What To Do After Sex

What To Do After Sex
Health worker holding patient's hand

Many readers are interested in the following topic: What to know about cleaning up after sex. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.

Hygiene after sex is also important — washing the penis after sex can help prevent infections. The advocacy group Planned Parenthood suggests that uncircumcised males should clean underneath their foreskin every day and after sex.

Sexual aftercare tips and why it is important

Sexual aftercare is the time people spend caring for each other after having sex. This can involve things such as cuddling, talking, or massage. Sexual aftercare can be important for individuals of any gender.

Sex is an intimate activity that causes a person to feel various emotions. After sex, some people may wish to spend time caring for each other. This can help strengthen bonds and help individuals feel safe and secure.

Some people may find they enjoy or require sexual aftercare following sex.

Read on to learn more about sexual aftercare, why it is important, and how individuals can benefit from it.

A note about sex and gender

Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.

Men cuddling as a part of sexual aftercare.

Sexual aftercare is the act of caring for a person’s partner or partners after they have sex. It can be a way for individuals to strengthen the bond between them and their sexual partners.

An older study from 2014 found that affectionate behavior after sex had associations with higher sexual and relationship satisfaction.

Sexual aftercare can include activities such as:

  • cuddling
  • shared intimacy
  • talking about what a person liked and what they did not enjoy during sex
  • massaging each other
  • bathing together
  • sensual touching

Sexual aftercare may be important after people engage in BDSM, which stands for bondage and discipline, domination and submission, sadism, and masochism.

The following are sexual aftercare tips.


An investigation from 2023 noted that married people who cuddled more frequently reported increased levels of relationship satisfaction.

With this in mind, cuddling after sex may help a person feel closer to their partner or partners. It may also help them feel safe and relaxed.

Additionally, BDSM may involve humiliating and degrading acts. Therefore, cuddling after BDSM activities may help remind a person that they are loved and cared for.


Research from 2018 looked into the number of males who felt postcoital dysphoria (PCD). PCD is when a person feels tearful, sad, or irritable after sex.

The researchers found that 41% of males surveyed had experienced PCD at some point in their lives and that 3–4% of people experienced PCD on a regular basis.

People can engage in sexual aftercare to discuss how they are feeling after sex. A study from 2016 found that individuals experience increased emotion and intimacy following sex. This can lead to bonding behaviors, such as discussing feelings and emotions with each other.

Treating any injuries

Certain BDSM activities can result in a person becoming injured, which may be intentional or unintentional.

If a person receives a wound during sex, a partner may help treat them. This may help someone feel like someone is looking after them.

Bathing or showering together

Spending time washing together, or washing each other, can be an intimate experience. A person may enjoy being naked with their partner or partners in a nonsexual scenario.

Hygiene after sex is also important — washing the penis after sex can help prevent infections. The advocacy group Planned Parenthood suggests that uncircumcised males should clean underneath their foreskin every day and after sex.


After sex, people may wish to spend time doing nonsexual activities with their partner or partners. This might involve:

  • napping
  • watching a film or TV show
  • having a snack or beverage
  • playing a computer game together

Spending nonsexual time together may help build a stronger relationship.

What to know about cleaning up after sex

Adopting good post-sex hygiene habits may limit the risk of infections and allow a person to feel fresher.

It is especially important to clean sex toys to reduce the risk of pathogens on these items. Some other post-sex considerations include cleaning up after anal sex or when trying to conceive.

This article will explore some of the best ways to clean up after sex.

two men changing sheets on their bed as that is how to clean up after sex

There is typically no need to clean up immediately after sex. People may decide to clean up minutes or hours after sexual activity, or they may wait until the morning. However, it is important to clean up at some point afterward.

How long a person waits to clean up may depend on:

  • their hygiene preferences
  • their risk of infection
  • what happens during the sexual activity

Maintaining good body hygiene can reduce the risk of unpleasant odors, skin irritation, and infections. Begin by washing the hands with soap and water to stop the transfer of bacteria to other parts of the body.

It is then a good idea to clean the genitals. The following sections provide some information on best practices.

Vagina care

The vagina is self-cleaning, but there are some things that people can do for a healthy vagina and vulva. The American Sexual Health Association advise that people:

  • Wash the vulva and outside of the vagina with a mild, unscented soap before rinsing well and patting dry.
  • Avoid douching , as this upsets the natural bacterial balance of the vagina.
  • Wipe the vagina and anus from front to back to avoid the transfer of microbes from the anus to the vagina, as this could cause infection.
  • Wear cotton underwear (or do not wear any while sleeping) to reduce moisture around the genitals, as this increases infection risk.

Having sex during menstruation can sometimes be messy. To make this experience more comfortable, try:

  • laying down a towel to cover the bed or another surface
  • having sex in the shower
  • finding a comfortable position, such as lying on one side
  • using a condom
  • removing any tampons before sexual activity
  • keeping wet wipes or a damp washcloth nearby to clean up afterward
  • talking with sex partners to ensure that everyone is happy and consenting

Penis care

To maintain a healthy penis, people should:

  • Gently wash the penis with water and a mild, unscented soap. Those with a foreskin should gently pull it back and clean underneath to remove semen buildup and smegma.
  • Rinse the area well, pat dry, and replace the foreskin.
  • Wear clean underwear that is fully dry (or do not wear any while sleeping).

The skin inside the anus is thin and delicate. Having anal sex can cause small skin tears and bleeding, which increase the risk of infection and microbe transfer.

For these reasons, it is important to take a shower after anal sex. Rinse the area with mild soap and warm water to flush out bacteria.

People may also wish to lay down towels or have anal sex in the shower to minimize mess.

As with other forms of sexual activity, people should wash their genitals with mild, unscented soap after receiving oral sex.

Those who performed the oral sex may also choose to wash their face, mouth, and teeth afterward.

Unwashed sex toys can harbor bacteria, viruses, and fungi, all of which can increase infection risk. To prevent infection, clean sex toys after each use, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

If it did not come with instructions for cleaning, carefully wash it with soap and wipe off with a warm, damp washcloth. Do not submerge sex toys unless they are fully waterproof.

Also, avoid sharing sex toys with others. If people do wish to share them, they should cover the toy with a new condom before each use. Even with a condom, however, it will still be necessary to clean the toys between uses.

It is advisable to wash bed sheets roughly once per week. Washing them will remove any sweat, semen, and other bodily fluids, as well as oil and dirt. It also reduces allergy and infection risk.

However, if there is obvious soiling following sex, it is probably best to wash them more frequently. Always wash bed sheets between sexual partners.

Research indicates that it may be most effective for infection control to wash textiles at 60°C (140°F) and tumble dry them afterward.

To reduce the risk of staining and soiling, lay towels on the bed before having sex. Also, a mattress protector can prevent bodily fluids from leaking through the sheets and damaging the mattress.

People who are trying to conceive should be extra careful about avoiding douches, because they can :

  • make it harder to conceive
  • increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy
  • increase the chance of premature birth

It may also be helpful to lie down for a few minutes after sex, to allow the sperm to travel toward the egg. A 2009 study of 391 couples found that if a female lies down after male ejaculation into the uterus, it increases the chance of conception.

In fact, the researchers found that 27% of the females who laid down for 15 minutes after sex became pregnant, compared with 18% of those who got up immediately afterward.

Cleaning the vagina after sex is not a method of pregnancy prevention, as it does not remove all semen from the body.

Those who do not wish to get pregnant should take preventive measures such as birth control. People can discuss their options with a doctor.

To reduce the chance of pregnancy following sex without a condom or other prevention method, people may consider taking the morning-after pill.