How to Clean Up After Sex

It's not complicated to learn how to clean up after sex. Learn a few tips for cleaning up after intercourse and practicing good sexual hygiene..

The Promescent Team
Hands on, practical experience – this is our expertise
by The Promescent Team Last updated 01/12/2023
things you should and shouldn't do after sex

Knowing how to clean up after sex isn’t complicated at all. Without question, as enjoyable as intercourse may be, it can also be a messy process.

From sweating and saliva to the exchange of other bodily fluids, you can be left feeling like a shower is a must. Good after-sex hygiene can also be healthy in some respects.

Quick FAQs

Wash up in the shower, use the bathroom, and clean any sex toys used. Avoid using a douche for cleaning.

Vaginas should be washed from the front to the back. Penises with intact foreskin should be cleaned thoroughly.

There's no set time for when clean up should happen. If one wants to clean up immediately, they can keep a washcloth or wipe nearby.

Thankfully, the cleaning up doesn’t have to be anything excessive. Here's a straightforward, no-frills guide on how to clean up after sex.

How to Clean Up After Sex

Some may wonder if they should go straight from sex to the shower. Others may also question whether they need special products and tools, or need to change the sheets or sanitize surfaces.

In one survey published in 2022, three of five of the 2,000 surveyed adults said they dreaded cleaning up after sex. Around 72 percent even stated that feeling "clean" after sex was important.

Even though it appears that after-intercourse cleaning is a dreaded thing to most people, it truly doesn't have to be difficult or time-consuming.

Here are a few ideas to consider when cleaning up after sex.

1. Wash Up

Whether you choose to shower after sex or not is wholly up to you, and not medically necessary for good hygiene.

However, simply washing up the exterior of the genitals with a quick rinse is a good idea. In terms of the vagina, this reproductive organ is self-cleaning all by itself, even if a condom was not used. 

But, cleaning the exterior vulva is perfectly fine. According to The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the vagina maintains a natural pH level that prevents the over-accumulation of microorganisms and yeast. 

Therefore, excessive vaginal cleaning is not necessary, even after sex. As for the vulva, clean this delicate area by:

  • Using a clean washcloth or even your hands to wash the area with clean water
  • Separating the folds gently to clean all the hidden areas
  • Using only mild soaps if absolutely necessary
  • Making sure not to get the soap or water inside the vaginal opening

Cleaning the penis is even easier. Simply wash up with warm water. If uncircumcised, be sure to pull back the foreskin and clean the area.

If you're not near a bathroom or simply want a quick clean-up without leaving the bedroom, something like Promescent Before and After Wipes can do the trick. 

These pH-balanced wipes are designed for that purpose and won't leave behind any undesirable chemical ingredients or soapy residue.

2. Don't Use a Douche

Vaginal douches are said to be good for cleaning up after sex, but these products tend to do far more harm than good.

Douching involves pushing water or some type of liquid solution into the vaginal opening and then allowing the liquid to drain out. 

The reason douching is not recommended is that those who use a vaginal douche face heightened risks of infection.

Because the vagina is self-cleaning due to its delicate pH balance, introducing something foreign into the mix disrupts everything. 

Unfortunately, this can lead to bacterial growth that can cause different types of infections and problems, including:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Bacterial vaginosis
  • Pregnancy problems, such as preterm labor
  • Vaginal dryness or irritation

As counterintuitive as it may sound, douching may even heighten the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). This happens because regular douching removes the good bacteria that may actually fight against STI contraction.

3. Use the Bathroom

Even though there is not a lot of evidence to support the theory, urinating after sex may be a good measure.

Some studies have found that post-coital urinating (within about 15 minutes) may mean a slightly lower risk of experiencing a urinary tract infection (UTI) for women. 

Men typically don't develop sex-related UTIs, so urinating after sex may not do any good at all.

Nevertheless, if you do feel the urge to urinate after sex, do so. This may help flush the urinary tract of any bacteria picked up during sex.

4. Clean Your Sex Toys

Always make a point to clean sex toys after every use to keep them sanitary and ready for the next event.

Sex toys come in many forms and can be manufactured from several different materials. Some may harbor bacteria more than others, but cleaning them thwarts the risks of infections.

All toys generally come with their own cleaning instructions, so pay attention to manufacturer guidelines. 

For example, there can be major differences in how you should clean non-porous sex toys (silicone, glass, hard plastic, and stainless steel) versus porous sex toys (rubber, nylon, leather, etc.).

If you have a toy that doesn't have instructions, wash any area of the toy that could have been contaminated with bacteria during use. For the most part, liquid antibacterial soap and hot water will work.

How to Clean Up After Anal Sex

Cleaning up after anal sex can take a little more care and caution. While anal sex is safe and enjoyable when done properly, there is always a chance of small rectal tears and bacteria from fecal matter. A few good pointers include:

  • Shower to rinse the body of lingering microscopic bacteria
  • Vaginas should be washed from the front to the back.
  • Penises with intact foreskins should be cleaned more thoroughly to prevent fecal bacteria from lingering.

How Long Should You Wait After Sex to Clean Up

There really is no set time frame that is medically necessary when it comes to cleaning up after sex. It does not have to be done immediately after intercourse has finished.

It’s okay to spend a little time cuddling and having one-on-one time, which can be good on an emotional level.

But if there’s a desire to clean up quickly, disposable wipes on the nightstand or a clean washcloth on hand can do the trick.

Takeaways

While one can feel naturally inclined to clean up after sex, one doesn’t have to go through intense cleaning regimens.

Cleaning up can be a simple feat that involves washing up with warm water or pre-moistened wipes, urinating if possible, and washing your sex toys as soon as you get the chance.

Looking to stock your nightstand with a simple clean-up solution? Don't forget to get some Before and After Wipes to keep things clean before and after sex.

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The Promescent Team

The Promescent Team

Our team has over a decade of experience in the sexual wellness field and are experts in sexual dysfunctions, like premature ejaculation. We help couples and individuals better understand treatment options available for different types of sexual needs and educate the public on all things related to intimacy. All of our authored content is medically reviewed for accuracy and reliability.

Sources:

Absorption Pharmaceuticals LLC (Promescent) has strict informational citing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic or research institutions, medical associations, and medical experts. We attempt to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references and only citing trustworthy sources. Each article is reviewed, written, and updated by Medical Professionals or authoritative Experts in a specific, related field of practice. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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