Do You Have to Shower After Sex?

Showering after sex may feel nice, but it’s not always necessary. You should still wash your hands and wipe down the areas that made contact with bodily fluids.

Also, peeing right after sex flushes bacteria out of the urethra, which can lower the risk for UTIs. And, if you’re trying to conceive, you should always use condoms and thoroughly clean sex toys.

Wash Your Hands

For both men and women, washing the hands is one of the best things to do after sex. Doing so gets rid of any bacteria on your fingers that could enter the vagina or other private areas, and it helps prevent germs from being spread to other parts of the body or to your partners. Wash the backs of your hands, your wrists, and any other parts that have made contact with your genitals or anything you’ve touched.

For a more thorough handwashing, use liquid antibacterial soap or warm water to gently scrub your whole hands for about 20 seconds. Then, rinse off and dry your hands completely. Don’t forget to wash your fingernails, too! They can carry a lot of the same bacteria as your hands.

It’s also important to wipe the vulva after sex to help reduce the chances of infection. You can do this with a simple cloth or paper towel, but avoid using perfumed or fragrant wipes. The chemicals in these products can irritate the skin and aggravate irritation, leading to itching or pain.

It’s also a good idea to use condoms, have fewer sexual partners, get vaccinated, and practice regular STD testing as the most reliable ways to prevent infections. However, showering after sex won’t protect you against all STIs, so be sure to test regularly and inform your sexual partners of your status.

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Wipe Down

The sexy, sweaty climax may leave your genital area drenched in body heat and fluid. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to hop in the shower and scrub off. Instead, gently washing can help protect both men and women from infections such as urinary tract infections (UTIs).

Using plain warm water and a soft washcloth, clean the area around your genitals, including the balls and the penis, says Page. If you have foreskin, gently pull it back and wash underneath it to remove semen and sweat buildup.

A simple, non-scented soap is best — harsh detergents can dry out the area or cause irritation. Wash from front to back to avoid spreading fecal matter from your anus to your vagina, which could lead to infection.

Don’t forget to wash your hands afterward — that’s the most important part of your post-sex hygiene routine. Washing with soap and warm water will remove bacteria that might have been transferred during sex.

Showering after sex is fine if you’re trying to conceive, but it likely won’t make much of a difference on conception rates, Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University School of Medicine tells Romper. That’s because showering mainly washes away any semen outside the vagina. Besides, the bacteria inside the vagina are already doing their job of keeping it healthy.

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Wash Your Toys

The same microorganisms that live in your vagina normally also live on sex toys, and if you’re sharing them with multiple partners, the toy can harbor pathogens that can lead to sexually transmitted infections. Washing your toys after sex helps prevent this, but even if you’re using condoms, washing is important.

According to experts, sex toys should be washed after each use with liquid antibacterial soap and warm water (or toy cleaner) to avoid the spread of germs. The experts agree that most nonporous sex toys—like silicone, glass, and stainless steel—can be cleaned with this method. Just be sure to read the cleaning instructions on the packaging and to rinse thoroughly.

Porous toys, like those made from latex, jelly rubber, and PVC, can’t be completely disinfected. That’s why it’s best to only share them with one partner, or at least cover the toy with a body-safe barrier. Alternatively, you can use a condom on top of the toy and wash it each time you use it.

If you’re not a fan of showering after sex, that’s okay. But if you do like to shower after sex, remember to always be sure that your partner is also taking the same safety precautions to avoid STDs. Lastly, always get regular rapid STD testing to make sure you’re safe and healthy—and to learn more about what your results mean for your sexual health.

Pee

Whether or not you pee after sex is a personal preference. But if you’re concerned about urinary tract infections (UTIs), it’s a good idea to do so as soon as possible. The reason for this is that sex pushes bacteria into the urethra, raising your risk for infection. Urinating helps flush away those bacteria, which can then advance to the bladder and lead to painful cystitis or even kidney infections like pyelonephritis.

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Women are more prone to UTIs than men because of their anatomy: The urethra is shorter in females, making it easier for germs to make it all the way down there. But even in males, sex can still push bacteria into the urethra. The key is to try and urinate within 30 minutes of having sex, which will help lower your risk for infection.

Many people also believe that peeing after sex can prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). But while urine may help flush out UTI-causing bacteria, it won’t do anything to stop an STD from developing. STIs are caused by bacteria that enter the body through the penis, fingers or genitals and then spread to other parts of the body like the vulva. Peeing won’t change how your body absorbs these bacteria, and the best way to prevent them is to use condoms and get screened regularly.

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