A close physical connection is an important part of a relationship. It fosters closeness, and strengthens the bond between you and your partner. Simply put, sex is pretty much the most intimate act two people can engage in; it’s a time when you’re at your most vulnerable. But have you ever thought about the do’s and don’ts of it all?
Regardless of whether you’re making love to your spouse, or you’re hooking up with a friend with benefits, there’s no denying the physical, emotional, and sensational highs that occur. And because having a totally clear head directly following the act is unlikely, we thought it’d be helpful to break down some of the dirty details. Here’s what NOT to do before, during, and after getting intimate.
1. Before: Eat certain kinds of foods
There are certain foods you should avoid before bed, especially if you’re planning on getting busy before falling asleep. No matter how comfortable you are with your partner, stomach issues can ruin the mood all too quickly, which means it’s probably best to steer clear of fried foods, dairy, and anything else that doesn’t agree with you. On the other hand, if you’re looking to stay awake a bit longer, you may consider having a bite of dark chocolate. It could leave you feeling energized rather than lethargic.
2. Before: Drink too much
It’s no wonder getting drunk can lead to getting busy. After all, your inhibitions are lowered, and in the moment, continuing on your way to pleasure town seems like the best idea you’ve ever had. Unfortunately, boozing too hard can also mean you’ll have a more difficult time getting aroused. As if beer goggles aren’t frustrating enough, there’s a bigger problem at hand.
Newsweek discusses whether or not drunken sex is ever really acceptable. In the article, the publication discusses the need to re-evaluate society’s views on consensual sex. Now, this is certainly a loaded issue for an entirely different article, but nevertheless, being totally obliterated never really ends well.
3. Before: Forget to rinse off (or ask your partner to)
This tip applies to both uncircumcised men, and their partners. Because bacteria can build up behind that extra skin, your partner could be putting you at risk for a UTI if he didn’t thoroughly clean back there beforehand. Furthermore, Everyday Health says, although rare, men can also get UTIs.
In an effort to decrease the risk of either you or your partner getting an infection, the publication recommends thoroughly washing your genitals before (and after) sex to help rid the area of bacteria. The extra step is worth it.
4. During: Use a lubricant that involves menthol
Women who are perimenopausal or menopausal often have a heightened sensitivity, thanks to a thinning of the vaginal tissue, Cheryl Iglesia, M.D., tells Prevention. For this reason, women around the age of menopause should be particularly mindful of the type of lubricant they use. According to Iglesia, the best options are water-based lubricants without menthol.
5. During: Rely on the pull-out method
Whatever you call it, pulling out during sex isn’t a no-pregnancy guarantee. If you and your partner aren’t trying to conceive, be sure to use another method of birth control to ensure you don’t end up with an unanticipated baby on board. Research shows about four in 100 women use the withdrawal method perfectly — and about 22 in 100 women who use it incorrectly — become pregnant within a year.
But despite human error, even those who are vigilant about this method risk becoming pregnant. According to Bedsider, sperm may be present in pre-ejaculate fluid. Although there’s not an overwhelming amount of research on the subject, relying solely on the withdrawal method is undoubtedly one of the absolute worst things you could do during sex.
6. After: Staying in (or avoiding) this position
After your male partner ejaculates, you may or may not want to stay lying down in bed for a while longer, depending on how you feel about getting pregnant. While there’s some debate surrounding whether there are better or worse sex positions for couples trying to conceive, BabyCentre does mention your position post-coital act could potentially make a difference.
When you get up right away, your partner’s semen is less likely to stay around your cervix. On the other hand, it may benefit you to stay in bed for a half an hour more if you are trying to conceive. “Try lying on your back with your hips raised on a pillow to encourage the sperm to travel towards your egg,” the experts at BabyCentre suggest. “Don’t try this if your GP has advised you to empty your bladder straight after sex, though.” Of course, if you’re not trying to conceive, go the opposite route.
7. After: Not go to the bathroom
On the flip side of what we were just suggesting, it’s important for most people to use the bathroom shortly after sex. There’s a lot of bacteria being passed back and forth between you and your partner. Because that bacteria’s getting pushed into your urethra, The Huffington Post recommends urinating after sex. Furthermore, Cheryl Iglesia, M.D., told the publication this is particularly important for post-menopausal women, since “lower estrogen means a rise in the vagina’s pH and an upswing in bacteria.”
8. After: Soak in a hot tub
The healing powers of a hot tub can certainly ease any physical tension and emotional concerns you’ve been carrying around all day. But, you did just have sex, so hopefully that was enough to alleviate your stress for a while. Although it sounds sexy, soaking after the fact could have a negative result. “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,” Leslie E. F. Page, M.D., told Women’s Health. So, avoid the hot tub and consider lingering in the arms of your significant other a little while longer.
9. After: Not washing yourself (or your toys)
This point doesn’t negate the hot tub tip, but it is important to gently rinse yourself of any fluids, lube, or otherwise. Steer clear of any soaps or scented wipes, though, as they could further irritate your already vulnerable parts. Post-sex cleanup is super important, and Bustle says you should wash any sex toys used as well. Failing to do so only encourages bacteria to hang around, putting you and your partner at risk for infections in the future.
10. After: Sleep in lacy undies
Slipping into something totally sexy is tempting, but try to fight the urge. “Synthetic underwear traps the moisture and you run the risk of a yeast infection,” Robert Wool, M.D. told Women’s Health. “The vagina likes to air out.” So, be sure to swap those lacy thongs for a sensible pair of cotton briefs, or just go commando.
11. After: Not making time to cuddle
Busy schedules and exhausting evenings may prevent this from happening after each and every romp. But when you do have the time to linger, make sure you do so. It’s important to mention this doesn’t negate the need to use the bathroom right after sex; you can always run out to pee and hop right back into bed for a while longer. “Stay in the energy of each other to reap the benefits of the closeness,” Audrey Hope, celebrity relationship expert, told Bustle. Taking the time to really bask in each other’s touch will help keep the romance alive.