In those first moments after you’ve been intimate with someone, you’re probably feeling pretty good. With so much happening and the fact you’re probably tired, it’s no surprise you’re not focussing on what’s going on with your body.
Because sex involves the entire body, you may experience some reactions that seem a little off but are actually pretty normal.
Here’s a list of some of the most common things that can happen to your body after intimacy and why they’re usually nothing to worry about.
Feelings of attachment can be increased post-sex.
After an orgasm, people can feel a close connection to their partner, according to Mary Jane Minkin, MD, OB-GYN, clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Yale University School of Medicine.
The chemical oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone,” is released after orgasmic responses, she explained, which enhances a sense of closeness to one’s partner. Oxytocin has also been linked to yielding increased feelings of trust, influencing an individual’s decision to disclose feelings to one’s partner and in turn, building a closer connection.
There may be some semen that leaks post-sex.
If you’re not using condoms or another form of birth control, you may notice some semen leaking out of the vagina after having sex. Don’t worry, it’s totally normal.
There’s no place else for it to go since your body isn’t going to absorb it. To reduce it, you can urinate to expel much of the leakage, Yvonne S. Thornton, M.D., vice chairperson of the department of OB-GYN at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in New York City told Cosmopolitan. You can also thoroughly wash the area after intercourse to clear it all up.
Your face may look flushed.
It’s not uncommon to see measle-like pink patches on the face, top of the chest, or occasionally over the whole body post-orgasm, according to Dr. Robert Huizenga, a celebrity physician and author of “Sex, Lies, and STDs.”
It’s caused by the temporarily increased blood flow in the skin, and usually disappears within minutes – though sometimes it can linger for a full hour after an orgasm, Dr. Huizenga explained.
Cramps can be caused by an orgasm.
As good as sex can be, it can also bring pain, according to a British study. Some people who get their period experience menstrual-like cramps after intercourse and there a few common causes.
For some, orgasms actually can cause cramps in the lower abdominal area. Another cause could be due to having a tilted uterus, making it easier for your partner to hit your cervix, causing pain.
Cramps after sex are often normal if the pain is mild, but if it’s persistent or severe, you’ll want to see your gynecologist.
You can suddenly be very sleepy.
If you find that you need to take a catnap after sex, you’re not alone. There are actually several reasons why people feel tired after intimacy.
“One possibility is that you could just be physically exhausted, giving you a similar feeling of fatigue after doing some intense cardio. It’s also possible that you’re reacting to the change in chemicals that are released during and after an orgasm,” Dr. Huizenga told INSIDER.
The neurochemicals that are released building up to and during an orgasm amp up arousal and excitement, he explained. “Afterward, the profile of chemicals released changes abruptly. Men, more so than women, tend to get very sleepy likely because they respond more to the morphine-like sedating properties of the endorphins,” Dr. Huizenga said.
It can feel a little itchy down there.
Feeling itchy down there after sex is usually nothing to worry about.
You may feel irritation in that area due to all of the friction that was happening during intercourse. Pubic hair can cause a kind of rug burn when rubbing against another body, bringing about skin irritation and rashes. If the itchiness or redness doesn’t subside, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with your doctor.
It’s also possible that you have a sensitivity or allergy to the lube you use or with latex condoms, Maureen Whelihan, M.D., an OB-GYNat the Center for Sexual Health and Education in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina told Glamour. You can try switching out your lube or condom variety to see it it makes a difference.
Something smells kind of funky.
When you think about it, it makes sense that things start to smell some down there after sex. According to Women’s Health magazine, this is because you’re combining vaginal secretion of a low pH with semen of a high pH, which produces a chemical reaction with a completely new odor.
Plus, the groin is similar to the armpit in that it has a high concentration of sweat glands, meaning that it’s likely to get pretty sweaty down there during physical activity. That all adds up to a certain musk.
The sex smell is usually not a big deal unless you notice a persistent fishy or foul odor and in that case, you’ll want to talk to your gynecologist to make sure you don’t have a bacterial imbalance.
Your vagina looks bigger.
You may have noticed that your vagina actually looks slightly enlarged after you’ve had sex. One of the most common causes of this swelling is because of friction. Having rough sex or simply not being lubricated enough during sex could cause irritation that leads to swelling.
It’s also possible that the swelling is caused by arousal. The vagina naturally gets wet and swells when in the mood, and it’s perfectly normal. If the swelling doesn’t disappear within a few hours, you should see your doctor.
You might be sore.
It’s normal to feel a little sore after sex but this soreness should by no means reach the point of actual pain. People with vaginas often experience soreness after a long session of intercourse but if the pain is significant, it could be a sign of an autoimmune disorder, endometriosis, among other things.
“Sex should not hurt, besides maybe a little soreness after a long or hard sexual session,” Jessa Zimmerman, a certified sex therapist and author of “Sex Without Stress,” previously told INSIDER. “If the pain is consistently a problem, [you] should absolutely see a doctor.”
Listen to your body and determine whether the soreness is an appropriate reaction to your recent sexual activity or if it’s something more.
You might have spotting.
Don’t be alarmed if you notice that you’re bleeding after sex. It’s actually surprisingly common and there are multiple reasons it could be happening.
According to the NHS, when your vagina is dry, you may experience bleeding from friction during sex. Or it could be a sign of endometriosis. Medical News Today reports that endometriosis can cause extreme pelvic pain, heavy periods and bleeding after sex.
Whatever the reason, it’s worth discussing with your doctor if you’re noticing you consistently bleed after sex.
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.