Of all the places to have sex, the least likely contender is surely a music festival. There are no showers. The toilets are essentially a glorified cardboard box. And the only walls available to you are paper-thin tent linings. Hardly a scene primed for romance.
And yet, festival sex has become a thing of mythic summer folklore. Every year, hopeful singletons descend onto muddy fields, wellies and condoms in tow, hoping for the greatest sexual encounter of their lives. Or maybe that’s just me.
Still, it happens far more than you’d think. Nowhere more so than at Glastonbury, the world-famous music festival frequented by A-list stars and the 250,000 tech-savvy people that manage to defy the odds and get their hands on tickets.
This year, with headliners including The Arctic Monkeys, Guns N Roses, and Sir Elton John, it’s likely to be just as much of a knees-up – and possibly also a legs apart.
There’s just something in the air on those Pilton fields. Maybe it’s the fact that everyone there has fought tooth and nail to get a ticket, lending itself to a festival-wide euphoria that inevitably bodes well for romance.
Or it could be the sheer scale of the thing, which boasts a perimeter of roughly eight-and-a-half miles, meaning there are plenty of secluded, and possibly fair-ylight-tinted spots to sneak off to.
Whatever it is, I know that having gone to Glastonbury almost every year since the age of 16, those fields have seen a lot of lusty activity. And they almost always happen in the least suspecting of circumstances.
There’s a vast array of tales out - spanning from having a quiet quickie in a hammock in the healing field to spending the night in one person’s tent and accidentally winding up in another after a trip to the loo.
Then there are the mud-laden stories – anyone who’s ever done Glastonbury in wet weather will attest that it makes for quite a different camping (and love-making) experience. Here are some of the greatest Glastonbury sex stories of all time...
It was so hot and sweaty I made sure he didn't come inside me
‘One year, it was so muddy that my boyfriend and I decided to have sex inside our tent but with our feet outside so that we could keep our boots on,’ says one woman.
Extreme heat, like this year, can also affect the quality of one’s festival sex experience. ‘One year, this guy I’d just started dating and I went back to my tent in the middle of the day to have sex because everyone else in our campsite was watching music,’ one woman recalls.
‘It was so hot and sweaty, though, so I made sure he didn’t come inside me. The last thing you need is to sneeze during a headliner and have to run to the bathroom when it seeps out from your denim shorts.’
Then there are the accidental tales of voyerism, as is par for the course when you’re camping among friends and the general Glastonbury-attending public.
‘I once came back to my tent to find my best mate performing oral sex on some guy he’d hooked up with during the Prodigy in 2009,’ recalls one man. ‘The rain was apocalyptic that day; afterwards, our tent smelt of sweat, semen and damp.’
And of course, there are some stories that sound as if they’ve been plucked straight out of a Richard Curtis romcom. Consider the 35-year-old Londoner who lost her friends after nipping to the toilet midway through watching the Kings of Leon in 2008.
I once came back to my tent to find my best mate performing oral sex on some guy he'd hooked up with during the Prodigy in 2009
‘I decided to head back into the crowd and just try and get as close to the front as I could,’ she recalls. ‘Luckily, there was a tall guy pushing through in front of me, so I decided to follow him. After a few minutes, we’d got as far as we could. I looked up and my stomach did a little skip as he looked like a member of Kings of Leon: tall, hot with dark shoulder length hair.
‘We’d both lost our friends and were drunk on cider and buzzing from watching the gig, so inevitably we started snogging and spent the rest of the night partying together.’ They hop-skipped to a hot tub in Shangri-La before heading back to his tent. ‘We were having sex in the morning when his dad walked in on us,’ she says. He later admitted that he’d been sharing a tent with his father. ‘I left pretty quickly after that. But the good news is there was no walk of shame at Glastonbury as everyone else has also had no sleep and not showered for a couple of days.’
Then there are the tales that change the course of your life. Take Marie*, 35, who had just broken up with her long-term partner when she found herself working at Glastonbury in 2011. ‘I was feeling a bit out of sorts so decided to visit to the Seed Sisters in The Healing Fields who gave me a “passion potion” that they said would prompt the universe into giving me what I needed.’ Later that day, Marie found herself with a 20 minute gap in between acts she wanted to see.
‘I was looking at the crowd and I saw this guy who looked familiar, and in my head, I said, “turn around and come back to see me”. He then turned around and started heading towards me. We got chatting and then ended up sitting on a bench nearby together. It definitely felt like a love at first sight thing. We went to watch CeeLo Green together and kissed midway through the set: instant fireworks, it was like magic.’
I told him to come and find me later in the South East Corner where I was working.
Marie then had to go back to work. ‘I told him to try and come find me later in the South East Corner where I was working,’ she said, aware how optimistic a request this was considering how vast Glastonbury’s late night hot spot is. ‘He didn’t show up for the next few days. But I immersed myself in work and hanging out with my friends.’ On the final day of the festival, Marie decided to visit the Seed Sisters again.
‘I told them I’d had a magical attract encounter with an attractive young man and I wanted to find him again. They asked if I’d taken his number and I explained I hadn’t because it was a magical encounter and phone numbers are not magical. They asked what was wrong with me.’ Marie asked for another passion potion. ‘When I finished my shift that day, I saw him waiting for me. We went to watch Beyonce together and then that was it.’ They’ve been together ever since.
‘I still think about what the Seed Sisters said about sending me what I really needed from the universe,’ Marie says, looking back. ‘That weekend, the universe really did give me what I needed. Because the next few years were incredibly difficult for me. My mother got sick, and he was my rock. So I guess what I really needed was for someone be there for me – and it was him.’
Whether it’s great romance or great sex, all of it feels possible at Glastonbury, a place where dreams and reality can collide, often with magical results. Maybe it will be my turn soon.
*Name has been changed