Ensuring your reproductive health is one of the most important parts of sexual activity. As unsexy as this may sound, it is critical and you have to keep certain things in mind every single time you get it on.
How do you make this easy? Maintain a simple, easy routine to keep your vaginal flora in check and your body STI- and pregnancy-free (if a baby isn't in your plan right now). The steps are more straightforward than you might think.
Let’s face it: The last thing you want is to wind up in the urgent care with a raging UTI because you forgot to do one simple thing after sex. So, follow these five post-sex rules to ensure your reproductive health and safety.
Pee within the first 10 minutes post-coitus
Sexual health professionals vary on the peeing-after-sex debate. The argument is not whether you have to pee after penetration (you do!), but how quickly you need to make it happen.
We like to stick with the 10-minute rule. You don’t have to jump up the minute you’re finished to hit the bathroom, but within 10 minutes is the safest bet. Have some cuddle time and take a break—just be mindful.
You don’t want to fall asleep after sex and forget to pee. If you don’t flush your urethra, a buildup of bacteria can cause a urinary tract infection. And no one wants that.
Take note of bleeding
There is a very strange, socially normative idea that sex will sometimes hurt for women. And that’s…OK? Unless you have vaginismus, vulvodynia, or another condition that causes sexual pain, sex shouldn’t hurt. Ever.
In that same vein, take a moment when you’re in the bathroom to check for vaginal bleeding. There is likely nothing medically wrong, but if you notice consistent bleeding or spotting after sex, you need to spend more time on foreplay to ensure your vagina’s sexual readiness.
Always use lots of lube, no matter how wet you get without it. It helps sex feel more comfortable and alleviates much of the friction that can cause tearing and bleeding. If bleeding continues, consult your ob-gyn.
Take a shower
You don’t necessarily need to get in the shower the same night if you’re having sex right before bed. You can wipe yourself down with a gentle, scentless wipe. This will keep things nice and fresh, but won’t irritate the vulva. We love Post-Play wipes from Sustain.
When you do shower, gently rinse the entire vulva with warm water. Do not use soap on the inner parts of the vulva or vagina under any circumstances. This can cause irritation or an infection. Your vagina self-cleans. It does not need soap.
If you feel you must wash your pubic hair and outer lips, use a mild cleanser. We suggest original Dove soap or this unscented body wash from Sustain.
Check the condom
Always use a male condom, female condom, or dental dam (for vulva to vulva oral sex) during sex, unless you've had an open conversation with your partner and have decided together not to use protection.
You’ll want to use condoms or female condoms if you’re not on an alternative form of birth control (for heterosexual couples) or if your partner has a transmissible STI such as the herpes virus.
After sex, check to make sure the condom is free of holes or abrasions. This is a crucial step to ensure your sexual safety and reproductive health. If you find there is a tear, get Plan B within 72 hours and/or make an appointment to get tested for STIs.
See more: 5 Bad Sex Habits to Break Now
Wash your toys with a mild soap and water
If you’re using sex toys, be sure to wash them after every single use. You do not want them collecting bacteria. This is both unsanitary and can cause bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection.
You don't have to wash them the second you’re finished getting busy, but place them somewhere in sight so you remember to clean them in the morning. For most toys a mild soap and water should do the trick.
Always read the directions that come with your toys for proper cleaning instructions. If you want to be extra sanitary, get a UVee box. They use ultra violet lights to eliminate 99 percent of any bacteria in 10 minutes. They are a little pricey, but totally worth it.