When you think of the times that you feel the most relaxed and happy, the blissed-out buzz you get after an orgasm ranks right up there with a deep tissue massage. But what you choose to do while buzzed impacts your vagina.
“When the vaginal tissues have been lubricated, swollen, and rubbed against during intercourse, it changes how that tissue reacts to the environment.
Primarily, you run a much greater risk of infection,” says Kansas-based gynaecologist, Dr. Leslie Page
Here, we break down the stuff you should never, ever do after sex if you want to keep your vagina happy.
Don’t forget to pee
During sex, bacteria can get pushed into your bladder. “This can result in post-intercourse bladder infections,” says an obstetrics gynaecologist, Dr. Robert Wool, M.D.
“You can have some snuggle time, just empty your bladder within one hour of having sex.”
Then, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading fecal matter from your anus to the vagina.
“Due to swelling and micro-abrasions that can occur during sexual intercourse, your vulva and vaginal skin are particularly tender and prone to infection,” says Page.
Don’t use soap to wash your vagina
Some women might feel the urge to wash the vagina with soap after sex, but that’s really unnecessary. Not only might you have an allergic reaction if your post-sex skin reacts differently to the harsh chemicals in cleansers, but “using soap can lead to vaginal irritation and dryness,” Wool says.
“The vagina is a self-cleaning organ, and needs to be treated very, very gently — if you wouldn’t put it in your mouth, you shouldn’t put it in or around your vagina,” Page says. If you want to take a post-sex shower, use plain water to rinse off.
Don’t sleep in your nylon underwear
Cotton lingerie is okay because it’s breathable, but nylon, rayon, or polyester undies are a no-no.
“After sex, your skin tends to be warm and damp, thanks to perspiration, vaginal secretions, and semen,” Page says.
“As such, synthetic underwear traps the moisture and you run the risk of a yeast infection,” Wool says. “The vagina likes to breathe.” So, go nude or stick to cotton pants after sex.
Don’t swim in a hot bath tub
Getting your bubbles on sounds like the perfect after-sex activity, but it’s bad news.
“When your vulva swells in response to sexual stimulation, it reveals the opening of the vagina, which means you have a greater chance of infection,” Page says.
If you’re in a hot tub with your partner, that means you’re exposed to the bacteria on his skin and anus. Also, extensive water exposure reduces the efficiency of your skin’s antimicrobial barrier, she says.
Don’t use flushable wet wipes
If you’re sensitive to chemicals like alcohol, glycerin, scents, and certain oils, using a flushable wet wipe after sex can cause irritation, since you’re more susceptible to skin issues after sex, says Page.
The signs include redness, swelling, itching, and tenderness.
If you’re set on cleaning up with something other than toilet paper, try doing your own wipe with warm water and vinegar, says Page.
Mix one teaspoon of vinegar with a quart of water, pour some on to a wash cloth and wipe your vulva over the toilet, and then pat dry, she says.
“The vinegar is mildly cleansing and helps maintain the skin’s natural acidity,” says Page.
The bottom line: You have only one vagina, treat it gently.