7 Things You Should Never Do Before and After Sex

These little habits can ruin your fun and impact your health, too.

1 / 8

Sex is fun, feels great and brings you closer to your partner—and regular intimacy is also good for your mental and physical health. Making love can improve your heart function, lower your stress and anxiety levels, reduce aches and so much more.

Unfortunately, some seemingly innocent habits before and after sex could cause problems in the sack, ruining your healthy fun. Here are seven things to avoid if you’re going to get intimate.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

Don’t eat super spicy foods or a meal high in fat

2 / 8 Don’t eat super spicy foods or a meal high in fat

If you’re planning to have sex, tone it down on the hot sauce. Spicy foods like curry and peppers can trigger symptoms of acid reflux, including heartburn, a burning sensation in the throat; this may make it difficult to get in the mood. And if your body is sensitive to fiery foods, you may not be able to hold in farts or burps.

That’s not all—rich, heavy foods that are high in fat (think fried chicken), citrus fruits, carbonated drinks and caffeinated beverages can also give you heartburn, since they’re harder for your body to digest.

So, go easy on your tummy. Foods like bananas, oatmeal, apples and graham crackers are less likely to give you heartburn.

Don’t take an antihistamine

3 / 8 Don’t take an antihistamine

Feeling stuffy? You may want to hold off on taking cough and cold meds if you’re planning to get busy later. While antihistamines help dry up runny noses, that’s not the only thing that’s going to dry up. Women may notice that their vaginas are less lubricated, too, since these drugs cause mucous membranes to dry up all over the body.  

Sandpaper sex isn’t very pleasant—in fact, it may cause burning, itching or pain. When you have to take allergy meds, be sure you have a water-based lubricant handy for sex. Lubing up will ensure you’re wet enough down there, so you can feel pleasure, too. 

Don’t drink too much

4 / 8 Don’t drink too much

While a beer or two may put you in the mood, men should be careful about overdoing booze before sex. Alcohol is a known risk factor for erectile dysfunction (ED), a condition that makes it hard to get or keep an erection strong enough to do the deed. Though a couple of alcohol-induced incidents don’t necessarily mean you have ED, frequent heavy boozing could lead to long-term problems.

In general, it’s best to curb your alcohol intake—remember that no more than two drinks a day for men is considered OK. And, if you are limiting your alcohol and still having problems in the sack, you may want to avoid it completely. See your healthcare provider if erections are hard to come by more often than not.

Don’t shave right before

5 / 8 Don’t shave right before

Is shaving your preferred way of grooming your lady parts? No problem—but you should plan ahead. Shaving makes the skin around your genitals fragile, more sensitive and prone to irritation caused by friction during sex.  

So, lower your risk by shaving the day before being intimate. To reduce your chances of irritation even further, always use shaving cream or gel, shave in the direction the hair grows and apply a fragrance-free lotion when you're done.

Don’t skip peeing if you’re prone to UTIs

6 / 8 Don’t skip peeing if you’re prone to UTIs

Sure, sex makes you feel good, but there are some downsides, too. Getting intimate may force germs into your urethra, which can cause a urinary tract infection (UTI). So, it’s ideal to pee before and after sex when you can, since it will reduce your risk of UTIs.

Waiting five minutes to enjoy the afterglow of sex is normally okay, though. If you’re sexually active and getting UTIs a lot, you’ll want to be especially diligent about going immediately before and after.  

Don’t forget to wash your sex toys

7 / 8 Don’t forget to wash your sex toys

Sex toys can help make getting busy more pleasurable, but you have to take care of them so they’ll last—and so they won’t get germy. It may seem like a no-brainer, but dildos, vibrators, penis rings and straps must be washed to avoid issues like bacterial vaginosis, a vaginal condition that causes a foul-smelling discharge.

Many sex toys come with disinfecting instructions, especially if they are battery operated and have a motor. But if they don’t include directions, here are some basic guidelines:

  • Non-porous toys, or toys made of glass, stainless steel, silicone, acrylic or hard plastic, should be scrubbed lightly with a mild soap and water. Always remember to scour cracks and crevices, since they're breeding grounds for bacteria. You can also boil these toys in hot water for 10 minutes or so.
  • Porous toys, or toys made of rubber, vinyl, Cyberskin, softskin, ultraskin, nylon or leather, need a very gentle hand soap, or a specific cleaner made just for those types of materials.

If your toys aren't waterproof, it’s best you use a cloth to clean them. If they are waterproof, go ahead and dunk them. 

Don't skip the foreplay

8 / 8 Don't skip the foreplay

If you’ve got the time, foreplay can help you and your partner get in the mood. Foreplay can include kissing, cuddling, massaging and oral stimulation—and the benefits are astounding.

Foreplay gets your genitals ready for sex. Women may start to get wet since there is increased blood flow to the clitoris and men may start to get an erection since blood flow is increasing to the penis. It also raises your heart rate, and may help you feel more connected to your partner as you begin to get intimate.

The act can also help you relax and focus on the activity at hand. It’s also a good time to bring out the lube—a water-based liquid or gel can help keep the vagina and penis wet—which makes certain sensations feel even better.

Instead of heading right to the main event, try spending a few minutes beforehand kissing and cuddling with your partner. Whether it’s a massage or a little oral stimulation, you and your partner should talk about the types of things you both enjoy, and make time them when you can.

Continue Learning about Sex and Relationships

4 Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life in a Long-Term Relationship
4 Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life in a Long-Term Relationship
No matter how much you love your one-and-only, life can get in the way of romance. When work, family responsibilities and other day-to-day obligations...
Read More
When do men and women reach their individual sexual peaks?
Bonnie Lynn Wright, PhDBonnie Lynn Wright, PhD
Back in the day, it was postulated that men reached their sexual peak in their twenties while women ...
More Answers
10 Best Cities for Sex
10 Best Cities for Sex10 Best Cities for Sex10 Best Cities for Sex10 Best Cities for Sex
Find out where men and women are really satisfied.
Start Slideshow
How Can Cancer Treatment Affect My Sexual Health?
How Can Cancer Treatment Affect My Sexual Health?