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Before, During, and After Sex

Just like consent, communicating about sex is not a one-time thing. Whether it’s your first time or 100th, communication happens before, during, and after sex. Below are some tips and reminders about sex in general and communication.

Before Sex

  • Be clear and honest with your partner. If you’re not comfortable doing certain things or it’s your first time, communicate that with your partner and make sure your partner understands you. It shouldn’t be awkward or embarrassing.
  • Prepare! It’s important to be safe. Be sure to have a condom and any method of birth control. Also, having a water- or silicone-based lubricant will help! Visit the Barrier Methods and Birth Control Methods pages to learn about condoms and different types of birth control.
  • Consent! It’s important to receive consent from your partner before you engage in any type of sexual activity. Learn about consent on the Consent page.

During Sex

  • Sex shouldn’t hurt! If you experience pain during sex, then stop.
  • Check on and listen to your partner. Asking how your partner feels can help them feel comfortable.
  • Consent! Yes, this is not just a one-time thing where you give or receive consent before having sex. This goes hand in hand with our previous point. Just because you or your partner consent at the beginning does not mean they consent the entire way or you assume they do. You or your partner may not be comfortable when you actually do it, so if you want to stop or they tell you they want to stop, then stop. Visit the Consent page to learn more.

After Sex

  • Pee after sex. This can help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs), especially for women since the urethra is shorter and closer to the anus. Visit the Common Reproductive Health Conditions page to learn more.
  • Check your condom. It’s important to check if your condom broke during sex. If it did, then you might be at risk of an unplanned pregnancy or a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Check out the Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections/Diseases pages to learn more.
  • Wash up. It doesn’t need to be right away, but cleaning around your genital area can also prevent UTIs and other infections.
  • Do not douche. Douching involves spraying a cleaning mixture inside the vagina, but this can lead to other infections because it disrupts the balance of bacteria in your vagina. The vagina naturally cleans itself.

Content reviewed by Shandhini Raidoo, MD, MPH, FACOG

Last Updated: September 25, 2020 by Phyllis Raquinio


Communication Photo: Seabranddesign. (n.d.). People Talking Illustration. Retrieved July 31, 2020, from