Hot tub sex has always been presented as romance novel-level coitis. Let me set the mood: On a cool evening, as the steam from the tub’s heat slowly encircles you and your partner, you begin kissing and exploring each other as the jets tickle your bodies. Before you know it, your partner has taken a seat on your bare lap, and the two of you are officially engaged in some sensual, I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening hot tub sex. Right on!

Except, hot tub sex is not necessarily as great as it sounds. In a cruel twist of fate, the location seemed destined for leg-quivering orgasms is actually somewhat bad for you. But don’t fret. These circumstances are contingent on a number of avoidable factors. When approached appropriately, hot tub sex can be safe.

For starters, only consider doing the deed if it’s in your own hot tub. That way you know for sure the vessel has been cleaned properly, because you sure as hell don’t know the protocol at public tubs, or even the tubs of friends.

Just soaking in a hot tub for a long duration can increase a woman’s chance of contracting a UTI, so pushing water up into that area with your penis will only make things worse. “Chlorine and chemicals used in hot tubs are far from sex-friendly,” Katy Zvloerin, director of public relations at tells Playboy. “They can change the pH level of the vagina, leading to irritation, UTIs, rashes and can make couples more susceptible to infections.” In fact, infections are so common that there is a rash known as “hot tub folliculitis,” which is described as itchy, unsightly and similar to chicken pox. The solution? Take things out of those murky waters. Sit on the edge or stand or lean over in the water to enjoy the experience without the risk.

By the sound of it, women assume most of the risk when engaging in hot tub sex. But while that’s true, men assume some risk as well. Most of which is a reaction to chafing, because, like shower sex, hot tub sex can be especially dry. A bad chafe on the penis can lead to soreness, rashes, open sores and increased risk of STDs. You should also note that once the chlorine irritates you down there, an STD infection could be more likely to occur. So, hop out of there as quickly as you can.

To ease coital dryness, Zvloerin says a good lubricant goes a long way (opt for silicon-based lubes as they tend to perform better in water), though the water and chemicals tend to wash away all lubes rather quickly. Condoms don’t even help. Both the water (which can cause condoms to fall off) and chemicals do a number on the prophylactic. The chlorine can break down latex, which increases chances of breakage. Not to mention, it’s still quite possible to get pregnant in water.

While both pool and hot tub sex carry a lot of the same risks, Zvolerin insists hot tub sex is riskier as the heat in an unkempt hot tub can cause certain bacteria to grow, becoming a hot soup of possible infection. Hot tubs often use more concentrated chemicals as well. So, if you had to choose between the two, a pool is your better bet, though the same rules would apply.

Pressing your penis against a hot tub jet out of sheer adolescent curiosity is rather common. Therefore, one could argue sex in a hot tub is a requisite passage to manhood. Or perhaps I’m trying too hard to reach a profound conclusion. It might be none of that. Maybe it’s just a hygienically questionable idea that requires a lot of effort for little payoff. Whichever of the two, hopefully this article was helpful. Just remember: No sex in public hot tubs, you hear me?