Your after-sex routine probably goes something like this: cuddle, chat, and if it's bedtime, fall into an endorphin-rich postcoital slumber. But sometimes, your body has other plans. Vaginal itching, soreness, and discharge can make it impossible to get comfortable, while your mind may start racing and your body can start brewing up below-the-belt troubles. Here, six weird things that can happen to your body after sex, and exactly how to cope with each one.
Pain during sex may leave you sore
We've all been told that sex isn't supposed to hurt-but in reality, painful sex happens, and it could be for a variety of different reasons. If you reached orgasm during sex, you may experience some cramping in your uterus afterward. "The act of physical contact or sexual activity releases oxytocin, and that causes uterine contractions," says gynaecologist Dr Jennifer Ashton. Vaginal dryness, stress, and health conditions like endometriosis can all make you feel sore after sex.
Do this after sex: If you feel that cramping Dr Ashton talked about only once in a while, it's nothing to worry about, says Ashton. But if the pain starts interfering with your sexual behaviour, you should see your gynaecologist, since regular pain after sex could be a sign of endometriosis, fibroids, or even ovarian cancer.
You may experience a burning sensation in your vagina
Don't freak (yet)-that burning you feel during your post-sex bathroom excursion probably isn't some scary STI. "There can be some engorgement of vaginal tissues, and since the urethra is so closely situated to the vagina, that can cause temporary burning or stinging with urinating after sex," Dr Ashton says. But here's the thing-this burning or stinging should be temporary (and very, very brief), so if you're still experiencing some discomfort hours or days later, you could have something more serious on your hands.
Do this after sex: Be sure to use plenty of lube during sex to reduce discomfort.
You may have spotting after sex
We're talking a little spot of blood here or a little dot there-nothing Carrie-esque by any means (that would be a definite sign to see your gyno-or even the Emergency Room). But the fact is, gynaecologists see instances of bleeding after sex quite a bit. "The most common cause would be an inflammation of the cervix that gets contracted during sex," Dr Ashton says. The vagina can also tear just a little during particularly rough sex or even when you change partners (especially if there's a size upgrade involved). The blood coming from an inflamed cervix or vaginal tears is normally bright red, but if you see some darker blood, that's not immediate cause for worry, either-it could just be some old menstrual blood coming from your uterus.
Do this after sex: Clean yourself off and don't worry about it. If any type of postcoital bleeding happens more than once, though, a gynaecologist should take a look.
You might experience vaginal itching
If you're fidgeting around, trying to scratch an annoying itch after getting busy, it's likely that you have a sensitivity to a lube, gel, or even condom that you just used, says gynaecologist Dr Alyssa Dweck.
Post-sex solution: If this happens regularly, talk to your doctor-she may want to text you for allergies to latex or a genital contact allergy.
You could develop a UTI
One in five women will experience a urinary tract infection in her lifetime, and it's easy to see why: sex is the leading cause of UTI. The act of having sex can transfer bacteria from the bowel to the vaginal cavity and up to the urethra (yes, yuck), causing that itchy, burning, painful infection.
Do this after sex: Head to the bathroom within 30 minutes after sex. This flushes the bacteria that may have wound up in your urethra, and reduces your risk for UTI.
If you're not careful, you could end up with an STI
More than 70,000 cases of chlamydia were diagnosed in Australia in 2016, according to the Kirby Institute.
Do this after sex: This one's not a post-sex solution-it's something you should be doing during sex, and you learned about it back in P.E. class: use protection! Condoms are about 98 percent effective at protecting against STIs.