Woman's legs hanging out of a vintage car's passenger window

Why people have sex in cars

What’s the appeal of having sex in a parked car? College students weigh in on the reasons they’ve done it and what it’s all about.

Only in the movies?

Sex in a parked car may sound less than ideal. There’s the cramped space, inevitable bumps and bruises, and the risk of getting caught. And yet, since the 1930s, when cars were first built with ample back seats and comfy cushions, Americans have been getting it on in their motor vehicles.

Though parked cars have been the location of many a heated sex scene over the past century, not a lot is known about the vehicular goings-on of passionate Americans nowadays.

Believing this to be a subject worthy of investigation, a group of US researchers tracked down over 700 college students from the Midwest and inquired about their experiences with sex in a parked car.

The researchers wanted all the juicy details. They asked the students if their lovers were hook-ups or serious partners and what kind of sex they were having. They wanted to know if the experience had been positive or negative and the students’ reasons for doing it in the first place. Last but not least, the researchers were curious about the part of the car the participants were in and where they were parked when it all went down.

Back seat sex

At 60 per cent, most of the students said they’d had sex in a parked car. Almost fifteen per cent had lost their virginity in a vehicle. The car was usually parked out in the country, and about 60 per cent of the time, the scene of the passionate act was the back seat.

Vaginal intercourse was by far the most common thing going on in that back seat, but plenty of genital touching and oral sex happened too, though usually for less than 30 minutes. Most of the students were in their cars with serious partners they weren’t living with; parked cars did not seem to be the scene of hook-up sex in the study.

Just can’t wait

So why were they opting for sex in the car instead of, say, the bed in their dorm or the living room couch?

For most people, it was simply lustful enthusiasm.

No fewer than 85 per cent of the students said that they were just turned on, or their partner was, and the deed evidently needed to happen right there and then. Mind you, just over half also acknowledged that they had no where else to go.

Though many more men reached orgasm than women, both sexes were more likely to get off than not. So perhaps it’s no surprise that for most the experience was positive, despite the awkward positions, heads bumping into steering wheels, bruised knees – and of course, the risk of getting caught. That’s what happened to just over ten per cent of the students, in some cases by good-natured police officers, which made for a memorable, if awkward, experience.

Reference: Struckman-Johnson, C., Nalan-Sheffield, K., Guster, S. & Struckman-Johnson, D. (2016) Sexual Behavior in Parked Cars Reported by Midwestern College Men and Women. Journal of Sex Research.

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