How To Keep Everything Safe & Clean When Experimenting In The Bedroom

When we jump into bed with someone, usually the furthest thing from our mind is keeping things clean and safe. Granted, condoms may come up and they absolutely should unless you and your partner are fluid-bonded, but beyond that, the focus is to have fun, be present during sex, and worry about the technicalities later. In the heat of the moment, it's hard to see anything but the, well, moment. 

But the problem with concerning yourself with certain things later can lead to long-term issues. Getting down and dirty is exactly that: dirty. While it's definitely dirty in a good way, it can be dirty in a not-so-good way as well. From STIs to UTIs, to the transferring of bacteria from this place to that place, there's a lot going on when we have sex. Because of this, being aware of what our bodies are doing and can produce is something to keep in mind as your romp comes to an end. This isn't to suggest that the second sex is over you and your partner should jump out of bed and start taking Lysol to every inch of the room. But knowing what should be washed after having sex can make a world of difference when it comes to keeping your sexual hygiene on the up and up. 

Make sure your sex toys are always sanitized

Although a lot of us are guilty of using our sex toys, then tossing them back in the drawer, it's a bad habit we all need to kick immediately. Sex toys, internal and external, should be cleaned after and before every use. It might seem excessive, but it's not. Cleaning those goodies after use will help rid them of bacteria that can cause infections like UTIs, yeast infections, and bacterial vaginosis (BV). Cleaning them before each use will rid them of any dust, lint, and similar remnants that have accumulated since the last time you used them.

All toys can be surface cleaned with hot water and antibacterial soap — just make sure they're thoroughly rinsed because soap can be an irritant to the genitals. But if you're looking for a deep cleaning, toys made of steel or glass, can be popped into a pot of boiling water to disinfect them, as can silicone toys that can be submerged. So make sure you read what your silicone toy can handle, because waterproof doesn't equal submerge proof. Dishwashers with a disinfectant mode or a spray made of water and a few tablespoons of bleach can also do the trick.

While sex toy cleaning sprays are an option, they're not necessary as long as you've gone the antibacterial soap route. But if you decide to invest in sex toy sprays or cleaning wipes, read the ingredients. Anything with glycerin, alcohol, and of course fragrance should be avoided. These aren't just irritants that can cause drying and itching, but glycerin is a type of sugar that may lead to yeast infections.

Never go from anal play directly to vaginal or oral play

It doesn't matter if you insert the tip of your finger or tongue into your partner's butt, or an entire penis or dildo, once something goes anal, it shouldn't get to go anyplace else without being properly washed. As much as anal play can be a lot of fun and feel really pleasurable (as long as you don't forget the lube!), it's important to remember the role that the anus plays in the body: it's a network of nerves and muscles whose main purpose is to get your bowels moving and out. In other words, although fecal matter may be minimal or appear non-existent during anal play, it doesn't mean that the bacteria associated with this matter isn't there.

While the bacteria itself isn't some awful, deadly thing of which you should be scared, it is something that can cause infections in the vagina or, if you go from anal to oral, or engage in rimming, can result in gastro issues. Although the majority of human waste resides in the lower intestine where it can't be touched, even by a large penis or dildo, it doesn't mean that playing around with this area isn't going to possibly loosen things up.

Pee after sex — but only if you have to

When people have sex, intercourse or otherwise, even if there's no anal play involved, it doesn't mean that things can't be shifted around a bit, meaning bacteria that normally wouldn't come in contact with the urethra does. Because of this, peeing after sex isn't just an old wives' tale, but something that doctors suggest too — especially if you're prone to UTIs.

"Sex is often associated with UTIs because sexual intercourse introduces bacteria [from the anus] to the urethra and into the urinary tract," Alan B. Copperman, MD, a director at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF. He adds, "While urinating before and after sex clearly decreases the chance of a urinary tract infection, you don't need to have a stopwatch."

If you don't need to pee after sex, as in the urge isn't there and your bladder is empty, don't try to will urination into existence. Even if you score a few drops by force, it's not enough to properly flush away any possible bacteria. It's best to wait until you need to pee, so you might as well cuddle in the meantime.

Wash up

With all the bacteria and sweat that has accumulated and been passed between bodies, it's always a good idea to clean up after sex. You don't have to go for a full shower, but washing your hands and face, and cleaning around your genitals is definitely something you want to do.

"Vaginas are self-cleaning so it's not necessary to clean inside or use any heavily scented products which might irritate the area," Dr. Kathryn Basford tells Yahoo Life UK. "However, rinsing with warm water is a good idea," she explains.

Whatever you do, don't douche. When you douche you are essentially pushing bacteria into the vagina that can potentially cause infection as far up as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Douching in general is a bad idea because of the effect it has on the natural balance of the vaginal flora. Those with penises should also clean in and around the groin area, and if there's foreskin, washing under there can help eliminate infections. 

Change sheets if necessary

Bodily fluids are a part of sex. But sometimes those bodily fluids can be excessive if there was no condom use or there was female ejaculation involved. As much as you may want to cuddle post-coitus, if your sheets are really wet, it's best if you quickly change any bed linens that are soiled. Wetness breeds bacteria, so while it may not bother you to cuddle up in your bodily fluids, your body (and your mattress) aren't too keen on the idea. 

If your sheets are a little damp, then you can wait. But are they sopping through the mattress pad? Then you want to switch those sheets out pretty quickly for clean ones. And, make sure to clean your sheets regularly regardless if there is a noticeable mess. Laundering once a week is ideal if you have the same partner and you can add a laundry sanitizer to further eliminate any bacteria.