affected?
If you’re on the pill and you forget to take it one day, you can take it as soon as your remember. If two days go by, the rule is typically to take two pills ASAP and then two the following day, and most pill packs include instructions for what to do if you miss pills. But always use a backup form of contraception, like condoms, if you forget to take any birth control pills.
As for the possible adverse effects of taking a psychedelic drug like LSD, which tends to make the rounds at large-scale music festivals, if you’re on the pill, taking LSD could cause a serotonin imbalance, which could negatively affect your mood, motor function, and the ability to regulate your body temperature. So it’s best to do as much research as possible beforehand if you already know you plan to dabble with substances.
Location, location, location.
Unless sand in the crotch is your kink, it’s probably best to keep any naked activity confined to a tent or your lodgings during your time at the festival. But if you find yourself rolling around in sand and it ends up in places it shouldn’t, your best bet is to wash it away with nothing but plain ol’ (clean) water. And be sure to do so before engaging in another round of sex, because any lingering sand could put micro-tears in your vaginal walls if you don’t flush it out properly.
But if comfy sex is more your speed and you’re confined to a tent, consider buying an inflatable camping mattress, or at least packing soft blankets and pillows (which also help with those desert temperature drops). The goal is to walk away with good, fun sexual encounters, not back pain or bad memories!