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 vag.
“When the vaginal tissues have been lubricated, swollen, and rubbed against during intercourse, it changes how that tissue reacts to the environment,” says Kansas-based gynecologist Leslie E. F. Page, M.D. “Primarily, you run a much greater risk of infection.”
When P meets V, bacteria can get pushed into your bladder. “This can result in post-intercourse bladder infections,” says Robert Wool, M.D., ob-gyn, “You can have some snuggle time, just empty your bladder within an hour of sex.”
Once you pop a squat, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading fecal matter from your anus to V-zone. “Due to swelling and micro-abrasions that can occur during intercourse, your vulvar and vaginal skin is particularly tender and prone to infection,” says Page.
Some women might feel the urge to soap up downtown after a sack sesh, 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. (Protect your lady bits during sex with this organic lube from the Women’s Health Boutique.)
“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 old water to rinse off.
Cotton lingerie is OK because it’s breathable, but nylon, rayon, or polyester skivvies are a no-no. “After sex, your skin tends to be warm and damp, thanks to perspiration, vaginal secretions, and semen,” Page says.
See where we’re going with this? “Synthetic underwear traps the moisture and you run the risk of a yeast infection,” Wool says. “The vagina likes to air out.” So go nude or stick to cotton down south post-sex.
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.
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 suseptable to skin issues after a roll in the hay, says Page. The signs include redness, swelling, itching, and tenderness.
If you’re set on cleaning up with something other than good ol’ toilet paper, try DIY’ing 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.