In the first blissful moments right after sex, you’re probably not thinking about what’s going on with your body in that exact moment (except maybe how amazing you feel). After all, thinking about the possibility of a UTI after sex is probably the least sexy place your mind could wander, right? But even in those immediate post-coital moments, you may feel like some weird things are going on with your body, especially if you’re in a little pain and wondering why sex might hurt or give you some other strange reaction.
It’s important to remember that sex, no matter how you do it, is a physical act involving your entire body, so your body might react in weird ways, such as your skin flushing or there being a slight burning when you pee. Don’t freak out! We’re here to tell you some of the common things that can happen to your body post-sex, and why they’re mostly NBD.
Of course, we *must* point out that if you’re having any kind of recurring physical reaction to sex, you should see your doctor to make sure everything is OK and to put your mind at ease.
The umbrella term for painful sex is dyspareunia, which covers genital pain that may occur just before, during, or after intercourse. It’s surprisingly common and can feel like anything from a dull ache to cramping. Board-certified ob-gyn and cohost of The Doctors Jennifer Ashton, MD, told Prevention.com in 2016 that this often happens due to the release of the hormone oxytocin during sex, which can cause uterine contractions. If it only happens occasionally or the pain is mild, it’s really NBD. But if the pain is persistent, you should schedule an appointment with your gyno to rule out any larger health concerns.
If you’re not on your period and you see a little blood after sex, it might worry you, but chances are, it’s nothing to be concerned about. Of course, if there is a sizable amount of blood, you will absolutely want to let your doctor know, but a few spots here and there are nothing to panic about. It can be caused by inflammation of the cervix, or tiny tears in the vagina after a particularly rough romp. It can also happen if you’re with a new partner who is on the *ahem* larger side. However, if there’s frequently blood after sex, you’ll want to get checked for sexually transmitted infections or other health concerns down south.
If you feel a little burning or stinging when you pee right after sex (and you are always peeing right after sex, right?), your first instinct might be that you have a urinary tract or sexually transmitted infection. But actually, minor burning and stinging is pretty common, provided that it goes away within a few hours. Ashton told Prevention.com what’s really going on with this, explaining: “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.” It’s easier to prevent this by making sure you’re fully lubricated and prepared for intercourse, and of course, urinating just before and after sexual activity.
If you’re experiencing some kind of skin reaction on the outer part of the vulva, or near your thighs or abdomen, it may be a reaction to the lubrication, the condom, or even a sex toy, especially if you’re trying out a new product or brand. If you haven’t used any new products, it’s possible that you have developed a semen allergy, which can arise at any time with a new or current partner. Yikes.
If your symptoms are minor, it may be a one-time reaction, but if you’re experiencing hives, swelling, or any other strong physical reaction, you’ll want to seek medical attention ASAP. But minor itchies are usually NBD and can go away on their own. Whew.
We’ve already expressed the importance of peeing before and after sex, but what happens when you feel a sudden strong urge to pee following P in V? It could be a number of relatively harmless things, but it’s more than likely due to those uterine contractions we told you about earlier, or bladder spasms, which are not dangerous and usually temporary.
Let’s be real: Sex involves a lot of physical activity, which means things could get a little sweaty. Plus, when your unique body odors are mixing with someone else’s, you may create a bit of a stink. It’s usually no big deal, although if you ever have a persistent fishy or otherwise foul odor, you’ll want to check with your doctor.
We’ll spare you the nonsense about sex being this blissful, wonderful experience that leaves both partners radiating with pleasure, because sometimes, your skin gets a little flush, and it’s not from your post-O glow. Jonathan Schaffir, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Ohio State University explained the “sex flush” to Bustle, saying: “Many women experience a ‘sex flush’ during arousal. Relaxation of blood vessels can cause a noticeable, red discoloration of the skin of the neck and chest that may go unnoticed with the lights off.”
When you’re bumpin’ and grindin’ with your boo, it’s easy to see how all that skin-on-skin contact could cause some irritation or friction. This can especially happen when one or both partners has pubic hair or facial hair, and can show up in the form of a rash or raw skin irritation. It’s usually nothing to freak out about, but if it doesn’t go away, check with your MD.
If you’re trying to get pregnant (or using a form of birth control other than condoms), you might be surprised when some semen leaks out of you post-sex. This is totally normal and makes perfect sense. After all, your body isn’t absorbing the semen, so there’s really nowhere else for it to go. You can clear this up by washing thoroughly after intercourse, and go about your day as normal.
If you experience any kind of strong emotion after sex, whether it’s feeling suddenly depressed, angry, or agitated (known as postcoital dysphoria, or “post-sex blues”) or an intense feeling of euphoria, blame it on the flood of hormones released when you’re getting down and dirty. If you’re feeling suddenly gloomy, it may be because of the drop of dopamine levels that can happen after an orgasm, resulting in the worst physical reaction to the best physical moment ever.
On the flip side, if you experience an elevated mood, it’s likely due to the rush of oxytocin giving you that happy, smiley feeling. Both reactions are totally normal, unless they’re interfering with your sexual encounters in a way you’re concerned about. In that case, as always, check in with your doc to make sure all is well in the loooove department.