How to Clean Vagina After Sex

The vast majority of the time, your vagina is capable of cleaning itself after sex. However, a few people like to douch afterward to feel clean, or because they think it helps prevent UTIs and yeast infections.

Douching may disrupt the natural pH balance of your vulva and increase your risk for infection. Instead, experts recommend rinsing your genital area gently with warm water.

Washing

Washing the vulva is always a good idea to prevent unpleasant odors, skin irritation, or infections. A mild, unscented soap is recommended, and you should rinse well and pat dry. It is a good idea to keep a special washcloth or wet wipes in your nightstand or purse, as they are handy for reapplying cleansers and wiping the area after sex or any sexual activity. Women should also avoid wearing tight underwear that chafes the genitals, as yeast infections thrive in moist areas.

Douching the anus and vagina can increase the risk of infection, as it upsets the normal bacterial balance in the vagina. It is best to wipe the area from front to back to avoid anus-to-vagina transfer of fecal microbes. It is also important to wear loose, cotton underwear, as bacteria love to live in hot, sweaty places.

Those who are prone to irritation, urinary tract infections (UTIs), or yeast infections might want to consider showering right after sex, though this is not necessary for most people. If showering is too much work, peeing could help reduce the risk of an infection by flushing out all the lubrication and semen that might have accumulated in the vagina during intercourse. If you’re a fan of wet wipes, it is best to choose the ones without alcohol, glycerin, and fragrance, as these can irritate the area.

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Wiping

The vulva is naturally self-cleaning and can flush itself out following sex, even if it’s got lube, semen, or baby batter inside (I’m talking to you, guys). But washing too often can knock that natural pH balance out of whack and lead to yeast infections, UTIs, or other problems.

Washing should be done with warm water, a soft cloth or sponge, and mild soap — nothing too harsh! And it’s important to wash your perineum (the area behind the anus) and your butt, too. Getting bacteria from your bum and sex toys into your vulva can lead to UTIs, infections, or even pelvic pain, so don’t skip that part!

Some women might like to clean the inside of their vulva after sex by douching, or squirting water in there with a bottle or shower. But doctors don’t recommend it, because douching can reduce the amount of good bacteria in the vulva and cause health issues like vaginal infections.

And, while it might be tempting to smear on some perfume after your vaginal cleaning sesh, that’s not a good idea, either! The vulva has a very sensitive skin, and fragrances can get into the bloodstream and cause other problems. Instead, try using a cleanser that’s specially formulated for the vulva, like Promescent Before and After Wipes. They’re infused with a special blend of herbs, and they’re pH balanced for the area.

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Peeing

A lot of people think they need to clean their vulva after sex, but this isn’t necessary. The vagina is self-cleaning and can be gently washed (along with the external female genitalia, like the labia and vulva) with warm water and mild soap. This is a good practice for anyone who’s prone to UTIs, yeast infections or other irritations.

If you do wash your vulva, try to avoid using soap or scented products, as these can disrupt the natural pH balance of your lady bits and irritate them. Instead, opt for a gentle soap that’s fragrance-free and specially designed for the vulva, such as those from Promescent.

In addition to washing, you should also make sure to pee as soon as possible after sex. This helps flush out any sperm that may have survived the vaginal canal and reduces, though not eliminates, your risk of a urinary tract infection or pregnancy.

Finally, if you have a penis, don’t forget to clean that as well. It’s common for sperm to get trapped under the skin, so a quick wipe-down can help prevent an infection down there. Use warm water and a bit of gentle soap, or consider something like TUSHY Travel, which are pH-balanced wipes that won’t leave a filmy residue. And of course, don’t forget to use a condom and practice safe sex!

Drying

Vaginal dryness can make sex less comfortable, and it may cause pain during sexual penetration. It can also affect your fertility (especially if you’re trying to conceive) as it decreases lubrication and can increase friction during intercourse, which can damage the tissue in your vulva and cervix. If this is the case, a sex expert advises using lubrication before you have sex to avoid painful sex and to help with penetration and orgasms. Use a sexy, water-based lubricant and engage in foreplay with your partner to get fully aroused.

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Douching is not a good idea as it disrupts your vulva’s microbiome and can actually make things worse. Douching is a bad idea if you’re experiencing symptoms like recurring yeast infections, recurrent UTIs or vaginal pain because it can lead to more semen leaking into the vagina and an excess of bacterial growth.

Hodder says that “if you’re someone who is prone to irritation, urinary tract infections or yeast infections and cleaning up after sex will give you peace of mind, then it couldn’t hurt to gently wash your vulva with warm water”. She also adds that peeing right after having sex — before you shower, preferably — can help too. This can flush out any toxins and reduce your risk of UTIs. Just don’t use soap as it can irritate your vulva.

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