Whether you’re currently in a relationship, keeping things casual with multiple partners, or flying completely solo for the moment, it’s impossible to be too careful about sexual hygiene. Let’s face it. As fun as sex is and as mind-blowing as it feels, it’s not always the cleanest activity out there.
Cleanliness and mindfulness are musts if you’re serious about keeping yourself sexually healthy, whether or not you’re currently getting down and dirty with another person. Here are a few important hygiene mistakes not to make under any circumstances.
Failing to Use a Condom When You Should
Unless you’re having sex within the context of a monogamous relationship and have birth control covered via other means, condoms should always be seen as a must. They’re the best, most reliable way to protect both yourself and your partner from STIs and STDs, but they need to be used consistently and properly.
It’s also worth noting that condoms come in handy when it comes to more than just intercourse. If you’re in the habit of sharing sex toys with partners, condoms are clever, convenient ways to keep your toys truly clean and germ-free too.
Not Taking Toy Cleanliness Seriously Enough
Speaking of sex toys, far too many people don’t clean their sex toys anywhere near as often as they should, so make sure you’re not one of them. At a bare minimum, sex toys should be cleaned after every single use. It’s not a bad idea to clean them before each use as well though, especially if you don’t store them in a protective bag or box that keeps them from coming into contact with lint, dirt, and debris.
Toys should also be cleaned when switching from person to person or when going from anal stimulation to genital. Don’t worry. You don’t have to spoil the mood by jumping up in the middle of sex to go do a full scrub-down. Just keep a good spray-on wipe-off toy cleaner and a clean rag nearby.
Switching from Anal Play to Vaginal Play
Switching from anal sex or stimulation to vaginal isn’t just a no-no when you’re playing with toys. Engaging in any activity that could transfer potentially harmful anal bacteria to the vagina is a really good way to wind up with a nasty infection. Keeping the two areas separate is the best way to avoid any mishaps.
Don’t get us wrong. This isn’t to imply that your anal area is dirty or that anal stimulation is in any way wrong because neither is true. However, the anus and rectum house very different bacteria than the vagina – bacteria that aren’t good for the vagina’s natural chemical balance or health.
Not Peeing After Sex
The pleasurable rubbing and grinding movements that make sex feel so darned good are great for the nerve endings. They’re not necessarily good for your urethra and bladder though, as they can force bacteria and other germs in through the urethral opening, putting you at risk for a urinary tract infection.
Getting into the habit of peeing after sex is one of the best ways to lower your chances of developing a UTI, as the flow of urine helps rinse the urethra clean of any wayward bacteria. That said, it’s fine to go ahead and pee before sex if your bladder is uncomfortably full, but it’s much better to wait until afterward.
Not Washing Up Afterward
Again, sex isn’t a dirty act, but it’s not possible to be too careful about cleanliness. That said, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of seeing to your genital hygiene after any sort of sexual play. Enjoying a full-on bath or shower is fine when it makes sense, but hygienic wipes are a perfectly fine alternative.
Always keep a packet of wipes close at hand so they’re handy when you need them. Stash some in your nightstand, as well as in your purse or overnight bag. Always clean yourself from front to back to avoid spreading potentially harmful bacteria from the anus to your genitals as well.
Not Caring About Your Partner’s Hygiene
Proper sexual etiquette doesn’t start and stop at getting proper consent and making sure your partner enjoys everything you do together. You should also care about a partner’s hygiene as much as you do your own. That means insisting on the use of condoms when you know it’s necessary, as well as being safe about sex in general.
You should also make sure your hands are clean before touching your partner’s genitals. Showering, bathing, or otherwise washing your genitals to keep your play as clean as possible is a good idea as well. At the end of the day, maintaining good sexual hygiene is everyone’s responsibility, so it’s important to treat it that way.