Man in bathing tub

Sex Hygiene: The Do’s And Don'ts After Sex

By Colleen G

Here’s how to incorporate after-sex care into your self-care routine to keep your pleasure parts healthy and thriving. 

Before you bask in that post-orgasmic glow, it's time to hit the showers! While your brain may be ready to hit relax mode after a romp in the sheets, your nether regions require some care before you can call it a night or go about your day. 

After-sex care is trending, and for good reason. This form of post-sex self-care is, purely and simply, about health – and all it takes is a little washing up after you've done the deed. 

We've got to admit: sex actually is dirty. Like, really, really dirty, in a physical, medical way. But you can totally do something about it without kicking your favorite sex positions or kinks to the curb. 

No matter your gender or relationship status, your genitals require soap, water, and a visit to the toilet after making sexual contact with a partner. Make your shower your post-sex best friend and your entire body will thank you. 

Why Do I Need an After-Sex Care Routine? 

Post-sex hygiene is absolutely essential to maintaining holistic health, though this might be the first time you're hearing about it. As you snuggle up to your partner, ready to lay low and chill out after an amazing sex session, the bacteria in your bodily fluids are having an absolute field day. 

Leftover sweat and sexual fluids like semen and vaginal secretions are breeding grounds for the microscopic bugs that create skin irritation and infections like UTIs, bacterial vaginosis, and yeast overgrowth. 

Adding after-sex care into your routine will keep your pleasure parts healthy and infection-free. All it takes are a few quick tips! 

If you're still wondering why we insist on dragging your tired, just-climaxed body out of bed before your heart has even stopped pounding, read on. Our experts will explain exactly what to do after sex so your pleasure parts are feeling fresh and ready for your next sexual adventure. 

After-Sex Care, Simplified 

Cleaning up after sex doesn't require an entirely new collection of bath and beauty products. You can flush bacteria down the drain with nothing more than the current contents of your bathroom. 

Even if you're not a fan of routines, these post-sex hygiene tips are easy to do and take less than 5 minutes each! 

Pop a Squat (or Take a Stand) and Pee 

First thing's first: pee immediately after sex. It's as simple as that, and it's absolutely necessary. 

Sex can push all sorts of bacteria into the urethra, especially for folks with a vagina, and you'll need to rinse it out before it potentially triggers a painful UTI, or urinary tract infection. 

Our mouths, fingers, and genitals are teeming with bacteria that have no business getting cozy in the urethra. Once there, they'll attach to the urethral walls and cause an infection that's painful at best and could even lead to a full-blown kidney infection and subsequent trip to the emergency room at worst. 

The good news is that preventing UTIs is as easy as sitting on the toilet post-sex. The fast flow of urine helps to flush out whatever microscopic invaders have made an appearance during play time. 

Drink a glass of water just prior to having sex so to arm your bladder with nature's best after-sex hygiene remedy. 

Wash That Sweaty, Post-Climax Crotch with Soap and Water 

Sex is, in fact, super dirty, simply due to the massive amounts of bacteria that call our skin and mouths home. While your genitals are marinating in your shared sweat and sexual fluids, bacteria and yeast are multiplying, just waiting to send you to the MD's office with a case of bacterial vaginosis, a penile yeast infection (because yes, penises can get yeast infections, too), or a vaginal yeast infection. 

After sex, take a quick hop in the shower and lather up your genitals with soap and water. Stay away from soaps with excess fragrances or exfoliating ingredients, as these can irritate the skin, making it more prone to infection. 

Use a simple, no-nonsense soap with few ingredients and make sure to thoroughly wash away all the suds, which take all that nasty bacteria with them as you rinse. 

Wash Your Vulva, But Leave That Vagina Alone 

The easy post-sex, wash-and-go routine we've just suggested only applies to your external sex parts. 

The penis and vulva – the sex organs that hang outside of the body – can handle and benefit from gentle cleaning on a daily basis and after sexual activity. 

The vagina, however, should be left to handle its own housekeeping. You see, not all bacteria are bad. Inside the vagina, a carefully orchestrated ecosystem of bacteria and antimicrobial compounds are at work, maintaining your pH balance and preventing potential infections from getting out of hand. 

Douching, or rinsing out the vagina with water (or any other irritating fluid, like *shudder* vinegar or tea tree oil, as we've seen in some ill-informed home remedies), can disrupt that natural order of protective microbes, leaving your vag even more susceptible to illness. 

Similarly, steer clear of all those expensive, fancy intimate soaps that claim to “freshen up” your sexy parts. These soaps are all hype with little to zero benefit for your body, and more often than not, they're infused with fragrances that can cause or worsen vaginal infections. 

In short, let your body handle the in-house laundry! The vagina is a self-cleaning organ, and it'll flush out whatever isn't welcome all by itself. Regular soap and water around the vulva is all you need to get the job done. 

Create Helpful Habits That Contribute to Good Sexual Health 

Besides cleaning up post-sex, we recommend keeping an eye on daily habits that can make it harder to maintain a healthy, sex-ready body. 

Want to keep that D or V in top-tier shape 24/7? We've got a ton of quick and easy tips to toss into your routine. 

  • Drink. That. Water! We know it's not always easy to remember, but the more you flush out your kidneys and urethra, the less you'll experience painful UTIs and the potentially dangerous side effects and further infections they can cause.  
  • Wear cotton underwear on the daily, leave the sexy lace in the bedroom, and ditch the Lycra boy shorts at the gym. Your genitals need to breathe, and tight, synthetic fabrics don't allow for proper airflow. Cotton undies absorb bacteria-trapping sweat without suffocating your crotch.  
  • They might be super comfortable, but skin-tight yoga pants and leggings can be similarly constricting for your coochie or penis. Try not to spend too much time in tight workout or yoga wear, which contribute to bacteria overgrowth and stop fresh air from reaching where the sun don't shine, where you actually need it most. Loose-fitting clothing is key for healthy genitals. Switch up those tight, trendy booty shorts for some flowy, summer dresses or a skirt. Your vagina's pH balance will thank you for it.  
  • Don't have penetrative sex if you currently have a yeast or bacterial infection. You'll keep reinfecting yourself and your partner until you've completed a proper round of medication and are cleared to have sex again. Follow doctor's orders and engage in non-penetrative partner play until your genitals are back in business.  
  • Wear condoms and use dental dams. If you're not monogamous, this is already a no-brainer, but for poly-type and monogamous couples alike, STI prevention methods like condoms and dental dams can also help prevent UTIs and yeast or bacterial infections.  
  • Are you even the slightest bit worried or confused about a funky smell, a persistent itch, or pain during sex? Get tested by a gyno or general practitioner for STIs and other sex-related infections. A quick Google search can help you find local care clinics within your budget that specialize in reproductive health. It never hurts to know for sure, even if your symptoms are mild. It's always best to catch an infection before it grows to dangerous proportions. 

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