The notion of the quickie suggests that couples can just get busy at the drop of a hat, but the truth – however paradoxical – is that a good quickie requires a bit of preparation. Most people think of quickies as purely physical encounters – and they are in the brief time that they’re taking place. But emotional and intellectual planning is needed to ensure that such an event is on the cards at all.

Consider these seven tips for speedy, spontaneous sex.

1. HAVE A GOAL

Establishing what you want from a quickie, besides a thrill, is important. Don’t leave it until you’re both painfully horny and raring to go either. Chat beforehand so that if, or when it happens, thinking is blissfully unnecessary. Also remember that an especially brief encounter will likely result in either you or your partner failing to climax – there simply won’t be time. So decide upfront who gets to come: this helps define roles when an opportunity arises. And don’t stress about missing out as basic fairness dictates that if you went down on her in a restaurant parking lot last week, you’re due for an intense blow job in the spare room during the next extended family lunch.

2. TAKE RISKS – WITHIN REASON

A large part of the appeal of a quickie is that it often takes place in a location where you otherwise wouldn’t have sex. Bending your beloved over a bollard on a traffic circle, however, is just going to get you arrested. Rather start in a more sensible way – lay out a blanket on the back lawn and get frisky there.

Also avoid acrobatics. Heaving your lady up to shoulder height, with her legs wrapped around your neck (a great angle for your tongue), is all well and good – until you lose your grip and drop her, leaving her with a broken coccyx and yourself with a slipped disc. (Better have a good story for the doctor in Casualty.)

In other words, be responsibly irresponsible – give your lovemaking a real edge, but not at any serious risk (for instance, remember to use contraception if you’re not trying for a baby).

3. WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE

Clinical sexologist Prof Elna McIntosh speaks plainly about the power of a man’s tongue when used for its more traditional purpose ahead of a quickie, which may be a situation that doesn’t allow time to get a woman’s juices flowing in the usual way.

“Words are the first step to reaching a woman’s clitoris,” she says. “Language means connection, which helps to establish that you – as her lover – are safe and that you appreciate who she is. You don’t have to recite poetry, but you do need to have some sort of conversation.”

Suggested conversation? A revision of Step 1.

4. STIMULATE HER MIND

It doesn’t matter where you are – in a crowded club, at a dinner party, in an empty movie theatre or at home with the kids playing in their bedrooms. Whatever the case, if you’re both up for a quickie, time is of the essence and getting your partner ready for penetration (if that’s what you’re both after; there are many other options) may take more time than you have. However, a sentence whispered in her ear in front of everyone is far more likely to excite her than sticking your hand down her jeans with no preamble – and no warning.

“When a woman’s brain is stimulated, her clitoris isn’t far behind,” says McIntosh. “Women love to use their brains in sex. Incorporating a sexual scenario or fantasy into your love life opens up many different possibilities.”

Decide on what that fantasy is and begin suggesting it to your lover long enough beforehand for her to prepare for it mentally – and physically.

5. BE QUALIFIED FOR THE JOB

When you’re poking around in the dark (for want of a better term), with just minutes available, satisfying your partner is much less likely than when you have more time. A number of the above steps have mentioned communicating needs and desires with your lover, but once you find yourselves actually getting hot and breathing heavily, you need to deliver the goods at express pace. There’s a lot of fun involved in preparing for this moment. If you’re aware that a certain flick of your tongue or finger hits her sweet spot, head straight there.

6. MAKE HER WAIT

Another counter-intuitive step (but a goodie, if you want to up the sexual tension and surprise her) is to keep her waiting. “Women have sex proposed to them far more often than men do,” points out McIntosh. “They’re accustomed to being the ones who do the refusing. While you should never make your partner feel rejected, you can fuel her desire by letting her wait for sex a little. Anticipation is a super-successful aphrodisiac.”

And when the pay-off’s already expected to be more explosive than usual because of the time constraints and the risk of being caught, adding that aphrodisiac can take a quickie to a whole new, mind-blowing level.

7. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED

So you’ve planned your way into a brilliant spontaneous situation. Enjoy. But know that something could still go significantly pear-shaped. Shagging on the coffee table is fantastic – until one of its legs collapses under the unaccustomed strain. Sex on the fire escape is sensational, until you realise you’re being watched in astonishment by the family seated on the balcony one floor up. And while you may have staked out your host’s guest bathroom as the ideal spot for a quickie at a party, you may not be the only couple with that idea – in which case it’s likely to get a little crowded.

So much for the precautions. Now roll with it. Risk it, revel in it – and, above all, laugh. Good sex doesn’t have to be serious or strained.