WebMD recently posted some very useful tips about what you should (and shouldn’t) do after sex. We’ve summarized them below.
You don’t have to hop out of bed and into the shower right away, but gently cleaning yourself after sex can protect men and women from infections, like those of the urinary tract (UTIs). A quick rinse with warm water will work just fine as soaps may irritate the area.
Douching can lead to more infections because it upsets the natural balance of bacteria that protects your vagina. Every vagina can clean itself naturally so, stick to only washing the outside of it! Also, keep in mind that a mild smell is normal and may not be a sign of a problem.
Keep clean-up simple
Along with douches, drug stores offer lots of wipes, creams, and sprays that claim to help you “freshen up” your personal areas. Some of them are made with harsh soaps, detergents, shampoos, perfumes, or lotions that can make your skin break out. Just stick to a gentle rinse with warm water after sex. And avoid scented tampons, pads, powders, and sprays, especially if you tend to get infections.
Empty your bladder
During sex, bacteria can get into your urethra, which raises your chances of getting a UTI. Peeing after sex helps to flush those germs out! So enjoy some cuddle time with your partner, then head to the bathroom. Ladies: You should always wipe from front to back to stop the spread of bacteria – whether you’ve just had sex or not!
Drink a glass of water
Since it’s a good idea to pee after a roll in the hay, don’t forget to drink water. When you stay hydrated, you’ll pee more, which means that more bacteria will wash out of your body before infections can flare up.
Wear loose-fitting clothing
Hot, sweaty places are the perfect spots for bacteria and yeast to thrive. So wear underwear and clothes that let air in. Women should avoid pantyhose, girdles, and panties that are too tight. Cotton undies work well for men and women – they’re breathable and absorb moisture. Or skip underwear altogether when you go to bed.
Wash your hands
It’s the best way to get rid of bacteria you might pick up from touching your (or your partner’s) genitals. That’s key to stop infections from spreading. Wash with soap and water, and make it part of your post-sex clean-up routine.
Clean your sex toys
After you’re done with them, bacteria, viruses, and fungi can hang around. That means your toys could spread STIs and other infections. Make sure you always have sex toy cleaner available and clean each toy after every use, every time! Sharing toys with others can send even more germs back and forth. If sharing is your thing, simply cover the toy with a new condom each time you use it…but don’t skimp on the careful cleaning, either.
Take care of yeast infections
Partners can pass these back and forth during sex. (Yes, guys can get yeast infections too.) So if you notice the symptoms – itching, burning, or a thick, white discharge from the vagina or penis – treat it before the next time you get busy. Talk to your doctor if you think you have one; prescription creams and medications can treat them much more accurately and effectively than over the counter ones.
Think about getting tested
If you’re sexually active, especially if you’ve been with a new partner (and ideally before you begin having sex with a new partner), it’s a good idea to get tested for STIs. Since most of the time, these infections have no symptoms, testing is the only way to know for sure if you have one. You should also watch for any abnormal symptoms, like discharge, pain, blisters, sores, spots, or lumps around your genitals.
Pregnant? Take extra care
Sex is usually safe during pregnancy, but you are more likely to get infections like UTIs during this time. So it’s even more important to take care of the basics after sex – pee afterward, wash your vulva well, and drink plenty of water. Encourage your partner to do the same.