You know what to do before jumping into the sack with someone, sure, but what about after? We asked top docs to weigh in on the post-sex habits that are most definitely worth establishing, whether you are in a monogamous relationship or with a new partner. Spoiler alert: It’s not just peeing. Ahead, the five things you should always do after sex. Cuddling can wait.
Go to the bathroom after sex
Okay, we know we just said there’s more than this, but this is one of the most important things to do after sex. “Bacteria can be passed on during intercourse, and urinating flushes it from your urethra, lessening the chances that it reaches your bladder where it can lead to infection,” explains Alyssa Dweck, MD, an OBGYN in New York. Do so immediately, even before snuggling or sleeping (sorry). This is a good habit to get into in general, but it’s especially important if you’re prone to UTIs, Dr. Dweck adds.
Get cleaned up
To the point of eliminating bacteria, you’ll also want to wipe off your labia and external vaginal area to remove any bacterial build-up. If you can’t shower, vaginal hygiene wipes are a good alternative (not to mention make it easy to be super discreet about the process). “They’re alcohol-free and hypoallergenic, and they will remove dirt, germs, and odor,” says Sheryl A. Ross, MD, an OBGYN in Santa Monica, CA. She recommends the Summer’s Eve Cleansing Cloths ($2; target.com). Just keep in mind that you should focus on wiping only the external parts—the inside of the vagina is self-cleaning—and always wipe from front to back, adds Omnia M. Samra-Latif Estafan, MD, an OBGYN in Hamilton, NJ.
Try a pH balancing product
“A healthy vagina has an acidic pH environment,” says Dr. Estafan. Saliva, semen, and lubricants—i.e. all things that you come in contact with during sex—can alter the pH, increasing the risk of vaginal yeast or bacterial infection, she adds. You can mitigate this risk during sex by using a pH balancing lube, and/or by using a pH balanced wash after sex. One to try: Nelly De Vuyst Biofemme Cleansing Foam Elle ($59; luxuryorganik.com).
Keep an eye out for any strange symptoms
Even if you take all the proper precautions, you still want to be cognizant of any signs of possible infection afterwards, advises Dr. Dweck. These can include a thick, white discharge and itching (both tell-tale signs of a yeast infection), abnormal bleeding, and/or a foul odor. When in doubt, call your gyno. You may also want to consider being tested for STD/STIs, especially if you are having sex with a new partner.
Track your period
If you are in a heterosexual relationship, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on your monthly cycle, particularly if you are having regular sex. This is regardless of your method of birth control–or, on the flip side, if you’re trying to get pregnant. Any one of the many menstrual apps now available make this easier than ever, says Dr. Dweck. We like Flo, which available for iOS devices and Android.
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