Whatever you prefer to do after sex is entirely up to you. You can snuggle with your partner, get up and leave, or flip on Netflix and continue whatever show you were halfway through when you started making out. But when it comes to physical and mental health, there are several after sex mistakes that can have a pretty big impact on your body and your relationship, and are thus worth staying away from if possible.
By knowing what these mistakes are — and how to fix them — you can maintain your health, and make the most of those post-sex moments. "Taking care of yourself after sex is so important for your body and mind," Dr. Rashmi Kudesia Pabari, a Health Advisor for HealthyWomen, tells Bustle. "Taking the time to establish healthy habits ensures that you can have the best possible communication and intimacy with your sexual partner, discuss things that were great or bothersome, and maintain your gynecologic health."
And, if you're having sex with someone you'd consider a partner, the moments afterward can offer the perfect opportunity to bond. By lingering in bed, for example, "it makes the most of the hormone rush of oxytocin (often referred to as the 'bonding hormone') that women generally experience after sex," Pabari says. Here are a few common mistakes people make after sex, according to experts, as well as how to fix them.
1. Forgetting To Pee
Most people have a tough time untangling from their partner after sex and getting up to pee, usually because when you're comfortable and tired the bathroom just seems so far away. And yet, if you're prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs), try to find the strength to pop off to the bathroom.
This is a great tip for everyone, but people with vaginas especially need to make the extra effort. "People with female anatomy should definitely urinate after having sex to help prevent UTIs," Rachel Gelman, DPT, PT, branch director at Pelvic Health and Rehabilitation Center, tells Bustle. "There is no need to do any extra cleaning, [and] douching should be avoided, as this can increase the risk for infection."
Urinating can help flush out any bacteria that may have found their way into the urethra during sex, since bacteria lingering too long can cause a UTI.
2. Ignoring Pain
Nobody should suffer in silence if they feel pain during or after sex. So don't be afraid to speak up if this is happening to you. And don't feel like you need to put on a brave face and ignore it, since there are things you can do.
"If someone experiences pain during or after sex, they should obviously consult a medical provider, but practicing diaphragmatic breathing while hanging out in child's pose can help facilitate relaxation, which can decrease these symptoms," Gelman says.
Doing this pose right after sex can help ease any pain you might be feeling due to muscle cramps or other issues. But if the pain is ongoing, do check in with a doctor, so they can figure out what's wrong.
3. Leaping Out Of Bed
Some couples jump out of bed immediately after sex, either to get on with their day or to do things around the house. But if you're with someone you'd like to bond with, and you have time to revel in the sex you just had, it can be beneficial to linger in bed for a while.
"The post intimacy relaxation that can wash over your body is healing and unique," clinical psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow, host of The Web radio show, tells Bustle. "Take a few minutes to be there, lay there, notice how your body feels. Allow your body to soak it in. The deep state of post intimacy relaxation is incredibly relaxing and a good way to give your body a chance to completely let go."
You don't have to lie there with a partner if it makes you feel uncomfortable, or if you have somewhere you need to be. But if you're with your partner and have the time, doing so can be a really great experience.
4. Forgetting To Clean Sex Toys
Lots of folks use toys during sex, then just toss them aside after doin' the deed. But taking the time to clean them is important.
"While it's very easy to adopt an 'I'll just do that later' attitude, having a quick and easy wash regimen for your products significantly reduces your chance of infection and will lengthen the life of your toy," Stephanie Alys, cofounder of Mystery Vibe, tells Bustle. "A contaminated product could give you a yeast or bacterial infection, or potentially an STI if you've shared with an infected partner. Making sure they're clean straight after sex will give you peace of mind and keep your toys in tip top condition!"
So give 'em a quick once over. "Check with the manufacturer, and depending on the material of the toy, clean up with a mild, unscented soap or a dedicated sex toy cleaner," Alys says. "Some products can even go in the dishwasher!"
5. Pretending It Was Great Sex, Even If It Wasn't
With casual sex, there's no need to linger in bed afterward or talk about the sex, if you don't want to. But if you're with a long-term partner, checking in with them can be beneficial for your relationship, since you're probably going to have sex again.
"Right after sex is the best time to discuss with your partner how it was, what you liked, didn't like and overall, how you felt about the experience," author and lifestyle expert Jaya Jaya Myra tells Bustle. "If you bring these thing up later, it's easy to get defensive or to misunderstand each other. Talking about it right after is a way to express yourself and build a deeper, closer connection, without the awkwardness that could come from talking about it later."
6. Failing To Talk About What Made You Uncomfortable
If something happened during sex that made you feel weird or uncomfortable, it might feel like it's better to just let it go. But if it's really bothering you, don't be afraid to speak up and let your partner know.
"If something occurred that made you uncomfortable, you should definitely work toward creating the environment — either then or later — to share your feelings and how things could be better in the future," says Pabari. Remember, your comfort is a priority, and if something doesn't feel right, feel empowered to speak up.
7. Wiping From Back To Front
When in the bathroom having that all-important pee, be sure to wipe from front to back — not the other way around. "Whether you are emptying your bladder after sex or wiping away the semen, make sure to wipe front to back," relationship therapist Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, founder of Relationup, tells Bustle. "Because your vagina experiences micro-abrasions during sex, you are at greater risk to develop a bladder infection by spreading fecal matter from your anus to your vagina area."
8. Forgetting To Wash Your Hands
Regardless of what happened during sex, it's always a good idea to wash your hands afterward. As Milrad says, "Take a moment to wash with warm water and soap before using your hands to eat, clean yourself up, or touch any of your orifices. You want to make sure that you are not spreading fecal matter to those areas." It seems obvious, and yet it's so easy to forget.
9. Jumping Right Into A Hot Tub
If you have a hot tub, or are on vacation and happen to spot one near a pool, do avoid leaping in right after sex. "It may sound sexy to soak in a hot tub after sex, but it isn’t the best idea," says Milrad. "Your vagina is at greater risk to get an infection from either the bacteria in the water or from the bacteria on your partner’s skin, penis, or anus. You just don’t want to be exposing your vagina to a pool of bacteria." Again, this is due to micro-abrasions that can occur during sex, which let the bacteria seep in.
10. Putting Pressure On Sex To Conceive
When you're trying to get pregnant, sex can take on an entirely different tone. You might be having sex on your ovulation day, or trying specific positions that you heard can increase your chances of getting pregnant.
But experts say this can put a damper on your sex life. So if you feel like it's a burden to discuss it each time after having sex, don't feel like you need to.
"If you're trying to conceive, many couples find the pressure of trying to get pregnant ruins their sex life and intimacy," says Pabari. "Since there's no advantage to any particular position during or after sex, I'd recommend focusing on your relationship and not necessarily reintroducing the stress of pregnancy at that time."
11. Slipping Back Into Your Underwear Right Away
If you have somewhere to be, then get dressed and go. But if you have time to linger, it's a good idea to let your bits breathe after sex. "Be gentle with yourself, and if possible, choose a cotton brief underwear that won't irritate your vulva and make you more sore or at risk for bacterial vaginosis (BV), [which is] essentially an alteration in the normal vaginal bacteria that can be related to synthetic materials, tight thong-style underwear, or perfumed or high-chemical body products," Pubari says.
The moments after sex can be a great time to relax in your afterglow, and bond with your partner. But it's also a time to make sure you take care of your health. While you don't need to drastically change your routine, making a few changes — like peeing after sex — can be quite beneficial to your health.