6 Things That Can Happen to Your Body After Sex

From vaginal itching to spotting, here are all the weird ways your body may react to doing the deed.

Happy couple lying in bed together
Getty ImagesMichael Poehlman

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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.

Restless? Try these yoga moves for a better night's sleep:

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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 Jennifer Ashton, MD, a board-certified ob-gyn and cohost of The Doctors. 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 behavior, you should see your gynecologist, 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. Try one of these gyno-approved natural lubricants.

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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 ER). But the fact is, gynecologists 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 gynecologist 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 Alyssa Dweck, MD, coauthor of V Is for Vagina.

Post-sex solution: If this happens regularly, talk to your doctor—she may want to test 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.

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If you're not careful, you could end up with an STI

More than 2 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis were diagnosed in the United States in 2016—a record high, according to a September 2017 report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Plus, one in six Americans has genital herpes.

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 junior high health class: use protection! Condoms are about 98 percent effective at protecting against STIs.

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