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3 Things Every Woman Should Do After Sex

You know what to do before and during—here are a few nonnegotiables once the action has ended.

09/21/2015 08:50 am ET | Updated Apr 29, 2016
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1. Use the Bathroom—but Only If You Actually Have to Pee
You've probably heard that heading to the toilet pronto after sex will help you avoid a urinary tract infection (UTI) because it rinses away E. coli bacteria that may have moved toward your urethra during sex. (One in five women deal with the uncomfortable infection at least once in their lives, according to the National Kidney Foundation, and for some women, they can become a recurrent problem.) But peeing ASAP as protection is largely a myth, says Lauren Streicher, MD, a clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and the author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever, who notes that no large studies have shown it to have protective benefits. So if you don't need to pee right after intercourse, don't rush to the bathroom—waiting until you actually have to go, whether it's 20 minutes or an hour later, won't up your risk of a UTI, says Streicher. Instead, stay in bed and follow the next tip.

2. Recap What Just Happened, in Your Head...Then Out Loud
Hit your mental rewind button and play the events back in your head, from start to finish. If it was good sex, think about what exactly made it so good. Then, tell your partner which touches and moves you loved while they're still fresh in your mind. "Now's the best time to talk about it, since it can feel awkward to bring it up out of the blue later," says Kristen Carpenter, PhD, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, psychology, and obstetrics and gynecology, and the director of women's behavioral health at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's Women's Sexual Health Clinic. (If it wasn't you or your partner's greatest performance, however, it's best to revisit what went wrong at a later time, she advises.) And one more thing that can help improve your relationship (in just 90 days, as one study found) is to maintain some intimacy immediately after intercourse. An Archives of Sexual Behavior study reports that showing affection toward each other after sex, (from cuddling and touching to romantic chitchat,) was linked to more satisfying sexual relationships—and it wasn't just that more sexually satisfied couples were more likely to partake. The researchers found that when couples started to engage in more of this loving behavior after sex over the course of the study, they had higher relationship and sexual satisfaction three months later.

3. Make Note of Discomfort That's Normal and Discomfort That's Not
Sometimes pain happens during sex. The two primary discomforts you might notice once in a while, Streicher says, are pain from being too dry down there and a deeper sensation that could be caused by issues including constipation, a muscle spasm or your partner hitting one of your ovaries (which is more likely if you're ovulating, as it temporarily increases the size of the ovary). However, discomfort every time or most times you have sex is not normal, especially if the feeling lasts for a few hours and is not commensurate with how, ahem, vigorous the sex was. If that happens, talk to your doctor, as it could be a sign of a more serious issue like ovarian cysts, fibroids, endometriosis or, more rarely, gynecologic cancers.

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