- Doctors say you should go to the bathroom and avoid putting on tight-fitting lingerie or underwear right after having sex.
- Getting into a hot tub or a very hot bath immediately after sex can put you at risk for contracting an infection.
- It’s important to discuss sexual health before sex.
In the first moments immediately after having sex, there’s a good chance you’re reveling in the postcoital flood of hormones that make you feel sleepy and relaxed.
INSIDER spoke with three OB-GYNs about what you should avoid doing immediately after having sex.
You shouldn’t forget to use the bathroom.
It might not feel super sexy to immediately step away from your partner to use the bathroom, but emptying your bladder post-sex is actually pretty important, especially if you have a vagina.Dr. Allison Hill and Dr. Yvonne Bohn, OB-GYNs at Los Angeles Obstetricians and Gynecologists, said it’s crucial because sexual activity can push bacteria up the urethra, which can lead to bladder infections or urinary tract infections.
“It is a good idea to empty your bladder after sex, because the activity is known to help bacteria transfer from back to front, from the anal area to the vaginal/urethra. Using the bathroom flushes out the area, lowering the risk of infection,” said Dr. Carolyn DeLucia, an OB-GYN and adviser to Remedy Review.
Feel free to take a bath or shower — but try to avoid bathing in super-hot water.
All three experts agreed that taking a bath or a shower after sex is fine, but you might want to skip a post-sex soak in the hot tub, especially if you have a vagina.
Page said that excessive water exposure can “reduce the efficiency of your skin’s antimicrobial barrier,” upping your risk of contracting an infection.
Don’t use perfumed or scented products on your genital area.
While there’s no shortage of scented soaps, gels, washes, lotions, and other products marketed for genital health, these products can irritate internal and external skin and should be avoided after sex, especially for those with a vagina.
As Hill and Bohn previously told INSIDER, “We don’t recommend using soaps or products with lots of added fragrance/chemicals, as they can alter your good, normal bacteria; ideally, you should wash just with warm water. Using anything foreign, such as [a] toy, gels, creams, and lubricants can disrupt your delicate flora, causing bad bacteria or yeast to overgrow.”
Keeping your post-sex cleansing routine as simple and gentle as possible is the best way to ensure you’re not irritating the genital area with harsh scents or chemicals.
You should never douche.
Even though douching after sex is often marketed as a safe and healthy way to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections, all three of our experts advise against douching as it “alters your normal vaginal flora and will increase your risk of UTIs, yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis,” a condition caused by vaginal inflammation when there is an overgrowth of bacteria.
DeLucia said douching “wipes out” natural bacterial flora, leaving the area “prone to any bacteria or yeast,” or “just about anything” that might inadvertently enter.
Don’t put your sex toys away without thoroughly cleaning them.
Just as you should clean your body after sex, you should clean any sex toys you used.
“Toys are usually synthetic and can hold bacteria,” DeLucia said. “Keep them clean and they will not increase the risk of infection.”
Paying attention to the toy’s specific directions for keeping it clean is crucial, but Hill and Bohn recommend that you “clean any sex toys with warm water and a mild soap if indicated.”
You shouldn’t put on any tight-fitting clothing or lingerie immediately after sex.
Donning anything tight-fitting immediately after sex isn’t the best idea, according to DeLucia. “Since usually there is an excess of bodily fluids and the friction spreads the bacteria around, it is a good idea to allow free drainage and air,” she told INSIDER. “This allows [the body to naturally cleanse itself]. Either wear nothing or loose clothing.”
You shouldn’t wait until after sex to speak to your partner about their sexual health.
Regularly being tested for STIs is a crucial part of sexual health, but you shouldn’t wait until after having sex to have open and honest communication with your partner about any concerns you might have.
“Talking about STI testing is a good idea … so if you get tested and have the results, then it is easy to ask that they be tested, too,” DeLucia said.
Try to avoid immediately grabbing your phone or the TV remote.
Even if you’re not planning on sticking around or need to leave shortly after sex, you might want to avoid immediately grabbing your phone or turning on the TV post-sex. The moments after sex can be a great way to bond with your partner.
DeLucia said: “Being present with your partner increases your intimate connection. One of the hormones we release following sex, called oxytocin, is a bonding hormone.”
Larry Young, a professor of psychiatry at Emory University in Atlanta, told WebMd: “When you’re first becoming intimate, you’re releasing lots of dopamine and oxytocin. That’s creating that link between the neural systems that are processing your facial cues, your voice, and the reward system.”
Scrolling through social media or watching TV limits your chances of enjoying those postcoital feelings of bliss, so savour them while you can.
- Read more:
- Why having multiple orgasms is easier for some people than others
- 8 reasons why your sex life can change once you get into a relationship
- 10 times you shouldn’t have sex
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