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Lust on the Road: Filthy, Exhausted, and In Love


Trying to keep the noise to an absolute minimum, my partner and I were about to get things going on in the bedroom. After a week of riding remote dirt roads, wild camping and using our dromedary bags as primitive showers, we were ready to pounce on each other.

But because we were staying at a friendly overlander’s place, tact was key (and producing as little compromising noise as possible!).

We’d also just had a proper meal, a proper shower, and were offered proper pillows. After an unusually sumptuous dinner (what a contrast to our typical instant mashed potatoes and canned chicken!), with our bellies full and our minds overloaded, a 6am alarm looming and a lovely fluffy bed at our disposal… we promptly fell asleep. Looking guiltily at each the following morning and promising we’d get back to the bedroom business as soon as we could, we ate, packed, and hit the road.    – Julia

In the privacy of their own homes, even the strongest couples sometimes need practice making things tick. But keeping it lusty on the long and dusty overland journey is a whole different ball game: budget travel while riding off road and avoiding hotels means lovemaking can be a serious challenge. Often, couples are just too tired and filthy. So what gives?

Tips for the Lusty Duo

  • Stay with friends. It might make you feel like naughty teenagers sneaking around when staying with friends or fellow travelers, but provided you can keep the noise down—waaaay down!—make good use of those rare moments when a hot shower, four walls, and a real bed are available.


  • Overnight in a discreet corner of a real campground once in awhile. You may have to pay for camping, but clean shower facilities is a game changer. Arrive early so you have plenty of time to set up, clean up, cook, and get to business.


  • If you’re not that comfortable doin’ it at someone’s house or where others might be clued into your nightly escapades, work a weekly hotel stay into your budget to give you both the privacy and space you need to maintain intimacy and keep spirits high.


  • Slow down. If you’re in a ‘get up, pack up, ride’ mode every single day, you’ll wear yourselves out—just not in the way you might fantasize about. Stopping to enjoy a particularly beautiful place is good for your eyes, your soul and your big O. Rest and relaxation can do wonders.


  • Are you on the Pill? Consider choosing something more natural. However advanced modern birth control pills are, they can still mess up your natural cycle, your hormones, and as a result—your libido. Opt for the IUD or rubbers instead and get the lust back!


  • Give… but take, too. Ask for a relaxing full body massage or some other tactile treat once in awhile, and it might turn into more. Not only can it help get you in the mood, it may remind you that despite feeling like a grimy dirt-bag most days, your partner’s into you.


  • Speaking of dirt bags: while riding, makeup is highly impractical and slightly ridiculous, especially on dirt. But dabbing a little lipstick or mascara on every now and then helps some of us feel transformed from fearless Dakarista into something…well, less grotty. While skirts, dresses or heels might be totally impractical on a bike, a tiny bottle of perfume or scented lotion, a tube of mascara and tinted chapstick or lip gloss are often worth their weight on long overland journeys when the feeling of general griminess can start getting to you. That stuff doesn’t get used very often, but when it does, it can feel great.


  • Same goes for the men-folk: gals sometimes love their man’s four-day stubble. While a man might complain it’s itchy under the helmet and generally shave it off as soon as possible, consider keeping the scruff occasionally if she’s into it. And on the man-note: shower, dudes, and wash your stinky clothes as often as you can.


  • To help keep the spark going, consider getting sleeping bags that zip together. If one of you gets too chilly around the shoulders and the other always runs warm, consider a fleece liner that unzips fully to wrap around your body or shoulders, but doesn’t keep you from snuggling skin to skin with your honey.


  • There isn’t such a thing as too many compliments! And not just accolades about each other’s undying beauty. Being reminded that they’re a gnarly and bitchin’ off-road rider feels good and empowering. Compliments on making a lovely breakfast out of an old avocado or a bit of cheese and a lonely spinach leaf can go a long way to making either person feel valued, too.


  • Go with the flow. No one wants to get it on with a grump, so make life easier for your partner. Keep your zen when life gets tough and travel starts taking its toll. Make jokes when it’s pouring buckets or you find a tick stuck to your bum, or you’re just not having the best of days. Keep your cool for both of your sakes.


  • Talk. There’s nothing worse than guilt (you wanted to, but they didn’t, or the other way round). Disregard ideas about how things should be (“We should have had sex at least three times this week!”). Don’t freak out. Talk it through, discuss how you feel, and what rhythm and frequency feels the most natural. Badgering your partner negatively about sex will not pump up their libido. There are no ‘shoulds’. But there are plenty of ‘coulds’. Improvise and be flexible!


  • On a more serious note: In Western countries, an unmarried pair in a hotel room won’t raise many eyebrows. But remember to consider your surroundings. There are still places in the world where this could lead to some serious issues, so use good sense and judgment, and don’t be afraid to tell a fib about your marital status if you have to.  


  • On a less serious note: keep it fun! Need some motivation? Watch a romantic movie with some hot scenes together, or read excerpts of some trashy novel to get you in the mood. We won’t tell if you don’t!


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