What to Do After Ejaculation

man and woman hugging each other

In the midst of sexual arousal, it’s easy to forget to clean up. But a few basic hygiene practices can help prevent infections after coitus and improve your health overall.

Washing your genitals immediately after sex reduces the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs). It also helps avoid penile thrush. Drinking a glass of wine can increase the pleasure of sex, but drinking too much makes climax harder to achieve.

1. Pee

If you’re a woman, you’ve probably heard that you should pee right after sex to prevent a UTI. This is because women’s urethras are close to their anus and, if bacteria from a vaginal penetration spreads up into the urethra, it can cause an infection of the bladder called cystitis.

But does this advice really hold up to scientific scrutiny? We spoke to an ob/gyn and a urologist to find out.

The main reason for this recommendation is to reduce the likelihood of sperm finding its way up to an egg after you’ve ejaculated. But, as a recent study found, this is less likely in men than it is in women because the urethra is farther from the anus than the vaginal canal and cervix.

Another possible benefit of peeing after sex is to flush bacteria out of the urethra that could have been introduced during intercourse. But, despite all this, there’s not much evidence that peeing after sex actually helps lower the risk of an UTI or protects against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you do want to do something to help prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, you can always use emergency contraception. And, if you want to protect yourself against STIs, there’s a vaccine for HPV and daily drug therapy available for HIV. You can also get tested for both STIs and HIV at your doctor’s office.

2. Wash Your Hands

After a sex session, your hands are probably dirty. Especially after dealing with semen, sweat and lubricant, your palms may be covered in pathogens that could lead to a yeast infection or other sexually transmitted diseases. So it’s best to wash them immediately after sex, experts say. Washing your hands is an important part of safer sex and it’s something most people forget to do, says Schaffner. A quick handwash with plain soap and water can kill bacteria, he adds. After you’ve washed your hands, blot them dry with paper towels or a wad of toilet tissue. Wet hands pick up more bacteria than drier ones, so make sure to get them completely dry before touching anything else.

In addition to washing your hands, it’s a good idea to clean any sex toys you use after sex, too. Failing to do so creates a fertile home for bacteria, viruses and fungi. Follow cleaning instructions on the toy packaging to avoid spreading germs.

Some couples may choose to wait a few minutes or even hours before they clean up after sex, but it’s essential to do so if you’re trying to conceive. The viability of sperm is reduced after it exits the penis, and if you’re not careful, you could accidentally become pregnant by touching something containing fresh sperm.

3. Wash Your Face

We all know what to do before sex but the post-sex habits that are most essential for optimal hygiene may surprise you. After you finish with your partner — whether it was in bed or on the floor or whatever — it’s important to clean yourself and the immediate surrounding area. The following four post-sex practices will preserve your urinary and sexual health while also keeping you feeling fresh and satisfied.

Women often notice a flushed face after sex but this is a normal response of the body to the excitement of the moment. It’s not caused by ejaculation but rather a temporary increase in blood flow to the skin. Flushing typically clears up within a few minutes.

If your co-sexer has a condom in place, it’s a good idea to hand them some sort of cum wipe — preferably a clean tissue or towel. Avoid grabbing their own clothes to use as a makeshift cum rag and, for the love of God, don’t grab one of your own dirty towels either.

A UK beauty blogger has sparked a lot of interest in her online video tutorial on how to give yourself a semen facial. Although most people are positively grossed out by this, rubbing fresh sperm all over your face is said to reduce the impact of rosacea and even slow ageing while lending your skin a natural glow.

4. Clean Your Labia

The last step in a good post-sex cleanup session is to gently wash around your genital area with a mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water. Men, if you have foreskin, gently pull it back and wash underneath to get rid of any sweat, semen or bacteria. Make sure to rinse thoroughly to avoid a UTI (urinary tract infection).

Then you’re ready to go to bed, or at least change into some clean pajama bottoms. Wear loose, breathable cotton underwear to let your body breathe and decrease your risk of yeast infections and itchy bits.

If you don’t have any soap handy, simply wet a cloth with warm water and wipe from front to back. Be careful not to use scented wipes or toilet paper in your lady parts as they can irritate them and cause more friction down there. Some people may douch their vaginas after sex, but this is a big no-no. It can decrease the number of healthy bacteria in the vagina, increasing your risk of yeast infections and bacterial infections.

However, even the most thorough sex cleanup sessions are not a foolproof way to prevent pregnancy or STDs and STIs from occurring if you’re having unprotected sex. Be sure to always practice safe sex by using condoms and barrier forms of protection like cervical caps.

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