The Best And Worst Ways To Clean Up Post-Sex: From Your Vagina To Your Toys

July 15, 2019  |  

portrait of a young couple in a bathtub

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We’ve all been warned about the importance of cleaning yourself up after sex: urinate, wipe yourself down real quick and call it a night; but who hasn’t found themselves in a position after doing the deed where you’re too tired or too caught in the moment to get out of bed to tidy up? I know I’ve been there.

We may find ourselves lax when it comes to our post-sex hygiene from time to time, but according to the experts, it’s still important to do some light cleansing in order to avoid infections and to keep bacteria from being immersed in all sorts of crevices. We talked to OB/GYN Lakeisha Richardson about the proper protocol for caring for not only your body, but also everything else involved in the type of sexual activity you’re having, including sex toys, pubic hair and your sheets.

The Best Way to Clean Your Vagina Post-Sex

“It is self-cleaning, but I do recommend that you at least use a warm towel with soap and water or maybe a sensitive Vagisil after intercourse. When you don’t, of course, you can disrupt the vaginal pH, especially for women who have recurring UTIs and bacterial infections. You are going to increase your risk of having problems afterward, especially if you’re using sex toys, vaginal lubricants, flavored lubricants, or you’re spicing things up and use honey or household products.”

How to Go About Cleaning When You’re Trying to Conceive

“If you’re trying to conceive, you want to make sure that you keep the area nice and clean. I definitely recommend that you don’t use any products during sexual relations because you don’t want the semen or the vaginal area to become infected.”

The Protocol for Cleaning Toys Used During Sex

“Any brand of sex toy cleaner is definitely a must for sex toys, and they need to be cleaned after every single use. So warm water, sex toy cleaner and then you need to lay it out and let it air dry before you put it back up.”

Douching?

“That’s an absolute no-no. The vaginal area is self-cleaning, so really, what we’re just trying to do is wipe off any products that may have been used. The vagina will self-clean itself. But the other side to this is, say if there is an infection already present, whether it’s an STI or a bacterial or yeast [infection], if you douche, it’s going to squirt whatever that infection present is inside the uterus. You’re going to take a vaginal infection and make it a pelvic infection. Even if there’s semen present, it will get absorbed by the vaginal walls or it will work its way back out, but douching is a no from most OB/GYNs.”

Why Any Cleansers You Use Should Be All-Natural and Fragrance-Free

“If you want to use a wipe or a soap, definitely go with something that’s natural or organic or that specifically says it’s paraben-free. You don’t want any harsh chemicals in that area because again, you’re going to disrupt the pH and you can also make yourself have vaginitis and leave the area red or swollen or irritated. You definitely want to use something that’s sensitive. I really like Vagisil sensitive wash for external use only, or something that definitely doesn’t have any harsh chemicals.

A lot of women like to use something with a fragrance and they think it will make them smell better, but I tend to tell patients to stay away from scented products. Even scented panty liners — anything scented, that scent or fragrance can bring with it a harsh chemical. You don’t need anything scented because you need to use something clean and natural, just a mild wash.”

The Smartest Way to Scrub the Space Where You Just Had Sex

“Of the ninety percent of Americans [going to sleep where they had sex], who’s going to change their sheets every single night? You can always use a towel or use a second sheet to put under you, that way you can take that one and throw it in the washer and then sleep on fresh sheets. If not though, just make sure you’re washing them on a regular basis, maybe mid-week depending on how sexually active you are.”

Primping Pubic Hair to Keep Your Privates Pristine

“There’s no medical reason to keep pubic hair low. If you like full hair, that’s perfectly fine, but you have to know that the longer and thicker the hair is, the more likely it is to retain odor and blood when the menstrual cycle is on, so you have to be very particular about cleaning the hair. Even semen sometimes, lots of stuff can get caught in the hair the thicker it is, so you just have to make sure that your personal hygiene is a bit better. Make sure that you’re scrubbing, and you definitely have to look to make sure that there’s nothing caught in the hair to keep that area clean.

Overall, you just want to make sure your personal hygiene regimen is a little bit more tedious the more hair you have.”

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