You have probably been doing these things for years and not knowing how it's affecting your vagina after sex.
People tend to think that women slow down and are more laid back as they cross the ages of 40 and 50, and this includes the notion of taking a step back when it comes to being sexually active. However, your 50s could actually be the age where you "finally let go of the myths that may have haunted her for her entire life," as explained by Pamela Madsen, author of Shameless and founder of The American Fertility Association, in an article for Psychology Today.
You can still continue exploring your sexual desires and needs, but as you do so, it's important to keep in mind your sexual health, too, to ensure your body is safe from possible infections and in good health post-coitus. Here are the things you should avoid doing after sexual intercourse.
Don't rush to pull back your underwear after sex because this could also raise your risk of getting an infection or could also make it itch down there. Ideally, you want to keep things dry below, especially after all the sweating and the secretions during sex. This means cotton lingerie is still okay. But avoid putting on underwear made of nylon, rayon, or polyester skivvies, because these can retain moisture and possibly lead to a yeast infection. It's great to let your vagina "get some air" after sex.
You might want to stay back and snuggle with your partner, but after sex, it's recommended to empty your bladder after sex, especially for women. During sexual intercourse, bacteria can be pushed towards the urethra and increase your risk of developing bladder or urinary tract infections. "It is a good idea to empty your bladder after sex, because the activity is known to help bacteria transfer from back to front, from the anal area to the vaginal/urethra. Using the bathroom flushes out the area, lowering the risk of infection," said Dr. Carolyn DeLucia, an OB-GYN, according to Insider.
After sex, your skin will be more sensitive and can have unfavorable reactions to the chemicals in soaps. "The vagina is a self-cleaning organ, and needs to be treated very, very gently," said Leslie EF Page, MD, according to Women's Health. When you want to rinse off after sex, using just water would be advisable. You should especially avoid using perfumed or scented soaps as they would have more harmful chemicals or unwanted substances. Make sure your cleaning process is as gentle as possible. Along with soaps, avoid using wet wipes because they tend to have alcohol, glycerin, oils, and possibly other chemicals that can affect your skin after sex.
While it may seem like a great way to unwind after sex, it can increase your risk of infection. "When your vulva swells in response to sexual stimulation, it reveals the opening of the vagina, which means you have a greater chance of infection," said Page. Staying in water for too long can weaken your skin's barrier against microbes. And along with this, getting into a hot tub with your partner makes you more vulnerable to the bacteria that are present on their skin and anus.
Douching (washing or soaking your vagina with water) might seem clean and hygienic, but it actually washes away natural bacteria that are good for your vaginal health. It's best to refrain from douching after sex and limit your risk of experiencing yeast infections, bacterial infections, and UTIs.
It's advised that you drink a glass of water after sex, staying hydrating and causing the urge to pee. The more you pee, the more chances of unwanted bacteria being released from your body, according to WebMD. Making sure that you wash your hands after sex to get rid of bacteria. Having probiotic-rich food like natural yogurt, miso soup, kombucha, kimchi, and other fermented food can also reduce your risk of developing UTIs and a yeast infection, according to Marie Claire.
If you want to increase the intimacy between your partner and you, it's best to stay present and involved, rather than immediately reaching out for your phone or the TV remote. Also, feel free and comfortable talking about sexual health with each other, especially if you're with new partners. "Talking about STI testing is a good idea… so if you get tested and have the results, then it is easy to ask that they be tested, too," said Dr DeLucia.