After a wonderful sex session with your partner (or indeed, after a fairly terrible one), it can be tempting to roll over and snooze. Or, who knows, maybe even read or rush off to work. But hold your horses, women! There are a few things you should probably take care of first. Most of these things involve keeping your genitals healthy, clean and infection-free.
1. Wash, but don’t go overboard
Stray pubic hairs, lubricant (natural or something you applied), ejaculate and all sorts of fun things could be stuck and hanging out around your genitals, so for pure comfort as well as for hygiene, it’s a good idea to have a quick wash. A shower is usually the best idea, and a hot bath not so much. This is because your vagina opens up in response to stimulation, and a hot bath can leave you more susceptible to infection. But, as with any shower, you should avoid the use of soap directly on (and even worse, in) your vagina. Also, avoid wet wipes. Vaginas are incredible in that they are self-cleaning, and using soaps or douches can interfere with their pH levels as well as the healthy bacteria you already have and don’t want to get rid of.
2. After washing, dry
Yeast infections love warm, moist places, and vaginas are happy when they’re dry. That’s one of the reasons it’s recommended that you don’t wear tights or tight clothing made of sweaty material too often, but it also means that after washing after sex, you want to also get dry. A towel will do the trick, or even a hairdryer, set to cold. Make sure you just dry the outer areas; let the inside stay moist.
3. Go to the toilet
If you’ve had intercourse without a condom, you’ll probably already feel like letting the semen fall out, but it’s also useful to pee after sex to flush out any other sex-related liquids, and can also help protect you against urinary tract infections. Peeing is extra important if you’ve engaged in anal sex. While your vagina is okay with semen and even a partner’s urine, any small out of poop can cause a UTI. It is important to note though that it’s always best to pee when you actually need to — and that it doesn’t make any difference if you pee two minutes, 20 minutes or an hour after sex.
4. Drink water and eat food rich in probiotics
As with other forms of exercise, it’s great to stay hydrated after sex, and the extra water will help flush any UTI-causing bacteria as well. Yogurt, kombucha and kimchi are great foods to munch on for restocking on good bacteria in order to prevent yeast infections.
5. Wear comfortable clothing
Another important step in helping to prevent yeast and bacterial infections is to put on some cotton undies or, well, nothing after sex, instead of nylon and frill-itchy lingerie.
6. Chat or cuddle
After you’ve washed, or maybe for a little while before you get up to do that, on an emotional level it can be really beneficial to just cuddle or talk with your partner. It’s a good time to tell your partner what you liked. However, Kristen Carpenter, director of women’s behavioral health at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Women’s Sexual Health Clinic, suggests that conversations about things that didn’t go so well are better left until some time has passed. Researchers have found that post-sex affection and loving behavior contributes to higher relationship and sexual satisfaction in the long term.
— Tamara Pearson